What if our roads could collect live traffic information, melt ice and report accidents immediately? What if athletes and coaches could utilize technology to better their personal game and perfect their lineup? What if we could access our personal accounts simply by looking into a camera? These Kansas City startups have not only wondered these things, but turned them into a reality. Here’s our list of the top four startups in Kansas City. Enjoy!
EyeVerify’s Testing and Biometric Data Collection app takes Eyeprint IDs and uses them to verify your identity before accessing your accounts. It’s currently being utilized by over three dozen banks, including Wells Fargo. This biometric solution is 99.99% accurate, and the Eyeprint is scrambled and encrypted locally. It works by image and pattern matching the visible vein patterns and micro features in and around the eye to create a blueprint.
When I first heard about this concept, I was skeptical. It seemed more like something from a James Bond movie than a practical way to secure information; But then again, if companies are now allowing employees to an embed a chip in their skin to swipe into buildings and pay for food in the cafeteria, why not create technology that reads your eyes? I downloaded the app just to try it out. Once you get your group ID number via email and download the app, it will begin scanning your eyes. This takes about thirty seconds. Once it’s collected the information it needs, it can recognize and verify your eyes using your set username. What I like about this concept is that you don’t have to worry about remembering passwords or losing a card. Accessing your bank account or transferring money can be just as easy as looking into a camera. Currently, the app works only for Apple. You can learn more about the technology behind the product on their website. This system made our list of best Kansas City startups because of the program’s ease of use and universal practicality.
Side note—this month, EyeVerify became Zoloz. New name, same product.
ShotTracker’s motto “The Stats Don’t Lie” shows in their approach to technology integration; Practice stats are sent right to your email to provide a quantitative, accurate analysis of player performance. To make this system work, each player wears shoe sensors, a ShotTracker enabled ball is used during practice and court sensors are installed in the rafters. With this formula, you can take advantage of play efficiency ratings, shot charts, practice reports, possession stats, live action play, optimal lineups and box scores. You can even filter stats like field goal percentage, points per possession and player efficiency. This is all a part of ShotTracker Team, a system which allows you to track 18 players on the court at once. According to TechCrunch, ShotTracker’s algorithms can collect raw data for everything but fouls, including turnovers, steals assists and shots. Though the price may seem high—starting at $3,000 with an optional subscription analytics service starting at $1,200/year—this is small money for professional and college teams that are looking for a surefire way to improve their performance.
If you choose to go with the individual ShotTracker (the company’s initial system), you only have to pay the low price of $99. It captures your shot attempts, makes and misses during workouts. Once you download the app, you’ll be able to access free drills and workouts, track your progress, compete in virtual challenges and receive tips from professional athletes. With this program, you’ll receive a wrist sensor to track shot attempts, a net sensor that registers shot makes or misses and an app to give you real-time stats.
In 2016, the startup raised five million dollars, a sum which went toward fine-tuning their product and supporting 10 demo centers across the country. Backed by Basketball legends like Magic Johnson and David Stern, the company hopes to expand their product so that every gym in America is equipped with a ShotTracker system. Among Kansas City startups, this one really knows how to excite potential donors and customers. We may be entering a new era of athletics, one in which technology optimizes your performance rather than enhances it.
If you have a pet, you know that their health and wellness is priority one. With FitBark, you can track your dog’s habits and health. FitBark lowers vet bills and increases your pet’s life expectancy. Plus, you can reign in your pet’s hyperactive, destructive or attention-seeking behaviors. In a nutshell, FitBark allows you to track activity and sleep behavior at all times, set an ideal heath goal versus similar dogs, monitor medical issues and catch early signs of illness or discomfort. It’s compatible with Fitbit, Jawbone, HealthKit and Google Fit as well. In addition to passionate dog-owners, there are 20 institutions who use FitBark for scientific research, including the University of Cambridge and Mayo Clinic. With Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities, you can sync with smartphones—not just your own, but also those of your followers and veterinarians. Their extra-strength batteries last up to 14 days, and it can be recharged while still on the dog collar. There are no monthly or hidden fees for the app either. Because it’s only 8 grams, it can be used for dogs small and large. Plus, your dog can swim while wearing FitBark since it’s waterproof!
