Engineering and construction company Black & Veatch cemented its place
in the Kansas City startup ecosystem Wednesday by introducing its
IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator, powered by LaunchKC at a kickoff
announcement event at Boulevard Beer Hall.
Black & Veatch, the largest engineering company in the Kansas City area,
is a global leader in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC)
services for energy, water and telecommunications. Its IgniteX Cleantech
Accelerator marks one of its boldest moves into the entrepreneurial
arena of engineering services. The company recently created a segment of
the company known as the Growth Accelerator, leveraging Black & Veatch’s
core strengths to explore new and emerging markets.
Black & Veatch’s IgniteX Cleantech Accelerator, powered by LaunchKC will
seek partnership with startups focused on renewable and distributed
energy, mobility, agricultural technology, machine learning and AI, and
other technologies or processes adding value to engineering services.
The program will include equity awards, a 75-day period of collaboration
with Black & Veatch and program supporters, and a demo day in November.
The application is scheduled to open next week, and will be located on
Cleantech Accelerator website.
“Partnering with LaunchKC is a natural extension of our effort to
constantly challenge convention and advance the way we deliver value for
clients,” said Hyleme George, Director of the IgniteX Cleantech
Accelerator Program. “LaunchKC’s reputation for identifying attractive
and innovative startups will ultimately result in access to a new and
exciting pool of talent and great ideas.”
“The bottom line of the new platform is to attract scalable companies to
the city to create more jobs and opportunities while growing our
economy,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president, business and job
development for the EDC.
Businesses who choose to participate in the Black & Veatch IgniteX
Cleantech Accelerator, powered by LaunchKC will gain valuable training
and insight to grow their business through collaboration with a top
global infrastructure provider, as well as exposure and networking
opportunities with an experienced network of investors, supporters and
clients in Kansas City and around the world.
“The City of Kansas City, Mo. continues to build on its track record of
smart city success. The City pioneered a range of public-private
partnerships from 2015 through today to deliver critical infrastructure
and data driven policy evolutions. This allows us to explore new
business models and engage entrepreneurs and firms across our
ecosystem,” said Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer for the City of
KCMO. “The commitment to the Cleantech vertical accelerator extends
those efforts. The City and its partners are proud to support the
development of new technologies in sustainability and data-driven
Solomon explained that industry-focused business accelerators provide a
more complete bundle of benefits for entrepreneurs, including seed
investment, connections, mentorship, and educational components. The new
LaunchKC programs will feature public pitch days to showcase each cohort
of entrepreneurs. The events are designed to accelerate their growth.
“The accelerator platform will provide investors pathways to take equity
stakes in early-stage businesses after grants have been awarded,” he
“The industry-focused business accelerator platform will continue to
reward entrepreneurs with grants to help them in growing their
businesses,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for the Downtown Council
(DTC) and LaunchKC, “but will add more pathways to assist them in
elevating their chances of success.”
LaunchKC, the 5-year-old grants competition for tech startups
nationwide, will work in partnership with Black & Veatch to provide
competition management, marketing and event services. LaunchKC is a
joint venture of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic
Development Corporation of Kansas City.
The nonprofit LaunchKC competition awarded $2 million in grants to 38
tech startup businesses over four years. Today, 34 of the grant winners
– or 90 percent – are still in business, posting milestones (as of
year-end 2018) that include:
- 167 full-time employees; up 10-fold since 2015
- $11.7 million in cumulative sales; up from $199,000 in 2015
- $48 million in cumulative investment – up from $2 million in year one
LaunchKC is funded by the Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of
Kansas City, Missouri, and local corporate and philanthropic
organizations, including the Kansas City Power & Light District, JE Dunn
Construction, Google Fiber, Husch Blackwell, KCP&L, the Ewing Marion
Kauffman Foundation, the William T. Kemper Foundation, Lathrop Gage,
Lead Bank, Missouri Department of Economic Development and Port KC.
About Black & Veatch
Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical
human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government
Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of
people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering,
construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2018
were US$3.5 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and
in social media.