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  #61  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2013, 10:15 AM
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The Facebook of Sports? Yes, Actually
Christopher Steiner, Contributor
NYTimes Bestselling Author

ENTREPRENEURS | 7/31/2013


After lots of tweaks and a tech renaissance in his home city, Lozano has found traction.

Part of Yahoo YHOO -0.46%’s success in the late 1990s and early 2000s came from its breadth and its ability to fill product voids with its engineering team. Yahoo parlayed its status as a hub destination on the web into market-leading positions in search, email, news, fantasy sports, instant messaging, personal websites and even classified ads. But as websites specializing in each of these domains gained momentum, Yahoo’s offerings fell behind. Its polyglot approach faltered.

Some have predicted the same kind of fate for Facebook FB +1.87%, arguing that social media sites built for niches, from politics to parental topics, will nip one audience off at a time, draining Facebook of its might and its serve-all, be-all status. Hundreds of startups have taken this logic and built on it, but few have built anything people care about or visit frequently. One exception is Lockerdome, which set off to become the Facebook of sports. After tweaking its model for more than two years—a lesson in persistence for any startup—the St. Louis Company has found ways to make this approach work.

Gabe Lozano, the founder and CEO, likes to say that “Facebook is for who you know and Lockerdome is for who you like.”

Friends and family, Lozano explains, enter our lives for different reasons and at different times. Facebook, he says, isn’t the best place to discuss one’s love of the Chicago Blackhawks or of, say, Mies Van der Rohe-designed buildings. Although it’s true that both the Blackhawks and even Mies might have dedicated fan pages on Facebook, the depth and quality of interaction here, Lozano argues, is limited.

Lockerdome leverages content such as quizzes, contests and open discussions on pages dedicated to one topic to drive traffic and visits from people its clients are trying to reach. Lockerdome now has 1,700 of what it calls publishers—who regularly push out content to their dedicated pages at Lockerdome.com. The approach is catching the eye of major sports teams, as the St. Louis Blues became the first big franchise to put up a dedicated page for their fans on Lockerdome.

Lozano’s approach has also caught on with investors. Lockerdome has raised $8 million from a bevy of venture capitalists and had offers to double the investment of its last round, which Lozano eventually limited to $6 million.

The money helps Lockerdome expand on a product that’s designed to help brands like the Blues reach its most ardent fans—and help that group all meet each other. “How do I take Chris and turn him into 10 people like Chris,” Lozano says.

Lozano is finding more than a few Chrises: Lockerdome’s traffic has topped 12 million unique visitors a month with a growth chart—hockey-stick style—that any startup would envy.

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  #62  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2013, 10:23 AM
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The internet is the frontier of the 21st century for small businesses. With a massive customer audience/base, the possibilities are limitless.
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  #63  
Old Posted Aug 10, 2013, 6:17 AM
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Aug 8, 2013, 11:18am CDT
Mapquest co-founder could expand start-up accelerator in St. Louis (Video)

Chris Heivly, co-founder of Mapquest and North Carolina-based accelerator program the Triangle Startup Factory, spoke to more than 200 entrepreneurs Wednesday at the CORTEX in the Central West End.

Heivly was persuaded to come to St. Louis by his friend Josh Parker of Wexford Science & Technology, the developer of the new @4240 building on the CORTEX campus.

Parker told Heivly that because of the energy and enthusiasm surrounding the entrepreneurial ecosystem in St. Louis, it would be a great place to expand his accelerator program, which provides up to $50,000 in seed capital — and additional funding after the program — to aspiring startups.

Heivly took roughly 30 minutes to answer questions from the audience, mostly made up of entrepreneurs and investors.

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Also: Here’s What Keeps MapQuest Co-founder Chris Heivly Up At Night
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  #64  
Old Posted Aug 30, 2013, 9:37 PM
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There's a fintech (Financial Tech) accelerator in NYC (FinTech Innovation Lab) and London (Level39) and now St. Louis.

Square Co-Founder Launches FinTech Accelerator
PRWeb
Published 12:00 pm, Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Square Co-Founder, Jim McKelvey. Square has a small engineering office in St. Louis.

