10 start-ups triumph at Techweek, earning grants, office space

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Start-up businesses are cashing in at KC Techweek. The competition was steep for the half-million dollars in available grants.

The process started with 500 participants, that was narrowed down to 20.Ten of those finalists then each won $50,000.

"Our business makes Numa, which is a small network security appliance for home users," said Marcus Eagan, the founder and CEO of Nodal security, who is one of 10 winners.

"Most people can't afford an information security team for their own house, so we've built something that is simple to use for everyone," Eagan added.

Another winner, Chris Costello, is the co-founder and CEO of Blooom.

"Blooom is the first of its kind automated tool to help people with the confusion they experience with their 401Ks," Costello said.

It's a local company, based in Leawood, helping people trying to invest get help to make their 401k 'blooom'.

"Conferences like this or opportunities, whatever the case may be, if you can walk away with one good connection, it`s worth the time and investment," added Costello.

Friday was the final round of competition for 20 companies taking part in Launch KC's global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs.

"We spent the last several weeks having grant reviewers here in Kansas City narrowing down the list to the most qualified applicants with the best potential business plans," says Mike Hurd, the Marketing Director for Downtown Council & Launch KC.

The top 20 finalists made 5 minute pitches to the judges and audience. 13 finalists are from the Kansas city Area.

"Our real long term gain with this is that we want them to build their businesses here, we want them to grow jobs and help them find their footing here," Hurd said.

One winner came all the way from Chile --his first time in the U.S. to share his idea at Techweek.

"We create sensors for farmers to wirelessly monitor soil conditions and environment conditions and make decisions based on information," said Nikita Gulin, the co-founder and Business Development at Pycno.

Katy Lynch, the Techweek CEO says this event allows them to shine a global spotlight on developments in the Kansas City area.

"Give these entrepreneurs an opportunity to use that cash and use those prizes to take their business to the next level," said Lynch.

Winners also get free office space in the Crossroads for a year, as well as a team of mentors to help grow their business in Kansas City.

For more information, click on this link.