UMKC Innovation Center partners with the university and the community to spark and sustain entrepreneurial efforts within our region and across the country.

KCSourceLink connects KC entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

MOSourceLink connects Missouri entrepreneurs to the right resource at the right time.

Whiteboard2Boardroom connects entrepreneurs and businesses to technologies available for licensing.

Digital Sandbox KC provides early-stage proof-of-concept support for digital products.

Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center provides technical assistance to startup and existing businesses.

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps businesses with revenues around $200K scale toward their first $1 million.

Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers helps local businesses obtain government contracts.

KCInvestED helps investors learn more about investing in KC startups.

SourceLink® helps communities nationwide build vibrant and vital entrepreneurial ecosystems.
UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
Briefcase, KC startup

Putting Your Best Briefcase Forward

Briefcase's Nick Mallare and Caleb Phillippi

Briefcase was started for one purpose: to help the job seeker level the playing field when finding their perfect job.

This Kansas City startup—and one of our 2014 and 2015 Kansas City companies to watch—was started by three people: a recruiter, a software engineer and a finance guy. They all shared the same passion of wanting to close the gap on unemployment of young adults exiting college. Since February of 2013, they’ve been building a product to combat just that.

Below, co-founder Nick Mallare (pictured left, Caleb Phillippi is on the right) shares Briefcase’s entrepreneurial origin story.

How did it all start?

From an early age, I was always interested in entrepreneurship. From lemonade stands to lawn mowing to web development, I've dabbled in all facets of business ownership. I've failed. I've succeeded. But most importantly, I've learned.

Who has helped you along the way?

We were part of the inaugural SparkLabKC class and we received Digital Sandbox KC money. We also received funding in 2013 from four regional investors. We started a Pilot Program with UMKC's Henry W. Bloch School of Management, Park University, MU's Trulaske College of Business and Rockhurst's Helzberg School of Management.

Why strike out on your own? Why entrepreneurship?

Without a doubt, people can get comfortable when working at the run-of-the-mill company. Entrepreneurship puts you outside of that comfort zone. It forces you to wear many hats and it requires you to adapt. It's perhaps my most favorite part of being an Entrepreneur. I've learned to deal with things as they come: learning to take a moment to collect my thoughts and then pressing onward. I don't know how many times I'll fail before I'm considered a successful Entrepreneur; however, I do know that I'll never stop learning. And I'll never stop adapting.

What advice would you give to startups?

My advice is to always communicate. Communicate things you don't even think are important. The thing we are horrible at (but are definitely improving) is communicating the daily, weekly and monthly milestones, victories and struggles. Doing this helps everything feel connected, important and an integral part of the business.


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