The Arch Grants organization gave away $1.9 million to 35 early-stage businesses Friday in its largest commitment yet to nurturing entrepreneurial talent.
Previously in its 10-year history, Arch Grants has supported between 15 and 20 startups annually. Spokesman Andy Painter said the group’s successful fundraising campaign, which was completed in February and raised $21.5 million, enabled it to make more grants.
Each winning company receives $50,000, and those from out of town get an additional $10,000 to relocate to St. Louis. More than 400 companies applied for this year’s competition.
Fifteen of this year’s winners are based in the St. Louis area and 20 were founded in other cities, including New York, Dallas and Philadelphia. As a condition of the program, at least half of a company’s founding team must move to St. Louis for the next year.
In some cases, founders who once lived in St. Louis will be returning here. That’s true for the most distant winner, South Korean medical device startup Cedars Health, which was founded by former Washington University students Yoon Ho Chung and Geon Sun Park.
Michael Naber, who founded geospatial data company Simerse in Los Angeles, also will be returning to his former home of St. Louis. In addition to the Arch Grant, Simerse recently won $100,000 from the NGA Accelerator.
The grant recipients range from high-tech concepts like Intramotev, a St. Louis startup that is developing battery-powered railcars for short-haul freight, to lower-tech food and beverage enterprises like Honeymoon Chocolates of St. Louis and Mississippi Mud Coffee of Maplewood.
Several of the winning companies are pursuing social as well as business goals: Harmonee is a mobile app in which people can support nonprofit organizations by answering survey questions; Imanyco is a transcription app for people with hearing loss; and No Limbits is an adaptive clothing brand designed for people with disabilities.
In 10 years, Arch Grants has handed out $10.6 million to 208 early-stage businesses. In a statement, Executive Director Emily Lohse-Busch called those totals “an important milestone in our drive to solidify St. Louis as a beacon for innovation in the country and throughout the world.”
Arch Grants says it knows of at least 96 past winners that are still operating in the St. Louis area. Those companies have created more than 2,347 jobs, generate at least $479 million in revenue and have attracted more than $411 million of outside capital.
The 35 winners will be recognized at an online gala Nov. 17, when the organization will also present its 2021 Entrepreneur Award to Square co-founder Jim McKelvey.
2021 Arch Grants recipients
Arch Grants announced 35 grant recipients on Oct. 1. Each winner receives $50,000 and must run the company from St. Louis for a year.
|Athlytic||Detroit||Marketplace for college athlete endorsers|
|Bask & Bloom Essentials||Bridgeton||Hair care products|
|Buck Surgical||St. Louis||Medical devices|
|Cedars Health||South Korea||Medical devices|
|Core and Rind||St. Louis||Plant-based cheese alternative|
|Equalizer Games||Dallas||Sports coaching software|
|Erkios Systems||Kansas City||Cybersecurity|
|GABA||Atlanta||Career development in health care|
|Halal Beauty Cosmetics||Des Plaines, Ill.||Halal-certified cosmetics|
|Halo + Cleaver||Denver||Low-sugar sauces and condiments|
|Harmonee||St. Louis||Survey app that supports charity|
|Honeymoon Chocolates||St. Louis||Honey-sweetened chocolate|
|Imanyco||West Palm Beach, Fla.||Transcription app for the hearing impaired|
|InfraLytiks||Des Moines, Iowa||Data Analytics|
|Intramotev Autonomous Rail||St. Louis||Battery powered railcars|
|Inventora||St. Louis||Inventory management software|
|Looking Glass Interactive||St. Louis||App to create 3D walk-throughs|
|Mighty Cricket||St. Louis||Protein powder from crickets|
|Mississippi Mud Coffee||Maplewood||Organic coffee wholesaler|
|Nebula Media Group||Philadelphia||Digital solutions for small business|
|No Limbits||Iowa City, Iowa||Clothing for people with disabilities|
|oneKIN||New York||E-commerce software|
|Optikal Care||Atlanta||Eye care subscription service|
|Paerpay||Boston||Contactless payment software|
|Pilotbird||New York||Insurance analytics|
|Plabook||Kansas City||Education software|
|Preventogen||West St. Louis County||Wound care|
|Printerior||St. Louis||Additives for 3D printing|
|Rock the Score||Sunset Hills||Rental payment verification|
|Simerse||Los Angeles||Geospatial data|
|Soilless||Austin, Texas||Indoor gardening system|
|Stereotheque||New York||Marketplace for creative talent|
|Total Orbit||St. Louis||Patient education and training|
|ZenHammer||Johnson City, Tenn.||Invoicing app for small contractors|
|zPods||St. Charles||Sleeping pod for kids|