FUND Conference Kansas City 2019

October 9th & 10th, 2019

Why Agriculture?

FUND is focusing on agriculture in Kansas City

Distribution Leader

There is so much agricultural product shipped via river barge from Missouri that a 15-mile section of the Mississippi is becoming known as the "Ag Coast of America."

AgTech Funding Records

In an AgFunder report, 2018 was a record breaking year for AgTech including $16.9 billion in funding spread across 1,450 investments.

Industry Readiness

"It’s now time for the agriculture industry to have its turn with technology. Innovation has already come about within the ag industry (just look at the evolution of crop modification), but there’s a special type of change that comes with leveraging cutting-edge technology in one of the oldest industries in the world." -Jasmine Lee


Kansas City Featured Speaker

Hear from one of the forefathers of venture capital at the FUND Summit

Brad Feld is at FUND KC this year ready to talk about an extremely important topic: mental health in entrepreneurship. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear what he has to say.

Mr. Feld is an accomplished founder, entrepreneur, venture capitalist (The Foundry Group), and author (“Venture Deals”). We are confident in saying that his work has blazed a trail in what venture capital has become today.

If you’d like to contribute as a speaker, fill out the below speaker application form.

Day One Morning: FUND EDU | Oct 9th, 2019

Hosted at Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City

7:00 - 8:00 AM

Registration & Open Networking

8:00 - 8:05 AM

Opening Remarks

8:05 - 8:30 AM

Thinking Bigger: Building the Pipeline of Future Entrepreneurial Talent

The Midwest is an outstanding place to build and grow new scalable businesses, and the region offers many advantages when doing so. However, starting a scalable business in the Midwest also oftentimes comes with the challenge of not thinking big enough about what our companies might become and the impact they might have on peoples’ lives. Bryan Boots, Managing Director of Venture Creation at UMKC, will present about some of the things that UMKC is doing with students to build the pipeline of future entrepreneurial talent in the KC region — including encouraging students to think bigger.

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Creating a Narrative With Your Financials as an Emerging Company

Knowing your numbers is one of the critical parts of attaining venture financing. Dan Schimdt, Founder & Principal at EBCFO, is going to walk us through what investors look for in the numbers.

9:00 - 9:30 AM

An Entrepreneur's Checklist to Raising Capital

Raising capital can be challenging, especially if it’s your first round. So how do you know if you are taking the right steps? Ed Wilson from Husch Blackwell will share some thoughts on the items that you should focus on to help set you up for a successful capital raise.

9:30 - 10:00 AM

Navigating Corporate Venture Capital

Corporate Venture Capital activity has accelerated to an all-time high. In 2018 Corporate Venture Capital funding increased approximately 47% over 2017 and deals increased 32% over that same period (Source: CB Insights). 

Corporate VC is just a bit different than working with a typical venture capital firm, and our Moderator, Donald Hawkins, is going to walk through the similarities and differences, and how founders can work with them effectively. 

Speakers: Zach Pettet, Melissa Roberts, Riddiham Das, and Eric Garretson 

10:00 - 10:30 AM

Opportunity Zones, Impact Investing & Angel Tax Credits in Kansas City

Presenter: Tammy Buckner

10:30 - 11:00 AM

Top 5 Cap Table Errors That Founders Need To Avoid

The cap table is one of the startup’s most important documents, yet it is often riddled with mistakes and not kept up to date especially when it needs to be reviewed by prospective investors, attorneys, accountants or partners.

Learn from Certent’s cap table expert, Eric Deen, on how to avoid early mistakes that will turn into costly fixes later.

11:00 - 11:30 AM

Preparing Your Business for an Exit

Presenter: Andrew Mitchell (UBS)

11:30 - 12:00 PM

New Product Launch: Learn about the new Spectrum Reach Ad Portal

How can you grow your business by advertising on television in 5 easy steps Hint, it’s not nearly as expensive as everyone seems to think.

Jamie Hurt, Director of Sales at Spectrum will walk you through how to do it. 

12:00 - 1:30 PM

Lunch & Open Networking

Don’t worry about going anywhere. We’ve got lunch on site taken care of for you.

Day One Afternoon: FUND Demo | Oct 9th, 2019

Hosted at Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City

1:30 PM - 2:15 PM

Moving to the Right

Our three panelists, Matt Bross, Investor and CEO at, Russ Davis (COO at Vcinity, and Noel Charath, VP Services Delivery at, are all entrepreneurs in their own right at businesses of different sizes. This panel will allow them to talk about opportunities, issues, and challenges they have all faced, or are preparing to face, as they lead their businesses to the next stage.

Moderator: Conner Writt

2:30 - 4:00 PM

Bracket Challenge: FUND Founder Faceoff

One of the most exciting programs at FUND brings together founders, investors, and entrepreneurial leaders to square off in a unique tournament-style challenge called FUND Founder Face-Off. 

We’ll pose questions from the crowd and our judges to test our exhibiting entrepreneurs. The winner of the bracket challenge will receive a KC Collective membership presented by NBKC and KC Collective.

