April 29, 2016
The key to a burgeoning startup ecosystem is generous investments in local talent. When investors are willing to take risks on behalf of regional startups, they are contributing to the overall success of that area. And in Kansas City, one venture capital group is taking that lesson to heart by exclusively investing their $10 million firm in local startups.
The Collective Funds is the new venture capital group in question and they call Kansas City, Missouri home. They hope to create a culture shift in their home town in order to give it the boost other explosive startup ecosystems have had thanks to local investors. With a vast array of experience levels, varying from accredited to unaccredited investors, The Collective Funds thinks they have a real chance of vamping up the KC startup scene.
The firm consists of several gentlemen with varying levels of experience in the investment business. From Blake Miller (a partner at Think Big) and Alex Altomare (cofounder of BetaBlox and founding president of The Lean Lab) to Erik Wullschleger (director of LiveKC) and Shane Spencer (an independent fund manager), the team is ready to show Kansas City based startups the money!
“Changing investment culture is one of the most important things that anyone in the city can do,” said Erik Wullschleger to StartLand. “There’s that constant battle between ‘there’s not enough money in town’ and ‘there’s not enough good businesses in town.’ But when you dig into it, this problem is something that people have been talking about for years.”
The problem has indeed persisted. The guys got the idea for the firm from a 1989 report commenting on Kansas City’s inability to drum up early-stage capital for local startups. But with 20 to 30 businesses in the crosshairs of this $10 million firm, tech startups in Kansas City should be on the lookout for large funding rounds in years to come. Hardware and goods and services startups are even being talked about as potential candidates for the firms first investments.
When it comes to making money, this venture capital group is in it for the city they love. It’s not about cashing in on local talent or about reaping the benefits of the little guys; it’s about building up an ecosystem that has not seen the success it clearly deserves.
“We want to be a good part of the ecosystem and spur growth,” said Blake Miller. “We want to play our part and maybe inspire others to do more, too.”
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