St. Louis Startup Roadshow to Boston

7 Startups Share Takeaways STL Startup Roadshow to Boston

Fresh off the heels of FiveThirtyEight naming St. Louis “the new startup frontier,” the leaders of 19 St. Louis startups headed to Boston earlier this month on a St. Louis Startup Roadshow.

Led by Accelerate St. Louis, in partnership with Southwest Airlines, and through the interconnection of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) —which has offices in St. Louis and Boston— the entrepreneurs participated in two days of programming, partnership, and building connections with Boston’s startup community leaders and investors.

“Roadshows like these demonstrate the value of the St. Louis ecosystem and drive of our entrepreneurs,” said St. Louis Regional Chamber CEO Joe Reagan.

St. Louis Startup Roadshow to Boston
Accelerate St. Louis led a St. Louis Startup Roadshow to Boston with 19 startups.

One Roadshow success story is that of Pixel Press. Robin Rath, CEO of the build-your-own-video-game company, traveled with the 2014 Roadshow to San Francisco. The seeds planted on that trip led to the announcement this year about Pixel Press’ partnership with toy manufacturer Mattel to bring its product Bloxels to market this holiday season.

What did the participating startups take away from the experience this year? Here’s what seven participants had to say.

Tom Stemm, Founder & CEO, Ryvit
“I learned that St. Louis should be proud of all we have achieved in a short amount of time. In some ways, we are mere steps behind Boston as a community that is building a thriving startup scene. In other ways, we are ahead.”

“Both cities have established their own niche and the appetite for collaboration is impressive and compounding in terms of the impact it will make across both cities, and therefore the national ecosystem as a whole. In short, I walked away completely impressed by the immense amount of talent present from both communities. There are life-altering, world-changing ideas coming to life across all aspects of industry. I’m humbled to simply be a part of it.”

Devin Turner, Co-Founder, FocalCast
“The STL Startup Roadshow was a great way for us to gain credibility and access to customers, investors and partners in a new market. We were able to schedule sales meetings, get into venture capital firms, network with partners and meet other startups in our space.”

“It also provides great PR for St. Louis and all of the work and success that we have had recently. It is great to share our story with the world and make connections that will be valuable in the future.”

Abby Cohen, Co-Founder/Co-CEO, Sparo Labs
“It was very valuable to connect with Boston-based WashU alumni at the dinner at Top of the Hub. The dinner provided a nice atmosphere to speak with people who were knowledgeable about the Boston venture capital landscape and help develop warm connections to the Boston ecosystem. I was even able to meet up with one of the individuals I met at dinner the next day to continue our conversation!”

Sean Morris, CEO Pulse Therapeutics
“It’s great to see how the ecosystem is developing. We need to treat the state of Missouri like a business and its residents, its employee base.” 

“Thus, investing in the employee base will make the company stronger. Training involves interaction, exposure, peer-to-peer learning. If we can invest in our workforce, we will build a stronger company. The roadshow follows along and supports this thesis.”

Olivia Kelvin, CEO, Soozie’s Doozies
“The St. Louis Startup Roadshow to Boston was a success for Soozie’s Doozies! After letting a customer know we were being sponsored by Accelerate St. Louis to visit Boston, we were granted a meeting. This has enabled us to gain distribution to the Boston area and we are thankful to all the sponsors who made this possible.”

Ravi Sahu, Founder, AirZaar
“I had an amazing time at the St. Louis Startup Roadshow pitching and networking with the Boston ecosystem. The PR coverage was very effective and we received some inbound interest from Boston-based VCs to learn more about our startup.”

Joe Fischer, Co-Founder/CEO, Greetabl
“Our story really resonated with investors in Boston–we had several productive meetings with investors who are excited about Greetabl’s traction.”

Check out the coverage of the 2016 St. Louis Startup Roadshow to Boston on Crain’s St. Louis,  EQ, and Fox2 Now.

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