St. Louis Startup Scene: Guerilla Marketing, R&D money and a Beta

Bar Crawl

“The great thing about being a startup is… it creates challenges,” EDURain CEO Bryon Pierson told the 4thEst8 as he explained how a ‘bar crawl’ became his first guerilla marketing campaign. “One thing we had in our bag was we knew a bunch of bar owners.”

More than 30 prospective customers came out to a half dozen bars for the event, wearing hats and t-shirts emblazoned with their college logos on a weekend that many schools are having students move in for the start of the semester. EDURain is a fintech platform aimed at helping prospective college students with many financial services, including bridge loans to get into off-campus housing.

R&D Money

Preemie Pacer LLC landed a $1.73 million Phase II SBIR grant to further develop a device that can be used in a clinical setting to help premature infants coordinate the task of feeding and breathing – without choking.

“The goal is to reduce that infant fatigue and physiological stress,” founder Tom Oleksy told the 4thEst8. “But also make sure they are fed up to eight times a day.”

The device is being tested out at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Approach Beta

Approach Dating raised $45,000 in debt financing in July, after it launched a Beta of its app in the Google Play Store and the Apple App store in June. The startup founder says she can get people in front of each other faster than other dating apps by partnering with local businesses where they can meet.

“Any place you would have a first date with somebody, we are integrating those into the app so they can offer a safe place for our users to connect,” CEO Allison Cousins told the 4thEst8, adding that in a version expected this fall Approach will be able to tell partner businesses how many people are being sent to their business (and how many are not, but are nearby).