• New $5 Million Fund Promises To Take Startups To The Next Level

    Aug 18, 2017

    ST. LOUIS, Aug 18, 2017 –The St. Louis Regional Chamber, in partnership with Cultivation Capital, Twain Financial Partners and local banks, will open up $5 million in new seed capital for the region’s highest impact startups. The Spirit of St. Louis Fund I is part of the Chamber’s strategic efforts to create jobs and attract investment through entrepreneurship and innovation. Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan announced the Fund’s launch during its 180th Annual Event celebration at Chaifetz Arena Thursday night.

    Based on its research and feedback from St. Louis area startups, the Chamber discovered St. Louis suffers from a seed round funding gap known as the “valley of death.” The St. Louis region has created a robust network of accelerator programs to get startups going, and has also made solid progress toward making later rounds of financing available to companies heading to market. But seed round funding is necessary to help promising startup companies invest in the jobs and infrastructure needed to take their businesses to the next level.

    Since 2013, the Chamber has deployed over $1 million in capital funding to area funds and accelerators, which has turned into over 600 high-paying jobs and nearly $100 million in new capital investment for startup businesses. Nationally recognized funds and accelerators SixThirty, 630 Cyber, Stadia Ventures, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, the Yield Lab, and the St. Louis Fashion Fund are among the Chamber’s successful investment portfolio. This is the Chamber’s first venture into seed round financing.

    “St. Louis has received great press and recognition for becoming a global startup hub, especially in areas like financial technology and biosciences, “said Chamber Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Andrew Smith. “But to help startups create new jobs and become the next Express Scripts or Boeing, we need to support them at every stage of growth. This is what the Spirit of St. Louis Fund I and the Chamber aims to do.”

    Applicants interested Spirit of St. Louis Fund I seed rounding funding can contact Cultivation Capital to discuss eligibility. Find out more at www.cultivationcapital.com.

  • SixThirty Launches New Cybersecurity Startup Accelerator

    Jun 06, 2016

    SixThirty, the global financial technology (FinTech) venture fund and accelerator based out of St. Louis, today announced the launch of SixThirty CYBER, a cybersecurity-focused fund and accelerator that plans to invest $10 million into cybersecurity startups over the next five years.

    SixThirty CYBER is based on the same successful principles as the SixThirty FinTech Accelerator, launched in 2013 by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Cultivation Capital.  SixThirty CYBER will accept five startups in each of two classes per year from hundreds of global applications, beginning in the fall of 2016. Each of the startups selected to participate in the program will receive an investment up to $200,000 and will take part in a fourteen-week accelerator program that will offer hands-on training, mentoring and business development support.

    “The conditions in St. Louis that made our FinTech business development accelerator so successful are the same ones that will lead to the success of the CYBER program,” said Brian Mathews, Managing Partner of Cultivation Capital, a founding partner of SixThirty CYBER.

    SixThirty Managing Partner Atul Kamra, noted, “Investing in B2B FinTech startups and teams has taught us that three factors drive their growth and acceleration: access to decision makers, a dogged focus on customer revenue, and mentors with operating experience.”  The community-based approach, providing startups access to Edwards Jones, MasterCard, RGA, Scottrade, UMB and Wells Fargo Advisors, among others, has proven to be a great fit for the St. Louis region’s corporate assets and culture.

    A growing number of SixThirty’s hundreds of applicants each year are focused on cybersecurity solutions, making it an ideal organization to help foster innovation.  “We have a proven model and experience in operating accelerators and a natural flow of cybersecurity startups,” added Kamra.  “We decided to invite partners that are experts in the space to leverage our deal flow and launch a dedicated cybersecurity fund.” Other general partners include Brian O’Reilly of Collingwood LLC, John True of Cultivation Capital’s TechFund II and Jason Clark, currently the Chief Innovation Officer at Optiv, and formerly Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Websense, Emerson Electric and the New York Times. Jason is also co-founder & President of the CYBER accelerator’s strategic partner Security Advisor Alliance, representing a sounding board and potential customer base of CISOs from some of the largest U.S. companies.

    “St. Louis employers across all of our targeted growth industries – logistics, health, biosciences, and financial services – have shown themselves to be open to working with innovative new companies,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.  “With SixThirty Cyber, we are leveraging that great cooperation by connecting cyber security startups with potential customers, just as we have been doing with financial service startups.”  The Regional Chamber was the first investor to commit to the new accelerator from its Spirit of St. Louis Ventures fund, and is making a three-year equity investment to the program.

    SixThirty co-founding General Partner Jay DeLong was tapped to manage the new CYBER fund. He emphasizes that, in addition to the corporate sector, SixThirty CYBER will provide access to federal sector customers as well.  “While the financial services corporate sector continues as an obvious market for many cyber startups, healthcare, IT, manufacturing, defense and federal agencies also face regular risk of a cyber attack.  For SixThirty, that’s what makes the Collingwood (Washington D.C.-based Collingwood LLC) partnership so critical. They represent an incredibly important bridge to the federal market.”

    The bi-state St. Louis region is home to two cyber commands at Scott Air Force Base, the western campus of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), and the newly formed Midwest Cyber Center of Excellence, all of which present strong business opportunities for the startups selected to participate in the accelerator.  SixThirty CYBER also sees the potential for strong collaboration with strategic partner Security Advisor Alliance.

    The first class will begin in September, 2016, and will be housed in the T-REX co-working space in downtown St. Louis. Applications for the program are being accepted at www.sixthirtycyber.com until July 12th.