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As the St. Louis startup community continues to grow, the voices and concerns of its founders, grass roots organizers and support organizations need to be heard, perhaps now more than ever. What does St. Louis need to do now to support its startups? Where is it succeeding? We gathered community members to talk to us about our region’s current challenges and possible solutions. Zimin Hang is the Co-founder & CEO ChronaSleep, a Fall 2015 Arch Grant recipient).  

Zimin Hang's Chrona Sleep recently won an Arch Grant.
Zimin Hang’s Chrona Sleep recently won an Arch Grant. 

What are three issues, gaps or improvements that St. Louis’ startup ecosystem needs to address?

1) Rough transition from university to startup community
2) Limited visibility for startups, entrepreneurs, and resource providers
3) Information reach and communication efficiency is low.

Which one would you focus on first?

I would focus on #3 first, which is directly linked to #2.

What approach would you take to solving that?

Through a push by the powerhouses to get more investors, entrepreneurs and mentors to actively use AngelList, LinkedIn, etc. It would also help to perceptually enlarge the STL scene, especially to outsiders!

What is your hope for St. Louis’ startup future?

In the next few years, I hope more St. Louisans support the angel investing groups and accelerators.

What do you love about the current state of STL’s startup scene?

I love the people in the scene. Everyone’s so open and genuine, which makes it fun to meet people.

This article was published in EQ print issue 1, Fall 2015.

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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.