When the St. Louis Startup Roadshow landed in New York, Chicago and San Francisco in September, local startups weren’t sure what to expect. The Roadshow, hosted by the St. Louis Regional Chamber with Accelerate St. Louis, Ernst & Young, Southwest Airlines, Thomson Reuters and T-REX, took some of St. Louis’ most promising technology startups to private events in New York and Chicago and TechCrunch Disrupt - San Francisco. Are investors interested in St. Louis startups? The answer: a resounding “yes.”
As St. Louis startups want to grow their businesses and expand markets, the Roadshow takes them directly to growth opportunities around the country and world. In New York and Chicago, startups presented to potential investors and customers at events hosted by the Chamber and partners. The Roadshow hosted a pavilion at the TechCrunch Disrupt - San Francisco conference, where emerging startups from across the globe convened to debut their companies, share innovations and connect to investors. St. Louis was the only regional pavilion at Disrupt; all others were foreign countries.
Key Please, a St. Louis-based automated rental access management service aimed at the global explosion of peer-to-peer rental services and practices, was one of the companies on the Roadshow to tap into the international market. “We were able to get customers from Spain, France and California because of TechCrunch exposure,” said Co-Founder and CEO Divyesh Panchal. “Turkish tech news company Webrazzi did an interview with us and within 48 hours we received interest from large property management firms around Europe. We are now working with several firms with 10,000+ rental properties to integrate our product.” We now believe Keybot can help automate access for rental owners and property managers all over the world.
Bandura Systems, a local cybersecurity startup, claimed they had “U.S. and international investors lined up to talk to us before we got off the stage” in New York. Bandura announced a partnership with an insurance company to mitigate cyber risk by providing Bandura's IP and domain-blocking service to its cyber insured.
Other participating startups also made similar connections and gained opportunities on the Roadshow. Reblaze, a cloud-based web security company, made presentations to several companies and financial institutions, as well as a well-known venture capitalist in New York. “In addition to these, I also had promising discussions with international investors from London and Belgium,” said Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder Tzury Bar Yochay. “Overall, I’m very happy with the opportunities that the roadshows provided for Reblaze.”
St. Louis Regional Chamber Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Andrew Smith says St. Louis startups have incredible products and value to offer major companies and venture capitalists. “As a Chamber, it is our job to create economic opportunities for these startups by taking them directly to the source. This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that people have come to expect from St. Louis’ supportive startup ecosystem.”
Other participating St. Louis startups included augmented reality technology startup Aisle411; virtual customer management company CogniCor; biotechnology startup Plastomics; visual marketing company Scopio; data optimization companies Ilerasoft, SensrTrx and Traaqr (which publicly launched while on the Roadshow); education startup MathBRIX; drone technology company Astral AR; financial services startups Lending Front, Painless 1099 and Assembly Payments; and cybersecurity and technology management startups Source Defense, AppsCo Inc., BotDoc and Trust Stamp.
In addition to investor opportunities, the Chamber’s economic development team forged a relationship with the Invest Consulate of Belgium to explore partnerships opportunities for international growth for St. Louis startups. If this is successful, this would add an international city to the Roadshow map. The Chamber has already established relationships with Ireland and India to promote startups and international market growth.