Meet the Next Generation of Job Creators Winning in St. Louis

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St. Louis’ Innovation Community gave the region’s top startups the chance to present their companies to a packed house of entrepreneurs, investors, and other members of the innovation community at the annual celebration, Startup Connection 2017.

PopWallet demo their mobile wallet marketing automation platform. PHOTO CREDIT: PopWallet

Going Live

EQ got a chance to catch up with some of the winning startups as we hosted our first ever live stream of the event held at The Globe Building last Wednesday evening. We also launched our startup jobs in St. Louis feed in recognition of the community coming together under one roof.

Meet The Winning Startups in St Louis

More than 60 top new startups in St. Louis were on display to an audience of more than 1,100 people. An impressive list of companies competed in this year’s Venture Showcase. The evening closed with awards topping $50,000 in cash prizes and services from some top St. Louis businesses that chose their favorite startup.

CheckTheQ: $5,000 cash prize from Boeing
CheckTheQ uses beacons to empower airports to keep security lines short, and travelers informed, by providing airport operations with updates on the length of security lines in real-time.

Smash Toast: $4,000 of accounting services from Anders CPA + Advisors and $2,000 in legal services from Husch Blackwell
SmashToast develops smarter smart home devices. Their flagship product, PUCK, allows traditional, dumb devices to be controlled remotely through an iOS and Android app.

Agrela Ecosystems: $2,000 of accounting services from BDO
Agrela Ecosystems is producing a solar powered, cloud connected, smart field sensor system which will help farmers and researchers to make informed, real time decisions in order to improve their crops and save money.

Heartwork Videos: $2,000 cash prize from BioSTL and $2,500 cash prize from Lewis Rice
Heartwork Videos produces high-quality, intraoperative videos for surgeons and surgical training programs to supplement teaching, accelerate learning, and improve patient outcomes.

Janus Choice: $2,000 of legal services from CreatiVenture Law and $2,000 of legal services from Polsinelli
Janus Choice provides hospitals an AI platform to facilitate transitions to post-acute care and improve outcomes for the 32 million hospitals stays a year that require a transition to post-acute care in the United States.

LIFEbinder: $2,000 office space froom CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center)
LIFEbinder provide an organizational toolkit and webapp for parents to teach their autistic teens to manage their own resource networks, and successfully transition to independent living after high school.

SensrTrx: $2,000 of accounting services from Rubin Brown and $6,000 of digital cloud storage from Datotel
SensrTrx is a manufacturing analytics application that collects data from sensors, machines, and people in the factory, to help manufacturing companies improve uptime and performance of their equipment.

Sparo Labs: $2,000 in shipping services from UPS
Sparo Labs is a digital health company transforming respiratory care. Their flagship product, Wing is the 1st FDA-cleared, over-the-counter smartphone sensor to measure lung function—empowering people with COPD, asthma, and other conditions to proactively manage their health.

Viosera: $2,000 cash prize from BioSTL
Viosera is developing better treatments for deadly infections to counter antibiotic resistance.

VaxNewMo: $1,250 cash prize from Thompson Coburn
VaxNewMo is developing next generation conjugate vaccines against bacterial diseases using a patented conjugating enzyme technology.

SafeTrek: $1,250 cash prize from Monsanto and $7,000 in consulting and planning services from Slalom
SafeTrek is building a connected safety platform to upgrade the 911 emergency services infrastructure and get help to your exact location.

The results of the St. Charles County Demo Day People’s Choice Award was also announced at Startup Connection; a $5,000 cash prize was awarded to Obodo, a case management software platform for human services charities and non-profits.

In addition to the Startup Showcase, the annual event also provided a resource fair for entrepreneurs to connect with startup support organizations across the region.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to share these great startups with the community,” said Phyllis Ellison, managing director of Startup Connection ’17. “The entrepreneurs of St. Louis inspire us with their creativity and drive. You can’t help but leave the event with a renewed sense of energy and excitement about what is being built here in the region.”

Startup Philosophy

That sense of energy and excitement is exactly what attracted Ravi Sahu to establish his startup in St Louis after he graduated from Wash U. He founded Strayos, a drone based mapping solution for the mining industry, which recently won an Arch Grant.

“The day I landed, I felt welcome… and that came from the community here,” Sahu told EQ in a live video interview from the event. “I spent about 10 years in an established firm and I was kinda a misfit there. The reason I wanted to take on a startup, is that I like the hustle. I enjoy the ups and downs.”

Full Speed Lifestyle

“My philosophy is ‘ship it and do it.’ The way you serve customers is you ship new products and features every day. Just go ahead and do it,” Sahu continued.

The Strayos founder’s management philosophy and love for the startup hustle is shared by Wes Biggs, CTO and co-founder of PopWallet, a mobile wallet marketing automation platform that is disrupting the coupon and voucher industry (first disrupted by Groupon).

“[18 month product release cycles] that’s just a joy-killer right there,” Biggs told EQ.

“We talk about days between releases… there’s so much to do. There’s so many features to keep building. There’s so many customer requests coming in. That’s what keeps it exciting. Keeps it lively.”

Live Videos From The Globe Building

It wasn’t just entrepreneurs working at full speed at Startup Connection either. The insanely fast internet connection at The Globe Building and the incredibly talented video production team at Vidzu meant that EQ’s first ever live stream was broadcast without a hitch!

Check out all our live videos from the event to get a sense of the energy of that night and an insight into the startup growth philosophy of the winning founders.