2017 Greater St. Louis Venture Capital Overview Supplemental Report: Equity and Inclusion in the St. Louis Venture Capital Ecosystem

by Andrew G. Smith | Nov 20, 2018
Over the last four years, the St. Louis startup ecosystem has experienced an extraordinary boom. Fueled by growth in the Agtech and Biotech sectors, area startups have reaped over $1 billion in venture capital investment during  that time. Even more encouraging, a number of high profile startups appear to be scaling aggressively and are poised for potential liquidity events in the next 18-24 months. As the ecosystem has matured, more and more observers have called attention to issues of racial equity and inclusion.

There are, however, a few underlying, structural challenges that are worth nothing: in particular, a decline in the overall number of deals, combined with a movement away from the earliest stages of investment. This could indicate a decreased appetite for risk among investors that, left unchecked, might disrupt the region’s decade-long surge in early stage capital- and company-formation. As noted in previous reports, the key metric to watch going forward will be the number of exits. In order for the region’s innovation economy to continue to thrive, entrepreneurs and investors must begin seeing an uptick in liquidity events. An exit is the ultimate “validation” for startups, and the data suggests that entrepreneurs and investors who succeed are likely to re-invest their capital back into more startups.

For purposes of this report — as with our VC Overview and Supplemental Agtech report — the St. Louis Regional Chamber has limited its analysis to those startups that have received venture financing during the last four years. While we acknowledge that this does not give the full picture of what is happening at the grassroots level, it is useful in terms of understanding the broad trends that are most likely to “move the needle,” in terms of the regional economy and business climate.

Read the full report

2017 Greater St. Louis Venture Capital Overview report

Read the 2017 Greater St. Louis Venture Capital Overview Supplemental Report: The Emerging Agtech Boom