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As the St. Louis region continues to cultivate innovative founders, ideas and companies, the need for additional funding sources grows. We asked 10 St. Louis-based venture and private equity firms to comment on the gaps they see for our startups, what they consider when making investments and how they view St. Louis’ current funding climate.

Jay Schmelter is co-founder and managing director of RiverVest.

Jay Schmelter
Photo courtesy of Jay Schmelter

From your perspective, what gaps do you see in local funding for startups?

Following the initial seed investment stage, we devote existing resources to fewer of the most promising opportunities.

What are some of your organization’s current focuses or goals?

Investing in early stage biopharma and medical device opportunities with the potential to successfully exit in fewer than five years.

When looking at potential companies in which to invest, what are the top three factors you consider?

Significant unmet clinical need, clear regulatory and reimbursement pathways and timeline to exit.

What advice do you have for founders seeking capital right now?

Focus on capital efficiency and create a roadmap of milestones that will lead all the way to exit.

Why should investors invest in St. Louis startups right now?

Promising startups exist in St. Louis. With less investor competition, stronger returns are possible.

This story was published in EQ’s Spring 2016 issue.