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.

Based upon the principles and guidelines set forth by Brad Feld in his book “Startup Communities,” the KCSV is led by the entrepreneurs who inhabit it. These “co-leaders” volunteer much of their time for the greater good of the community with the goal of supporting each other on the road towards entrepreneurial success. However, sometimes volunteerism isn’t enough.

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, 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, 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.


A successful startup ecosystem requires participation from all of the stakeholders. We connect these pivotal community members who must play an active role within the ecosystem if it is to grow and prosper.








Unifying and championing the ecosystem requires activities that continually support all of the stakeholders. We’re focused on these activities as a way of ensuring the stakeholders are continually engaged with each other and the overall ecosystem.








Our mission to strengthen Kansas City’s startup ecosystem is done through the lens of “The Three C’s.” Initiatives we steward and support are those which result in collisions, co-learning, and community.


Serendipitous moments when one or more stakeholders of a startup and entrepreneur ecosystem come together unexpectedly. Many times these collisions result in positive outcomes for one or all of those involved.

Examples of collisions include the conversation between a group of entrepreneurs at a local startup event which spawns a new idea or insight into an existing idea, the conversation between an entrepreneur and investor waiting in line at the local coffee house which results in an investment opportunity, the ecosystem tour for civic and government representatives which leads to a new partnership and client for a local startup.


Co-learning within the ecosystem occurs when stakeholders share information with one another. A form of the community teaching itself whereby those involved become wiser through the exchange of knowledge and resources.

What you don’t know, you don’t know. But others within the ecosystem certainly have the answers. Imagine a tech entrepreneur who needs fundraising assistance for their startup asking another local entrepreneur about best practices when dealing with investors.

Co-learning strengthens community bonds and results in a smarter group of stakeholders and ecosystem overall.


The ultimate goal of a startup and entrepreneur ecosystem is to be vibrant and prosperous. This occurs when the stakeholders of the ecosystem continuously remain connected and support one another. Sharing opportunities and resources, choosing collaboration over competition, coming together as one … these are all characteristics of a robust community.

As a rising tide lifts all boats, so does a strong community benefits all stakeholders.


Adam Arredondo

Board President

Kari Keefe
Kari Keefe

KC Social Innovation Center
Board Vice President

Dan Schmidt
Dan Schmidt

Emerging Business CFO
Board Treasurer

Sarah Shipley
Sarah Shipley

Shipley Communications
Board Secretary

Matthew W. Marcus

Executive Director

Melanie Haas

Prairie Cube Media
Board Member

Darcy Howe

KCRise Fund
Board Member

Greg Kratofil
Greg Kratofil

Board Member

Corey Mohn
Corey Mohn

Blue Valley CAPS
Board Member

Landon Young
Landon Young

William Jewell College
Board Member