KANSAS CITY, MO (STL.News) – H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) will invest $2 million in KCRise Fund II, the second venture capital fund of KCRise that was launched in 2019. The fund invests in high-growth, early-stage technology companies in the Kansas City area. KCRise Fund’s investors include local corporations, family offices and prominent business leaders. H&R Block’s investment is one of the largest by a local corporation to date.
“Our founders, entrepreneurs Henry and Richard Bloch, pioneered the tax industry more than 60 years ago from Main Street, Kansas City. So we know where Kansas City startups can go,” said Jeff Jones, H&R Block president and CEO. “We are committed to helping communities everywhere to make every block better. Kansas City’s entrepreneurs – as our community of origin – are particularly important to us.”
Jones announced the $2 million investment in a discussion on corporate innovation at the #Back2KC event with a group of Kansas City natives who now live and work elsewhere as high-level, high-growth professionals in the tech, consulting and capital markets industries. At #Back2KC, participants are reconnected to Kansas City through exposure to its growth-stage innovation ecosystem, vibrant business environment and captivating culture.
“Since forming KCRise Fund, we have found that introductions to large customers, which can move the needle, are critical to the success of early-stage companies,” said Darcy Howe, founder and managing director of KCRise Fund. “Whether it is innovation directly related to their core business, or business process enhancements, building the highway between corporations seeking innovation and these technology companies have been the key to our early successes.”
Jones noted startups need the support of large and small companies, while global companies like H&R Block need to match entrepreneurs’ willingness and capacity to innovate.