ITEN Report Card: St. Louis Tech Start-Ups Show Strength

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Now in its Second Year, ITEN Says Members Earn Media and Industry Recognition

When we started ITEN two years ago, I didn’t anticipate that we would get to where we are this quickly.

The IT Entrepreneurs Network (ITEN), a St. Louis-based organization that supports startup technology companies, today said that it has enrolled more than 100 emerging companies as members and is making progress in building a stronger community for the region’s technology entrepreneurs.

ITEN, part of the St. Louis IT Coalition and Innovate St. Louis, was founded in 2008 to help budding technology companies in the Greater St. Louis area by providing mentoring, networking and support services for entrepreneurs and startup companies. ITEN is managed and staffed by former business executives and entrepreneurs with a background in growing and building sustainable companies.

“When we started ITEN two years ago, I didn’t anticipate that we would get to where we are this quickly,” said Jim Brasunas, founder and managing director of ITEN. “The state of technology startup companies in St. Louis is strong, even with the economic downturn of the last couple years. We have been very impressed with the creativity and success of the companies who are part of the ITEN network. Growing 21st century companies is critical to the vitality of the region.”

Now in its second year, ITEN has launched a number of new services designed to help emerging companies get to sustainability. Two of these programs include Mock Angel Training, which puts startup companies through an intense regimen of meetings and evaluations with would-be investors, and an executive placement program that connects ITEN members to serial entrepreneurs who are interested in taking leadership positions with promising companies.

Successful ITEN Members
In assessing ITEN’s progress to date, Brasunas identified six ITEN member companies that have achieved recognition and results:

Yurbuds – Named one of “America’s Most Promising Companies” by Forbes Magazine, Yurbuds is making waves with its custom-fit ear buds for iPods and other music players. Yurbuds has gained national attention from The New York Times, CNBC and others. The company has closed $2 million in private equity funding, all from St. Louis, and its product is now available in 65 Best Buy Mobile Stores across the U.S.

LangLearner – LangLearner has its sights set on becoming one of the premier foreign language learning sites in the world. LangLearner’s interactive Web service and mobile applications are designed to allow anyone to quickly gain basic language proficiency on the go, using the method of learning they like best: visual, audio or experimental. With custom multimedia lessons, games and chat, LangLearner is currently available in 10 languages, with plans for five more. The company was a winner of the 2010 Olin Cup, Washington University’s competition for startup businesses, and its app for Windows Mobile phones is ranked among the top downloads for foreign language apps.

BusyEvent – BusyEvent gives event producers a suite of tools for planning and managing events such as trade shows and corporate meetings. The centerpiece of BusyEvent’s trade show management suite is the BeLinker, a handheld device that allows event attendees to bookmark and download information, track sessions, set meetings and manage their event experience. In 2009, BusyEvent won the Corporate Event Marketing Association’s Technology Shoot-Out.

Off Campus Media – Off Campus Media has more than six years of experience in developing and executing collegiate marketing programs for a wide variety of companies, from local retailers to FORTUNE 500 corporations. Off Campus Media offers online, event, guerilla, experiential and cause marketing services, as well as research and media buying, to create campaigns tailored to the clients’ needs and the college market they want to reach. Off Campus Media got its start at Washington University in St. Louis.

TradeHarbor – TradeHarbor specializes in biometric voice security. The company’s Voice Signature Service (VSS) provides Web-based voice authentication and legally-binding voice signatures for financial, healthcare and other transactions. TradeHarbor is closer to realizing its goal of making its technology an industry standard through an agreement with Convergys, one of the largest operators of customer call centers in the world. Convergys serves more than half of the Fortune 50 and manages over 2 billion customer interactions annually.

LockerDome – LockerDome has its sights set on becoming the standard professional networking platform for promising amateur athletes to manage and promote their careers to scouts and recruiters. Less than two years after launch, LockerDome has signed amateur baseball programs that combined have sent hundreds of players to the professional ranks. This year, LockerDome will launch a new “ESPN-like” media portal and will expand into football and soccer.

Networking and Education
ITEN hosts networking and educational events for new and existing startup companies throughout the year. For more information, bookmark the ITEN website, itenstl.org, and follow ITEN on Twitter (@itenstl).

About ITEN
The IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN) is a catalyst for the emergence of a thriving entrepreneurial community for innovative technology ventures in the greater St. Louis region. Founded in 2008, ITEN supports more than 100 start-up companies through mentoring, networking, services and programs. The ITEN network connects early-stage companies to the opportunities and resources they need to grow, including investors looking for promising early-stage deals, veteran entrepreneurs with expertise in successful early stage ventures and a diverse team of mentors from a variety of business disciplines. ITEN is an initiative of the St. Louis IT Coalition and Innovate St. Louis.

For more information, contact:
Jing Wang, ITEN
314-783-6395, jwang(at)itenstl(dot)org
Or
Brian Posnanski, TrafficPRM
314-968-7712, brian(at)traffic-prm(dot)com

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Jing Wang

Brian Posnanski
TrafficPRM
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