MSNBC VIDEO

Jim McKelvey launches St. Louis-based FinTech Accelerator SixThirty - selected startups to receive $100,000 in funding, mentorship, and access to top financial services companies.

This week SixThirty, a financial services tech accelerator program led by Square co-founder Jim McKelvey, launched in St. Louis, Missouri.

Backed by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and local investment firm Cultivation Capital, SixThirty will make four $100,000 investments each fall and spring in financial-based technology startup companies, for a total of eight investments per year.

Those companies selected to take part in the four-month accelerator program will receive hands-on training, mentoring, and networking opportunities with the top financial services companies in the region. St. Louis is home to Edward Jones, Scottrade, Stifel Financial, Wells Fargo Advisors and US Bancorp CDC, as well as many other leading financial services, banking, insurance and venture capital companies.

The first four companies selected for the inaugural class will start the four-month program at the beginning of October and will be housed in the T-REx startup co-working space in downtown St. Louis. 630 feet is both the height and width of the Gateway Arch, and was selected as the name of the accelerator to highlight the strength of the financial services industry in St. Louis.

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  #65  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2013, 5:57 PM
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Jaylen Bledsoe, High School Sophomore, Builds $3.5 Million IT Company In Little Over 2 Years
The Huffington Post | By Harry Bradford
Posted: 09/03/2013 12:55 pm EDT | Updated: 09/03/2013 1:08 pm EDT

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Few entrepreneurs can say they've grown their business into multi-million dollar enterprises in just a couple years. Far fewer can say they've done so all before even graduating high school.

Jaylen Bledsoe, 15, of Hazelwood, Mo., however, is just that rare breed of high school sophomore. He started his own tech company that specializes in web design and other IT services, Bledsoe Technologies, when he was just 13 years old and worked to expand it into a global enterprise now worth around $3.5 million, Fox 2 in St. Louis reports. The local news station followed up with Bledsoe on Monday after first interviewing the teen back in March 2012. Since that first interview, Bledsoe has grown his company from two workers to about 150 contracted employees in order to meet demand.

Meanwhile, Bledsoe has pursued other, more traditional goals for a high school kid. He's held leadership roles in a variety of student organizations, such as president of the Student Council and the Parent Teacher Student Association.

Outside of school, he's served as the chief technology officer of St. Louis Volunteen, a program to promote teen volunteerism, according to Patch. He was even partly responsible for bringing vegetarian options to his former middle school's cafeteria.

“I don’t see many eighth graders do the things that he does but it’s all his doing,” Curtis Bledsoe, Jaylen's father, told Patch in 2012. “I’m very proud of him.”

Jaylen said an interest in web design, which he first discovered while attending classes at his school's gifted-education program, was the foundation for his business. But he says it's taken a lot of hard work and courage, too.

His most important advice for young entrepreneurs? "Take risks," Bledsoe, who plans to attend Harvard University before becoming a copyright lawyer, told Fox 2. Read More
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  #66  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 7:00 PM
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Oct 21, 2013, 11:54am CDT
Done deal: CIC signs lease to move into @4240
Brian Feldt
Reporter-
St. Louis Business Journal



The Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), a small business incubator, is officially expanding in St. Louis.

The CIC put pen to paper earlier this month when the incubator signed a 15-year lease with Wexford Science & Technology to occupy a majority of the second floor at the @4240 building in Midtown.

The @4240 building is part of the $186 million second phase of development at CORTEX, which also includes construction of a $45 million office building for BJC HealthCare and major infrastructure improvements.

With the lease finalized, CIC Founder and CEO Tim Rowe said the incubator will now move forward with plans for its St. Louis expansion — the first location outside of the CIC’s Cambridge, Mass., home.

Rowe said most of his time will now be spent building out the space at @4240. He said officials will look to emulate the success of the Cambridge location, where a quarter of startups are in the life sciences field and another quarter are in software.

“St. Louis certainly has strengths in the life sciences and biotech areas, so we may have a stronger concentration in that area (in St. Louis),” Rowe said. Rowe said the incubator is looking for companies to occupy the space, but those companies wouldn’t move in until September 2014. He hopes eventually to house as many as 100 St. Louis startups.

