KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Young entrepreneurs from across the country are flocking to Kansas City, Kan. dreaming of success, trying to commercialize their new ideas.
Google Fiber brought them here, but community is keeping them here. They have taken to calling this area Silicon Prairie, believing this small startup village holds the keys to the future of technology and innovation.
For many, this is the sound of typing, but for the young entrepreneurs working in the Kansas City Startup Village, this is the sound of potential; the potential for fame and fortune, if only the rest of the world buys into their new idea.
Adam England is a software engineer for a Local Ruckus. It’s a startup website where people can find out what’s going on in Kansas City every single day.
“With a startup, you’re basically tackling a problem people have in a new way. Only the highest quality, most interesting local events are available in our data,” England said.
Local Ruckus shares office space with three other companies inside a rental house near 44th and State Line Road in Kansas City, Kan. Upstairs there is another startup called Leap2 creating a new internet search engine hoping to rival Google.
Mike Farmer, the Founder of Leap2, says his company tries to pinpoint what’s breaking, and what the real time conversation is.
“How do we compete against something like Google? You actually change the rules,” Farmer said.
Ironically, Leap2 is depending on its rival for its success. These startups were the first in the country to get Google Fiber, allowing their computers to process and download heavy streams of data faster than normal, saving them time and money.
“They are saving themselves hours and days and weeks worth of time,” said Brittain Kovac, Communications Director of KCSV. “Google Fiber was very much the catalyst that really sparked this whole initiative but I think beyond that, it’s community.”
In less than a year, 25 startups have moved to Kansas City, Kan., from as far away as Boston, New York, Florida and California. As part of this village, they not only share space but ideas and solutions to the problems they face.
“We call ourselves a living incubator. Ideas are always hatching around here.”
Ideas like an app from startup Eye Verify allowing you to identify people by scanning their eye to your smartphone. Or Sportsphotos.com, where sports photographers can quickly download action shots on one website for others to share and buy.
Where in the past it took days to download so many high resolution photos, it now takes just hours using Google Fiber.
It appears the risk is reaping big rewards. So far, dignitaries from 25 countries have visited the startup village to witness the potential of Google Fiber.
And representatives from Austin, Texas, have called asking for advice on how to build their own startup village, since that is where Google Fiber will be installed next.