Capital Ideas: Jerry Katz of Billiken Angels Network

As the St. Louis region continues to cultivate innovative founders, ideas and companies, the need for additional funding sources grows. We asked 10 St. Louis-based venture and private equity firms to comment on the gaps they see for our startups, what they consider when making investments and how they view St. Louis’ current funding climate.

Jerry Katz is Director of the Billiken Angels Network and SLU Chair in Entrepreneurship.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Katz
Photo courtesy of Jerry Katz

From your perspective, what gaps do you see in local funding for startups?

We need more angels for the post-accelerator space, and more Series A funders wouldn’t hurt.

What are some of your organization’s current focuses or goals?

Keep increasing the number of deals we do. Keep hoping for notable exits.

When looking at potential companies in which to invest, what are the top three factors you consider?

The entrepreneur’s skill and trustworthiness, customer acceptance (traction) and potential upside.

What advice do you have for founders seeking capital right now?

Build as much as you can before taking angel money. Take angel money when you have a harvest in mind.

Why should investors invest in St. Louis startups right now?

High-quality startups are coming out of our accelerators and the increase in opportunity diversification.

This article was published in EQ’s Spring 2016 print issue.

Before selling the publication in 2017, Kelly Hamilton co-founded EQ with the ALIVE Media Group (where he was a co-founder too). After earning an M.A. in literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Kelly cofounded ALIVE in 2002. He believes becoming an entrepreneur can change not only the life of that entrepreneur, but also his/her community and the world, and that being able to tell stories of transformation like that is the best job one could have.

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