America at work
Silicon Prairie: Startup Homes on the Range
Free Enterprise Staff | May 20, 2014

Enriched by Google Fiber, an Internet connection that’s as much as 100 times faster than the speed most Americans experience online, the Kansas City Startup Village is home to numerous budding ventures.

Lured by the Internet speed, village camaraderie and free housing, Mike Demarais and Nick Budidharma took the leap to join the budding tech community and launch their own businesses.

The young entrepreneurs were initially drawn to the KC startup scene by Homes for Hackers, which provides free housing to startups looking to grow within the Kansas City community. Ben Barreth, a local, cashed out his retirement fund in order to help attract entrepreneurs to the area and launch the initiative.

“I look at Kansas City right now as one of the best places to launch your business,” Demarais tells Free Enterprise during a visit to the house he works out of with his teammates.

Demarais, who co-founded Handprint, and Budidharma, who created Gum, talk about the advantages of working within a neighborhood comprised almost entirely of other entrepreneurs, how Google Fiber has allowed Kansas City Startup Village to grow and what the future holds for their enterprises.