St. Louis Startup News: SixThirty's New Class, International PROOF's Computerized License Plates, Two Big Arch Grants Winners
The four startups that will be included in the 2014 spring class of SixThirty—the fintech startup accelerator founded by Jim McKelvey in 2013—have been named. Each startup gets a $100,000 investment while SixThirty gets an equity stake between five percent and 10 percent. As part of the deal, the companies will relocate to St. Louis for the duration of the four-month program to take advantage of mentoring and access to global financial companies with a large presence in St. Louis, such as MasterCard and Edward Jones. The companies are FormZapper, Gremin, PromisePay and Wealth Access.
Later the same evening that the announcement was made, Wealth Access—a wealth management platform designed for financial advisers and high-net-worth clients to better communicate and manage wealth—announced they had received almost $3 million more from investors. For more info on the four companies, learn more from St. Louis Business Journal.
International PROOF Systems, a St. Louis startup that has technology to computerize license plates, is looking westward—to California. The company is competing to land a contract with the state to use PROOF’s Smart Tags, which validate auto insurance, vehicle registration and locate a vehicle in case of an emergency. California is piloting an electronic license plate program to be completed by 2017. The contract would bring $775 million for the St. Louis-based startup and will go a long way to establish PROOF as a premium supplier in an emerging market. The company boasts that they are “the world’s first computerized license plate.” PROOF’s technology is patent pending.
Two Peas in a Big Pod
Each year Arch Grants gives a second round of funding to the tune of an additional $100,000 to the two most outstanding companies from the previous year’s class. This year’s winners were recently announced as Juristat—which crunches court house data to predict the outcome of trials in a variety of circumstances—and Rover Town, makers of the app that makes discounts available to college students at retail establishments. Both companies say the funds will be used largely to hire more staff.
Cortex’s New Hire
Phyllis Ellison has assumed the position of the director of entrepreneur services and institutional and corporate partnerships at Cortex, the 200-acre area in Midtown that’s been developed into an innovation district by developing real estate. Hundreds of entrepreneurs call the district home. Ellison is the former executive director at Innovate VMS (IVMS). Ellison took the Cortex position in early April.
Show Me The Money
Prepped to begin investing in St. Louis startups, the The iSelect Fund will make its first investment of about $175,000 into a handful of its portfolio companies this month. The investments come at a time when many local startups—there have been more than 230 over the last eight years—are at a stage where additional angel capital is important to future growth, and funds for St. Louis startups need more investment bucks.
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