Innovation Partnership Program Facts

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Kansas City established the Innovation Partnership Program in July 2013 through an Administrative Regulation (AR 3-27, 7/23/13) in order to engage the startup community in Kansas City and develop, test and demonstrate innovative solutions to city operational problems. From July 2013 – May 2016, the program held open applications for program participation. In May 2016, Mayor Sly James announced a change to the program that created an annual class with a specified pilot period for the participating companies and city departments; this change allowed for better city management from a scheduling and administrative support perspective. So far 27 companies have partnered with the City through IPP, and 12 are still working with the City in some capacity. The fourth IPP class, to be selected in the fall of 2019, will be managed by BizCare, in the City Manager’s Office.

Year Participating Companies Companies with City Contracts
2013-2015 4 3
2016 7 1
2017 5 3

Program Participants 2013-2015

RFP 365: A Request for Proposal management software platform that digitized the process for the city to issue, evaluate and contract goods and services, especially digital services. The company is now contracted by the city to support digital acquisition through the procurement office and has expanded from a staff of 4 to a staff of 20 with office space in Waldo and many additional public and private sector clients who frequently call KCMO for references. CEO: David Hulsen (veteran-owned business)

PlanIt Impact: An architectural design firm that integrates green technologies into both new builds and building redesigns. The company helps building owners decrease electrical expenses and improves building efficiency. PlanIt Impact is supporting the build for a new city fire station and is a city partner in the Global City Team Challenge gaining nationwide notice for its technology. CEO: Dominque Davison (woman owned business).

Xaqt: A data analysis company that supported the city during Smart City Challenge. The company now supports continued Smart City analytics and has received numerous awards for their work with the city. They are under contract to the Office of Innovation. CEO: Chris Crosby.

PayIt: A digital payment company that integrates multiple city departments into one payment system that a customer can access through a single application. The city focused initially on Municipal Courts and Water, but the municipal courts were unable to gain proprietary data from Regis, the current data management firm, and the water department had an internal capability already that met this need. The city favorably endorsed PayIt, and now the company has expanded its staff significantly and holds contracts for the State of Kansas, State of Florida and City of Grand Rapids, MI.

Class of 2016

Big Bang: A sensor company that placed sensors on city buses to better track mobility assets. The company identified some challenges for vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communications as a result of the pilot. They concluded pilot without a contract, but they are continuing to develop the communications based on lessons learned; this learning will impact how autonomous vehicles function in a city. CEO: Jon Wagner

SORA Medical Solutions: A software application that assists first responders, primarily paramedics, with diagnosing cardiac arrest and guiding them through the process of providing the right medical treatment based on internal treatment flow charts. Fire Department loved the initial product and purchased licenses for it, but wanted additional development for communication flow with hospitals. The additional work remains in development. CEO Jeff Dunn.

Reality Technology: A software application that routs RFP issuance to local firms / MBE/WBE firms registered with the city in order to ensure that the city meets MBE/WBE goals and local businesses are made aware of business opportunities with the city. Procurement signed a 3 year contract with Realty Technology once the firm developed an interface with RFP 365. CEO: Ivan Drinks Jr (Minority Owned Business).

Integrated Roadways: A pavement design and construction firm that builds roads that have integrated connectivity to include WiFi, fiber and sensor technologies. The goal of this technology is to create opportunities for the city to generate revenue using these technologies through data sharing or advertising sales. Based on the strategic plan developed during the IPP, Integrated Roadways won contracts with the Colorado Department of Transportation for 13 miles of road near Colorado Springs, CO and is pending a contract from MODoT in support of the “Road to Tomorrow,” which has had its budget cut by the current governor. CEO: Tim Sylvester.

STRATEX Planning: A software application that digitizes the planning process and includes collaboration and integrated work flows for multiple organizations or departments. City Planning contracted with STRATEX after the pilot period for 3 years. The software is now being used in three neighborhood development plans and supported the scenario planning for the city’s response to the Amazon RFP. CEO Raina
Knox (Woman Owned Business).

Pomerol Partners: A data analysis company that builds dashboards and integrates city data with existing data sets available in open source spaces. The company digitized some processes for the Office of Performance Management, but was not significantly different from other software packages already under contract to the city. We provide them favorable references, and they have several private sector clients in Kansas City. CEO: Fred Hefer (A British firm attracted here by KC EDC).

SpiderOak: A digital communications / messaging company that provides a faster alternative to email through a combination of device standardization, SMS technologies and standard message formatting. The technology did not significantly improve city processes, but it was a good platform to SpiderOak to meet additional partners to include private security and cyber security firms. The company earned accolades for their work with these other firms. CEO: Chris Cooley.

Class of 2017

KC Crew: A software platform that allows the Parks department to better engage potential league participants in an array of activities from dodge ball to kickball to pool leagues. Allows for “free agent” play for individuals who participate in one city but travel to another that uses the same platform. Contracted by Parks at the end of the pilot for continued management of recreational leagues and also retained by cities of Overland Park and Tulsa, OK based on this success. CEO: Luke Wade.