FitBark also powers the healthcare ecosystem, aiding professionals in their research and observations. The system is being used for osteoarthritis, nutrition, weight management, pain management, ACL, rehabilitation, sleep disorders, skin disorders and circadian rhythms. Each activity monitor costs about $69.95, but the app is free. The data is remotely pushed online in real time and immediately consolidated online. The process begins as soon as you provide the company with a list of the dogs you’re enrolling and your contact info. Then, FitBarks are sent to the home addresses of the participants. Users must independently set up their activity monitor using the app. Through this app, users send you a vet invite to access their dog’s data. Users check in on their dogs through the app and receive immediate data. FitBark makes our list of favorite Kansas City startups because of how well they’ve managed to tap into their target market. Their social media accounts and site blog appeal to dog owners and veterinarians alike.
Imagine being able to harness the power of technology in our infrastructure, connecting drivers to the internet and providing the track for driverless vehicle technology. Integrated Roadways is pushing to make this dream a reality, using the popularity of tech-y transportation options like the Tesla to show just how beneficial these projects can be.
Smart Pavement is the driving force behind their vision. These durable, precast concrete sections are stuffed with digital technology and fiber optic connectivity. Each slab is made up of four parts: a patented combined access port (CAP), vehicle detection loop, four routers and a dowel/conduit system. The CAP allows for sensors, processors, antennae and other technology to be installed and upgraded easily. The vehicle detection loop is a fiber optic strain mesh that is laminated to the slab’s reinforcement. It can pinpoint tire position much in the same way a touchscreen can pinpoint your finger. Plus, it can pick up on the weight and velocity of vehicles. The routers connect the slabs together and send information to the Linear Data Centers along the highway. These systems work together to give drivers real-time information about traffic, road conditions and accidents.
If you compare the costs to traditional asphalt, smart pavement precast concrete technology last 4 times longer, is 95% less costly to install and is 80% less in total costs. In the future, the company anticipates that the technology will be able to advance toward snow and ice melt and wireless charging for electric vehicles. Since each slab is easily removable for repair or service, the system can be updated with the latest technology—much like software updates.
According to the Kansas City Star, there are plenty of other ways roads have already been developed or have plans to be developed beyond the standard concrete slab. For example, some highways in the Netherlands use solar panels and tiny windmills blown by passing trucks to collect energy for embedded LED lights—highways lit for free! Scientists are even testing self-healing concrete which would fill cracks with bacteria. Even in the States, we have bridges with sensors that send alerts when heavy trucks (possibly illegally overloaded) cross. In Colorado, the Department of Transportation is looking to install smart pavement that would detect run-off-the-road accidents and send out an alert to the proper authorities. By 2030, many predict self-driving cars will be able to communicate with each other and the road itself.
The cost for Integrated Roadway implementation along I-70 is estimated to reach up to four billion dollars, but Tim Sylvester, CEO and chief technology officer, says taxpayers would only have to cover a tenth of that. Most of the funding would come from commercial fleet operators who would have to buy subscriptions to use the roads. Why would they pay to use these roads, you might be wondering? Because smart roads would allow trucks to operate without drivers at the controls. This would cut back on their costs to pay truckers’ salaries and give them 24/7 drive time (no need for truckers to rest). Other income for the project would come from leasing agreements with private sector service providers. This might be cell carriers that are wanting a more cost-effective way to create a national 5G network. Individual motorists and those with self-driving cars would not have to worry about a subscription service—they drive for free. The system would also promote new and innovated marketing opportunities. The corridor’s wireless communications would allow stores and restaurants located around exits to zap into approaching cars and share promotions. If you’re offering a BOGO discount for example, you can geo-fence it around your storefront in the same way you would on a mobile device. Integrated Roadways has made our list of stand-out Kansas City startups because we believe their smart pavement is the infrastructure solution for the future.