UMKC Awarded $4 Million in Federal, Kauffman Foundation Grants to Grow Digital Health

Partners include BioNexus KC, KC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs
Maria Meyers talking to UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal

The University of Missouri-Kansas City was awarded a $2 million Build to Scale grant along with partners BioNexus KCKC Digital Drive and Pipeline Entrepreneurs to advance Digital Health KC from the Economic Development Administration.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation will match the award, totaling $4 million, to build upon existing digital health strengths in the KC region.

Digital Health KC will create ideal conditions for a vibrant ecosystem, catalyze collaboration and connect critical elements such as ideas, talent, companies, capital and customers. This funding will fuel Digital Health KC to support health-care technology entrepreneurs, foster innovation, build and strengthen the region’s talent pool and inspire economic growth. 

“Our ecosystem is rich in talent and ideas but requires additional financial and industry-specific support," said Dick Flanigan, CEO of Digital Health KC. "Solving health care’s most significant challenges involves people, processes and technology, all aligned to provide solutions. Digital health offerings are among the most promising solutions seeking to improve access and quality while addressing the ever-increasing cost of care. This grant will increase our resources for funding, mentorship, connectivity and guidance to attract and grow companies in the KC region.” 

Over the next three years, Digital Health KC and partners will advance early-stage digital health companies with programming to increase understanding of the unique aspects of building health-care solutions, executing a go-to-market plan and identifying and providing industry-specific mentors and business acumen support. 

This investment will result in more than 20 new startups for a regional total of 120+ companies, 15 completed beta customer projects, $45 million in debt and equity investment and 500 new jobs for the KC region.  

“Ecosystem building is a team sport, and it starts with community organizations uniting for a common purpose – to build a thriving digital health network with intentionality,” said Maria Meyers, executive director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “We are pleased to partner and grateful to the Kauffman Foundation for providing needed matching funds to bring this federal investment to the region. Our collective commitment to digital health will catapult the KC region and profoundly impact our community.” 

Initially funded by the Patterson Family Foundation, Digital Health KC was launched in March 2023 by BioNexus KC, a life-sciences nonprofit creating opportunities at the nexus of human and animal health. UMKC is a BioNexus KC stakeholder.

The community heavily supported the EDA Build to Scale proposal, including industry, health-care providers and payers, investors, economic development organizations, workforce, government and nonprofit organizations in the KC region. 

Published: Nov 14, 2023

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