KCRise Fund Logo

KCRise Fund is a sidecar fund which co-invests with institutional venture capital investors in early stage companies based in the Greater Kansas City area.


Our investments are in young Kansas City area companies with high growth potential, seeking $1million or more in funding.

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


Who we are


Darcy Howe

Managing director, KCrise fund, llc

President and CEO, KCRise Fund Manager, 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 is currently on the board of Rawxies, a gluten-free, vegan and living foods company.

+ Read More

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.

Ron-Lemay 240x285.jpg

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.

+ Read More

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 240x285.jpg

Toby Rush

Board Member, KCRise Fund, LLC

Toby Rush is a serial entrepreneur with 13 years of mobile and wireless experience. As founder and CEO of two mobile ventures, his deep expertise in imaging, sensors and mobility gives him early insight into the trends and technologies impacting consumers and the enterprise.

+ Read More

Prior to his two startups, 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 a BS in Engineering from Kansas State University.

caleb-loya 240x285.jpg

Brea Schmidt

Associate, KCRise Fund Manager, LLC

Prior to joining the KCRise Fund team, Brea was an associate with Hudson Advisors / Lone Star Funds, a leading global private equity firm with $70 billion in capital raised spanning ten funds. While at Hudson / Lone Star, Brea was active across the entire deal cycle, from origination and underwriting to asset management. In her asset management role, she executed multiple debt restructurings, and worked vigorously to implement an FP&A function into a distressed portfolio company, which was ultimately transformed into a profitable, growth-oriented business. She has a deep passion for utilizing her analytical and process development skillset in working with portfolio companies to enact both incremental improvements and drive broader organizational change, all while maximizing value for all stakeholders.

+ Read More

Immediately preceding her time with Hudson / Lone Star, Brea was a Research Analyst on the portfolio management team at Tortoise Capital Advisors, a multi-billion, Kansas City-based investment management firm. While at Tortoise, Brea enjoyed performing company-specific financial analysis, with an overarching focus on public company valuation. She also felt most engaged when performing detailed industry research across the energy value chain.

Brea has always had a desire for continual professional development and academic growth. Upon receiving Bachelors of Arts degrees in Accounting and Finance from Washburn University, Brea earned a certified public accountant (CPA) designation and has passed all three levels of the chartered financial analyst (CFA) program. She graduated from Washburn University summa cum laude and with an Honor’s designation. Brea maintains her membership in multiple honorary societies – Nonoso women’s honorary society, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi. She is also a member of the Washburn Applied Portfolio Management Alumni Board.

A native of Hesston, Kansas and oldest of six, Brea loves spending time with her family. She enjoys attending concerts, reading nonfiction history books, and is an avid Chiefs fan.

Name *