Editor’s be aware: New in KC is an ongoing profile sequence that highlights newly relocated members of the Kansas Metropolis startup neighborhood, their causes for a change of surroundings, and what they’ve discovered thus far in KC. Click on here to learn extra New in KC profiles.
The Midwest is residence, stated Chris Rehkamp.
“That’s the place I really feel like I’m actually grounded. A chunk of this transfer was desirous to be close to household, and one other piece is that it’s what feels pure,” Rehkamp stated of accepting a place because the affiliate director of the Tech Ventures Studio on the College of Missouri-Kansas Metropolis’s Innovation Heart.
Rehkamp began the position in January, and is formally set to maneuver to Kansas Metropolis from Hawaii later this month, he shared. The Tech Ventures program continues to be led by Jill Meyer.
“I’ve really by no means been to KC,” Rehkamp stated, laughing. “My spouse went to grad college in Lincoln, Nebraska, and we lived on a farm south of there. In order that’s the closest I’ve lived [to Kansas City].
Though Rehkamp has been managing digital work with a five-hour time distinction, he’s already gotten a really feel for Kansas Metropolis’s collaborative spirit, he famous.
“It’s what I take pleasure in rather a lot in regards to the Midwest — it’s very heat, and everybody’s introduced me in with open arms,” Rehkamp stated. “Kansas Metropolis feels very acquainted and thrilling on the identical time.”
Time to cool down
Rehkamp spent his childhood in Minnesota the place he grew up amongst a household of small enterprise house owners, he shared. There, he helped his dad and mom with cabin and boat leases.
“It confirmed me that you can create one thing of worth and other people would compensate you for that,” he defined.
However it wasn’t till Rehkamp frolicked in Washington D.C. that he noticed himself as an lively a part of the startup ecosystem, he continued. In D.C., Rehkamp labored at Union Kitchen — a startup that helps native meals entrepreneurs.
“We have been elevating funds with a brilliant small group; so it was that typical situation the place it was 10 folks sitting at a convention desk hustling all day,” he stated. “… We began our personal distribution firm; we began our personal catering firm; [we] ended up opening our personal grocery shops. It turned a vertically-integrated enterprise that was outlined by aligning incentives with the shoppers and other people we needed to serve. So, that have made me look extra at myself as an ecosystem builder.”
With a newfound ardour for supporting early stage corporations, Rehkamp then discovered himself half-hour north on the College of Maryland the place he managed the enterprise college’s enterprise accelerator.
“For me, that actually solidified the thought of residing near the folks I need to serve with a view to perceive their wants and construct the ecosystems they need to develop,” Rehkamp stated. “In Hawaii, I used to be doing the identical factor and sporting a bunch of various hats — together with being a enterprise proprietor myself — and I see that as an enormous a part of my position at UMKC as properly.”
From large cities to the Large Island (and even spending a while in Ecuador), Rehkamp is trying to make Kansas Metropolis a everlasting residence, he famous.
“[My wife Sarah and I] are excited to settle,” Rehkamp shared. “A giant a part of this transfer is that we aren’t shifting once more. We’re coming to Kansas Metropolis to remain.”
Group on Clubhouse
In his position at UMKC, Rehkamp is overseeing Digital Sandbox KC, Whiteboard2Boardroom and KCInvestED. He’s targeted on the right way to create neighborhood round these packages and on the lookout for extra programming that will help the continuous progress of entrepreneurs within the packages.
“With Digital Sandbox, there’s rather a lot that comes after the $20,000 proof-of-concept funding that we might be doing to encourage their progress,” Rehkamp stated.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made community-building a problem for a lot of, Rehkamp famous. To fight emotions of isolation, Rehkamp is utilizing the audio-only social networking app Clubhouse. The app is designed to host digital rooms for stay discussions, with alternatives for people to take part via talking and listening.
Rehkamp began the Clubhouse group KC Startup Resources as an off-the-cuff method for entrepreneurs to satisfy just about and keep linked till it’s doable to take action in individual. The Clubhouse group meets at 5:30 p.m. CST. each Friday.
“There hasn’t been as many alternatives to get collectively and say, ‘These are my wants’ or ‘Listed below are my wins,’ and simply have a good time and speak,” he stated. “So we determined to throw out this time and see if we may get folks to affix that dialog. It’s like a weekly glad hour.”
The primary Clubhouse group met April 16 with about 40 neighborhood members, Rehkamp famous. The following dialog is about for five:30 p.m. April 23.
By means of Rehkamp’s experiences in varied startup communities, he found that essentially the most profitable folks have been those who gave greater than they guarded, he stated.
“I believe there’s then rather a lot to be gained from being beneficiant and supporting different folks,” Rehkamp shared. “You study that no person does any of these things alone. We construct groups, and although we put founder or proprietor as our title, it takes lots of people to assist get one thing off the bottom.”
‘Greater than our LinkedIn titles’
With Rehkamp making Kansas Metropolis his new residence, he needed to guarantee the neighborhood he plans to take part in far more than what’s in his job description.
“I believe we’re all greater than our LinkedIn headlines or our titles. I positively see myself as many issues — I’m additionally an artist,” Rehkamp stated. “I see [art] as very entrepreneurial. I like being round music and artists, enjoying music and supporting different artists.
“I spent a variety of time within the meals system and love that,” he continued. “Kansas Metropolis seems to be wonderful in each these areas. So for all these causes and extra, I’m simply actually excited to be there and be a contributing member of the neighborhood in a variety of alternative ways.”
This story is feasible due to help from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Basis, a non-public, nonpartisan basis that works along with communities in schooling and entrepreneurship to create unusual options and empower folks to form their futures and achieve success.