Tag: startups



ITEN, the IT Entrepreneur Network, has been a catalyst of the St. Louis region’s IT startup ecosystem since its founding in 2008. ITEN cultivates startups from the idea stage to successful business platforms. ITEN’s success in developing startups has long been rooted in mentorship: successful entrepreneurs and business people have played a role in guiding new companies through their early stages. The mentorship process has been successful in sprouting a network of interconnected entrepreneurs and resources. With the focus on keeping talented entrepreneurs in the St. Louis area, ITEN offers long-term engagement with the entrepreneur which includes numerous opportunities for education and personal growth.

Our team has met with Francis Chmelir, the executive director of ITEN, to discuss how to best move ITEN forward in a changing technological environment.

iten_logo-copyThe fundamental goals of ITEN remain intact from its initiation: connect talented entrepreneurs with each other and with mentors; educate entrepreneurs in how to best navigate early-stage business; and facilitate entrepreneurs’ relationship with St. Louis in a way that incentivizes talent to stay local.

Our team’s plan of attack will cover three general areas; together we will address ITEN’s current concerns and ensure ITEN’s continued success in the St. Louis startup ecosystem.

  • First, we will investigate ITEN’s corporate engagement initiative. In doing this, we will assess the availability of specific partnerships that ITEN can tap into, along with participation incentives for both entrepreneurs and mentors.
  • Next, we will assess the potential for local collaboration on data management and administration. Ideally, we would like to figure out a way to streamline all of St. Louis startup data to facilitate collaboration between groups.
  • Lastly, we will perform a high-level analysis of ecosystems in other similarly-situated cities. We hope to learn from the ITENs of other cities to inform our path forward to assist ITEN as best we can.

We look forward to working closely with Francis throughout the semester and uncovering ways ITEN can continue to reach its full potential in St. Louis!

Our CELect team includes: Danny Kraus (JD ‘17), Andrew Polansky (JD/MBA ‘18), Alana Siegel (JD/MBA ‘17), and Michael Washington (JD ‘ 18).




Radhika Ghai Aggarwal, MBA 2002, Chief Business Officer and Co-founder, Shopclues, is featured as one of five “women-led startups smashing the glass ceiling in India,” in a column by Suparna Dutt D’Cunha, a contributor to Forbes.

“She’s the first Indian woman to break into the unicorn club. Valued at over $1 billion, Shopclues is one of India’s home-grown e-commerce stars. Started in 2011, along with Sanjay Sethi (CEO), ShopClues becomes the ninth startup to join India’s unicorn club by raising about $150 million from Singapore government’s GIC and its existing investors Tiger Global and Nexus Venture Partners last year. What started with a team of 10 is now a 1,000-strong organisation.

“Prior to starting Shopclues, Aggarwal, a management graduate from Washington University, worked for diverse sectors including retail, e-commerce, fashion and lifestyle with companies such as Nordstrom and Goldman Sachs in the U.S. She looks after branding, marketing, acquisitions, sales, hiring and product mix at ShopClues.

“There has never has been a better time than now to do any kind of business in India,” said Aggarwal. The e-tailer has about 350,000 small and medium sellers on the platform, and 14 million registered users.

“But, do people still stereotype the woman entrepreneur? ‘It’s not as much about stereotyping. The challenges are the same in entrepreneurship, man or woman. The only challenge is that because there are so few of us, people end up asking questions like, ‘How do you ensure work-life balance?’ You need a support system at home and work as your responsibilities grow.'”

Link to Forbes article.

CATEGORY: Career, Global

The Midwest is known as the breadbasket of the United States. Food production was, and continues to be, critical to the growth and development of the United States and nations around the world. As global food scarcity becomes an increasingly urgent issue, governments will grapple with viable methods to increase sustainably the global food supply.

Yield LabYield Lab is an accelerator for agricultural technology startups. The companies in its portfolio receive seed funding and business mentoring in the hopes of harvesting innovations that seek to either increase agricultural yields for farmers or bring efficient solutions in the field. Increasing agricultural yields will grow the global food supply and will have a marked effect in staving off alarming levels of world hunger.

Yield Lab is currently cultivating 15 startups. Each is geared toward assisting farmers to optimize their food production. The Yield Lab recently expanded its operations overseas to Galway, Ireland and, in February 2017, admitted three new startup companies into its accelerator program.

The portfolio is diverse and ranges from a company like Holganix, which produces a 100%-natural bio-nutritional product that promotes strong plant health and sustainable soils while reducing the need for traditional fertilizers and pesticides, to Aptimmune that specializes in the development and application of prophylactic measures against viral diseases of swine.

As part of Washington University’s “CELect” entrepreneur consulting course with Professor Cliff Holekamp, law students Harshil Shukla and Spenser Owens teamed with undergraduate business students Kyle Birns and Josh Moskow to assist local agricultural technology accelerator, Yield Lab, in identifying meaningful ways of collecting and reporting environmental, social, and economic impact metrics to investors.

More information about the Yield Lab can be found at http://www.theyieldlab.com.

Blog post by: Kyle Birns (BSBA’17), Josh Moskow (BSBA’17), Harshil Shukla (JD’18), and Spenser Owens (JD’18).




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

CATEGORY: News



Brian Lunt, (PMBA 2011),  wants to focus on the positive, entrepreneurial spirit that is flourishing in St. Louis.

He left banking to launch a business incubator in north St. Louis County called Medici MediaSpace. He also has a website called Top50STL that highlights positive stories about the region. A column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Lunt sees entrepreneurs as the saviors of St. Louis.

“I think the entrepreneurial undercurrent we have going on right now is the most exciting thing to happen in St. Louis in decades,” Lunt says. “We need to throw some fire on it.”

Link to Tony Messnger’s column

CATEGORY: Career, News