Silicon Prairie News


Brad Feld buys KC house with Google Fiber, opens contest to live in it

Kansas City February 13, 2013 by Danny Schreiber Only 14 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

The Kansas City Startup Village has a new homeowner in its Google Fiber-equipped neighborhood, and it's a venture capitalist with a penchant for startup communities.

On Monday, serial entrepreneur, investor and author Brad Feld (left) closed on a home, and today he's launching a competition that will put five entrepreneurs in the house with access to Google's 1-gigabit internet and free rent.

The three-bedroom house, located in the Kansas City, Kan. neighborhood of Hanover Heights – the first with Google Fiber – will host entrepreneurs interested in taking advantage of the ultra-fast internet. Entrepreneurs will be selected for the "innovative potential of their startups and their companies' ability to leverage Google Fiber," according to a Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation press release today.

Though Feld himself won't be living in the house, he promises to "take a personal interest" in the selected startups, offering to provide feedback and advice.

Feld said in a written statement Tuesday that with this purchase he's putting the thesis of his recent book, "Startup Communities," into action by "directly supporting a startup community that sees endless opportunities ahead." Feld's book presents the "Boulder Thesis," a four-point outline of the startup community that he helped establish in Boulder, Colo.

"The winners will have access to Google Fiber and a neighborhood and city brimming with startup activity," Feld said. "They can take advantage of the many entrepreneurial programs and events offered by the Kauffman Foundation."

The Kansas City Startup Village is a grassroots group ran by startup founders who moved into the Hanover Heights neighborhood in October. Today, more than a dozen startups have offices in the neighborhood.

Feld's purchase of a home for entrepreneurs interested in Google Fiber follows the act of Kansas City resident Ben Barreth (right) last year, who cashed in his retirement account in order to do the same. Barreth shared his project, "Home for Hackers," on Feld's "Startup Revolution" site in October, to which Feld replied: "I love this idea. Ben - I'm totally game to get involved and figure out how to help."

Though we can't report Barreth's post eventually set in motion the series of events that led to Feld's decision to purchase the house, we've reached out to Feld to learn more of the backstory and we'll provide updates as we get them.

For a shot at living and working in Feld's "Fiberhouse," apply at kcfeldhouse2013.istart.org by March 22. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Along with Feld, Scott Case of Startup America Partnership, David Cohen of TechStars and Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation will judge the applicants.

For more on the KC Startup Village, see our story: "Grassroots KC Startup Village fuels high hopes amid uncertain outcomes".

 

Credits: Brad Feld photo courtesy of Feld. Ben Barreth photo from linkedin.com.

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