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We are excited to launch our new Techstars KC program. I have begun the hunt for the ten companies to begin our inaugural year.  

The rise of digital has eroded boundaries. Today a company can start anywhere in the world. Despite the ever-increasing access opportunities, starting a company is still a lonely, scary journey and the chances of failure are high. To be successful, founders need access to the best global resources to perfect their business model and product, and to ultimately scale the company.  

The Techstars team in Kansas City is looking for founders who are solving big, complex problems. To do this, we want the most promising minds join this program. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs for many years, and I will continue to be a tireless supporter of the companies selected for Techstars Kansas City.

As a city program we are not driven towards a specific vertical. We’re looking for companies that are:

Disintermediating markets. Companies that will eliminate the intermediary in a sector, lower costs, and have a powerful, positive impact in the marketplace.  Great examples are Neighborly and Classpass.

Capable of having a positive impact on the future of infrastructure. This could include (but isn’t limited to) companies that are developing sustainable building materials, sensors collecting new types of data, and business models that will reduce the cost and improve outcomes for humans and the planet.  

Not only will developed economies be rebuilding old infrastructure for the next 20 years, but growing economies will be doubling down on new and better technology. (Sidewalk Labs’ recent Medium post entitled Data is the New Concrete provides excellent context setting for the future.)

Addressing talent, skills and education. We have a huge gap between skills needed in the current and future economy and the availability of talent to address those skills. We have hosted many Teach For America entrepreneurship conferences in Kansas City, and it is apparent that there are not enough solutions to address this problem locally or globally.

I will be gathering experts and mentors from across the country to come to Kansas City and enable successful outcomes for all the companies accepted into Techstars Kansas City.

Techstars is transparent about the companies that have joined our ecosystem, and a proxy for the company’s success can be viewed through the lens of follow-on dollars raised. You can review the recently released summary data on this topic via Mattermark or review even more granular data here.

Techstars Kansas City will be accepting applications until April 9, 2017. Apply here!

I will be hosting office hours in Durham NC on Feb 16/17, Phoenix AZ Feb 22 and Johannesburg, South Africa March 15.

Look to this blog and follow me on Twitter @lesamitchell to receive updates.  



Lesa Mitchell Lesa Mitchell
Lesa is the Managing Director of Techstars Kansas City. Lesa’s career has included roles as a corporate executive, entrepreneur and consultant to multi-national corporates expanding their innovation footprints. For ten years Lesa was VP Innovation & Networks at the Kauffman Foundation where she designed, implemented and scaled models focused on initiating new markets and recovering markets in support of economic growth. Lesa is an advisor for Modern Meadow (NYC), CapLinked (LA), Neighborly (SF), Copia (SF). Lesa is a long time Sr. Fellow Milken Institute and is on the board of directors of the Althea Foundation in San Francisco.