Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect job-creation number in the first paragraph.
T-Rex, the downtown incubator for tech startups, has helped create more than 2,200 jobs and $350 million in economic output since its founding in 2011, according to a report compiled by T-Rex and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.
Out of the 2,230 jobs created by individuals and businesses working out of its Washington Avenue home in the Lammert building, more than 1,500 are situated downtown, according to the report, with $137 million in combined labor income annually through 2016.
“This isn’t work we’re doing, but we’re the context for it, we’re where this is happening,” T-Rex executive director Patty Hagen said. “This is what’s accomplished by our partners and young companies coming together in a space like this.”
More than 400 people currently work across five floors of the building, and T-Rex is in the midst of a $10 million capital campaign to renovate other floors of the building to add another 50,000 square feet of working space.
More than $5 million has been raised and renovation has already begun on the third floor, which Hagen said should be finished by December.
The $350 million in “economic output” is the estimated value of products and services produced by businesses based out of T-Rex. Hagen said T-Rex compiled the data on its members and then had economists at the Chamber produce the numbers for the report.
Eighty-two companies have “graduated” out of T-Rex, a term that essentially means a company grew to the point where it needed its own, larger space and moved . All but 14 of those companies have remained in St. Louis, according to the report.
There are about 200 businesses in the building currently.
“We want these companies to graduate, but we don’t set a deadline for them to do that,” Hagen said. “Our hope is they graduate because we connected these entrepreneurs with the resources they need.”
Success stories include that of Sparo Labs, a company that developed a pocket-sized medical device for monitoring lung health that can connect to smartphones.
Sparo Labs co-founder Abby Cohen, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Washington University, said her four-person company benefited not just from the resources T-Rex offers on paper, but also through networking with other entrepreneurs who share the space.
“A big part of it is just bumping into someone in the hallways and something comes up that you might not even know you needed to think about,” Cohen, 26, said. “There’s some nugget of knowledge you’ll get at just the right time.”