KC Startup Community Performance Indicators & Measure





KC Entrepreneur Ecosystem - working draft mind map 08/14/2015




Kansas City's startup entrepreneur community is growing at a rapid pace. Every day there is national news related to a company, program or initiative happening here.  But how do we know what's working and how do we know what to do next? This page is a effort to engage the community - as content providers - to build the KC Startup Community Performance Indicators & Measures that will move our efforts from anecdotal to statistically valid and scalable.

Measuring An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem from Dane Stangler and Jordan Bell-Masterson at the Kauffman Foundation published March 2015 - comment from Brad Feld

Indicators of Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Vibrancy:

  1. Density

  2. Fluidity

  3. Connectivity

  4. Diversity

KCBizCare Strategies for Serving Entrepreneurs:

  1. Easily accessible City services
  2. Business intelligence data
  3. Reliable infrastructure
  4. Business networking connections

Brad Feld's Boulder Thesis + KC Amendment:

  1. Entrepreneurs as leaders - Where are entrepreneurs engaged as leading the startup community?

  2. A long-term view - What is the 20 year commitment?

  3. A philosophy of inclusiveness - how is the diversity of the talent engaged and business sectors included championed?

  4. Events that engage the entire entrepreneurial stack - how are all stages of entrepreneurial growth supported by regular activities and events in the community?

  5. KC Amendment - New entrants are quickly introduced to local resources that will help ensure their success

Boyd Cohen's Smart City Wheel, a holistic framework for considering all of the key components of what makes a city smart, is a model of the outcome of a Startup Entrepreneur Community Wheel.  Boyd Cohen was a speaker at the Gigabit City Summit in KC in January 2015 and is now working on this topic.  Kate Hodel at KCSourcelink and Rick Usher at KCMO have reached out to him to see of he is interested in collaborating with KC as a proof-of-concept city.

Global Entrepreneurship Index by GEDI

In Search of Entrepreneurial Personalities of Specific Places - The Atlantic May 30, 2013

Entrepreneurship Ecosystem - Wikipedia



Draft indicators

Foster Growth of Human Capital — "embodied in the region’s workforce and a well-functioning labor market — is the single most important driver of inclusive economic growth. Workers must be able to contribute to and benefit from the regional economy and must have the talent and skills to do so. The region must produce, attract and retain smart, well-educated workers aligned with the needs of employers. This requires attention not only to education and training, but also to job reation in growing traded sectors, matching of labor supply and demand, and enhanced labor market efficiency."

Startup Community Public Policy Voice - how connected are your startups to efforts to streamline government services and regulatory processes and to identify emerging trends?

The recent ordinance amendments related to ride hailing services such as UBER and LYFT raise the importance of this new indicator in the start of community. 

Identifying and Fostering Innovation District Growth - Theory: Crossroads is KC's Innovation District

"These assets, taken together, create an innovation ecosystem—the synergistic relationship between people, firms, and place that facilitates idea generation and advances commercialization." - One year after: Observations on the rise of innovation districts - June 24, 2015

  • heightened clustering of anchor institutions, companies, and start-ups in small geographic areas of central cities
  • emphasis on the quality of life or on integrating work, housing, and recreation
  • organic result of profound economic and demographic forces that are altering how we live and work
  • growing application of “open innovation”—where companies work with other firms, inventors, and researchers to generate new ideas and bring them to market—has revalued proximity, density, and other attributes of cities
  • preference of young talented workers to congregate in vibrant neighborhoods that offer choices in housing, transportation, and amenities 
  • Economic assets are the firms, institutions, and organizations that drive, cultivate, or support an innovation-rich environment
  • Physical assets are the public and privately owned spaces—buildings, open spaces, streets, and other infrastructure—designed and organized to stimulate new and higher levels of connectivity, collaboration, and innovation.
  • networking assets are the relationships between actors—such as between individuals, firms, and institutions—that have the potential to generate, sharpen, and/or accelerate the advancement of ideas

We should also be identifying "innovation neighborhoods" popping up around the metro. Seeing some with great success and others with growing potential at:

  • 45th & Stateline Road - Kansas City Startup Village
  • Waldo - 75th & Wornall
  • 18th & Vine - Lincoln Building and FEC
  • 31st Street - Main to Paseo (Maker Village)
  • River Market
  • Downtown Loop

Startup Community Media Platforms - are there media outlets devoted to reporting on the startup community?

Startup Evolution & Growth Path - is there a clearly defined path that startups take in the evolution of their growth from one or two people with an idea to a viable business model?

May 3, 2015-the recent publicity about the growth of the start of Village is an indicator of our entrepreneurial success need more research to document similar situations and successful start up communities.

Routes to consider:

  1. One or more people pushing a business concept after hours while all holding down day jobs and collaborating online or in person at coffee shops, coworking spaces or homes
  2. One or more people launching a homebased business concept after hours while all holding down day jobs and collaborating online or in person at coffee shops, coworking spaces or homes
  3. Homebased business takes first step to coworking space or incubator or accelerator program, often remains as homebased but engages employees and clients in community
  4. somebody come in and take off on defining routes!

Intentional Business Networking - is the startup community working to intentionally focus on connecting individuals and businesses for their shared success?

  1. How do we track "collision density" in the startup community?  Identify specific locations and events that create an environment for serendipitous interactions with like-minded startups.  Mildred's Coffee at 19th & Wyandotte is an excellent location to start tracking this measure. 1 Million Cups at the Kauffman Foundation is a regular event in the startup community that would also be an excellent point for this measure.
  2. Who are the "super-connectors" in the startup community that can be tapped to increase the success of this initiative?

