Tag: Arch Grants

Arch Grant recipients Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15, Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.

Three startups spawned on the WashU campus joined the latest class of 20 companies to receive Arch Grants worth $50,000 each. All three companies were launched through Olin’s Hatchery course, one of the longest-running entrepreneurship courses in the United States.

The three Arch Grants recipients established at WashU are:

Balto, founded by Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15. The company markets software that uses artificial intelligence to improve the success rate of sales reps working in call centers.

CheckTheQ, founded by Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17. The company has created a monitoring system that delivers real-time information on wait times at airport security to airport operations.

GiftAMeal, founded by Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17. The company markets a mobile app that helps provide a meal to someone in need each time a user takes a photo on its app at a partner restaurant.

“The entrepreneurial drive of these young alums, and the progress they are making with their companies is really remarkable,” said Cliff Holekamp, professor of practice in entrepreneurship, who teaches the Hatchery course. “It wasn’t that long ago that these students were sharing their new business ideas with me in my office, now to see them win Arch Grants is very exciting and a meaningful validation of the traction they are making with their companies.”

The three companies, along with 17 others, learned they’d each receive the $50,000 grant on November 16 at the Arch Grants gala, according to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Arch Grants organization does not take an ownership stake in the companies it supports, but does require them to operate for at least a year from St. Louis in order to qualify for the money.

The Olin Hatchery course involves student teams that work on a commercial or social venture idea proposed by a student or community entrepreneur. The students work to produce two presentations to a panel of judges and a complete business plan for the startup enterprise. The course is open to any WashU student who has taken the prerequisites.

Watch the Arch Grants video about all the 2018 grant recipients.

Pictured above: Arch Grant recipients Marc Bernstein, BSBA ’15, Adam Hoffman, BSBA ’17, and Andrew Glantz, BSBA ’17.


Arch Grants is practically synonymous with the St. Louis startup community. And Ben Burke, MBA’14, director of entrepreneurship at Arch Grants, is at the center of that synergy. He orchestrates many of the connections that fuel the burgeoning startup community here that is attracting entrepreneurs from around the world.

Burke joined Arch Grants in 2013, a year after it was launched as a nonprofit organization dedicated to “building a new economy by providing $50,000 equity-free grants and pro bono support services to entrepreneurs who locate their early-stage businesses in St. Louis.”

Through its competitive Global Startup Competition, Arch Grants attracts innovative entrepreneurs to the St. Louis region with the goal of keeping their startups here to grow a new economy of  innovative companies.

According to its 2016 Annual Report, Arch Grants has awarded $5.2 million in equity free grants to 96 startup businesses in St. Louis that, in turn, have created more than 1,000 jobs in since 2012, and generated over $51 million in economic output for the St. Louis region in 2016 alone. (source: Arch Grants Annual Report.)

Ben Burke is the guest on the latest episode of STL Community Cast, a podcast that created by Drew Davis who talks with innovative leaders in St. Louis. Give it a listen or check it out on Soundcloud.




Arch Grants launched its 2017 Global Startup Competition application cycle and will award up to twenty $50,000 equity-free cash grants and pro bono support services to innovative and scalable startups that agree to locate their business in St. Louis for at least one year. Through the industry-agnostic Global Startup Competition, Arch Grants funds innovative technologies, products, and services wrapped within scalable business models that have the potential to make a national or international impact.

The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition will be open from March 1 to May 15, 2017.

As a nonprofit organization, Arch Grants accelerates economic development in St. Louis by funding for-profit companies in order to retain and attract the most innovative entrepreneurs to the St. Louis region. “Arch Grants offers a unique opportunity to startups by offering equity-free cash, pro bono services, and access to the fastest growing startup city in the nation to help entrepreneurs build their companies with a solid foundation to open up space for them to take risks where they need to,” says Interim Executive Director Ben Burke (Olin PMBA’14).

Tyler King - headshotTyler King, Co-Founder and CEO of Less Annoying CRM , a 2014 Arch Grants Recipient from California, speaks from experience, “We moved here after we looked at all the pros and cons of cities across the U.S. The number one key for us was building a great team, and St. Louis is the best place to build a great team.“ With the advantage of dozens of four-year colleges, universities and Fortune 1,000 companies, St. Louis couples its low cost-of-living with access to talent, expertise, and business development opportunities.

Since 2012, Arch Grants has awarded more than $5.2 million in cash grants to 96 startup businesses that were ready to call St. Louis home. With the help of their program and support services, these companies have gone on to retain over 330 jobs, generate nearly $50 million in revenue, and attract over $100 million in follow-on capital.

This regional impact can be Christina Hawatmeh - headshottraced to the impact that the organization has on its Recipients. “Arch Grants fast forwarded everything we were doing. We got our first client, we hired our first full time employee, and have expanded into a totally different network,” shares Christina Hawatmeh, Founder and CEO of Scopio , a 2015 Arch Grants Recipient from New York.

Among the many reasons to choose St. Louis for your startup, the sense of community and low degrees of separation in St. Louis are two factors that Arch Grants helps amplify.

Pravina Pindoria - headshotPravina Pindoria, Founder and CMO of Tallyfy , a 2014 Arch Grants Recipient from England, shares that “as soon as we landed, they [Arch Grants] said, ‘Who would you like to speak to?’ Within a couple of weeks, we had these warm introductions made with the C-suites of Emerson, Purina, and Nestle.” Pindoria says. “The sense of community spirit fostered between Arch Grants and these corporations in town is pretty incredible.”

