St. Louis Startup Scene: Capital Innovators Fund Five, DreamfundMe Makes It Personal, T-Rex Parties

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

Capital Idea
Capital Innovators has had a busy two weeks. First they hired Scott Bernstein to be its new director of operations. Bernstein was director of marketplace strategy at Coolfire Media, a creative development studio in St. Louis. Bernstein will fill the position left vacant by Matt Menietti, who left Capital Innovators to join SixThirty, Cultivation Capital’s new financial tech services accelerator spearheaded by Jim McKelvey.

Capital Innovators' newest class. Courtesy of Capital Innovators

Members of the five companies accepted into the fall Accelerator Program. Courtesy of Capital Innovators

Ten days later, Capital Innovators announced the companies accepted into its Fall 2013 Accelerator Program. The five companies—RoverTown, Symvato, Pixel Press, HealthyMe and Kingdom Scene Endeavors—receive $50,000 seed money, free office space in Downtown St. Louis, access to mentors, web hosting, networking and follow-up funding opportunities in exchange for 5 percent to 10 percent equity.

BioGenerator Expanding
BioGenerator is tripling the size of its Accelerator Labs, and investing $2.5 million to do it. The labs—which house early-stage bioscience companies—are located on the third floor of the CORTEX 1 building. The expansion is in response to increased demand and will grow the labs from 5,443 square feet to 17,383 square feet. The expected completion date is early 2014. They’re also loosening their belt at the Center for Emerging Technology where their 13 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence are housed. That space will be enlarged from 1,900 square feet to 4,372 square feet.

Crowdfunding Gets Personal
St. Louisan Robert Becker is putting a new spin on the crowdfunding model; the personal touch. Dreamfund.me, Becker’s new crowd funding platform, works with clients on a one-on-one, long-term basis to offer guidance on their campaigns to raise funds. The website targets St. Louis-area entrepreneurs to ensure that Becker can be involved in each campaign. Becker will take a 5 or 10 percent commission, depending on whether a campaign is “All or nothing,” or “Flexible.” The site is up and running, but money can’t be raised until the launch October 11.

St. Louisan Trep of the Year
Chad Stiening has been named the 2013 Governor’s Entrepreneur of the Year. The honor was announced by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. Stiening helms Kypha, an early-stage St. Louis-based startup that works on developing medical diagnostic devices to monitor inflammation. The award is given to an entrepreneur who has demonstrated significant leadership in launching a new business, creating private sector employment opportunities through an innovative business concept, or developing a new technology or adopting/applying an innovative manufacturing process. In 2011, Kypha relocated to St. Louis from Kentucky after getting funding from BioGenerator and an investment from Missouri Technology Corporation.

Jurassic Parking
After a long summer of pulling all-nighters hunched over computers and grabbing a bite of fuzzy pizza found in a discarded pizza box the corner, T-Rexers are ready to party. The T-Rex End of Summer BBQ will take place this Friday, Sept. 20 on the top level of the 7th Street Parking Garage, located between Olive and Pine streets. The shindig will feature live music and a hot grill. You bring your own meat or veggies for the BBQ, whatever you want to drink, and your own cool self. All are invited.

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