KANSAS CITY, Kan. - The dining room looks more like a corporate meeting room, but Andrew Evans and Mike Demarais don't mind. The house they're sharing in Kansas City, Kan., suits their needs just fine.
Both men are launching new internet companies. They came from opposite ends of the country to take advantage of an offer of free room and board meant to attract young entrepenuers to Google's new KCK "Fiberhood". It's been dubbed Startup Village.
Ben Barrath posted the offer in Hacker News. He bought the one-story house and offered three months of rent-free living to attract creative talent to the area in hopes of boosting the tech community. The lure of the ultra-high speed internet connection was too much for Evans to pass up.
"Using something like Google fiber," Evans said, "it's the fastest I've ever seen -- sounded really good."
He was living briefly in Costa Rica after spending several years in San Francisco before jumping on the offer to come to KC.
Evans' startup is a web-based service to link creators of video games with the help they need. It's called Gamer Talent.
Demarais moved here from Boston. His startup, not yet named, is a custom manufacturing company. Demarais said it's been easier for him to network here because it doesn't take as long to meet the key players as it does in larger cities. He said he might remain in KC when his three months are up.
Barath hopes he does and hopes others follow in his footsteps.