St. Louis Startup News: Olin Cup finalist SynerZ Medical, Inc raises over $1M, LaunchCode Back to Launching Pad

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

TrakBill garners remaining quarter-million Cultivation Capital investment

TrakBill co-founders Steven Marciniak and Sam Sullivan

TrakBill co-founders Steven Marciniak and Sam Sullivan
Courtesy of TrakBill

TrakBill, the app that lets users track bills through the legislative process, has garnered the second $250,000 of a $500,000 deal with Cultivation Capital set last July, when they received the first half of the investment. The second half was contingent on certain incentives and sales goals, primarily that TrakBill launch in all 50 states by the end of the year. CEO Steven Marciniak said meeting the goal is the biggest moment to date in the company’s short history and that the investment will be used to add more features and usability to the app and to focus on sales and increasing revenue. “I see the potential to grow our technology and our team a lot quicker than we have been doing to date,” says Marciniak. Part of the deal installs Cliff Holekamp, a general partner at Cultivation Capital, on the startup’s board of directors.

Olin Cup finalist SynerZ Medical, Inc. raises in excess of $1 million

According to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, SynerZ Medical, Inc. has raised slightly over $1 million in private equity financing. The medical device startup, founded by Virender Sharma, is based in St. Louis. SynerZ is developing an alternative surgery procedure for people with type 2 diabetes and those who suffer from obesity. In total, SynerZ raised $1.08 million from 22 investors, who each invested a minimum of $5,000 during the round which began last December. SynerZ is one of 17 finalists for the Olin Cup, a business plan competition sponsored by Washington University’s Skandalaris Center. The Olin Cup winners will be announced this month with an awards ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 5:30pm.

Computer programming class offered by LaunchCode and EdX

Beginning Jan. 13, local coders can take a class in computer programming in a joint venture by Launch Code’s Jim McKelvey, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. LaunchCode is the paired programming initiative in St. Louis that pairs green coders with more experienced professionals and software engineers and is designed to bring the newbies up to speed and ready for the job market. During the course, students will get personal instruction. It’s all part of EdX, an online “school” run by Harvard and MIT that offers courses on a wide variety of subjects.

The deal with EdX was engineered by McKelvey after LaunchCode debuted and it was found that most applicants didn’t have the skills necessary to qualify for the program. The LaunchCode initiative is very much experimental. “I’m one of these guys who sounds like he knows what he’s talking about,” McKelvey told ALIVE last October during the LaunchCode’s first week. “Nobody has done anything like this so I don’t know if it’s going to work.” But as everyone in the local startup ecosystem knows, McKelvey don’t quit. Classes, which will be “strenuous and difficult,” will be held at the St. Louis Public Central Library, 1301 Olive Street from 5:30 to 8:30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. The class is free. Students who graduate from the class will be eligible to participate in LaunchCode. For more information and to enroll, visit the LaunchCode website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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