Presented by Tenacity
The Bourbon Friday Show with Andrew Smith from the St. Louis Regional Chamber
On this episode of the Bourbon Friday Show we had the opportunity to talk with Andrew Smith, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the St. Louis Regional Chamber, about the venture capital scene and its impact on the St. Louis region.
St. Louis Regional Chamber—Telling a Great Story
While many locals know the important role the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce plays—most notably being the voice of the business community—there are a couple of aspects to this chamber of commerce that make unique to St. Louis.
First and foremost, their main objective is to work on promoting a pro-business climate, by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, according to Smith. Additionally, exercising a strong public policy arm through lobbying in both Jefferson City and Washington DC, is key to enhancing the economic development and workforce development purposes for the Greater St. Louis region.
But, unlike many chambers, the St. Louis Regional Chamber has a robust venture capital arm called Spirit of St. Louis Ventures. In fact, in combination with Twain Financial and Cultivation Capital, they’ve helped launch the Spirit of St Louis Fund One — a $5,000,000 fund that invests in startup companies that are in a period known as the valley of death.
With the help of this fund as well as other initiatives going on in the St. Louis region, Smith speculates that there will be some large venture capital funding exits happening in the region very soon. And though there are exciting moves happening on the horizon, it’s important to continue to support new startups in the region.
In fact, the number of new companies has recently surpassed pre-2008 levels, with the majority being small businesses and startups.
So while the venture capital big moves are always good for the region, it’s important to remember that all companies, both big and small, play an important part in painting the exciting and diverse story that makes the St. Louis economic region great.
As always, the Bourbon Friday team does their best to choose a fitting drink for the occasion.
The bottle this week was David Nicholson Reserve. In 1843, a bourbon was created in the back room of a grocery store in St. Louis, owned by David Nicholson. And while the Nicholson brand and its products has changed hands a several times throughout the years, they were recently purchased by Luxco and have now made it full circle by being bottled back here in St. Louis once again.