BioGenerator Gets International Nod, Arch Angels Flying High, Appistry’s Samson vs Goliath Legal Battle

A compendium of St. Louis Startup news, celebrating America's most innovative entrepreneurs.

BioGenerator gets international nod

The Inter-American Competitiveness Network named BioGenerator, the nonprofit biotech startup accelerator, one of the best practices in the entire Western Hemisphere. Five other U.S. programs were mentioned. The network consists of competitiveness experts and councils from nations throughout the Americas, who noted BioGenerator’s record of establishing startups, subsequently generating an additional $140 million in capital.

According to BioGenerator president Eric Gulve, the fact that the companies they invest in get space in a lab facility containing millions of dollars in equipment gives BioGenerator a leg up.

โ€œOur focus is identifying barriers in getting life science companies started, propose solutions and implement them,โ€ Gulve said. โ€œOver the last five years we’ve implemented a whole series of evolving new programs to fit new challenges in the community.โ€

Arch Angels Flying High with Newsy deal

In a deal scheduled to close on Jan. 1, E.W. Scripps Company will acquire Newsy for $35 million.

The deal bodes well for Arch Angels which put $175,000 into the company back in 2008, the same year Newsy moved from Silicon Valley to Columbia, Mo. The exit is expected to yield a return to Arch Angels of six to eight times the original investment.

Arch Angels also partially led a 1.5 million Series B funding round for Newsy in 2011.ย The company will remain in the $250,000 digital newsroom it built across from the University of Missouriโ€™s School of Journalism.

Hatchbuck secures $1.25 million led by Cultivation Capital

Hatchbuck has battened down the hatches after landing a $1.25 million investment led by Cultivation Capital. The money is earmarked for sales, marketing and a handful of new hires for software development.

Hatchbuck designs sales and marketing automation software for small to mid-size businesses. Joining Hatchbuck’s board of directors as part of the deal is Cultivation Capital general partner Cliff Holekamp.

Originally named Systematic Revenue, Hatchbuck was founded by Don Breckenridge and Jim Siverts in 2011, and is located in T-REx.

Innovate St. Louis to spin out Innovate Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS)

In 2007, Innovate St. Louis founded its nonprofit Innovate Venture Mentoring Service (IVMS) to assist early-stage entrepreneurs in launching high-technology, high-growth businesses. Now that the program has matured, it’s being spun out into its own, free-standing organization.

Steve Epner, a principal at Brown Smith Wallace, will serve as chairman, with the search for an executive director currently underway. Companies utilizing IVMS have fared well, creating 800 jobs locally and raising more than $70 million in capital.

In 2014, look for IVMS to sharpen its image, expand programming and adopt a new name that better reflects what they do. Each year IVMS connects about 150 entrepreneurs with mentors.

Samson vs. Goliath as Appistry takes on Amazon

What do you do if you suspect Amazon of infringing on two of your patents? If you’re the local cloud computing startup Appistry, you take them to court.

In a federal suit filed in the Eastern District of Missouri, Appistry alleges that they had discussions in 2004 with Amazon regarding licensing agreements of two patents the company was then developing that improved Appistry’s ability to process information. Later, Appistry learned that Amazon had no interest in licensing the technology, but, the lawsuit alleges, had duplicated the technology for some Amazon services.

St. Louis missing from Forbes top tech cities

If there’s been one consistent theme in St. Louis’ startup community throughout 2013, it’s that St. Louis has rapidly become a top tech city. Of course, the people in the trenches know it but now the national press has recognized the trend as well. Just last October listed Missouri as the fastest-growing state for tech employment.

That’s good, right? Now comes Forbes’ article analyzing job creation trends in the nationโ€™s 52 largest metropolitan areas for tech growth over the last 12 years and St. Louis didn’t even make the list. Topping the chart was Austin, Tx., followed by Raleigh, N.C., Houston, Nashville, Tenn. and San Francisco as the cities with the highest rate of tech job growth.