Kansas City Startup Trellie Makes A Splash At NY’s Fashion Week

Trellie, KC startup, wearable technology, New York Fashion Week

The Trellie device (pictured here) was featured at New York Fashion Week. (photo: trellie.com)

It’s Fashion Week in New York, and while New Yorkh is growing as a hub of technology, it’s all about fashion throughout Manhattan and the surrounding areas. Tens of thousands of designers (the fashion type), stylists, and others in the fashion industry make a pilgrimage to New York to show off the latest trends for the spring season.

One of the companies making the trek out to New York this year was Kansas City startup Trellie. This tech startup makes a fashion accessory that attaches to a woman’s purse and lights up to alert the owner when a call is coming in or they’ve missed a call. Because women keep their phones in their purses, they can miss calls because they can’t hear the phone ring or feel it vibrate. This device gives them a subtle way to know when there is  a call coming.

The Kansas City Business Journal reports that a New York Daily News writer called the startup “wearable productivity meets fashion.”

Heidi Lehmann a Trellie advisor added, “Many retailers are creating floor space now for such products apparently. We were the only brand called out in such a manner during the panel discussion.”

It’s been a great month for Trellie, the startup closed a $900,000 seed round last month and with this showcasing at Fashion Week they were also featured in the nationally syndicated Parade Magazine.


Want To Get Into Investing? Start With $1 And KC Startup TreeSwing [video][sxsw]

TreeSwing,Kansas City startup,KC Startup,investing,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiIf you’ve always wanted to start an investment portfolio, but getting thousands of dollars together was out of reach, than you’re in luck. A new Kansas City startup, TreeSwing, is releasing a mobile app that will allow investors to start investing in mutual funds with as little as $1.

If the company takes off, TreeSwing will open up a new world of investing to people across the country, with no brokerage fees, no minimum balances, and no required monthly investment, investors can contribute any amount they’re comfortable with.

TreeSwing will allow investors to select from a marketplace of professionally managed mutual funds offered by some of the top names in the industry. By keeping the marketplace purposefully small, using plain language, and providing independent data from Morningstar, TreeSwing aims to give investors an easy way to make informed choices.

According to Brian Smith , Design and Product Manager for the TreeSwing application, the app was created specifically to serve the millions of Americans who aren’t currently investing.

“I believe we’ve built something that will lower the financial, behavioral, and emotional barriers to the investment process,” said Smith.

We ran into TreeSwing a bunch of times while in Austin for South By Southwest. Their entire team was at the TechCocktail celebration of startups event at The Stage on Sixth, talking to people about their new way of investing.

We finally caught up with Smith at the SXSW trade show who took a little time to explain TreeSwing in the video below.

While crowfunding is gaining world wide popularity, TreeSwing offers an option for people who want to get their feet with with investing, at a much lower risk and barrier to entry.

Check out the video below and for more info visit TreeSwing.com

Check out all these other great startup stories we found at SXSW 2013

Vote With Your Money With Kansas City Startup: Neighbor.ly INTERVIEW

Kansas City has some great startups. One of them is Neighbor.ly a new civic crowdfunding platform. Nieghborly encourages people to get involved in the civic projects that they are passionate about. By crowdfunding for civic projects people can decide if they want to support a new neighborhood beautification project, or getting manholes replaced. Literally, that’s how the idea for Neighborly came about.

Jase Wilson, Neigbor.ly’s CEO and Co-founder was eating at one of his local favorite spots with the startups advisor Patrick Hosty. They got into talking about a recent bond referendum and a woman in a neighboring seat chimed in on the conversation. The conversation got heated and the issues at hand were sewer repairs and zoo animals.  The woman was in favor of the sewer repairs but the same bond deal included new animals at the zoo. The woman wasn’t interested in the animals at the zoo. Hosty enjoys taking his daughter to the zoo and wasn’t concerned with the sewer repairs.

A light went off in Wilson’s head, an idea that would allow Hosty to support the zoo animals and the woman could support the sewer repairs.

The civic crowdfunding model is successful in Europe where people don’t quite think the way we do here in the U.S. The downside to civic crowdfunding in the US is those people who are sticklers about feeling the government and taxes should just handle all of these types of projects.

Earth to the people, that model hasn’t worked for years. The biggest capital projects get done while the smaller ones like the sewers and the zoo animals get tabled, time and time again, year after year.  Civic crowdfunding allows citizens to get involved and take ownership of civic projects.

We got a chance to talk with Wilson about Neighor.ly in the interview below.

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Kansas City Startup: Rare Wire Takes The Wraps Off Their Native Mobile App Building Platform

The do it yourself app space is getting crowded, however most of the DIY app building platforms are based on HTML 5 or just wrappers for mobile sites. What Matt Angell and Kirk Hasenzahl, the co-founders of Rare Wire have built is a platform for non-developers to build their own native apps.

If you’re not familiar with the term native apps, that’s an app that you download to your smartphone or other mobile device, that for the most part functions on it’s own on the hardware side. Non native apps require the backbone of the internet to operate on and HTML 5 in most cases. The advantage to native apps is that they are popular and give the developer and user a sense that the app is created specifically for what it was downloaded to do. The advantage to HTML 5 is that it’s truly multi-platform enabled.

Rare Wire is an app development firm that builds white label apps for clients like the United States Military Academy at West Point, Ebony Magazine and the Atlantic, so they have a bunch of credibility backing them. They’ve been using their platform, called The Wire, to build apps for their clients, but are now unleashing it to other developers. According Hasenzahl the platform that they’ve developed allows developers with just web development experience to design truly native apps.

More after the break
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Kansas Startup Front Flip Takes Their Virtual Scratch Card Platform National

In Overland Park Kansas, home to Sprint, a new startup called Front Flip has been trying out a new and fun way of engaging customers and increasing loyalty in Kansas, Chicago, Columbia, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and St. Louis. As we’ve reported with startups like Lokalty and FreebeeCards the loyalty, rewards and engagement space is heating up big time right now. Part of the reason is because local merchants are becoming tired of killing their margins with daily deals sites that only attract a customer one time, and that one time is typically at a loss.

That’s one of the reasons why Front Flip co-founder and CEO Sean Beckner created Front Flip.

“The market is ready for a change. Daily deal programs aren’t building customer engagement or rewarding loyalty — in fact, they have rather the opposite effect,” Beckner said in a release. “Front Flip’s mission is to help businesses engage with their customers in a fun and exciting way both inside and outside the store by increasing understanding and building customer loyalty.”

More after the break
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