August 2015 | Letter From the Editor: It's a Startup Kind of City

By Jennifer Dulin Wiley
In Culture

Executive Editor Jennifer Dulin Wiley | photo by Wesley Law

SIMPLY WALK around T-REX or CORTEX at lunchtime—or stop by Venture Café after work—and you’ll see one of the most simple, yet powerful strengths of the St. Louis startup ecosystem in action. No matter what you care to call it, proximity, density or good, old-fashioned togetherness—combined with an open, collaborative spirit—has been a key driver to the city’s seemingly unstoppable acceleration in the startup and innovation space.

A recent spot on the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s list of 40 major cities demonstrating startup activity showed just how cozy a contender St. Louis is when it comes to togetherness. Between 2014 and 2015, our city’s startup density grew 5.6 percent, earning its place on the well respected list, which measures how many startups are born in a particular city each year.

We went behind the scenes with 15 of the newest startups that are adding to the community’s growing togetherness in preparation for our annual Entrepreneur Issue to learn about their mission, vision and what’s next for some of the most innovative ideas coming out of St. Louis. Meet these forward- thinking companies—a small group of many in STL—in our “Upstart City” feature, where we also highlight the booming number of innovative co- working spaces and networking programs around town that are encouraging the nearly utopian approach to collaboration that has taken hold across the community.

It is our city and its very collaborative entrepreneurial spirit that has inspired ALIVE’s latest passion project: EQ, a content and community-building initiative that aims to bring St. Louis’ innovation scene to life through storytelling, community and conversation. The smart collection of business, tech and lifestyle content for St. Louis startups and aspiring entrepreneurs launched online last month, with a quarterly print publication to follow this November. The mission of EQ is to share the real journeys of local entrepreneurs as a source of inspiration in our quarterly publications, at entrepreneur-focused events and on the daily online to motivate and inspire St. Louisans to do their best work. Special thanks goes to our lead partner and project champion, Brian Matthews of Cultivation Capital, without whom EQ would not be possible, as well as the following partner organizations who generously supported the launch of this new ALIVE Media Group platform: Accelerate St. Louis, Arch Grants, BioSTL, Capital Innovators, CORTEX, Cultivation Capital, iSelect Fund, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, SixThirty and St. Louis Regional Chamber.

We’re excited to be a part of this growing movement and look forward to driving content and conversation alongside the innovative minds that make St. Louis great. How did it all start? I’m pretty sure, at some point, we said: “Let’s do something together.”


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