• Spirit of St. Louis Ventures Completes Investment in Yield Lab Ireland

    Sep 13, 2017

    ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI/GALWAY, IRELAND – Spirit of St. Louis Ventures, the investment arm of the St. Louis Regional Chamber, today completed its investment in The Yield Lab Ireland, an agriculture technology venture fund and business accelerator located in Galway, Ireland. The announcement was made today during the 9th Annual Ag Innovation Showcase at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

    Spirit of St. Louis Ventures is part of the Chamber’s commitment to backing entrepreneurs and their investors who are scaling new enterprises and high-quality jobs.  Over the last four years, the Chamber, through Spirit of St. Louis Ventures, has invested $1 million in business accelerators that collectively have graduated over 85 startups employing over 600 people.

    One of those accelerators is The Yield Lab in St. Louis, an early-stage venture fund and business accelerator that invests $100,000 in food and agricultural technology (AgTech) startups, provides one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities supported by agriculture focused organizations and businesses from the St. Louis region. Agriculture is a leading industry in the U.S. Midwest, with extensive business connections to the St. Louis region and beyond. The diverse talent, central location, and solid business community support makes the St. Louis region a leading market for AgTech expansion.  The Yield Lab Ireland marks the European expansion of The Yield Lab in St Louis with the establishment its Irish operations.

    “The Yield Lab Ireland is a natural fit for Spirit of St. Louis Ventures,” said Andrew Smith, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the St. Louis Regional Chamber.  “Our region has emerged as arguably the global epicenter of AgTech. This investment allows us to leverage a core economic strength while sharing the St. Louis innovation story with a global audience.  From an economic development standpoint, it places us in a strong position to be able to attract AgTech companies looking for a North American headquarters to St. Louis and serve as a bridge for AgTech companies based here with access to the European market.”

    The Yield Lab Ireland has been established on the same building blocks and strategy of sourcing, transacting, and mentoring as the Yield Lab in St. Louis. The fund has already invested in four companies and is accepting applications now for the next cohort of investments.   Each food and AgTech startup will receive up to €100,000 and participate in a six-month accelerator program in Ireland, London and St. Louis.

    “We brought an intense focus on increasing commerce between Ireland and the United States during my time as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland,” said Kevin O’Malley, a St. Louis attorney who served as ambassador from 2014-2017.  “I’m proud St. Louis is the global home for The Yield Lab and Galway is their gateway to Ireland and the European Union. It’s also inspiring to see our St. Louis Regional Chamber demonstrate a global mindset with this significant equity investment.”

    The PorterShed innovation hub shares the qualities of the Helix Center at 39 North, the innovation center where The Yield Lab is based in St. Louis.   Galway and St. Louis have a strong relationship as Sister Cities. With Brexit, Ireland is positioned well for international trade as the only English-speaking country in the European Union

    “We are excited to have the support of Spirit of St. Louis Ventures and the St Louis Regional Chamber,” said Paul Finnerty, CEO of The Yield Lab Ireland.  “This is a strong endorsement of our strategy and of the track record of The Yield Lab team.”

    About the St. Louis Regional Chamber

    We are a broad community of leaders committed to inspiring a greater St. Louis and growing the bi-state region’s economy. Our goal is to make St. Louis one of the top-ten most economically prosperous regions in the U.S. by 2025. Driving economic development is about putting people first. When we work together and achieve our goal, the St. Louis region will be a more inclusive and attractive place to live, work and invest for all people.  This is our strategy to achieve our goal:  First, strengthen the economic clusters where we are already strong and have global potential for growth – financial services, health, logistics, and biosciences.  Second, create new economic opportunities and mobility by leading initiatives to achieve greater education attainment, inclusion and talent attraction, entrepreneurship and innovation. Third, advocate for forward-thinking economic policies that result in racial equity, a more safe and secure region and substantial investments our region’s infrastructure. Learn more at www.stlregionalchamber.com.

    For questions, contact 
    Courtney Mueller at (314) 660-1518 or cmueller@vectorstl.com.

  • Chamber Statement on Pending Stockley Decision

    Sep 08, 2017

    We do not know when the judge will rule in the Stockley criminal trial, how he will rule, or what the reaction will be to the verdict. The verdict, whatever it may be, will trigger a reaction from people who agree with it, and a stronger reaction from those who disagree. Mayor Krewson released a video this week, speaking to people on both sides of the divide. If you have a few minutes, I think it is worth watching.

    We believe it is important to recognize the valid frustrations felt by many in the community who lack trust in the justice system, while calling on protesters to refrain from violence or damage to the community.  We also want to support the Mayor and the City of St. Louis as they do their jobs keeping the peace. That is why we believe it is important to communicate a short message to our members and the community before the judge reads his verdict.

    Our region has been through a great deal in the last three years. We have rightly challenged each other to live up to our values of equal opportunity and justice for all.  The vast majority of good-hearted St. Louisans know that our community still has much work to do to eliminate racial disparities and restore community trust in our system of justice.

    The decision in the Stockley case will test our community again. Opinions on the verdict – whatever it is – will be divided. That does not mean the people who disagree with you are wrong. It means they have a different perspective based on their own experiences. The verdict may once more reveal valid frustrations and remind us that we still have a way to go to find authentic St. Louis solutions to restoring trust and bridging the gaps between us. But we must also remind each other about the individuals and organizations that are actively working to create positive change in our region. And, those of us in the private sector should redouble our commitment to doing what we can to make St. Louis a fair place for everyone.

    After the verdict, some of our friends and neighbors will exercise their right to assemble and be heard. You may agree with them, or you may not. We echo Mayor Krewson’s request that you take a moment to listen to someone who views the verdict differently than you do. Either way, we ask everyone to respect the right for all Americans— even those we disagree with— to assemble and be heard.

    While people have a right to protest, they do not have a right to hurt someone else or their property. So, we call on those demonstrating to refrain from violence that further divides and wounds our community.

    We respect the challenges faced by law enforcement officers who go in harm’s way to protect us. We will once again put them in the very difficult position of protecting the rights of demonstrators while also keeping people and property safe. Their professionalism and training will serve them well. 

    We believe St. Louis, like America, has a long way to go before the American dream is within reach for everyone. The reaction to the verdict won't just be about the legal case itself. It will be a reflection of how many people feel about their own everyday lives.  But, we also believe in the good hearts and intentions of the vast majority of St. Louisans of all beliefs. Together, we will overcome these obstacles and create a better, fairer and more just place for our children and grandchildren.