Since opening our doors in 2009, we’ve founded or co-founded six different companies — some flourishing, others now-defunct, all profoundly worthwhile. Staying intimately familiar with the risks and challenges of building a business from the ground up is a big part of how we grow and maintain the kinds of skills we want to provide for more established clients. And as the startup universe itself continues to evolve — sometimes at a dizzying pace — it’s a way to continually sharpen our wits and test our instincts.
This week, we’re formally announcing the launch of a new business arm dedicated solely to start-up ventures. We’re calling it GoKart Ventures — a pretty straightforward name for a group that will focus on investing in disruptive ideas that radically improve modern life. The group is being run by seasoned entrepreneur and Alchemy365 co-founder Scott Jagodzinski, who’ll spearhead the incubation, testing, and launch of new high-potential startups that align with GoKart’s core values. Scott’s own experience as an entrepreneur has taught him how important it is to get a smart, talented team on your side when launching a business, and he’s eager to help new venture partners do exactly that.
For 2017, the GoKart Ventures team is allocating $1 million in services to startups, with a preference for our three primary categories of focus: healthcare, education and financial services. What’s more, we’ve already started work with two new enterprises that have come in through our ventures unit: Kaleidoscope and Polco:
• Based in Minneapolis, Kaleidoscope helps visionary organizations and advocates fund the next generation of change-making leaders by designing, building and administering scholarship programs on a cloud software platform. For GoKart, it’s not only a powerful business opportunity, it’s also an amazing chance to apply our parallel expertise in education, technology, and human-centered design.
• Polco is a Madison-based startup that’s using technology to enable cities and their citizens to communicate more clearly and more often about decisions facing their communities — from roads to recycling to land use to public spending. More than a dozen forward-thinking U.S. cities have already launched Polco to their communities, and the company has just launched a crowdfund effort to help expand access and awareness throughout the country.
Read the full press release here.