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
Lesa Mitchell

Why I Invest in KC: Lesa Mitchell, TechStars Kansas City

Lesa Mitchell Techstars Kansas City
Every entrepreneur who is raising capital wants to know—what are investors really thinking? Wonder no more. In our "Why I Invest in KC" you will learn what investors expect from the business owners they invest in, what it really takes to get funded and what drives investors to put their time, energy, talent and resources into Kansas City startups. Today, we are excited to introduce you to our good friend, Lesa Mitchell: 


Lesa Mitchell has been called a “one-woman hub” and a “human LinkedIn.” She’s recently put her connections and expertise in service to Kansas City by stepping up as the new director of TechStars Kansas City.

Techstars is a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars has been investing in Midwest based companies since 2007 and is one of the largest investors in what Steve Case refers to as the Rise of the Rest communities. 

“We care about investing in founders who we believe can scale great companies. We identify founders that have a unique ability to solve the problem that is the focus of their company. The founding team are the most critical variable to the success of a company.”

Part of Lesa’s mandate is encouraging and nurturing Kansas City-based entrepreneurs. Another part is bringing talent to the region. The first TechStars Kansas City class includes four native companies, but also six from all parts of the country.

Lesa’s travels have taken her around the world to work in a variety of startup hubs. Her goal prior to Techstars was to build a network of global experts and derive lessons from a variety of communities' successful growth models.

"There are great companies everywhere and if I could have taken more companies, I would have at least three more companies in my Techstars cohort from KC. Through the work of the Digital Sandbox KC, LaunchKC, Project UK, Lean Lab, Pipeline and the Sprint Accelerator, these KC-based organizations are doing an amazing job of nurturing local talent as well as bringing new talent into our community."

Thank you to Lesa Mitchell for sharing her story and passion. And congratulations to all of the businesses in Techstar Kansas City's inaugural class, including these Kansas City natives: 

  • CasaIQ (Kansas City, Mo.) – CasaIQ is a smart home solution for multi-family properties.
  • Hanzo (Kansas City, Mo.) – Hanzo created a platform that helps companies quickly scale and fund innovative products and businesses.
  • Planetarians  (Kansas City, Mo.) – Planetarians offers high fiber protein food from food waste at the price of food stamps.
  • Vector Legal Method (Kansas City, Mo.) – Vector Legal Method is building a comprehensive litigation case management, collaboration and analytics application.

If you're gearing up to pitch your business to investors, here are a few other blog posts you're going to want to read:  

How (& Why) to Pitch to Digital Sandbox Kansas City (in 10 Easy Slides)
Pitches Gone Wild: What NOT to Do When You Pitch Your Startup to Investors
How to Pitch Your Business for Money, Customers or Fun

Looking for funding opportunities?

If you’re looking for startup resources, give us some information in our CapitalMatch funnel and we will help you find your next step and maybe even your next investor.



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