Startup Scene: BioGenerator Expands, SixThirty’s McKelvey Looks Overseas and Two VC’s Get Props For Big Money

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BioGenerator Loosening Its Belt
BioGenerator is tripling the size of its Accelerator Labs, and investing $2.5 million to do it. The labs—which house early-stage bioscience companies—are located on the third floor of the CORTEX 1 building. The expansion is in response to increased demand and will grow the labs from 5,443 square feet to 17,383 square feet. The expected completion date is early 2014. Simultaneously, BioGenerator is expanding at the Center for Emerging Technology which houses their 13 Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Expansion plans will increase its space from 1,900 square feet to 4,372 square feet.

Cultivation Capital and Ascension Health Make Forbes’ ‘Big Money’ List
Cultivation Capital and Ascension Health have been named as two of 12 companies on Forbes’ “Big Money Midwest” list. Having two local venture capital firms make the list is being touted as validation of St. Louis’ promising startup culture and a testament to its growth. The article also gave a shout out to Jim McKelvey’s newest venture, SixThirty, along with this gem of a quote: “One of the general partners of Cultivation is Jim McKelvey, who co-founded Square alongside Jack Dorsey (who co-founded Twitter)—not too shabby.”

McKelvey’s SixThirty Casts Wide Net
Speaking of McKelvey’s SixThirty, the financial-services startup accelerator is looking out of state and overseas for its first class. SixThirty was founded to bring financial tech startup to St. Louis due to a lack of local Fin Techs. McKelvey is personally wooing an unnamed European startup. SixThirty—which is backed by the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Cultivation Capital—offers $100,000 to each of four startups in the fall and again in the spring, plus a four-month accelerator program with hands-on training and mentoring from area business leaders. Applications for the accelerator are due this Friday, Sept. 6.

TrakBill to Host Roundtable on Technology in Education
TrakBill and the Digital Learning Alliance are teaming up to host a roundtable discussion this Thursday to strategize on how technology can best be incorporated into the educational system through public policy initiatives. While some questions will be prepared ahead of time, with input from invitees, the majority of the time will be open for the free flow of ideas.

The roundtable will draw on the varied expertise and industry experience of Saint Louis Region executives, educators and legislators. The long-term goal is to develop St. Louis into a hub for innovative thinking and economic growth, which can serve as a model for cities across the country. The roundtable takes place Thursday, Sept. 5, at Trak Bill’s new offices, 1017 Olive Street, Suite 700, from 2pm to 4pm.

Chores Market Increases Connections
Chores Market—a social platform that helps people find reliable help to perform chores—said in just one month it added 100,000 connections, which occurs when a user “friends” another user. The St. Louis-based startup launched last May and currently has 1,000 users. The increase in connections means that users are much more likely to find the help they are looking for. Founded by Avichal Jain, the early-stage startup is looking to raise $500,000 in capital in the next three to five months.