Kansas City was lucky enough to become home to the first Google Fiber site, but the risk-averse region is missing the essential early stage venture financing needed for success, Emily Maltby pointed out in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed. Infrastructure is important, but angel investors are critical for young companies that can't yet receive funding from a bank, she wrote.
Missouri and Kansas ranked 22 and 27, respectively, in state rankings of venture capital investments last year. While Missouri entrepreneurs received about $134 million and Kansas about $61 million, California received $15 billion, by comparison.
One Kansas City entrepreneur, Tim Sylvester, said he's trying to raise money for an intelligent roadway that makes use of the Google Fiber network, but it's hard to get investor attention without a proven model, which he needs funding to create. "Friends-and-family capital is easy to obtain, but you are limited by what the small investor can put in," Sylvester said. "It's a chicken-and-egg problem."
For a more detailed analysis of the problems facing Google Fiber in Kansas City, visit The Wall Street Journal.