Missouri Minute: Cyber Monday sets record; St. Louis-founded startup sold for $1.1B

Hello, MBA readers,

The opening stanza of the post-Thanksgiving shopping season ended on a historically high note for online retailers. Cyber Monday generated $11.4 billion in sales, according to early estimates, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history. Speaking of big sales, a tech startup founded in St. Louis has sold a majority stake for $1.1 billion. The software company Gainsight, which is now based in San Francisco, was the first investment ever for St. Louis venture capital firm Cultivation Capital. In other news of big investment returns, Kansas City Chiefs players Travis Kelce and Mitchell Schwartz are cashing in on their investment in Cholula Hot Sauce. The football players are among a group of professional athletes set to profit from the sale of the hot sauce brand, which is being acquired by McCormick & Co. for $800 million.

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Demand for coronavirus tests doubles in Kansas City
The demand for coronavirus tests has already doubled in the area and is expected to grow even more as people become sick after Thanksgiving gatherings. Kansas City health experts have asked those who traveled to quarantine and get tested. (KCUR)

Cyber Monday estimated to be biggest online shopping day in US history
Industry estimates suggested online sales Monday totaled up to $11.4 billion in the U.S., topping last year’s Cyber Monday sales of $9.4 billion. (Reuters)

Sinclair to offer betting on games on regional sports networks
Sinclair Broadcast Group is partnering with gambling operator Bally’s to facilitate betting through its networks, which include Fox Sports Midwest, the home of the St. Louis Blues and Cardinals. Missouri has yet to legalize sports gambling, but it is legal in other Midwestern states. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Audit says Jackson County executive spent $10 million without legislative approval 
A state audit reports that Jackson County Executive Frank White misused a law that allows spending on purchases of less than $10,000 to buy things without legislative approval, amounting to a grand total of over $10 million. (KCUR)

Columbia private schools see increased interest from public school parents
Private schools in the city report long waitlists and a growing number of inquiries from parents who have children in the city’s public schools, which have gone virtual. (Columbia Missourian)

St. Louis-area private equity firm sells apartments for $8.2M
Trident Group Partners has sold an apartment complex in South Carolina for $8.2 million, generating a 29.5% annualized rate of return, according to the group. (St. Louis Business Journal)

The Children’s Place opens new location
The Kansas City nonprofit, which provides services to children who have experienced trauma, debuted its new building Monday. The organization said the move will allow it to serve 30% more families. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Kansas City-area company buys three gas stations for $3M
Plaza Street Partners, a company focused on remodeling retailers, has purchased three Florida gas stations for more than $1 million each. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“The businesses would still be here. The problem there is that they would then have a difficulty around services. I mean, the city provides lighting; they provide road maintenance.”

That’s Phil Stang, the mayor of Kimmswick, a small Mississippi River town 30 miles southwest of St. Louis that has seen municipal revenue reduced by 80% after two annual festivals — the Apple Butter Festival and Strawberry Festival — were canceled in consecutive years. The festivals, which typically attract hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of attendees, were canceled last year because of flooding and this year because of the pandemic. While the city faces financial distress and scrambles to find $200,000 to stay afloat, Stang said local businesses will survive. But the loss of city services would affect local businesses like the Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery and LaChance Winery, whose owners are trying to help in various ways.

Go figure


An estimated 8% of all physician practices nationally — or about 16,000 practices — have shuttered due to the dire financial straits caused by the pandemic, according to a survey by the Physicians Foundation. While the coronavirus is sending more people to hospitals, it is also shutting down doctor’s offices, Kaiser Health News reports. Access to primary care was an issue even before the pandemic, especially in rural areas that have become health care deserts. The closure of additional facilities means that some patients will have to travel greater distances to reach health care providers, and some patients struggle to make long trips for routine check-ups. “This is especially poignant in the rural areas,” said Dr. Michael LeFevre, head of the family and community medicine department at the University of Missouri. “There aren’t any good choices. What happens is people end up getting care in the emergency room.”

Send tweet

Twitter was hot with reactions to Kansas City Chiefs players Travis Kelce and Mitchell Schwartz cashing in on their investment in Cholula Hot Sauce. The two Super Bowl champions were among a roster of professional athletes to invest in Cholula, which will be acquired by food and spice giant McCormick & Co. for $800 million, Forbes reports. The athletes invested in the hot sauce brand when private equity firm L Catterton purchased it last year, and they are expected to net a return of nearly four times their initial investment.

Hello my name is


This St. Louis-born startup, founded as JBara Software by entrepreneurs Jim Eberlin and Sreedhar Peddineni in 2009, has been acquired for $1.1 billion, cementing its status as a “unicorn” — that is, a startup with a valuation of at least $1 billion. Gainsight makes software designed to help businesses manage customer relations and customer satisfaction. It was the first investment ever for St. Louis-based venture capital firm Cultivation Capital, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company, which is now based in San Francisco, sold a majority stake to Austin, Texas-based Vista Equity Partners.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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