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Philip Hickman, Plabook | WeCreate KC | KCSourceLink

KC Entrepreneur Philip Hickman Wants Interactive Stories in Everyone's Pocket

Philip Hickman has been a lot of things.

A Royals ball boy who rubbed shoulders with greats George Brett and Hal McRae. A curious child who took apart old computers his dad brought home. A Division I linebacker for the University of Missouri football program (and an avid volunteer) who traded the gridiron for grad school. A school superintendent in Mississippi with five graduate degrees and a doctorate.

But he’s always been a learner and a lover of technology. And when he saw an opportunity to marry those two passions and return to Kansas City, he harnessed the metro’s resources to jumpstart his idea—and hopes to one day share his joy of learning across the planet.

“I really wanted to look at [Kansas City’s] tech ecosystem,” he says, “because I really wanted to see how I could impact children in the world, not just at one school or one district, but how could I do it in a global sense.”

Philip’s app, Plabook, is a platform that offers an interactive reading experience on mobile devices, something he says has drawn the attention of Disney and NASA.

> > > This story is part of our We Create KC 2019 report. See how you can bolster entrepreneurship in Kansas City and support entrepreneurs like Philip, who are using their passions to change communities.

But before he was talking with big names, he had to get some big wins early. And that, he says, all started with reaching out to KCSourceLink; that call connected him to a business coach through the ELEVATIONLAB TECH VENTURE course, a mentorship opportunity through LEANLAB Education, opportunities through Digital Sandbox KC and a $50,000 grant from LaunchKC in 2018, which helped him land office space at the new Berkley Riverfront Apartments.

Philip Hickman of Plabook discusses work with a coworker in his office space

“I really think that if I didn't have KCSourceLink to not only connect me to structures and systems but connect me to people, I would have given up,” he says. “... It's really understanding the resources that are out there, taking advantage of the resources and connecting with those people, those support aspects of it as well, not just the business side of it but the social emotional side of it that comes with being an entrepreneur.”

And Philip says his fledgling company is finishing up development on the augmented reality component of the app so that anyone (that includes you, dear reader) can craft their own interactive stories to share with the world.

See how Kansas City is becoming America's most entrepreneurial city through KCSourceLink's entrepreneurship ecosystem reports at

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