The organization understands the benefits of creating an inclusive community, a result supported by a 2015 study by McKinsey & Co. that found “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

“We’re proud of the fact that 68% of Arch Grants Recipients are led or co-led by a women, person of color, immigrant, or veteran entrepreneur.” says Dalychia Saah, the Global Startup Competition Manager. “To Arch Grants, diversity is not about brownie points, it’s about innovation that stems from people with differing backgrounds working together to solve problems.”

The Arch Grants Global Startup Competition will be open until May 15th. Arch Grants Recipients will be announced to the public at their Annual Arch Grants Gala on November 3rd.

Interested entrepreneurs can check out the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition today and learn more at archgrants.org .

Source: Arch Grants News Release

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work on a challenging entrepreneurial consulting assignment through WashU’s Center for Experiential Learning (CEL)  CELect course. Our team of two MBA students, one graduate law student, and one undergraduate student, was assigned to a consulting project with Arch Grants to identify how the non-profit organization Arch Grants can continue to advance economic development in the St. Louis region by attracting innovative entrepreneurs.

The Client
Arch Grants is a non-profit organization that provides $50,000 equity-free grants and pro bono support services to attract and retain entrepreneurial talent in the St. Louis area. Founded in 2011, Arch Grants launched its international Business Plan Competition as a strategy to build the next generation of successful businesses within the St. Louis region.

Each year, Arch Grants hosts a competitive Global Startup Competition to identify innovative and scalable startups with the potential to make national or international impact. The recipients of the grants are required to locate or relocate their businesses to St. Louis for at least one year. These winners are chosen by the board and undergo a vetting process by experts, community members and venture capitalists in the region. This program is an aggressive effort to inspire and attract the next generation of employers, civic leaders, and philanthropists to St. Louis.

Five years ago, Missouri was ranked as the next-to-worst state in terms of its entrepreneurial activity and as large corporations left St. Louis or merged with companies headquartered elsewhere in the wake of the recession, Arch Grants was founded to attract and retain high-growth companies to drive economic development efforts throughout the St. Louis region. Through their relentless work, Arch Grants and their community of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, accelerators, and incubators have created a name for St. Louis as one of the top rising entrepreneurial economies. Arch Grants hopes to boost this ranking further and attract greater talent to St. Louis, hence the purpose of this consulting project.

The Approach
Our team embarked on this journey with a standard kick off meeting with Ben Burke, Director of Entrepreneurship, at Arch Grants. The meeting was focused on gathering requirements and understanding Ben’s expectations about the deliverables. His primary goal was to make Arch Grant’s business model more successful and sustainable through effective capital allocation. The project required a few brainstorming sessions, and some ideas were deemed to be out of scope. We then performed extensive research and created a cost-benefit analysis for each in-scope idea to gauge the viability of success, focusing on its impact to the St. Louis entrepreneurial community and in line with Arch Grant’s objectives. Looking forward, we will continue to research our ideas, focusing on external validation and implementation of those ideas as final deliverables.

The Experience                 
This project has been a challenging, engaging, and rewarding experience for all team members. It has required us to maneuver through a considerably open-ended problem statement to arrive at a succinct and realizable assignment given the limited time assigned for the project. We enjoyed the challenge of deriving the problem statement through multiple brainstorming sessions with Ben as much as we enjoyed brainstorming ideas to allocate capital effectively. Given that we had team members from diverse backgrounds, it was interesting to see how a single idea would be analyzed differently by each team member. The discussions, ultimately, were creative, unique, and insightful. Additionally, the team had the opportunity to explore the T-REX building, meet with successful startups and entrepreneurs, and learn from dedicated and seasoned entrepreneur and distinguished Professor Clifford Holekamp. Overall, this experience has considerably enriched our knowledge about St. Louis’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We look forward to presenting our findings to Ben and hope our recommendations will attract more innovative entrepreneurs to St. Louis.

Team blogger: Reekhia Basu, 
MBA ’17

Ife Albert, Law; Ariel Applebaum, A&S; Krunal Shah, MBA

The goal of Arch Grants is to create an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to build successful companies in St. Louis. By creating this entrepreneurial culture and bringing companies to St. Louis, Arch Grants has been able to aid in the economic development of downtown St. Louis. In order to continue the economic development of St. Louis, startups brought to St. Louis by Arch Grants need to be sustainable.

In attempting to help build St. Louis and position it as an innovation and entrepreneurship hub for the future, Arch Grants has raised a question about how they could best fund entrepreneurs.

archgrantsLOGOWe, as a team, are helping Arch Grants make an informed decision on this question. We intend to integrate rather scattered data on what St. Louis can offer startups from four different perspectives: financial, human, infrastructural support and customer base. Through this asset mapping, we hope to address community needs and whether it is desirable for Arch Grants to take the industry-focused approach as a community development accelerator.

The team is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with Arch Grants in conjunction with Washington University in St. Louis and hopes to contribute to putting St. Louis on the map as the entrepreneurial heart of the Midwest.

CELect Team: Olivia Jones, JD; Victor Li Wang, BS; Tom Smith, PMBA; Hyeseung Suh, JD

Background: Arch Grants accelerates economic development and community revitalization in St. Louis through entrepreneurship and philanthropy, and most notably by providing $50,000 equity- free grants to early-stage entrepreneurs.

Project: Work with Arch Grants Staff to provide Staff and Board of Directors with the necessary evidence and economic landscaping needed in order to make the decision to move to a more industry-focused competition and program.

Guest blogger: Tom Smith