CIC Director Dougan Sherwood said a number of individuals from St. Louis have already reached out about moving into the space as word has spread about CIC’s plan. Rowe said St. Louis reminds him of Cambridge at the time when the CIC was just getting off the ground.

While visiting St. Louis previously, he made pit stops at the Downtown T-REx, Lab1500, the Center for Emerging Technologies and other tech hot spots. “The whole area feels like it did in Cambridge when we first got started,” he said. “There’s lots of interest and startups but not a lot of venture capital here just yet. I think we see the same characteristics in St. Louis (as we did in Cambridge).”

Rowe said he hopes to join forces with St. Louis entrepreneurs to create a burgeoning tech hub in St. Louis.

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  #67  
Old Posted Oct 21, 2013, 7:20 PM
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Oct 17, 2013, 11:37am CDT UPDATED: Oct 17, 2013, 2:04pm CDT
Apprenticeship program for startups coming to St. Louis
Brian Feldt
Reporter-
St. Louis Business Journal



Enstitute, a nonprofit apprenticeship program based out of New York City, plans to expand to St. Louis next year. And barring unforeseen setbacks, the company will open that hub in early 2014.

Enstitute is already expanding its program to Washington, D.C.

Enstitute co-founder Kane Sarhan said he’s 96 percent certain the company will set up shop in St. Louis. Enstitute is also considering opening teaching hubs in Boston and Los Angeles.

Enstitute, according to its website, provides students with one- to two-year paid, full-time apprenticeships at high-growth startups, small businesses and corporations around the country to prepare them for the workforce.

The company, founded in 2011, launched its pilot program in 2012 with 11 students in New York.

Sarhan said company officials chose St. Louis after one of its first fellows put the city on their radar.

“We totally weren’t even thinking about St. Louis and our initial reaction to St. Louis was there wasn’t much there when it came to tech,” he said. “But we started researching and digging around and we got excited because we saw a real ecosystem growing there. We really got excited about the talent and companies in St. Louis and the response we got back was great.”

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  #68  
Old Posted Oct 24, 2013, 9:21 PM
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Last night, St. Louis' primary IT incubator, T-Rex, celebrated its expansion. It will join other IT, social media start-ups (such as Lockerdome.com, Pushup.com, Unisys etc.) as well as Lab 1500 entrepreneurial center on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis.

T-REx incubator buys Lammert building
October 23, 2013 12:00 am • By Lisa Brown


St. Louis' primary IT start-up incubator has bought a new building to celebrate its 2nd birthday.

Technology incubator T-REx has purchased the Lammert building on Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis to provide more co-working space for startups, accelerator programs and venture capital firms.

T-REx — short for technology regional entrepreneur exchange — has grown to more than 70 startups, accelerator programs and venture capital firms at leased space in the Railroad Exchange Building, 611 Olive Street, since it launched in September 2011.

Backed by the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and the city of St. Louis, T-REx offers subsidized office space for startups to help spur job creation. Rates go for as little as $80 a month for an office chair and Internet access, and the ability to work shoulder to shoulder with other emerging businesses.

Now T-REx is moving to accommodate growth. The relocation to the Lammert building, a few blocks away at 911 Washington Avenue, will allow it to add up to 50 more companies and add 240 jobs over the next five years, according to Zack Boyers, chairman and CEO of St. Louis-based U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corp., which is providing financing for the Lammert acquisition.

T-REx will initially occupy nearly three floors of the eight-story Lammert building, which has 160,000 square feet of space and is 60 percent occupied. Ultimately, the incubator could grow to as much as 100,000 square feet of space in the building, said Kevin Farrell, senior director of economic and housing development for the Partnership of Downtown St. Louis.

The building on Washington Avenue “gives us an opportunity for a greater presence,” he said.

The building, more than 100 years old, has tall ceilings, wooden beams and concrete floors. “It’s a beautiful building, with innate character that a lot of entrepreneurs appreciate,” Farrell said.

