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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.

Matt Badler is Managing Director and Principal at Twain Financial Partners.

Matt Badler
Photo courtesy of Twain Financial Partners

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

$200,000 – $500,000 after accelerator funding seems to be the biggest gap right now. In partnership with Cultivation Capital, we’re creating a fund to fill this gap with our investors comprised primarily of banks in the community.

What are some of your Twain Financial Partners’ current focuses or goals?

Our primary focus is centered around tax credits and economic development. Regarding the startup scene in STL, we want to continue the momentum that Arch Grants and other accelerators have started.

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

1) Character of founder(s) is the most important for us 2) trying to find something that we understand
3) understanding who would want to own the company or product long term.

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

Get outside your comfort zone and meet with as many people as you can. It is amazing what grabbing coffee with someone can lead to.

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

Right now startups are the best thing STL has going for it. It’s an opportunity to invest in the longterm growth of St. Louis knowing that with diversification and due diligence, one can have a positive return on investment and for STL.

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