After Two Years, St. Louis’ T-Rex Gets Even Bigger

T-Rex, St. Louis startups, startup space

Tyrannosaurus Rex is undisputably one of the biggest dinosaurs in the world. So naturally, St. Louis’ startup hub and incubator, called T-Rex, is just as large.

The T-Rex space in downtown St. Louis already houses 70 startups, five funding and mentoring groups, including the 630 Accelerator, as well as space for entrepreneurial and startup focused events. We’ve covered T-Rex startups quite a bit here at Nibletz.

Now, as the space celebrates its second year and milestones like growing from 6 startups to 70 startups, they’re naturally ready for a big expansion. On Tuesday they announced that they would be acquiring the Lammert Building at 911 Washington Avenue, also in downtown St. Louis, giving them a whopping 160,000 square feet for startup and entrepreneurial greatness.

“Our move to the Lammert Building will provide us with 160,000 sq/ft of space, which we need to continue fostering St. Louis’ entrepreneurial activity and bring more startups to the area,” said Jay De Long, Vice President of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and T-REX Board Member. “A more permanent home will also give us a focal point for new activities that were described in the recent Regional Entrepreneur Initiative.”

“The building will provide opportunities for us to deepen and broaden our mission, which will include a strong focus on digital design,” said Kevin Farrell, Senior Director of Economic Housing and Development for the Partnership of Downtown St. Louis.

As a sponsored project of the City of St. Louis, the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, T-REX was able to fund its acquisition and renovation of the Lammert Building through a variety of partnerships.

The funding support includes New Markets Tax Credits allocated by St. Louis Development Corporation, which raised a $1.7 million investment by St. Louis-based U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. The New Markets Tax Credits financing enabled T-REX to acquire the building and maintain its ability to provide stable, low-cost, and flexible membership to startup companies. These funds will also provide initial funding for tenant improvements.

“Many non-profits and incubators operate with a debt that hinders or slowly kills their mission,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “Similar to the first round of a capital campaign, these tax credits enable T-REX to grow expeditiously and still fulfill its purpose of providing below market-rate space and services to startup companies.”

“T-REX is a game-changer in attracting entrepreneurs to the downtown St. Louis region,” said Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation. “Because we think that T-REX is a great approach to business development in our area, we have been supportive of its mission with creative financing opportunities, and we’ll continue to support it in the future.”

They plan on starting renovation on the building immediately and plan to move into the building in early 2014.

Find out more about T-Rex here.

T-rex image at top:

St. Louis’ Capital Innovators Opens Up Applications For Spring 2014 Cohort

Capital Innovators, St.Louis startups, startup accelerator

St. Louis Capital Innovator’s accelerator program has opened up applications for their Spring 2014 program. This will be the 6th cohort to go through St.Louis’ highly successful program.

Capital Innovators is backed by the most influential people in the St. Louis startup ecosystem, including Jim McKelvey who is firmly planted in the startup community. We just reported last week on the inaugural cohort at the new SixThirty accelerator, an accelerator for fintech startups that takes its name from the height and width of St. Louis’ famous arch.

Capital Innovators provides $50,000 in seed funding for their startups and also provides them with project-based mentorship, collaborative learning, and more. The entire St.Louis startup community gels around each class in the Capital Innovators accelerator program, which is housed at the T-Rex startup, co-working, and incubation space downtown.

Our good friends at Bonfyre, who have provided the engagement app for our Everywhere Else national startup conferences, is an alumni of Capital Innovators. LockerDome, who’s founder Gabe Lozano was a big hit earlier this year at Everywhere Else conference in Memphis is also a graduate of Capital Innovators as are BidRazor, Adfreq, and many more.

Applications are being accepted through November 15th, and the cohort will be announced in January. Meanwhile, the current Fall 2013 cohort will graduate in December. We’ll be there to cover all the action. You may want to hurry up and apply now, before I decide to go and apply. Here’s the link.


Square’s Jim Mckelvey Spearheading Another St. Louis Tech Effort

Jim McKelvey, St. Louis startups, LaunchCode, developerAlthough based in Silicon Valley, Square’s co-founder Jim McKelvey continues to make waves in the St. Louis startup community. Just last week we reported on a new financial services startup accelerator called SixThirty. McKelvey is one of the founding partners of that accelerator.

He is also very active in Cultivation Capital and Arch Angels, St. Louis’ premier angel network. He sits on the board for both LockerDome and Bonfyre, two prominent St. Louis startups that we’ve covered a bunch here at Nibletz.

Next Tuesday McKelvey will hold a press conference in St. Louis to announce the complete details of his latest project called LaunchCode. McKelvey leads a group of St. Louis entrepreneurs in a collaborative effort to increase the region’s development talent base and strengthen the burgeoning startup and tech community.

Many coders possess great talent but lack the experience necessary to land a job. LaunchCode helps new coders overcome this hurdle by pairing them with experienced developers in companies that have job openings. Through pair programming – a system used in Silicon Valley involving two programmers, two keyboards, and one monitor – the new developer receives training and experience until he or she is up to speed and receives a full-time job. More than 50 St. Louis companies of all sizes, from Fortune 500 corporations to thriving startups, have already signed up. Employer companies include World Wide Technologies, Monsanto, Savvis, Enterprise, Build-a-Bear, Lockerdome, Express Scripts, and more.

