WHO WE ARE

The Kansas City Startup Foundation is a 501(c)3 committed to building a vibrant startup ecosystem in Kansas City.

OUR VISION

An inclusive Kansas City with connected and engaged citizens that employ entrepreneurial thinking to solve problems.

OUR MISSION

We access the passion, ingenuity and collaborative spirit of the Kansas City startup community through education, storytelling and connections to empower individuals to solve the challenges of today.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  1. Practice radical candor. We care personally and challenge directly because the truth is necessary to overcome obstacles.
  2. Practice radical inclusivity. We believe diversity is vital to success and seek to give people of all backgrounds, races, genders, abilities and religions a voice.
  3. Be kind, not nice. We feel that being nice is superficial, but being kind requires authenticity and honesty.
  4. Be curious. We pursue knowledge and welcome innovative avenues to accomplish our goals.
  5. Take action. We do what we say and are proactive in all of our endeavors.
  6. Laugh. We acknowledge that we don't have to be serious all the time in order to enact serious positive change.
  7. Improve continuously. We constantly strive to better ourselves, our methods and the community we serve.
  8. Be humble. We serve something greater than ourselves and will champion any idea that helps us accomplish our goals.
  9. Trust. We give our trust willingly and unreservedly to all people and institutions.
  10. Be professional, yet approachable. We maintain that you don't have to look or act a certain way in order to be respected and credible.
  11. Take risks. We are not scared of discomfort or failure. Comfort and risk aversion do not create change.
  12. Do what is right, always. We strive to be moral and ethical in all that we think, say and do.
  13. Be optimistic. We know that positivity about people and ideas opens the door to possibility.

OUR HISTORY

In late 2012, a string of serendipitous events occurred in a small area of midtown Kansas City. Within the span of two weeks, three properties about half a block from one another in the first neighborhood in the world to get Google Fiber simultaneously began hosting tech startups and entrepreneurs. Perhaps the most amazing part of the story is that it all happened without any planning. The result of these events led to the formation of what is now known as the Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV), an entrepreneurial micro-community helping to grow and support entrepreneurship and Kansas City’s startup ecosystem.

In 2014, the most active co-leaders realized that in order for the community to survive and thrive, it would need support from other stakeholders within Kansas City’s startup ecosystem. In order to receive the necessary support, many of the stakeholders required the Kansas City Startup Village to be a legitimate business entity. However, turning the village into a business would have introduced hierarchy and red tape into the mix and potentially jeopardized the organic, grassroots nature of the KCSV. Thus, in September 2014, the Kansas City Startup Foundation (KCSF) was founded as a nonprofit to support the village.

During the formation of KCSF, those involved in its creation realized the new organization could do more than just support the village. It could also support the entire Kansas City startup ecosystem in new and unique ways. It could unify and champion the ecosystem. It could provide value to all of the ecosystem’s stakeholders including schools, governments, corporations, investors, other nonprofits, and of course the entrepreneurs themselves.

On April 20, 2015, the Kansas City Startup Foundation officially received its 501(c)3 designation from the IRS. The journey towards a stronger, more prosperous and vibrant Kansas City startup community is well underway, and KCSF is helping to lead the charge.