Article from Encore

Corporate Support for Entrepreneurship & Intrapreneurship - how supportive are local corporate executives? Everyone knows stories of the employee who championed an innovative idea, was discouraged by management, kept pushing and developing the idea, still discouraged by management, launched a startup, told management they were leaving, offered cash to stay - or worse - threatened with "burning bridge," left company, built successful business model, 6 months later contacted by company interested in contracting/consulting for same work that had been championed when employee was an intrepreneur.

A. Corporate/Business Community Support:

  1. Employment Liquidity - How permeable is the employment market to allowing those engaged in a startup to easily move between corporate employment and startup employment?
  2. Venture Capital and Angel Investment - Exited entrepreneurs reinvesting in the startup community - Flyover Capital - MidAmerica Angels -  Hillman launches venture group to tackle Series A challenge

B. Startup Community Support

  1. Networking Leadership Factor - how adept are your entrepreneurial community leaders at working collaboratively with little or no hierarchical structure? 

KC Coworking Alliance is good, current example.

  1. Intentional Networking for Community Resilience Factor - How resilient is your entrepreneurial community to negative effects of losing strong leadership in critical areas of community support? Is your community intentional about building redundancy and knowledge transfer capabilities that will quickly enable next-generation leadership to step into new and ongoing programs and projects?
  2. 1 Million Cups - Success of startups presenting over time, number of regular and new attendees at 1MC, networking connections made at 1MC
  3.  Who Got Funded
  4. Startup Churn - how many startups and how many failures and successes?  What is an acceptable success/failure ratio?
  5. Startups and Businesses in KC for Google Fiber as of 3/30/15 - My (Rick Usher) count is over 111.  These are mainly startups and companies that have participated in LaunchKC, KC Startup Village, Digital Sandbox and Sprint Accelerator.  These four accelerator/startup support organizations were established as a result of the Google Fiber initiative.  There are other anecdotal stories of individuals and families that have moved here for Google Fiber but no one has a handle on that.  Google Fiber has also been a talent and business retention tool.  We have an effort going at the UMKC Innovation Center to put systems in place to measure business creation and job growth but it’s not up and running yet.

C. Government Support

  1. Active engagement by Mayor Sly James and City Council members at entrepreneurial community events
  2. Kansas City, Mo. KCBizCare - business customer service center
  3. Kansas City, Mo. Special Committee on Small Business
  4. Kansas City, Mo. Innovation Partnership Program
  5. Kansas City, Mo. LaunchKC

1-how many accelerator programs are there in KC (post fiber launch)

Sprint Accelerator

Digital Sandbox



Urban Business Growth InitiativeLatest UBGI update to City Council

Others are in the works but not yet operational

 2-how much has this generated for the city? Do you have a dollar amount?

 No idea but Maria Meyers at KCSourcelink may have more information.

 3- how much has KC spent on this?

 The City has made a grant of $100,000 to the LaunchKC initiative to fund the first 2 rounds and $175,000 to the Urban Business Growth Initiative over the last 2 years.


D. Educational Community Support

  1. University Support
  2. Primary Education Support
  3. Diversity of Talent Engaged in Startup Community 
  4. Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESOs) covering all stages of startup community growth
  5. Ratio of accelerator programs to startup launches

E. National & International recognition of KC's startup entrepreneur community

  1.  GEC2105 Cities Challenge KC Named in Top 5 Globally for Entrepreneur Support - KC GEC2015 Cities Challenge Nomination
  2. How Google Fiber Made Kansas City A Worldwide Entrepreneur Hub

F. Transparent Path to Entrepreneurship

  1. How clearly is entrepreneurship identified to all age groups as a viable path to economic mobility?

Text of Submitted Nomination on LinkedIn or Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2015 Cities Challenge KC Nomination


Mobile City Ranking Questions:



6/8/15 Think Tank Notes

Entrepreneurs are business people in it to building social and economic value

for every startup there is a catch up and a keep up

document engagement of entire entrepreneurial stack in KC

build on successes and identify and fill gaps in stack

Law school proposal to inventory events and activities in KC - myriad events

highly motivated student population

Entrepreneurship is . . . . .

documentation serves _________ to _________________

  • awareness
  • collaborative potential

Is there a frame of gramers? I.e., "can we create one?"

Need "What do you want to Build?" portal to connect entrepreneurs (may be KCSourcelink Site)

How does the word get out on multiple communications channels to be easily found and accessed?

KCDigtialDrive - start with asset inventory

  • the frame you're using matters - entrepreneurship is one component of digital
  • Database curation is ;critical
  • Its all about curating the right database - need to make it accessible and open to universities for the long term

Libraries are a potential curator of this database as well but don't always dedicate staff to topic, need to define the customer in order to identify need.  Many small businesses are being run from library computer labs.

What are the barriers to sponsors? Meaning those who will be able to enable the mechisms of success.  Is this Kauffman Foundation, KCCCF, Civic Council, Chamber, KCMO City Council?

Measures of the business success - 1) Revenues 2) Jobs 3)

End goal includes moving the needle on page 11 of Prosperity at a Crossroads

create a culture of innovation and acceptance of risk-taking behaviors in business creation

need corporate community and state government support for employee driven innovation and startup growth. review noncompetes, celebrate departures to form starutups, welcome back after failures, recognize that company may contract with or attempt to buy the startup once the business is viable.

Need to make policy recommendations on this from the Chamber to the business community if we truly want to be MECA

Important that employers respect employee departures given that corporations are no longer expecting career employees and in some cases cutting or not providing retirement benefits.


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