Venture Capital Investments for Kansas City’s Future

KCRise Fund is a co-investment fund which invests with institutional venture capital partners in early stage companies seeking $1 million or more in funding.

Investment Region: Western Half of Missouri & Entire state of kansas

Portfolio companies: 23

First check size: $100k-$500k

Capital raised in rounds KCRise Fund has participated: $167 million


Machine Learning for HR

Customer Experience Optimization

Influencer Analytics

Agriculture Data

Smart Building Platform

Social Debate Platform

Wholesale Car Marketplace

401K Robo Advisor

Truck/Fleet Management

Government Payments

Medication Adherence

Resident Engagement

Smarter Employee Communication

Large Item Delivery

Pediatric Health

IoT Marketplace Solutions

Spear Power Systems

Tire Delivery & Installation

Healthcare Data

Public Works Response Software

Food & Beverage

Sports Analytics


We match local early stage companies with seasoned venture capital investors.

Investment Process

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1. Introduction Form

This is our first chance to meet your company. Before filling out the Introduction Form, ensure your company:

  • Has a significant presence in the western half of Missouri or entire state of Kansas

  • Is raising an equity round of at least $1 million

Timeline: Response within 2-3 days

2. Initial screening

Once you fill out the Introduction Form, your application will be reviewed by our team. If you fit our investment criteria, we will start with an introductory phone call to learn more about your company.

Timeline: 1-2 weeks after completion of form

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3. Syndication Partners

As a co-investment fund, we partner with other institutional investors. During this phase, if you already have an institutional investor committed to your round, we would like to connect. If you don’t, we explore with institutional investors in our network their interest in connecting with your company.

Timeline: 2-4 weeks

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4. Board of Directors Vote

After progression through previous stages, the final investment decisions are made by the KCRise Fund Board of Directors.

Timeline: 1 week

Who we are


Darcy Howe

Founder, Managing director, KCrise fund, llc


Darcy is a founding member of a Merrill Lynch Private Banking and Investment Group of Merrill Lynch in Kansas City, which grew from 30 advisors to 350 with $240 billion in assets under management and over $1 billion in revenue before her retirement in 2015.

Darcy served on the boards of Bama Companies, a global food manufacturer and distributor with plants in China, US and Poland, as well as Heatron, Inc, an engineering firm specializing in custom heating and LED integration, and Rawxies, a gluten-free, vegan and living foods company.

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A 20 year veteran angel investor, Darcy was a founding member of Women’s Capital Connection, a network of accredited investors who invest in women-led, early stage businesses. She has a passion for innovation, both within large companies and back-of-the-napkin ideas which germinate into great businesses. She has been a regional leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, developing connectivity between funders, entrepreneurs and advisors.

Darcy is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees including Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, The Kansas City Ballet, The Nelson-Atkins Museum audit committee and United Way of Greater Kansas City. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum.

Darcy and her husband take pleasure in connecting with their two adult children, often to watch or play sports and to seeing them find their own paths of achievement. She enjoys sailing, skiing and gardening.


Ronald LeMay

Board Member, KCRise Fund, LLC

Ron is a pioneer and respected leader in the wireless industry with over 40 years of telecommunications senior operating experience.

Ron LeMay serves as Managing Director and Co-Founder of OpenAir Equity Partners as well as Chairman of many of its portfolio companies. OpenAir Equity Partners specializes in “Internet of Things” investments with portfolio companies that focus on connected car, home, aircraft and ag machinery businesses.

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Ron’s unique expertise in the wireless industry has helped place OpenAir Equity Partners portfolio companies at the forefront of transformation. Previously, Ron served as President – COO of Sprint. As the first employee and CEO of Sprint PCS, Ron guided the company from start-up to $10B in annual revenue faster than any company in U.S. history. He also served as CEO of Japan Telecom, where he orchestrated the company’s turn-around and successful sale to SoftBank. In addition, Ron is a Co-Founder of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, the leading broadband in-flight Internet service. Ron currently serves on the boards of GoGo Inflight Internet Services, Zubie, Hyla Mobile and Spectrum 5, and has served on 8 public company boards over the last 20 years.

A native of Arkansas, Ron attended Southern Arkansas University where he earned a bachelor’s degree and was named Outstanding Business Student. He also attended the University of Arkansas School of Law where he graduated with honors. Ron and his wife reside in Kansas City and spend time enjoying their seven grandchildren.


Toby Rush

Board Member, KCRise Fund, LLC

Toby Rush formerly lead the International Technology investments Team for Ant Financial. Prior to that, he was CEO of ZOLOZ, a digital identity solutions company that provides a private, convenient and secure biometric alternative to passwords, PIN codes and customer onboarding forms. ZOLOZ evolved from EyeVerify, which Rush founded in 2012, and which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ant Financial in 2016. He also founded and led Rush Tracking Systems, an RFID solutions venture, to a successful exit to a Private Equity firm. His deep expertise in blockchain, machine learning and computer vision from both startups and enterprises gives him early insight into the trends and technologies impacting consumers and the enterprise. Toby is also a member of the 2018 Kauffman Fellows class.

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Prior to EyeVerify and Rush Tracking Systems, Toby led the product development & QA for SAT Corp, a venture funded mobile software company out of Houston. Toby also started and led the MobilEdge practice group for BSI consulting. He started his career with Accenture deploying SAP enterprise systems. Toby has an BS in Engineering from Kansas State University.


Edward Frindt

Partner, KCRise Fund, LLC

Ed is a Principal at KCRise, and brings over twelve years of experience in the venture capital, private equity and alternative investment space. Prior to joining KCRise, Ed was Director of Finance at OCA Ventures in Chicago, where he was responsible for researching and analyzing investment valuations, conducting financial due diligence and assisting OCA’s portfolio companies in navigating operational processes.

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Prior to joining OCA, Ed held progressive roles with Chicago Growth Partners, a private equity firm specializing in middle-market buyouts in the technology, education and healthcare sectors, helping build the firm’s finance and accounting functions following its spin-out from William Blair & Company. As Vice President, he oversaw financial operations for its $1.2 billion group of funds, managed investor reporting and designed the firm’s internal portfolio-company valuation process. Ed began his career in Ernst & Young’s PE and hedge fund advisory practice, and obtained his Series 7 and 63 licenses as a finance associate at Wachovia.

Ed holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA in Accounting & Finance with High Honors from Loyola University Chicago. He is an Adjunct Professor at Rockhurst University, serves on the Aux Board for the MetroSquash and Volunteers of America charities, and is an active mentor in the KC and Chicago startup communities. In his free time, Ed enjoys soccer, international travel (40+ countries, including two World Cups) and can't get enough Cleveland sports or Loyola Ramblers basketball.


Chad Feather

Associate, KCRise Fund, LLC

Chad is an Analyst for KCRise Fund and a member of the prestigious 2018 Venture for America Fellowship. An entrepreneur since the age of 12, Chad was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the Regnier Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC. Before joining KCRise Fund, Chad was an Insights Analyst for Pinsight Media.

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At UMKC, Chad served as the President of the award winning UMKC Enactus team, where he led a team of 80 team members who created social entrepreneurship projects that impacted the Kansas City community. Chad was the founder of Premier Sales, an e-commerce platform that dealt in overstock freight and liquidating other company’s inventory. Chad is an avid sports fan, whether it is playing with friends, or watching his favorite teams play (Chiefs & Royals).

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