Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)

Since we launched eight months ago, EQ has focused on taking the pulse of St. Louis’ startup scene: Where it is now, where it’s going, what our startups are getting and what they really need. At the same time we’ve been looking at the investor community, identifying information and resources we can provide to St. Louisans who have a vested interest in pushing our region forward.

One conversation we frequently have involves both of these communities: funding gaps. It’s well known by startups and investors alike that the gaps exist, and by addressing them, we can enable our most promising startups to continue building their companies in St. Louis. In this issue, we ask 10 VC and private equity fund leaders to share their insights and advice. We’ve also compiled a snapshot of what the current funding climate looks like in St. Louis. If you’re a potential investor looking for a lay of the land or a startup looking for a comprehensive list, let this be your starting point.

While capital is a primary focus for our startups, there are other transformative challenges facing our city’s founders. Take Need/Want, a product design startup based Downtown that had a make-it-or-break-it production moment this past year that might have derailed a less resilient group. The company’s ability to overcome even the most daunting challenges is a lesson for us all.

Another recent source of inspiration was delivered by St. Louis’ own Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator. In his interview with EQ, he points to accelerators as centers of gravity for growing ecosystems. With that in mind, we share the success story of Capital Innovators, St. Louis’ first accelerator program and a clear center of gravity for so many local startups.

As the the region develops new centers of innovation, including Downtown St. Charles–led by Randy Schilling and his incubator OPO Startups–and new initiatives like BioSTL’s Global STL, focused on connecting our ecosystem with those around the world, we borrow a phrase from our friend, Travis Sheridan: St. Louis is gifted. And though giftedness does not mean we aren’t still going to face challenges, the potential we see in our community to overcome challenges is just as promising.

Here’s to an exciting 2016. We’d love to hear what you see coming up next for our community. Reach out to us at editors@eqstl.com.

Kelly Hamilton
Co-founder & Managing Partner

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Kelly is Cofounder/Managing Partner of EQ and Cofounder of ALIVE Media Group. After earning an M.A. in literature at Washington University in St. Louis, Kelly cofounded ALIVE in 2002. He believes becoming an entrepreneur can change not only the life of that entrepreneur, but also his/her community and the world, and that being able to tell stories of transformation like that is the best job one could have.