ITEN Issues First St. Louis Tech Startup Report, Highlighting Growth of Region’s Startup Sector

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Report is based on original data from more than 250 startups.

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ITEN is a non-profit organization that provides programs, education and resources for startup in St. Louis

The growth we have seen in St. Louis’ startup ecosystem is very encouraging. We have hurdles to overcome, but I believe the city has the resources to become one of the top destinations for entrepreneurs and startups in the U.S.

The IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN), a non-profit organization that provides programs, events and access to resources to accelerate the success of St. Louis technology ventures, today released its first-ever St. Louis Tech Startup Report, a comprehensive overview that highlights the rapid growth of the region’s emerging technology sector. ITEN is an initiative of Innovate St. Louis.

The St. Louis Tech Startup Report is a profile of the growth and current health of technology startups in the St. Louis area. The report, which is based entirely on original data provided by the more than 250 startups that ITEN has tracked from 2008 to year end 2012, covers key trends in the region’s tech startup scene. It includes three primary sections that cover startup companies and entrepreneurs (“The Companies”), the state of funding and investment (“The Money”), and an overview of jobs and hiring (“Hiring and Job Growth”). Among the highlights contained in the report:

  •     More than $30 million was invested in St. Louis-area startups in 2012, according to ITEN data. This represents a significant increase over the three previous years combined. (Page 22)
  •     More than 70 percent of the companies surveyed for the report were started by natives of the St. Louis Metro region, including the Metro East, a significant development that speaks to the long-standing concern in the St. Louis civic and business community about retaining “homegrown” talent. (Page 9 and Page 18)
  •     Though still in the early stages, St. Louis’ startup sector is beginning to drive job growth. Surveyed on hiring expectations for 2013, startups expected to add more than 400 full-time positions this year in a range of areas. (Page 26)
  •     The total number of startups that ITEN tracks – more than 250 – has more than doubled in less than two years. (Page 9)

A complete version of the St. Louis Tech Startup Report can be downloaded from the ITEN website at http://www.itenstl.org/news-sp-1643722548/iten-news/905-st-louis-tech-startup-report.

“We started ITEN in 2008 when St. Louis had silos of entrepreneurs with great ideas, and a handful of investors and investor groups that were largely disconnected from the local startup environment,” said Jim Brasunas, ITEN’s Executive Director and Founder. “The growth we have seen in St. Louis’ startup ecosystem is very encouraging. We have hurdles to overcome, but I believe the city has the resources and the talent to become one of the top destinations for entrepreneurs and startups in the U.S. and the world.”

ITEN, which serves startup ventures in the St. Louis area and beyond, provides a new model for fostering startup success by incorporating the strengths of incubators and accelerators: education, development and access to resources, but without the financial commitment often required of emerging companies. ITEN’s programs provide a roadmap for ventures, from concept to design, prototype, launch, revenue, funding and rapid scaling. The key pillars of ITEN’s core curriculum to advance St. Louis’ tech startups are:

  •     Concept Development, designed for entrepreneurs at the earliest stage of the startup cycle. Participants with strong ideas are directed to address immediate challenges to make their company operational.
  •     Business Model Validation pairs an entrepreneur with experienced mentors who help identify the problem, solution and customer that the business would target. It then helps the entrepreneur create a revenue model and an agile development model.
  •     Mock Angel training puts entrepreneurs in front of potential investors to practice their pitch and gather constructive criticism. ITEN’s Mock Angel Program has a very high success rate with nearly 75 percent of graduates finding investors.

Since its inception in 2008, ITEN, has been supported by the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC), a public-private partnership created by the Missouri General Assembly to promote entrepreneurship and foster the emergence and growth of high-tech companies in Missouri. Other major sponsors include the St. Louis County Economic Council, The Kauffman Foundation, RCGA, Gateway to Innovation Conference, Savvis / Century Link, St. Louis Arch Angels, Reinsurance Group of America, Technology Entrepreneur Center, and AHM Financial Group.

About ITEN
The IT Entrepreneur Network (ITEN) is an initiative of Innovate St. Louis, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. As a catalyst of the IT ecosystem, ITEN provides unique programs, events, and access to resources that accelerate tech venture success. ITEN's programs form a venture roadmap from concept through design, prototype, launch, revenue, funding and rapid scaling. Guidance from serial entrepreneurs, subject matter experts and important community influencers helps entrepreneurs focus on essential critical tasks and avoid wasted efforts. Access to investors, key service providers and qualified talent means lower barriers to rapid growth. Designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, requiring neither payment nor equity, ITEN is a unique community asset and a proven route to venture success. Follow ITEN on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/itenstl.

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Brian Posnanski
ITEN
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