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Arch Grants is helping bring attention to the St. Louis startup ecosystem and revitalize the economy by providing grant Recipients with $50,000 of equity-free funding and support services in exchange for locating their companies to St. Louis for at least a year. The hope is that the entrepreneurs will come to love the city and all it has to offer and choose a permanent home under the Arch.
Janus Choice, a woman-led business, already had a small tie to St. Louis after being accepted as a member of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs in 2015. After becoming a 2016 Arch Grant Recipient, the company relocated to St. Louis from Chicago full-time in June to fulfill Arch Grants requirements.
Janus Choice, was started by husband-wife duo Sasha Goodwin and Darryl Palmer in 2014 because of painful experiences they encountered with family and friends when looking for care providers after a hospital stay. Janus Choice is named for the mythological Roman god of choices. Families are often faced with tough decisions with little time and information, but Janus Choice provides a database that matches clinical, financial and social requirements for a patient and then can quickly recommend the best care options based on the needs and location of the individual patient.
Goodwin, an astrophysicist, always dreamed of the stars, loves math and physics, and wished she could have been an astronaut, ended up working in research and theory. When asked if she ever thought she’d be working in healthcare, Goodwin says, “No. But I can work with theories forever and never see results, or I can do simple little things and make a lot of people happy.” In fact, each year around 32 million people will have to make the kind of choices that Janus Choice provides a solution. “I am happier that I’ve created something that has already made, and will continue to make, people’s lives easier.”
In the summer of 2015, Janus Choice was accepted into the second class of Prosper accelerator here in St Louis. Prosper supports building and developing women-led startups. As they went through the program, they learned about St Louis, Arch Grants and Arch Grants’ commitment to advance economic development in Greater St. Louis. “The mission of Arch Grants resonates with the value and missions of our company. We believe that startups not only need to thrive and grow, but they also need to become a beacon in their community for economic growth and prosperity. The best part of the process of applying was getting to see the civic and community leaders of St. Louis and see their passion for revitalizing the city,” says Goodwin.
Goodwin and Palmer credit Arch Grants’ reputation for opening many doors for them and putting them in contact with a wide and fruitful network that helps Janus Choice continue to grow. They also see St. Louis as a great place for that growth, especially because of the highly supportive local government, infrastructure and the dynamic entrepreneurial community that offers support and highly experienced mentorship.
“In Chicago, people would meet with you because they want something from you,” Goodwin explained. “In St. Louis, mentors and business leaders are willing to spend time to meet with you and provide time to talk to you because they sincerely want to help.”