C2FO encourages connection and collaboration with local startups

c2fo innovation space

On Thursday, October 15th, C2FO hosted an open house to unveil our new public, collaborative workspace that represents a 1,600 square foot addition to our headquarters.

At that event, C2FO chairman and CEO Sandy Kemper announced that the space is intended to be shared with entrepreneurs and early-stage companies working in fintech or in the same code base as C2FO. The space is available for use at no charge and provide these entrepreneurs with shared support, business development services, a place to work and meet, and access to members of the C2FO team.

During his introduction, Kemper said, “Some folks were asking earlier, ‘So what’s in it for [C2FO]?’ What’s in it for us is connectivity to really smart people who are doing things that are relevant to us – and that collaboration means a lot to us. I’d like to see more of that in Kansas City in general.”

Following the open house, the Athena League of KC hosted its monthly meeting. The Athena League is headquartered in the same building as C2FO and their mission to empower early-stage and established female entrepreneurs meshes perfectly with the spirit of our collaborative space initiative.

The Athena League meeting included high-powered panel packed with experts from around the globe, including Darcy Howe, a corporate board member, angel investor and business leader who was a founding member of Women’s Capital Connection and is involved with KC Rising; Pradyumna (Prady) Agrawal, director of investment at Temasek and member of the board of directors at C2FO; California-based angel investor Richard Chino, also from the C2FO board of directors; and Laura Brady, president and CEO of Medical Positioning Inc. (MPI). Sandy Kemper moderated as the panel tackled the subjects of advisory boards, mentors and networks for entrepreneurs and businesspeople at all career stages.

The panelists offered a wealth of information to the audience based on their extensive experience and expertise that included tips for what investors look for in businesses, what an entrepreneur may want to look for in an investor and the strategic importance of building a solid advisory board.

The panelists also discussed what they look for in a mentee. Richard Chino suggested that a good fit in one in which the mentee is energetic and has specific gaps in knowledge or expertise that he can address. Darcy Howe made the point that when you’re reaching out to connect with a potential mentor, it’s important to be able to explain what you hope to gain from that person. Prady Agrawal looks for someone who is straightforward, confident and can articulate what they want to achieve.

In response to a question about getting more involved in the local entrepreneur community, Darcy Howe recommended attending 1 Million Cups each week and consulting KCSourceLink to see local opportunities and events. As a wrap-up, she recommended the book “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success” by Adam M. Grant, Ph.D.

The panel discussion and associated question and answer session lasted more than an hour and provided an unprecedented opportunity for local entrepreneurs to network with and learn from the panelists.

C2FO looks forward to providing ongoing assistance to many local companies to help them become successful and financially viable, broaden and diversify the economic base of the Kansas City metro area, and help create local jobs. We hope the Athena League event is the first of many valuable educational presentations in our space, and are eager to interact with up-and-comers in the fintech and development spheres in our collaborative space.

If you have questions about taking advantage of the collaboration space, please contact Emily Crafton.

To see additional photos of the event, check out our C2FO Innovation Space Open House Flickr album. You can also view the panel discussion on YouTube.