Entrepreneur Contestants: Blake Miller (Homebase), Graham Veysey (Mancan Wine), Sotitis Bantas (Centaur Analytics), John Hodges (FreshSurety)

Bracket Judges: Jim Malle (KCEDC), Ed Frindt (Principal at KC Rise FUND), Zach Pettet (NBKC), Melissa Eggleston (NBKC Chief Deposit Officer)

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Leaders House Cocktail Party | October 9th, 2019

Meet us at Three Points for a party for FUND Attendees only | Hosted by Huschblackwell

Three Points Address: 1511 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO 64108

Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center


October 9th: 8 AM – 4 PM

October 10th: 8 AM – 4 PM

2345 McGee St
Kansas City, MO 64108

Day Two Morning: Summit | Oct 10th, 2019

Hosted at Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City

7:00 - 8:00 AM

Registration & Open Networking

8:00 - 8:05 AM

Opening Remarks by Kansas City's Mayor Lucas

We’re excited that the first FUND Conference in Kansas City will be kicked off by Mayor Quinton Lucas!

8:05 - 8:30 AM

Opportunities of Digital Transformation Along the Farm to Fork Value Chain

As we look to drive more efficiency from each input, how are both industry leaders and newcomers leveraging data to unlock opportunities for improvement? Nadilia Gomez, Executive Director at the leading Iowa AgriTech Accelerator, will lead the panel on discussing how providers can work more effectively with farmers to implement these technologies.

Speakers: James Wilde (Global Agribusiness at EY), Andy Brudtkuhl (Director of Emerging Technology at the National Pork Board), Kerryann Kocher (Principal at Rock Road), Kevin Heikes (Co-Founder/COO at IN10T), and Amos Petersen (CEO at FarrPro)

8:30 - 9:00 AM

Finding BIG Success in a small market

Even with the “flyover” odds set against them, more KC founders than ever before are going on to successfully raise funding to unlock the ability to grow and scale their businesses effectively. Although a big step, the majority of Kansas City’s entrepreneurs still lack easily-accessible and adequate resources necessary to better achieve success in the startup world. Together, these panelists give insights and practical information on how to solve common startup problems. They’ll share discoveries acquired through their own journey and advice on how to stay the course.

Moderator: Matt DeCoursey (CEO and Founder of GigaBook)

Panelists: Rachael Qualls (CEO and co-founder at LIQUIFI and Venture360), Luke Einsel (CEO and President of Thirsty Coconut), Luke Einsel (CEO and President of Thirsty Coconut), John Thomson (Founder and CEO of PayIt), Blake Miller (Founder of

9:00 - 9:30 AM

State of the Union: Kansas City

Jenny Witt will lead a conversation on the current angel investment and venture capital scene in Kansas City with the below area and regional leaders:

Speakers: Darcy Howe, Melissa Roberts, Drew Soloman, Donald Hawkins

9:30 - 10:00 AM

The Helpful Right Hand

Success in business is almost never a solo task. Having a perfect right hand at your side as a partner, investor, assistant, and hopefully friend is crucial as you build your business. Jessica Powell will discuss with Megan Darnell from NBKC, Ed Frindt from KC Rise, and Quest Moffat from Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers how they become the perfect “Right Hand” fit in their ventures.

10:00 - 10:30 AM

Navigating the Fast-Changing VC Landscape

The influx of interest and dollars into the funding ecosystem has made it easier than ever for startups to find funding at virtually every stage of their journey. But navigating the fast-changing, ever-crowded VC landscape can be quite challenging. Kevin Willer, partner at Chicago Ventures, will guide the conversation as industry experts give advice on how to determine the right funding strategy so you don’t paint yourself into a financial corner by working with the wrong investors. This panel will also give their take on the companies, technologies and industries they believe are best positioned for major disruption.

SpeakersJohn Fein (Firebrand Ventures), Matt Plummer (Yield Lab), Maranda Manning (Firebrand Ventures)

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM

State of FinTech in KC and Beyond

Moderator: Zach Anderson Pettet (NBKC)

Panelists: Anthony Strike (Steadipay), Maranda Manning (Firebrand Ventures), Trent Bigelow (Track)

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Fireside Chat: Brad Feld (CEO of The Foundry Group) and RJ Pahura

Brad Feld, author of Venture Deals and co-founder of Tech Stars, and RJ Pahura will examine and discuss mental health in entrepreneurship, building startup communities, and how to manage your successes & failures.

Day Two Afternoon: Launch Hall | Oct 10th, 2019

Hosted at Sheraton Crown Center in Kansas City

11:45 - 12:15 PM


Lunch is served on-site so don’t worry about grabbing it anywhere else.

12:15 - 1:45 PM

Launch Hall Opening

Grab your food and head over to the Launch Hall to meet the FUND Exhibiting companies presenting their businesses in the Launch Hall.

1:45 - 2:00 PM

Launch Hall Closing Remarks

2:00 - 5:00 PM

Cocktail Hour

After we’ve finished up at the Launch Hall, we’ll be sharing drinks and appetizers at the Sheraton immediately after the closing remarks.

FUND Kansas City 2019 Partners

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