Locally, the Wednesday-morning meetings at the Kauffman Foundation have become the place to be seen and for those in the startup and technology scene to network. Often they are standing-room-only affairs. Previously, the Kauffman Foundation had announced that 1 Million Cups will start in other Midwestern big cities, including Des Moines, Houston and St. Louis. Columbia and Lawrence will bring the total cities hosting 1 Million Cups meetings to 12.
Need a guide through the Crossroads Arts District? We've partnered with intev LLC, which has created an app to help you find the galleries, restaurants, shops and parking. It's available in the iPhone store (search "First Friday"). Once you've got it, you can read our reviews; pinpoint the closest galleries, shops and restaurants; and see schedules and hours for various gallery shows.
After the jump, our First Friday Hit List.
It's game day for Fannect.
Inside a space on Grand last occupied by the clothing boutique Method, Hunter Browning, Will Coatney and their team wait for an e-mail from Apple. Six days ago, they submitted their sports app for approval.
"We're on edge," Browning says. "I've got push notifications on every e-mail. I really wish people wouldn't e-mail me today."
"Ninety-five percent of the apps get approved within six days," Coatney says, "and today [February 13] is the sixth day."
Apple receives 26,000 submissions a week from developers hoping to be added to the more than 700,000 apps in the giant company's store. Free apps, such as Fannect, often get discarded.
"You have to be cool to get noticed," Browning says. "And if you don't do being cool right the first time, you're never going to be cool."
The Fannect team isn't afraid of a little competition. That's the heart of its app, which is meant to rank the most passionate fanbases in college and professional sports. Is Mizzou more devoted than KU? Who would win a street fight between Ohio State fans and the Michigan devout? And who exactly is the No. 1 Notre Dame fan? Fannect's creators say they can provide the answers.
Colorado-based entrepreneur Brad Feld is opening his doors to local startups. This week, Feld and the Kauffman Foundation announced a contest for young companies that would benefit from having access to Google Fiber Internet access. The winners will get to live and work rent-free in the house that Feld owns at 4437 Cambridge in Kansas City, Kansas.
Feld, along with a panel of judges, will evaluate applicants based on their "innovative potential of their startups and their companies' ability to leverage Google Fiber." Up to five startups can win and will get to spend a year in the FiberHouse, which is in the same neighborhood as the Kansas City Startup Village.
The Feld FiberHouse Contest is taking applications until March 22. The winners might be a little cramped. According to Trulia, the house is only 944 square feet, with two bedrooms and one bathroom.
Applicants must be 18 or older. You can apply through the Kauffman Foundation's iStart website.
What can you make with Google Fiber? More than 100 developers want to answer that question this weekend, when Compute Midwest holds its hackathon at the Fiber Space (1814 Westport Road).
Michael Gelphman, founder of Kansas City IT Professionals and organizer of Compute Midwest, says he isn't sure what to expect when these programmers and app developers are given access to Google's 300 Mbps Wi-Fi connection — a speed that's 30 times the national average — and a computer with gigabit speed. At 9 a.m. Saturday, though, he starts finding out when work gets under way. And a little more than 24 hours later, we see results: At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, judges examine demos and award prizes, such as an iPhone 5, an iPad and a Kindle.
"That's the most exciting part, the unknown," Gelphman says. "Who is going to show up, and what ideas can they come up with?"
More definite is how Compute Midwest begins. The four-day conference kicks off Thursday, November 8, with a party from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Cashew (2000 Grand). The party gives way to a discussion of the future, with a 9 a.m. talk Friday at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway).
Sara Davidson and former Missouri State Rep. Jason Grill host the hourlong show every week. Look for programs with entrepreneurs and techies ranging from AgLocal's Nait Jones to Backly's Adam Coomes to KCnext's Ryan Weber to Polsinelli Shughart lawyer Gregory Kratofil.
Davidson and Grill started recording the shows September 20, but the first one broadcasts today. The Kauffman Foundation sponsors the show. Here's its Facebook page.
"The reason why we're doing this is to encourage startups to move into the KC area and to make Kansas City a better place to live and work," Barreth writes on the Homes for Hackers site.
Hackers buy their own food, build a new start-up business and "pay this kindness forward." Hosts agree to offer a basement/room, utilities (including access to Google Fiber when it's installed), an introduction to KC and show "Midwestern kindness to a total stranger." And that's why your spare bedroom is now the new garage startup.
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