Tag: Arch Grants

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

HummingbirHummingbird logod Technologies is creating a system that will grow fresh vegetables, spices, and herbs right on your kitchen counter – green thumb not required! Danny Varghese, MBA’16, is CFO of the startup that won an Arch Grants last year.  (more…)

Invisible Girlfriend, winner of the 2013 St. Louis Startup Weekend and an Arch Grant earlier this year, was co-founded by WashU alumni Matthew Homann, (JD ’93) and Kyle Tabor, PMBA ’13. The service which also offers Invisible Boyfriend, allows customers to create a pretend boyfriend or girlfriend who “exists” on social media including text and phone messages sent to the customer.

Innovoxstl.com reports that the company is changing its name to Invisible Industries and looking to expand its services. Tabor is quoted as saying, “We decided to change the name because frankly, a lot of people laughed at the original name. And we view it as much more serious.”

Invisible Girlfriend employees communicate with customers via text message to help them avoid the “social stigma of being single.” The company also says the service helps people navigate the ever-changing dating scene by providing a safe place to communicate with a real person via text.




Stop by Whispers Cafe in Olin Library Friday, Feb. 13  from 10:30 to noon and meet Ginger Imster, the Executive Director at Arch Grants.  The Skandalaris Center sponsors “Coffee with a Mentor” every other Friday at Whispers. No appointment or reservation necessary.

Ginger Imster

Ginger Imster

About Ginger Imster
As the Executive Director, Ginger Imster is tasked with the strategy, fundraising, and day-to-day management of Arch Grants. Ginger Imster has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including extensive experience working with volunteers, boards, and the St. Louis philanthropic community.

Previously, Ginger was the Director of Development at City Academy, an education startup located on the City’s north side. While there, Ginger managed a $25 million comprehensive campaign inclusive of endowment.

Ginger is a past President of the St. Louis Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and she currently serves on either the advisory board or Board of Directors of the Bellefontaine Cemetery Association, ITEN, St. Louis Makes, STL 250, and the Visiting Nurses Association. She received certification as a fund raising executive (CFRE) in 2004. A Missouri native, Ginger received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Ginger’s favorite area of St. Louis is the Delmar Loop because of the fantastic food and great people watching!

Watch Ed Domain’s interview with Ginger Imster on Techli.

Image:  duncan c, Latte art at Freestate Coffee Flickr, Creative Commons

Arch Grants will begin accepting applications to its Global Startup Competition on January 1st, 2015. Arch Grants is a nonprofit organization accelerating economic development by providing $50,000 equity-free grants to entrepreneurs willing to locate their businesses in St. Louis. The program is an aggressive effort to inspire the next generation of employers, civic leaders, and philanthropists for the St. Louis region.

Previous Arch Grants Global Startup Competitions have attracted some of the world’s brightest entrepreneurs from a wide array of industries. The organization has awarded $3.1 million in non-dilutive grants to 55 startup businesses since its 2012 launch.

archgrants2014logo“Arch Grants companies have produced dramatic growth in jobs, revenue, and follow-on capital raised,” said Arch Grants Executive Director Ginger Imster. “We are pleased to begin accepting applications from companies that we know will be additive to our entrepreneur network in St. Louis.”

A community of experts from various backgrounds will evaluate applications in the early rounds of the competition. Finalists will then be invited to St. Louis to pitch their businesses to the newly formed Competition Committee. Recipients will be announced in June.

Pat Doherty of Saturday Capital and Think Big Partners will Chair the Arch Grants Competition Committee, which boasts representation by many of the most active players in venture capital, angel investment, and academic institutions in St. Louis. The Competition Committee will include:

  • Dan Broderick of BioSTL
  • Dedric Carter of Washington University in St. Louis
  • Helen Ciesielski of Ascension Health Ventures
  • David Dankmyer of Matter Family Office
  • Pat Doherty of Think Big Partners and Saturday Capital
  • Jennifer Ehlen of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs and Thompson Street Capital Partners
  • Jerry Katz of St. Louis University and the Billiken Angel Network
  • Mark Lewis of LockerDome
  • Kathryn Elliott Love of Bryan Cave
  • Tony Metzner of Advantage Capital Partners
  • Ryan Rakestraw of Cultivation Capital
  • Thad Simons of The Yield Lab
  • Heather Wood formerly of Cequel III

“Over 200 judges from throughout the St. Louis region will assist with the initial evaluation of applicants,” explained Pat Doherty. “The Committee’s role will be to select and interview finalists, then bring our recommendations of Arch Grants Recipients to the Arch Grants Board of Directors, which will then select Recipients.”

The 2015 competition will open January 1st and will accept applications throughout the year. Funding announcements will be made in June and November of 2015.

“We’re excited by the Board’s vision for a more entrepreneur-centric competition schedule, and by the caliber of the volunteers who have joined the Competition Committee under Pat’s leadership,” said Ben Burke, Director of Entrepreneurship for Arch Grants. “Interested applicants can go to our website for more details.”

Funders for the 2015 competition include Advantage Capital Partners, Emerson, Monsanto, the SLDC, and Thompson Coburn. Missouri Technology Corporation, the Economic Development Partnership, and DowntownSTL are also major underwriters of Arch Grants. Arch Grants is actively fundraising for the competition and donors interested in making a commitment can find more information on the Arch Grants website.

Previous Arch Grants Recipients include simMachines, FoodEssentials, and Sparo Labs, all of which have made headlines recently because of their innovative businesses and rapid growth. To learn more about previous Arch Grants recipients, visit www.archgrants.org.

In 2014, eight Wash U-related startups received $50,000 Arch Grants. Read about the companies here.

Click here to apply to the Arch Grants Global Startup Competition.

Important Dates for the Spring 2015 Competition:
Applications Open: January 1st, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Early Application Deadline: February 28th, 2015 at 11:59 PM
Final Application Deadline: March 31st, 2015 at 11:59 PM
Finalist Pitch Days: March 5th, April 2nd, and May 7th, 2015
First Day of Incubation: June 18th, 2015

Editor’s Note: This post replaces and corrects an earlier version that incorrectly stated Jan. 1, 2015 as the deadline for applications.

Dawn Manske and Richard Ockers, MBA’15 of the Arch Grants-winning startup team Made for Freedom are the guests this week on the Domain Tech Report on Techli.com.

Dawn shares her startup’s backstory and why she wanted to create a company that provides dignified employment for survivors of sex trafficking. Richard talks about why he joined the company before starting his MBA at Olin. The company benefited from Olin’s Hatchery course and won a $25,000 award in the YouthBridge SEIC competition.

Made for Freedom® is a St. Louis-based social enterprise that sells globally-inspired fashion apparel and accessories both online and through boutiques in order to employee marginalized women and empower survivors of sex-trafficking.