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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.

John Hamer, PhD is Investment Director at Monsanto Growth Ventures.

John Hamer
Photo courtesy of Monsanto

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

Raising $500,000 is relatively straightforward in St. Louis. The challenge comes with raising larger amounts for a Series A and beyond.

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

Finding the most transformative opportunities in production agriculture, and helping to build those companies.

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

Transformative technology/business model for agriculture; inspired, motivated and talented team; that it meets our threshold for a venture-like return.

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

Persevere and find the right investors for your company.

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

Talent acquisition may be easier for certain verticals (Ag, engineering, etc.) and the strong seed-stage investors.

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