Tech Louis: Why St. Louis is Poised to Take Over the Midwest Tech Scene
As the fastest growing tech job market in the country, St. Louis has a lot to offer:
- Cost of Living
- Venture Capitalists
- Tech Investors
- Cheap Rent
- Entrepreneurial Spirit
- Success Stories
- It’s Just Plain Awesome
Cost of Living:
St. Louis has consistently been ranked as one of the most affordable cities in America. This is great for you, as an entrepreneur and even better for those first few employees that you can’t afford to pay. With housing costs almost HALF of what you’ll find in the nearby Windy City, don’t even bother comparing it to San Francisco or New York. St. Louis is the runaway leader in this category.
St. Louis VCs have money to burn! The vast majority of venture capitalists are looking to invest, and can’t find enough opportunities. This is a great sign for entrepreneurs, and with organizations such as the St. Louis IT Entrepreneur Network to have your back, St. Louis is a safe haven for startups.
The Angel Investing community in St. Louis is large and in charge. Organizations like St. Louis Arch Angels and FinServe Tech Angels, to name a few, are committed to bringing new business to St. Louis, and keeping them here.
A new local non-profit, Arch Grants, is awarding half a million dollars to startups looking to relocate to St. Louis. This effort is funded by the city with the hopes of restoring downtown St. Louis, filling up vacant buildings, and changing the metro’s reputation of a ‘Flyover State’.
St. Louis’ own Capital Innovators tops the list of successful accelerators. CI will invest a small amount in a startup, in exchange for some equity in the company. They then put on a 12 week program, where the startup has access to mentors, and networking opportunities with CI’s connections. By seizing opportunities such as these, startups can quickly make a name for themselves in the St. Louis area.
The digital ecosystem forming in St. Louis is perfect for startups. Business owners can mix and mingle with other entrepreneurs in relaxed, social settings through networking organizations like Start Louis. Founded by St. Louis based entrepreneurs, Start Louis I s a great place to get the inside scoop on the city and the major players on its start up scene.
It’s hard enough to pay your employees and manage to find a little cash for yourself, paying rent for a start-up can be somewhat of an afterthought. Enter T-Rex. The non-profit in downtown’s Railroad Exchange Building gets you an office, internet, and a positive work environment for as little as $150 a month.
The Show Me State loves entrepreneurs. So much so, that it ranked 6 in the Kauffman Foundation’s annual index of Entrepreneurial Activity; a huge jump from its spot at 35 in 2009. Currently, four out of every 1,000 Missourians are starting a new business venture. With all the entrepreneurism in the air, there’s no sign of a slowdown.
It works. Some of the tech industry’s best and brightest are out of St. Louis. Lockerdome and Gremln are to successful St. Louis start-ups blowing up in major ways right now. Both born and bred in St. Louis, the companies are gaining notoriety in Silicon Valley and beyond.
It’s Just Plain Awesome:
With something for everyone, St. Louis has wide appeal. Centrally located and known for sports, beer, and rich culture, there’s something for everyone. Small town or big city, this booming Midwestern location is welcoming and supportive of new businesses with the backing of residents and government alike.