Missouri Minute: St. Louis VC investment down; NGA campus designs released

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Is this finally the year? That’s a question St. Louis hockey fans are pondering today. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin tonight, and the St. Louis Blues are back in the postseason for the 42nd time, hoping to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. As you consider that championship drought, read about a dry spell for St. Louis startups, Cerner’s response to an activist investor and big expectations for Missouri’s medical marijuana industry.

Stay alert

St. Louis startups garnered ‘minimal’ VC investment in Q1
Hundreds of millions of dollars funneled into regional startups last year, but local companies have struggled so far this year, according to two reports. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Designs for $1.7 billion NGA campus released
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released plans for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s future western headquarters, which is expected to transform north St. Louis. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Johnson & Johnson focused marketing on black women as talc concerns rose
The company targeted minority and overweight women as pressure mounted surrounding the talc in its Baby Powder. A case in St. Louis resulted in a jury verdict last summer. (Reuters)

Affirmative action for Missouri medical marijuana licenses nixed
Minority-owned businesses won’t receive a boost in the industry; license applications will not include identifying information about owners, including race. (Kansas City Star)

Cerner adds members to its board, pledges to increase margin targets
The North Kansas City-based health information technology company appointed four new members and pledged buy back $1.2 billion in shares to satisfy activist investment fund Starboard Value. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Missouri businesses can set up PACs, but can’t fund them, court rules
The Western District Court of Appeals denied an appeal by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which said the ruling is a “step backward.” (Jefferson City News Tribune)

Top Missouri budgeter wants $5 million for flooding repairs
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman wants to set aside the money in next year’s budget for any road and bridge repairs needed because of recent flooding. (Associated Press)

Say that again

“They made errors that you would think a professional group wouldn’t make.”

A city-county merger of St. Louis would not save $1 billion a year, as advocacy group Better Together estimated in its pitch, but instead lead to “tens of millions” of dollars in annual deficits, according to a new report. Webster University professor emeritus Jim Brasfield, one of the three authors of the report, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the group made critical errors in projecting tax revenue and municipal expenses.

Go figure


That is roughly the number of medical marijuana dispensaries Missouri will need to keep up with demand, compared to the 192 dispensaries that are required by Amendment 2, according to a new MU study. Regardless of the projected excess, officials say they will license the required minimum, the Springfield News-Leader reports.

Hello, my name is

LEANLAB Education

The Kansas City-based education organization will receive a $200,000 grant from Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic arm, marking the first investment in the area by the Facebook executive’s foundation, Startland News reports. LEANLAB is expected to partner with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to research local school district purchasing practices.

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