'The Real World' Meets Startup World in Kansas City

More than 20 years ago, MTV launched the reality TV genre by throwing a group of strangers together in the same house to live and work. The show started in New York and has been filmed in 27 cities since. While Kansas City never had a chance to “find out what happens when people stop being polite... and start getting real” it is getting something even better—and certainly much less annoying—the Brad Feld’s KC Fiberhouse.

Feld, unabashed champion of startups everywhere (but especially in Boulder, Colorado), recently announced a venture that will extend his support for entrepreneurs to metropolitan Kansas City. He completed the purchase of a three-bedroom house in the Hanover Heights neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas—the nation's first Google "Fiberhood" where Google's 1-gigabit fiber-optic cable is installed and serving up internet connection speeds 100 times faster than broadband.

Entrepreneurs with innovative startups that need the speed and power of Google Fiber can apply to live rent-free in the house through the KC Fiberhouse Competition.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Up to five winners will be selected from among the applications received. The panel of judges — Feld, Scott Case of Startup America Partnership, David Cohen of TechStars and Lesa Mitchell of the Kauffman Foundation — will judge the applicants based upon the innovative potential of their startups and their companies' ability to leverage Google Fiber.

"I'm putting the thesis of my book into action by directly supporting a startup community that sees endless opportunities ahead," Feld said. "The winners will have access to Google Fiber and a neighborhood and city brimming with startup activity. They can take advantage of the many entrepreneurial programs and events offered by the Kauffman Foundation. And, lastly, I commit to take a personal interest in the entrepreneurs selected to live in my KC Fiberhouse and will do what I can to provide feedback and advice."

Feld's announcement continues the growing buzz around an area dubbed "KC Startup Village," which has attracted about a dozen tech startups and the attention of local and national press including The Kansas City Star, Kansas City Business Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN and more. His home will effectively become the neighborhood's second "Hacker Home," joining one opened in October 2012 by Ben Barreth that allows entrepreneurs to live rent-free for up to three months as they develop their businesses.

The Feld KC Fiberhouse Competition is hosted on iStart, a business competition site owned by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and will run through Friday, March 22.

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