August 24, 2012
Amanda Schnieders, Kauffman Foundation
Hacker Homes Find Hospitality in Kansas City
Following in the latest trend, it looks like “hack homes”, “residential incubators” or whatever you want to call them are finally making their way to Kansas City. With Google Fiber almost in our grasp, more entrepreneurs and young founders are looking for a quick way to inhabit Kansas City and make use of this cutting-edge technology.
Thanks to Ben Barreth, a web developer at New Directions Behavioral Health and the new matchmaker in town, interested participants could soon be founding a new startup in the basement or spare room of a Kansas City resident. Barreth’s site, homesforhackers.com, offers hackers the chance to live for three months, for free, in a Hacker Host’s home while they jump start their startup. Oh, and the use of Google Fiber? I guess that’s an added perk.
In less than 24 hours after Barreth’s announcement and release of his plan on Wednesday, there were already 17 interested participants from places such as New York, California, Ohio and Colorado. It appears Barreth’s plan to attract even more young entrepreneurs is working like a charm. We weren't the only ones to notice either. Barreth picked up notice in Silicon Beat and Ars Technica.
Nate Olson, a community builder and entrepreneurship associate at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, sat down to discuss the idea with Barreth, giving him an extra push in the right direction.
“I sat down with him on Monday and he said ‘I have this idea, should I go through with it?’ and I told him, absolutely,” Olson said. This is exactly the kind of thing Kansas City needs as a thriving center for entrepreneurship. And in a day, it’s already booming.”
If Google Fiber isn’t enough of an incentive to move to Kansas City, Barreth’s site lists a few other things to sweeten the deal.
- The People – “good, hard-working, laid-back, good-humored Midwesterners”
- The Cost – “Doing business in Kansas City is cheap”
- The Culture – “The Chamber of Commerce vowed to make Kansas City the most Entrepreneurial City in the US, in 5 years”
- The Location – “Kansas City is centrally located to the entire US”
- The Impact – “Ever wondered what it was like to be in Silicon Valley during the early rise of Apple and Microsoft? KC support scene gives you long-term language”
- The Talent Pool – “Unlike cities on the west coast and other tech hubs, the talent pool in KC has a long way to go before being depleted”
Barreth makes one thing clear—Homes For Hackers is just a “match-making service”. The agreement between hackers and hosts is strictly between them, and the results of the three months in the hacker home is completely contingent on whether or not “you kickass on your startup idea”.