The importance of driving local investment in St

A line that BioSTL Founding President and CEO Donn Rubin likes to use to characterize St.

“When we did, about a decade ago, a branding exercise, we did a town hall meeting and surveys and whatnot, we found that, comparing us to our competitors around the country on the coast and in Mid-America, we found that there was a set of assets that puts us on the list of all the best countries,” says Rubin. “So we belong in the big leagues. But there is another category of things that sets us apart in a good way. We are more capital efficient – some people say low cost, we like to say capital efficient. An Entrepreneur can reach milestones with much less capital in St. and out of St. Louis, people don’t have to deal with BS in St. Louis. we are small enough to have access and a collaborative community. And maybe we should use that sort of big enough/small enough dichotomy.”

Speaking at the Smart Business Traders Conference in St. what it takes to build a company in the region.

As Wilber says, a rising tide lifts all boats, so it’s about identifying things that business leaders in the city can do every day to make St. Louis a slightly better place to live and grow a business. Part of this, he says, is the role played by the local government.

“The civic leader and the business leader must work together to build a community,” says Ko.

He emphasized the importance of the cooperation of citizens, business and government.

“I’ve seen over and over again that the marketing community can be successful, or they lack resources,” says Ko. “The government has the biggest resources, but it can provide the place and the way to promote the regional economy (on an) international level. So, for example, we, like in Greater St. Louis, have great infrastructure. That’s what I call me. Unfair advantage. So, first of all, infrastructure. Where else can you find a waterway—the Mississippi River—we have two airports, we also have the highway system, of course, the interstates connected, and then the railroad. So how much in terms of infrastructure, we have a great environment and also a talent pool, the University of Washington, the University of St. are actually providing all of that.Also, above all, operating cost efficiency, in other words, venture capital. We call it the track. How long would you be able to run on X amount of dollars? Well, when you go to San Francisco compared to St. Louis, the track is three times longer, minimum. I think the government ours can help us promote our market, not only regionally or nationally, but internationally, so businessmen like us can sell our market better.”

Rubin, however, offered a contrasting perspective on the importance of public/private partnerships. As an organization that has been privately funded from the start. He says it initially felt like a weakness because there were countries putting a lot of money into building their life sciences and innovation economies. But this private support became an advantage because it meant having predictable, stable and committed private financiers.

“It was a blessing to have these visionary funders from the beginning,” says Rubin. “And as governors were changing in other states and new administrations were coming in and out, they would just cut programs — there was no predictability, there was no certainty. And having the private sector, private philanthropy and the private sector, supporting an effort and having a vision, a long-term vision, has allowed us to be a very unique organization, and has allowed St. have relied on the public sector, which comes and goes and is subject to the whims of whoever is in power during an administration certain”.

Other aspects that are imperative to success, says Wilber, is access to capital. Fortunately, in St. Louis, has a number of accredited investors. However, the hope is that a larger percentage of them can commit to investing back into the community.

While there is a large amount of inherited wealth compared to other communities in the country, they tend to be conservative investors — a tendency that Rubin sums up as St. Louis being a city with deep pockets and short arms.

“We’ve suffered from that here as we try to raise venture capital, try to raise funds,” says Rubin. “But we’ve seen — we at BioSTL and our investment arm, BioGenerator — have backed about 500 startups in St. Louis. We’ve invested in a little over 100 startups. Those startups we’ve invested in have raised nearly $3 billion now. Ninety percent of that comes from outside of St. before, I’ve never heard of St. to start and build a quality company, a quality team, great technology that’s proven and we can bridge the gap at that stage earlier – really risky capital, the valley of death – then we can attract capital from many other places.”

His hope, then, is to bring in more local capital to fill the early-stage gap to help de-risk these companies.

“If we can de-risk them, we can attract capital from a lot of other countries, and capital that doesn’t insist that the company move to California,” he says. “We’ve been able to keep 98 percent of these companies here in St. Louis.

Part of that, Wilber says, is doing a better job of wooing high-net-worth and accredited investors, giving them opportunities not only to invest, but to do more.

“As an entrepreneur and founder myself, I’ve always said that the best source of capital for my business is actually customer revenue,” says Wilber. “And I’ve been banging my head against the wall for years selling into the industries we’ve sold into. In many ways, I’ve seen it almost as if local companies don’t want to buy from the St. Louis startup ecosystem, that we can’t be enough good. We should buy from a tech company in San Francisco instead of a tech company in St. who are on the sidelines who should invest in these businesses, but more importantly, how do we get them off the ground from a commercialization perspective? “

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