St. Louis Startup News: Techli Partners With Wash U, Gainsight’s $20M Financing Round, Square Calls a Cab
Techli and Wash U Partnership
St. Louis’ Olin Business School and School of Engineering & Applied Science have announced a partnership with Techli, a news organization focused on startups. The partnership will promote the growing entrepreneurship community in and around St. Louis. The announcement comes on the heels of an earlier announcement that Lab1500 founders Jan Christian Andersen and Dan Lohman had partnered with Techli.
The Wash U partnership will feature a series of videos and stories on the Techli website that highlight the St. Louis ecosystem and its entrepreneurial spirit, which is gaining a national reputation as a good place for a startup, including for college students who have the idea of creating their own enterprises.
While Anderson won’t discuss the finances involved in the partnership with Wash U, he does call the amount “significant.” The first show produced under the partnership features WUSTL Provost Holden Thorp, PhD., discussing the role universities can play in helping to further entrepreneurial innovation. Future show topics will include the expansive growth of the St. Louis startup support system, the increase in teen entrepreneurship, and how to bring the established business community and startup community together.
Washington University is a vital part of the local startup ecosystem, funding entrepreneurial programs, seminars, educational initiatives and more. In turn they have benefited from the local startup gestalt. In 2012 for example, the first Arch Grants competition saw 11 Washington University-affiliated entrepreneurs take home grants. It’s a natural move to extend their local participation. “The partnership with Techli will help them get more involved with the startup community at large,” says Anderson.
Gainsight, the leading Customer Success Management solution, announced last week a $20 million Series B funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from existing investor Battery Ventures and new investor Summit Partners, bringing the company’s total financing to $30 million. Gainsight will use the funds to aggressively “grow our sales, marketing and especially the engineering side,” says Gainsight’s founder Jim Eberlin.
Gainsight also unveiled its new big data platform, which gives frontline employees—using CRM systems–access to the vast troves of data companies have about their customers, allowing them to identify ways to drive increased spend from existing customers. “We’ve discovered ways to prioritize which companies are at risk and identify their upsell opportunities,” says Eberlin. “Forecasting sales is easy,” he says. “Insight into their customer base is more important.”
Square Hails a Cab
The Metropolitan St. Louis Taxicab Commission (MTC) will allow cab drivers to use Square—the transaction device that lets users with a cell phone accept credit card payments—as long as they are approved by the commission. The device was previously declared illegal for not being payment card industry (PCI) compliant. Square was founded by St. Louisans Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey.
It was Dorsey’s visit to St. Louis late last August that spurred the move towards today’s announcement when Ron Klein, executive director of the MTC, first learned of the ban. Among the adaptations Square implemented to reach compliance was ensuring the MTC could access payment records if a cabdriver were accused of fraud, such as overcharging a customer. Square is particularly suited to taxi drivers, allowing them to collect fares easily. Funds processed through Square are deposited into the driver’s bank account minus a flat rate fee.
Well that was fast. XYverify has won approval to provide its location services to casinos in New Jersey as the state looks to jump into the online gaming pool. The startup was among the four Fin Techs in St. Louis-based accelerator Six Thirty’s first class. XYverify is able to accurately determine if an online gambler is physically in the same state as the casino—a very strict state requirement.
The move could open the door to XYverify’s expansion as other states initiate online gaming efforts. They are already in Nevada. Elliot Klein, founder and CEO of the company, is also eying state lotteries. Based in New York City, XYverify is a Fin Tech startup that uses a geo-location mobile authentication platform to protect against identity theft and transaction-related breaches.