MPiR LLC: An urban agriculture company that transforms 40 foot storage containers into aquaponics farms that grow up to 6 crop cycles of greens, herbs and lettuce per year. The containers require connection to internet, electricity and water in order to function, and they are mobile. The goal of the company is to make fresh products available in food deserts. The city identified additional permitting requirements to enable commercial distribution of product during the pilot; this work is continuing. CEO: Steve Smith.

Onward: A software application that assists city employees who bank at the city credit union to save funds by incentivizing saving and increasing credit ratings by making loans to savers more available through matching funds. The firm is focused on competing directly with payday loan companies. The credit union has retained Ben on contract for the next 3 years and will evaluate efficacy at that point based on the loan payback period for the loans issued so far. CEO: Ben White.

MySidewalk: A data analysis company that builds dashboards and integrates city data with existing data sets available in open source spaces. The company digitized the city’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey results and made them usable by other analytics products through an API. The company is in discussion with the Office of Performance Management for additional contracts, and they highlighted this project collaboratively with the city at two Smart City events in 2017, which resulted in contracts with other communities. CEO: Stephen Hardy.

17 73’: A company that manufactures portable solar powered phone chargers for up to 12 phones simultaneously. The firm is focused on providing power to people whose power is interrupted (the CEO developed the concept in Haiti) or unavailable for long periods of time. The use case for the IPP program was in support of first responders at a crisis mitigation location. The city purchased on unit for continued testing, and the firm ended up partnering with KC Crew to provide portable power for league participants while at fields or locations that do not have readily available power. CEO Conner Hazelrigg (Woman Owned Business).

Class of 2018

Geospiza, Sarah Tuneberg
City Department: Public Safety
Geospiza is a company that uses data to enable cities to better prepare for and respond to crises through assessment of multiple data streams. These allow communities to identify where more difficult rescue and recovery operations may occur, which allows for better deployment of public safety resources.

It provides emergency managers, city planners, and other key stakeholders with comprehensive insight into community vulnerability. Understanding population vulnerability allows officials to quantify risk, prioritize preparedness and risk-reduction interventions, and conduct effective and efficient response and recovery activities. Engaging in a pilot of Geospiza will enhance Kansas City’s emergency preparedness and reduce costs around data collection and analysis in emergency management.

DogSpot, Chelsea Brownridge
City Department: Office of Innovation
DogSpot is a company with a network of high-tech dog houses in the community, which can be rented by the minute. This allows dog owners to run errands with their pet, without having to tie them up outside. DogSpot houses are temperature-controlled, sanitized, and equipped with a camera so that dog owners can monitor their pet. Placing several DogSpot dog houses in downtown Kansas City could make the city more dog-friendly and increase potential revenue of area businesses.

Homebase, Blake Miller
City Department: Housing Services
Homebase is a Kansas City-based connected building solutions provider delivering connectivity, automation, and community management solutions for property owners and managers of apartment communities. The company that hosts a connected building management platform, which allows residents to experience modern and efficient living, while making property management more seamless. With the use of wifi and connected Smart Home devices, the platform allows users to pay rent, monitor utilities, report maintenance, and more.

Homebase would like to develop a solution for affordable housing that helps bridge the digital divide. This would work with property owners and managers of affordable housing to offer connectivity, a smart home package, smart appliances with greater energy efficiency, and metered utility usage.

Gridics, LLC, Felipe Azenha
City Department: City Planning
Gridics is a real estate technology company that has developed a zoning code software management platform which cities across the country have adopted. It developed a site-specific zoning application that helps cities manage, update and visualize their zoning code in real time. This could help Kansas City write, test, and visualize rezonings more easily, and more effectively answer questions about land use and zoning.

Snorkel, Luke Ismert
City Partner: Water Services/Sewer
Snorkel is a software tool that helps city staff better allocate the city’s fat, oil, and grease management resources and extend the life of its sewers. It allows city officials to identify which restaurants are equipped with grease traps, whether they maintain and pump their traps appropriately, and how poorly managed restaurant grease relate to broader systemic problems within the city’s sewer problems within the city’s sewer maintenance program.

With this data, the city can more efficiently allocate restaurant inspection resources, ensure better compliance with ordinances, and keep more fat, oil, and grease out of the sewers, which saves money on maintenance and repair and extends the life of the city’s sewers.

Dynamhex, Sunny Sanwar
City Partner: General Services
Dynamhex is a data analytics software for municipal energy usage from both an economic cost and an environmental sustainability standpoint. Their technology product visualizes complex energy consumption patterns geographically on a dashboard for government officials. This allows municipal leaders to make data-driven decisions and target areas of energy waste and inefficiencies. The management of organizational level and regional level energy usage is helpful for measuring energy and emission performance and saving money.