Collaboration with LaunchKC focuses on high-tech solutions that enable a sustainable future
Seven innovative technology startups – focused on sustainability solutions that range from artificial intelligence and next-generation analytics to autonomous heavy equipment and electric vehicle energy management – have been selected to join Black & Veatch’s IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator. The seven startups include two Midwestern companies, one from Florida and four from the West Coast. The program is designed to accelerate the adoption of new sustainable infrastructure technologies and attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs from across the country to Kansas City for further development opportunities.
The program, powered by LaunchKC, is building partnerships that seek to drive sustainability gains through advances in renewable and distributed energy, mobility, agricultural technology, machine learning and AI, environmental services, and other solutions that add value to engineering services.
Picked from more than 120 applicants across the United States, the startups will receive equity awards, a 75-day period of collaboration with Black & Veatch and program supporters, and a startup showcase in November. They’ll gain valuable training and engineering insight to grow their business through collaboration with Black & Veatch professionals, as well as exposure and networking opportunities with experienced investors, supporters and clients in Kansas City and around the world.
LaunchKC is a 5-year-old grants competition for tech startups nationwide, in a joint venture of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, Missouri and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri. LaunchKC elevated its focus in 2019 to working in partnership with industry-specific verticals to support accelerator programs, including the IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator.
Today, 34 of LaunchKC’s grant winners over the past four years – or 90 percent – are still in business, posting milestones (as of year-end 2018) that include:
- 275 full-time employees, up 65 percent since year-end 2018, with another 350 independent contractors above the FTE count;
- $87.3 million in cumulative investment or follow-on funding – up 82 percent since year-end 2018;
- 53 percent of all grant winners represent women or minority-owned businesses.
Black & Veatch, the largest engineering company in the Kansas City area, is a global leader in engineering, construction and consulting services for energy, water and telecommunications clients. Its IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator marks one the company’s boldest moves into the entrepreneurial arena of engineering services, following the creation of the company’s Growth Accelerator to explore new and emerging markets.
Startups joining the IgniteX Cleantech accelerator include:
- Aware Vehicles, Kansas City, MO, which employs drones with smart mobile docking platforms, 4D spatial-spectral modelling and real-time analytics to address construction challenges as well as innovative imaging solutions for structural health monitoring;
- Built Robotics, San Francisco, CA, which specializes in self-driving heavy equipment to make construction safer, faster, and more productive;
- ecoSPEARS, Altamonte Springs, FL, which uses green technologies to extract and destroy PCBs, dioxins and other chlorinated contaminants from the environment;
- Electriphi, San Francisco, CA, which deploys a software platform for fleet and energy management that provides operational and infrastructure cost savings for light, medium and heavy-duty commercial electric vehicle fleets;
- Extensible Energy, Berkeley, CA, which specializes in cloud-based software that controls flexible loads to reduce demand and time-of-use energy charges in small-to-medium buildings;
- InfraLytiks, Urbandale, IA, which employs software featuring AI and machine learning based on images, complex data or text/financials;
- NovoNutrients, Sunnyvale, CA, which uses energy from hydrogen to transform waste carbon into protein and other high value products for the aquaculture and animal feed industries.
The nonprofit LaunchKC competition has awarded $2 million in grants to 38 tech startup businesses over four years. LaunchKC is funded by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and local corporate and philanthropic organizations, including the Kansas City Power & Light District, JE Dunn Construction, Husch Blackwell, KCP&L, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lead Bank, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Parson + Associates, Port KC, Academy Bank, Country Club Bank and Park University.