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Kansas partners with start-ups to trial city tech

Partners were selected using several criteria including the ability to support economic development and operations strategies

The programme enables start-ups to make a positive impact on Kansas City
The programme enables start-ups to make a positive impact on Kansas City

Kansas City has named six partners for its 2018 innovation partnership programme (IPP).


The programme, in its fourth year, provides an opportunity for start-ups to develop a use case and allows City Hall to explore, at no cost, how new technologies may help to improve city services.


Partners were selected using several criteria including: the ability to support economic development and operations strategies such as improving quality and efficiency of city services and operations; supporting environment quality efforts with the city; engaging neighbourhoods; and improving economic vitality and social equity.


“The innovation partnership programme asks the start-up community and the city to work together to find sustainable solutions to improve services for our residents and visitors,” said Sly James, mayor. “This is the exact type of collaboration that will ensure Kansas City continues to build on its momentum and become the world class city we know it can be.”


He added: “This year’s IPP class will be testing innovative solutions to challenges ranging from crisis response to increasing efficiency in our sewage systems. I wish them good luck and look forward to their presentations.”


The test programme runs 13 weeks, from 1 August to 30 October and partners will meet with the Office of Innovation and receive 20 hours of office space in City Hall weekly throughout the period.


In October, the partners will present their technology services and discuss their pilot progress in a pitch to the mayor and city manager Troy Schulte, among other attendees from city departments and the city council.


Brief descriptions from the companies about their technological solutions along with the assigned test case departments are included below:


Geospiza, Sarah Tuneberg
Public safety
Geospiza is a company that uses data to enable cities to better prepare for and respond to crises through assessment of multiple data streams. These allow communities to identify where more difficult rescue and recovery operations may occur, which allows for better deployment of public safety resources.


It aims to provide emergency managers, city planners, and other key stakeholders with comprehensive insight into community vulnerability. Understanding population vulnerability allows officials to quantify risk, prioritise preparedness and risk-reduction interventions, and conduct effective and efficient response and recovery activities. Engaging in a pilot of Geospiza enhances Kansas City’s emergency preparedness and reduce costs around data collection and analysis in emergency management.


DogSpot, Chelsea Brownridge
Office of Innovation
DogSpot is a company with a network of high-tech dog houses in the community, which can be rented by the minute. This allows dog owners to run errands with their pet, without having to tie them up outside. DogSpot houses are temperature-controlled, sanitised, and equipped with a camera so that dog owners can monitor their pet. Placing several DogSpot dog houses in downtown Kansas City could make the city more dog-friendly and increase potential revenue of area businesses.


Homebase, Blake Miller
Housing services
Homebase is a Kansas City-based connected building solutions provider delivering connectivity, automation, and community management solutions for property owners and managers of apartment communities. The company that hosts a connected building management platform, which allows residents to experience modern and efficient living, while making property management more seamless. With the use of wi-fi and connected smart home devices, the platform allows users to pay rent, monitor utilities, report maintenance, and more.

Homebase would like to develop a solution for affordable housing that helps bridge the digital divide. This would work with property owners and managers of affordable housing to offer connectivity, a smart home package, smart appliances with greater energy efficiency, and metered utility usage.


Gridics, Felipe Azenha
City planning
Gridics is a real estate technology company that has developed a zoning code software management platform which cities across the country have adopted. It developed a site-specific zoning application that helps cities manage, update and visualise their zoning code in real time. This could help Kansas City write, test, and visualise re-zonings more easily, and more effectively answer questions about land use and zoning.


Snorkel, Luke Ismert
Water services/sewer
Snorkel is a software tool that aims to help city staff better allocate the city’s fat, oil, and grease management resources and extend the life of its sewers. It allows city officials to identify which restaurants are equipped with grease traps, whether they maintain and pump their traps appropriately, and how poorly managed restaurant grease relate to broader systemic problems within the city’s sewer problems within the city’s sewer maintenance programme.


With this data, the city can more efficiently allocate restaurant inspection resources, ensure better compliance with ordinances, and keep more fat, oil, and grease out of the sewers, which saves money on maintenance and repair and extends the life of the city’s sewers.


Dynamhex, Sunny Sanwar
General services
Dynamhex is a data analytics software for municipal energy usage from both an economic cost and an environmental sustainability standpoint. Its technology product visualises complex energy consumption patterns geographically on a dashboard for government officials. This allows municipal leaders to make data-driven decisions and target areas of energy waste and inefficiencies. The management of organisational level and regional level energy usage is helpful for measuring energy and emission performance and saving money.


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