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Kansas City is Improving Access to Capital for Early-Stage Companies

By Kate Hodel | Oct 13, 2017 |

Kansas City is Improving Access to Capital for Early Stage Companies

From microlending to equity investment, the capital continuum is improving for Kansas City’s early-stage companies. Case in point: from 2012 to 2016, the pool of available capital for early-stage firms increased by 290 percent.

That’s just one of the many goals that Kansas City has met since we published the first We Create Capital report and strategic plan in 2015. Today, we released the 2017 update to We Create Capital.

Here are a few highlights from We Create Capital 2017:

In microlending, Kansas City’s entrepreneurial service organizations have:

  • total amount of microlending increased from $3 million to $10 million

  • awarded a Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and a $5 million SBA-backed microloan program

In equity investments, Kansas City’s entrepreneurial service organizations and investors have:

  • more than doubled the investment from regional angel groups

  • established several new seed capital funds

  • maintained offices for at least two venture capital firms headquartered outside the region

Microloan programs and other revolving loan funds fuel early-stage and Main Street businesses unable to secure funding from traditional lending institutions. These loans help fund working capital, inventory or supplies, furniture or fixtures, machinery or equipment. Startup and early-stage companies with high-growth potential often turn to equity investors for capital.

And while the problem for capital for early-stage entrepreneurs in not solved, Kansas City is making progress.

“At KCSourceLink we not only connect entrepreneurs to resources, we also look for gaps in those resources,” said Maria Meyers, founder of KCSourceLink and executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “After hearing about the challenges in the funding space for years, we decided to dig into the data to figure out what’s really happening and to create a community-wide and collaborative plan to improve the situation.

“Even though we set a five-year goal to reach our targets, in just two years, we’ve already met or surpassed five out of our eight goals.”
Kansas City is Improving Access to Capital for Early-Stage Companies

“We see an opportunity to leverage the investment activity that has taken off in the past two years by positioning Kansas City as a financial hub for entrepreneurial financing,” added Maria.

Kansas City’s financial landscape is improving quickly—the Enterprise Center in Johnson County just announced that they are launching a new $5 million philanthropic pre-seed fund that will soon be available to the region’s entrepreneurs on both sides of the state line, and throughout our region. (Read more about that development, here.)

The goal is to begin deploying those funds in the first half of 2018. When that happens, We Create Capital will need yet another update. Maria is unphased, “This is great news for Kansas City entrepreneurs, which means it’s great news for the entire community. Let’s keep this momentum going!”  

Download the highlights or the full 50-page report at www.wecreatekc.com/#capital.

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