An entrepreneur-backed support organization for early stage founders and business leaders across Kansas City went live this week — the culmination of an intensive rebranding campaign for an accelerator previously geared specifically to Lee’s Summit.
“KC Velocity is focused on matching growing businesses with experienced, invested experts in a variety of essential capacities including finance, accounting, marketing, and technology,” organizers said, detailing the goals of the nonprofit initiative, formerly known as Velocity Lee’s Summit.
“Launching or growing a business always involves risk, but access to expert advice allows risk-takers to make the leap with confidence and conviction. By expanding its focus to the Kansas City metropolitan area, the organization hopes to broaden the pool of available professional experts and deepen its impact on growing businesses across the city.”
Interested entrepreneurs can fill out an online survey to be connected — free of cost — with local business leaders who possess the necessary expertise to facilitate their growth and success.
Click here to learn more about KC Velocity and to fill out the online survey.
Originally, Velocity was funded by Lees Summit, but budget cuts because of COVID19 prevented the city from any further funding, said Kevin Fryer, who serves as executive director. The group’s leadership saw the funding change as an opportunity to expand its reach and service offering and decided to go metro wide, he said.
Many Kansas City startup community members likely are most familiar with the former Velocity LS’s popular Pitch Pub Crawl events, which saw founders from across the city pitching during a rolling event through three Lee’s Summit bars in one evening.
“The Pitch Pub Crawl has been a huge success for Velocity and we’ll continue hosting it,” Fryer said. “We’ll be doing other events as we expand out.”
The newly rebranded KC Velocity group is led by serial entrepreneur Fryer and Keri Lauderdale Olson, chairperson of the nonprofit organization.
The effort is committed to fostering entrepreneurship and local businesses through connections that provide critical, relevant, and timely information and develop the tools needed for success, said Fryer, himself a fixture of Kansas City’s startup scene for more than a decade as a co-founder of the SparkLabKC accelerator program and co-founder of JobShakers.
Programming for KC Velocity is industry-agnostic, Fryer told Startland News, emphasizing the biggest impacts would be felt by individuals who are early in their careers — with especially high potential for those leading non-tech, but scalable companies (where resources and institutional knowledge are not as readily available).
A budding entrepreneur might, for example, erroneously rush to incorporate their business as an LLC, Fryer said, not realizing such a move could jeopardize interest from venture capital firms down the line.
KC Velocity would help guide such leaders toward a course more aligned with their end goals, he said.
“But if you haven’t been through it before, how would you know?” Fryer said.
The rebranded group debuted Tuesday with Global Entrepreneurship Week Kansas City and events across the metro.