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  #69  
Old Posted Jan 2, 2014, 9:16 PM
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  #70  
Old Posted Jan 25, 2014, 2:00 AM
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No, St. Louis isn't SF, but here's more evidence why there's a serious movement underway in St. Louis. Also read, "Why I'm Moving My Business From San Francisco to St. Louis."

Meet me in St. Louis? San Francisco too expensive for techies, too
By Jessica Guynn
Los Angeles Times
January 24, 2014, 12:43 p.m.



SAN FRANCISCO -- The technology boom hasn’t made San Francisco unaffordable for just middle- and lower-income households.

Technology workers are also struggling to afford the soaring cost of living in the city.

Entrepreneur Jon Wheatley moved to San Francisco from the United Kingdom four years ago. He says it was the best place on the planet to build his startup DailyBooth, which was one of the first photo-sharing services, and for a time, the most popular one. With the rise of Instagram and other photo-sharing services, DailyBooth sold to Airbnb and shut down in November 2012.

Wheatley is now working on another startup, Need/Want, that he is funding himself. But he won’t be doing it in San Francisco. He's trading the Golden Gate Bridge for the Gateway Arch (and the balmy weather for a real cold snap).

Two days ago he left behind his $3,900-a-month one-bedroom apartment in the trendy South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco to join his co-founder, Marshall Haas, in St. Louis.

“It had just become too much of an expense,” Wheatley said. “I could no longer could justify it. So I decided to move somewhere cheaper.”

He says St. Louis is a vibrant city with an up-and-coming startup scene at a much more reasonable cost of living.

Wheatley is now renting a two-bedroom apartment for $1,200 a month on the main drag in downtown St. Louis. And he and Haas pay just $300 a month to rent space in an office building filled with 75 other startups.

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  #71  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2014, 3:48 PM
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St. Louis' innovation district and tech efforts keep luring companies to town. Here's just a few recent announcements.



Foto.com opens its U.S. operation in St. Louis
Tim Bryant
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
10/16/14

Foto.com, a Belgian company that delivers digital photos, said today it has opened its American operation in St. Louis.

The company, based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, said the facility at 3049 Chouteau Avenue provides a central location for printing and shipping its products nationwide.

“St. Louis was strategically chosen as our U.S. base for the strong influx of tech-based startups,” said Marisa Lather, a Foto.com marketing communications manager.

Foto.com said its 84,000-square-foot facility on Chouteau has the capacity to produce more than 3 million prints daily.

Source

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Music Streaming Services Relocates To St. Louis
Posted on August 14, 2014
by Jacob Luecke

Seeking to access the region’s abundant software development talent and to take advantage of the low cost of living, internet radio company StationDigital announced it has moved its corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to St. Louis.

“Moving our headquarters to St. Louis is an exciting chapter in the expansion and evolution of the company,” said Lou Rossi, Chairman of the Board and CEO of StationDigital, in a press release. “St. Louis provides companies like ours with a vibrant community, a low cost of living, and access to top-tier talent that will allow us to hire locally and build out a great team. We also wanted a centrally located building with signage rights in order to build our local branding image to further promote the company as a place to work and the best choice for music streaming.”

StationDigital’s users can stream music online and choose from a library of more than 20 million songs.

Source

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Scottish technology firm opens St. Louis office
September 11, 2014
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
8:00 am • By David Nicklaus

MiiCard, an online identity verification firm, has decided to establish a permanent presence in St. Louis after participating in the SixThirty accelerator program last year.

The company also has hired Peter Esparrago, a veteran technology executive and a co-founder of Cultivation Capital, as its North America president.

Esparrago said he splits his time between a Clayton office and the T-Rex incubator downtown. He said miiCard already has six employees here and expects to hire more people with financial services and technology experience.

Esparrago, who has led several online security firms, said he will remain a general partner of Cultivation Capital, which is an investor in SixThirty.

MiiCard, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, was one of the first four companies selected for SixThirty, which invests $100,000 apiece in promising financial-services startups and brings them to St. Louis for four months of mentoring.