McKelvey is joined by Chris Sommers (co-founder of Givver and Pi Pizzeria), Dan Lohman (co-founder of Pushup Social, and Lab 1500), and Chris Oliver (Lead Developer of Givver) on LaunchCode’s founding team.

With McKelvey’s multiple interests in the St. Louis startup community, fueling an effort to teach more developers is a natural step for the St. Louis startup community.

You can find out more about LaunchCode here




Triangle Startup Factory Considering St. Louis For Next Location

St. Louis startups, Triangle startup factory, Chris Heivly, startup eventTechstars, Dreamit Ventures, and even Bizdom are successfully running accelerator programs in multiple states. It’s a growing trend with accelerators that do well with their original programs, typically in their hometown.

The Triangle Startup Factory has been very successful over the past few years. It’s one of the more popular startup accelerators everywhere else. The program had its first cohort in the fall of 2012, and this spring they completed their third class. The Triangle Startup Factory infuses each company with $50,000 in seed capital and hands on mentorship from their network of active angels, successful founders, and experienced technology experts. This combination is often a recipe for a stellar program.

Chris Hievly, the co-founder off Mapquest and the co-founder and Managing Director at the Triangle Startup Factory will be in St. Louis on Wednesday for an evening startup and networking event called Plug in2 STL, according to The regional tech blog, founded by entrepreneur Edward Domain, says that Hievly is highly considering St. Louis for his next accelerator program, and those with creative startup ideas should attend the event to help court Hievly and the startup factory.

The free event also includes a tour of the new @4240 startup space. If you’re in the St. Louis area, you can get free tickets by following this link.


This huge national startup conference in Cincinnati is encouraging startups to “start where u are”


Take A Look At St.Louis’ Thriving Tech And Startup Scene INFOGRAPHIC

St. Louis startups,Iten,Lockerdome, St. Louis tech,arch angelsSt. Louis’ Information Technology Entrepreneur Network released a great infographic on Tuesday highlighting the goings on in St.Louis. This was just ahead of the Startup Connections conference that happened in St. Louis yesterday.

Although we’re not based there we do consider St. Louis one of our second startup and technology homes and even spotlight their tech scene, sometimes more than their own local sites. St. Louis is ripe for startups and entrepreneurs. In fact when looking at St. Louis from the outside, all of Brad Feld’s “Boulder Thesis” is in place in St. Louis.

Aside from that though, the infographic put together by iTen tells a great story. Take a look at some of these factoids.

  • New York’s cost of living is 145% higher than St. Louis
  • Seattle, Silicon Valley, Boston and Austin also have higher costs of living than St. Louis
  • Washington University (St. Louis) Entrepreneurship Program is ranked 6th in the nation
  • Missouri ranked top 10 (6th) in the Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Index
  • St. Louis has 9 strong investor firms
  • St. Louis startups have raised nearly half a billion dollars
We’ve covered some great startups in St. Louis. Lockerdome is a big success story in St. Louis, one that founder Gabe Lozano hopes to keep in St. Louis. In fact Lozano is speaking at “ The Startup Conference and App Fest” There are a lot of reasons to pay attention to the things going on in St. Louis. See for yourself, check out the infographic below:

St.Louis: New Venture Capital Group Cultivation Capital Announces First Three Investments

Yesterday we brought you the story of the exciting St.Louis startup LockerDome. LockerDome, the first social network for athletes (that’s been done right) has attracted the investment of Jim McKelvey, one of the co-founders of Square. LockerDome has so much going for it right now, that yesterday we asked is LockerDome the Groupon of St.Louis. Many folks from St.Louis chimed in on Twitter suggesting that LockerDome was even better than that.

Today we’re reporting on a new St. Louis venture capital group. Cultivation Capital has announced it’s first three investments. Not surprising, LockerDome is one of those investments.

Cultivation Capital announced a $250,000 investment into LockerDome, which co-founder Gabe Lozano told us was a new investment for the company, complimenting the $750,000 they raised at the end of last year.

“Cultivation Capital brings much needed financial resources to the rapidly growing number of early stage tech startups in the St. Louis area.  We decided to work with Cultivation Capital because they’re run by a solid team of local entrepreneurs that have collectively built some of the area’s most successful startups.  I have a lot of respect for the individuals behind the fund and look forward to seeing these guys positively contribute to evolving the local landscape.” Lozano told

Cultivation Capital’s second investment was also $250,000 which went to JBara Software. JBara Software provides deep customer intelligence analysis for enterprises to manage customer success and minimize churn. JBara is a leader in supporting the executive in charge of customer satisfaction by providing actionable insights into the customer experience and key customer metrics.

They also made a strategic investment into Capital Innovators. Capital Innovators is a St.Louis based technology accelerator which provides mentorship and seed funding into select companies.

“These three companies mark an exciting entrance for Cultivation Capital into the Missouri startup market,” says Peter Esparrago. “Their innovative approaches to business set a strong precedent for future investments in the Midwest.”

The Cultivation Capital team is led by General Partners and experienced entrepreneurs Brian Matthews, Peter Esparrago, Jim McKelvey and Rick Holton, Jr., who have a combined track record of more than 25 companies started, over $200 million raised and multiple exits. The team includes Associate Partners Kyle Welborn and Israel Vicars.


If you’re a St.Louis area entrepreneur you can apply to Cultivation Capital here

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