Guest post by Chris Rehkamp

The UMKC Technology Venture Studio and KC Digital Drive teams celebrated March 7
Comeback KC Ventures, a program that supported innovations that aim to solve pandemic-
related issues, built in just 18 months. It was a culmination of work and community
collaboration these past 20 months that led to new companies, the growth of others and most
importantly the broad impacts of our Comeback KC Ventures fellows’ efforts to curb the impact
of the pandemic on the Kansas City region and beyond.

The TVS team and Comeback KC Ventures fellows were joined by two amazing headline
speakers: Maria Flynn and Dick Flanigan, who are partnering to cement Kansas City as a
powerhouse for digital health – from startup to large enterprise. They inspired the packed room
with their vision for an effort that unites the strengths of our ecosystem to produce the talent
and technology to build exceptional solutions in digital health. On the heels of the pandemic,
many of the Comeback KC Fellows are developing digital health solutions that exemplify our
regions talent and innovative capacity in the space.

The Comeback KC Ventures program was a partnership between the UMKC Innovation Center’s
Technology Venture Studio and KC Digital Drive. TVS was awarded funds from the Economic
Development Administration to support entrepreneurs working to solve the problems created
by or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost two years, our teams rallied the
community to support these entrepreneurs with expertise, funding and networks. We saw
these ideas and companies grow and are proud to see them continue their journeys as

We are so grateful for the countless hours our advisor cohort volunteered, adding critical
insights throughout the program. We saw many of our fellows build lasting relationships with
these subject-matter experts and, on occasion, even convince them to join their teams.
President Harry Truman said, “It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t care who gets the
credit.” In this case, first credit goes to the fellows, who took the leap to solve challenging and
pressing problems. Next is the secret sauce: Their trajectories were impacted by an ever-
growing web of enthusiastic, concerned individuals in our community who wanted them to
succeed. That group is almost impossible to name but integral to the goal of solving the most
pressing problems.

The final celebration of Comeback KC Ventures was a room full of people who represented that
collective effort that gave everyone involved great hope for the future of our community post-
pandemic, our ability to solve hard problems and for the future of Kansas City as a hub for
digital health.

Further Reading

KC Digital Drive Collaboration with New Programming at Literacy KC

Kansas City non-profit Literacy KC has expanded its services to include not just traditional and digital literacy, but health and financial literacy, as well. These topics now fit nicely into the online and in-class hybrid learning that Literacy KC offers. In health, this includes things like knowing the roles of various practitioners, choosing a health […]

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Learning from the Broadband Journey of Spring Hill and Miami County

Broadband Expansion in Spring Hill and Miami County For many years, the town of Spring Hill Kansas struggled to attract internet providers interested in building high-speed broadband networks for its residents. Spring Hill often found itself being overlooked by providers and outside observers, who assumed that all of the towns in Johnson County were already […]

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