Year in Brief: Spread of startup accelerators gains steam in 2016

The proliferation of startup incubators and accelerators that Missouri has experienced in recent years gained steam in 2016, with key players across the state’s entrepreneurial landscape announcing new efforts to fuel the growth of early-stage companies.

The Year in Brief offers a look at the business stories that were most important to Missouri in 2016, and that will continue to shape the state in 2017 and beyond.

In Kansas City, one accelerator became two when Sprint and TechStars reached the end of their three-year joint accelerator effort, only to reveal plans that they would launch separate startup programs in the city.

Kansas City’s Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation announced a new effort to provide capital for entities supporting startup growth. In October, the foundation unveiled a program offering matching funds for venture accelerators in the Kansas City area.

On the other side of the state, St. Louis saw its own share of accelerator activity. In June, accelerator SixThirty, which previously specialized in financial technology companies, announced the addition of a cybersecurity fund with designs on deploying $10 million over the next five years.

Later in the year, Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, a St. Louis-based organization focused on women-led startups, revealed plans to expand to other cities in the Midwest and Mid-South in 2017.

In Columbia, the Missouri Innovation Center expanded beyond its traditional focus on life science startups to bring tech companies into the fold. The organization introduced the Mid-MO Tech Accelerator, launched a $2.1 million fund and announced its first four investments.

Springfield’s eFactory also passed a couple of milestones, welcoming and graduating the first cohort of its accelerator program. The accelerator’s second class is set to start in February.

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