Archer Foundation's New Program Offers KC Startups Support, Resources

By Megan Bannister (@meganebannister)
Reposted from Silicon Prairie News

Thanks to a new immersion program, Kansas City entrepreneurs are finding even more ways to "get started" when it comes to building their startups. 

Run by the Archer Foundation—a nonprofit based in Leawood, Kan., and geared toward expanding and strengthening businesses in the greater Kansas City area—Get Started is a program that helps guide early-stage companies and, in many cases, first-time entrepreneurs. 

The program, which began Oct. 1, was designed for Kansas City tech-focused startups still working through the ideation stage of their business and those still developing their product. 

"One thing I think is unique is that we not only focus on the specifics problems that entrepreneurs have, but the program is like having this steady flow of support, just when the company needs it," said Jeff Glasco (right), vice president of entrepreneurial services at the Archer Foundation. "People come into our workspace and start building their company, and as they grow and things come up, they can use our team's support and resources to solve that problem as soon as possible."

Archer Technologies founder Jon Darbyshire began the nonprofit after selling his company to EMC in 2010. Glasco says Darbyshire wanted to give back to the Kansas City business community. While the Archer Foundation has worked with local startups like FrontFlip, this will be the first time the group opens its doors to the community. 

"We’ve really been working in almost a pilot mode with a handful of companies here in Kansas City," Glasco said. "This is our first public-facing program that we’re opening to the market."

Two Kansas City companies—VolunteerMark and LittleHootz—have already signed on and Glasco says a number of others have expressed interest.

"I think it's really easy to just get side-tracked because there's so many things you have to do but you don't necessarily know what those things are when you haven't done it before," said Lacey Ellis, CEO of LittleHootz. 

LittleHootz was named the winner at Startup Weekend Kansas City in April and recently has been accepted to Kansas City's Digital Sandbox. Ellis says Glasco and the team at the Foundation were instrumental in helping LittleHootz hone its pitch for the proof-of-concept funding and mentoring center.

VolunteerMark CEO Andrew Stanley says time with the Archer Foundation team has helped his company take a close look at its core values, mission and value proposition. He added that as an early-stage company, the one-on-one help the program offers has been invaluable.

"You can read articles on the Internet, but it's really different when you can talk to somebody and have it apply to you directly," Stanley said. 

Startups interested in applying to the Get Started program may apply online