Two of those first four companies now have offices in St. Louis. Upside, an online investment platform, began hiring employees at T-Rex in January, and co-founder Juney Ham recently moved here from San Francisco.

Source
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  #72  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2014, 3:58 PM
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^St. Louis-based StationDigital advertising in Times Square, NYC

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  #73  
Old Posted Oct 17, 2014, 10:40 PM
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This sounds to good to be true. I can't see this area absorbing more workers without adequate mass transit. Slow bus service works when ten people are using it but what will happen when 30 people are jamming into the bus?

Those start-ups will move to newer trendy area after it has reached its limit. Sorry, Lious.
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  #74  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2014, 3:17 AM
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This sounds to good to be true. I can't see this area absorbing more workers without adequate mass transit. Slow bus service works when ten people are using it but what will happen when 30 people are jamming into the bus?

Those start-ups will move to newer trendy area after it has reached its limit. Sorry, Lious.
What "area" are you talking about? The two main areas in which startups are growing in St. Louis (downtown and Cortex) are both served by bus AND light rail. And Cortex just received a Tiger grant to build a new light rail station adjacent to its epicenter.

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  #75  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2014, 3:22 PM
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those rents are insanely cheap. Who cares about bus frequency, no wonder companies are moving to St Louis!
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  #76  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2014, 8:48 PM
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says a car guy

Take a look at New York City as to what an exceptional mass transit system does, (built by earlier generations and in the US of course...) and then compare it to an anonymous "city" in anyplace, USA.
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  #77  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 2:20 AM
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says a car guy

Take a look at New York City as to what an exceptional mass transit system does, (built by earlier generations and in the US of course...) and then compare it to an anonymous "city" in anyplace, USA.
Nobody is arguing that NYC is head and shoulders above every city in the United States in terms of mass transit, urbanity, density etc.

The point he was trying to make is that this part of St. Louis that is attracting start ups has the best transit connectivity in the metropolitan region, served by both bus and grade separated light rail (with direct connections to downtown and the airport).

Also it is important to note that only 4 cities in the Midwest have rail systems that serve any practical use and that's Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. Unfortunately, this part of the country opted for building WAY more highways than transit after WWII but St. Louis actually has one of the more successful and better used light rail systems.
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 2:43 AM
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Nobody is arguing that NYC is head and shoulders above every city in the United States in terms of mass transit, urbanity, density etc.

The point he was trying to make is that this part of St. Louis that is attracting start ups has the best transit connectivity in the metropolitan region, served by both bus and grade separated light rail (with direct connections to downtown and the airport).

Also it is important to note that only 4 cities in the Midwest have rail systems that serve any practical use and that's Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. Unfortunately, this part of the country opted for building WAY more highways than transit after WWII but St. Louis actually has one of the more successful and better used light rail systems.
St. Louis' light rail system averages 69,800 weekday riders, more than Minneapolis' and Cleveland's light rail systems combined (although that will change once we get official stats on M-SP's newly-opened Green Line). It's a success story not only by Midwestern standards, and a major amenity for workers at start-ups and other businesses.
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  #79  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 2:47 AM
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St. Louis' light rail system averages 69,800 weekday riders, more than Minneapolis' and Cleveland's light rail systems combined (although that will change once we get official stats on M-SP's newly-opened Green Line). It's a success story not only by Midwestern standards, and a major amenity for workers at start-ups and other businesses.
If St. Louis every gets that major N-S line through its most urban neighborhoods city neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs, I really think we could break 100,000.

St. Louis has a successful light rail system by most standards, but unfortunately the state of Missouri hasn't been bullish on transit which holds our system back, despite having a lot of local money allocated towards transit. It's crazy! Our transit system gets more money from Illinois than Missouri, when 3/4 of St. Louisans live on the Missouri side.
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  #80  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2014, 7:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Eveningsong View Post
says a car guy

Take a look at New York City as to what an exceptional mass transit system does, (built by earlier generations and in the US of course...) and then compare it to an anonymous "city" in anyplace, USA.
oh, i get it. you don't actually mean for your comments to be taken seriously. well done in that respect.
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