Missouri organizations lead region in startup investment, announces Gov. Nixon

Missouri boasts three of the top four venture capital investors in the Midwest

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. —Days after Missouri was ranked the top state in the country for new business formations, Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that three of the four top venture capital investors in the Midwest are Show-Me State organizations.

According to a recent report, the Missouri Technology Corporation (MTC) of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, BioGenerator in St. Louis, and Cultivation Capital in St. Louis make up the top venture capital investors providing financing to Midwest-based companies since 2010.

“This report is further evidence that our bipartisan efforts have put Missouri at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship,” Gov. Nixon said. “Investing in entrepreneurs today gives us a stake in their success tomorrow as they build their businesses and create high-paying jobs for families in our state.”

Since 2010, 210 venture investors have deployed a total of $4.1 billion into companies based in the U.S. Midwest. The three Missouri organizations ranking among the most active have together provided capital to 102 companies in the region. During Gov. Nixon’s administration, more than $24 million has been made available to 70 startup companies through the MTC, ranking it as the top venture investor. The early stage investments have helped these companies leverage an additional $200 million in private capital to grow their businesses and create jobs.

MTC, a public-private partnership promoting entrepreneurship in the tech and bioscience sectors, has recouped its investment in several successful companies that either obtained capital from other large venture firms or were acquired by another company, resulting in positive returns for the state.

Some of MTC’s recent successes include: EW Scripps’ acquisition of Columbia-based media startup Newsy for $35 million; Harman International Industries’, the leading global infotainment and audio group, purchase of St. Louis-based Yurbuds and on-boarding 40 employees; and Battery Ventures’ $9 million investment in Gainsight of St. Louis (formerly JBara Software) which bought out the other investors.

Other MTC portfolio companies like Medibeacon and Vasculox continue to raise capital from private investors, taking steps to build their businesses. Medibeacon, a medical device startup based in St. Louis, landed $22.4 million in financing late this summer to bring its kidney monitoring device to market. Vasculox, a St. Louis startup focused on developing drugs for various cancers, recently raised $8.1 million from 10 investors.

Ranking second on the PitchBook list of top venture investors was BioGenerator, an evergreen investor based in St. Louis that works with researchers and entrepreneurs to build successful and sustainable bioscience companies.  Since 2010, BioGenerator has invested $8.11 million across the 33 companies highlighted in the report, which have in turn been able to leverage an additional $120 million in co-investments and follow-on financing.

“Other investors have found these companies to be attractive investment opportunities, as evidenced by the additional $120 million dollars that these companies have been able to raise, a 15-fold leverage of BioGenerator’s capital. In the last three years we have seen substantial increases in capital flowing from investors outside of the Midwest,” said Eric Gulve, president of BioGenerator.

As a top four investor, Cultivation Capital has directly invested in 34 startups, 25 of which are headquartered in St. Louis, and deployed $24.9 million. Through the St. Louis-based investor’s financing, these firms have been able to recruit a talented workforce and today employ more than one thousand workers. More than half of the new jobs were created by St. Louis companies.

“Having three of the top four venture investors in the Midwest based in Missouri shows the depth and breadth of the opportunities we have across the state and highlights our strengths in areas such as fin-tech, ag-tech, bio-tech, and health-tech,” said Brian Matthews, co-founder and General Partner of Cultivation Capital.

In Fiscal Year 2015, Missouri ranked – for the first time – a top ten state for startup funding, according to Forbes. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget signed by Gov. Nixon includes nearly $16 million for MTC.

For more information about MTC, visit missouritechnology.com.

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