Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brad Feld ‘Experiments, Learns and Helps' Kansas City Startup Community with KC FiberHouse

Just in case you needed another reason to be excited about Kansas City’s startup scene: Last week, Brad Feld, Managing Director of the Foundry Group in Boulder, Colorado and co-founder of startup accelerator TechStars, announced that he bought a house in Kansas City, KS. 

People buy houses all the time, so why is this exciting?

Brad Feld’s house isn’t going to be any ordinary house, but rather a startup dream. A group of startups will be selected to live and work in the house for a year – rent free. Additionally, Brad won’t be taking any equity in the companies. According to his statement, “I’m using a ‘give before you get’ philosophy here to experiment, learn and help the Kansas City startup community.”

This announcement follows the increasing buzz about Google Fiber (which the house will be equipped with) and the Kansas City startup scene in general. Brad Feld, in addition to being an early-stage investor, has historically been a successful trend spotter. If this move is any indication, the consistent attention the Kansas City startup scene has been getting as of late isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, this move is an indication that a movement is underway.

While the concept of free rent is new, the entrepreneurs-in-houses concept isn’t entirely new to Kansas City. Homes for Hackers and Kansas City Startup Village were both early adopters of the concept and both have had success with implementation.
In addition to being a draw for entrepreneurs, FiberHouse has opened one of their rooms on Airbnb for “fiber tourists” interested in getting as close to the entrepreneurial epicenter as possible.

As Feld says:

"I'm putting the thesis of my book into action by directly supporting a startup community that sees endless opportunities ahead. The winners will have access to Google Fiber and a neighborhood and city brimming with startup activity. They can take advantage of the many entrepreneurial programs and events offered by the Kauffman Foundation. And, lastly, I commit to take a personal interest in the entrepreneurs selected to live in my KC Fiberhouse and will do what I can to provide feedback and advice."

The application to live in FiberHouse is available through March 22. The applicants will be judged by a panel including Brad Feld, Scott Case of Startup America Partnership,  David Cohen of TechStars and Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation. According to the site, applicants will be judged “based upon the innovative potential of their startups and their companies' ability to leverage Google Fiber.”
Interested applicants can apply here!

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