Hello, MBA readers,
Arch Grants has raised $21.5 million in gifts and commitments to advance its mission of attracting startups and jobs to St. Louis. With the infusion of capital, the nonprofit organization plans to give out more money in grants to more startup companies. Across the state, in the Kansas City area, multiple wealth management firms have announced mergers and acquisitions this week. Spectrum Wealth Advisors and Caliber Wealth Management are merging, and OneDigital Investment Advisors is acquiring an Atlanta-based firm, adding $1.3 billion in assets. Meanwhile, in Springfield, the nonprofit Convoy of Hope is mobilizing in support of the crisis in Texas. The organization has sent emergency relief supplies to the state as millions there face boil orders and power outages.
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Speaking Startup: Accelerating diversity in St. Louis startups
St. Louis entrepreneur Akeem Shannon has enjoyed a busy few months, pitching his smartphone accessory, the Flipstik, on the television show “Shark Tank” and earning a spot in the inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Accelerator at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He credits opportunities like the accelerator with helping him gain important introductions and access. Shannon joined the Speaking Startup podcast to discuss the new accelerator, which he hopes can catalyze change in the startup landscape. “Being a part of these programs is definitely a great first step in kind of changing that narrative in St. Louis, and really around the country,” he said. “It’s not just a St. Louis-based issue.”
Kansas City delays decision on incentive reform
The Kansas City Council will wait at least another week to decide on new limits for tax incentives that go to developers. Proponents of the plan want to redirect funding toward education, particularly inner-city schools that have often been neglected. (The Kansas City Star)
OneDigital Investment Advisors acquires competitor
The advisory acquired Atlanta Retirement Partners, adding $1.3 billion in assets under management. This is the fourth acquisition of the year by OneDigital for its Kansas City-area subsidiary, OneDigital Retirement + Wealth. (Kansas City Business Journal)
KC-area wealth management firms merge
Spectrum Wealth Advisors merged into Caliber Wealth Management. Their assets have a combined value of $700 million. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Texas aid on the way via Springfield’s Convoy of Hope
The Springfield nonprofit sent emergency relief supplies to aid Texas as the state continues to battle extreme cold, boil-water notices and power outages. (Springfield Business Journal)
Fed economist cautions against risks of quick rebound
Chuck Gascon, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, warns against having too quick of an economic rebound in 2021. He believes slower, steady growth will be more beneficial in the long run. (St. Louis Public Radio)
Proposal to charge solar users extra fees draws pushback
A Missouri House committee considered a bill this week that would allow utility companies to charge extra fees to customers who have solar panels. Outcry from opponents over the hearing’s timing has extended it to next week. (Columbia Missourian)
Historic St. Louis building set to be repurposed
A Memphis developer has bought the Butler Brothers building, one of the largest empty buildings near downtown St. Louis, in the hopes that a new Major League Soccer stadium nearby will rehab the property’s value. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
St. Louis fintech startup announces new CEO
Matt Beecher was appointed to replace co-founder Sultan Meghji as CEO of Neocova, one of the fastest growing startups in St. Louis, after Meghji took a position with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (St. Louis Business Journal)
KC Jazz Orchestra cancels remainder of season
Citing the pandemic, the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra has canceled the two remaining performances it had scheduled for the 2020-21 season.
(The Kansas City Star)
Say that again
“It was a really nice pandemic field trip. I don’t need more stuff in my life, but I do need more beauty.”
That’s Ann Shields from Kirkwood, who became a customer of Petals on Our Porch, a promotion introduced by local florist Urban Buds after the onset of the pandemic. Looking to offload excess flowers before they wilted, the florist filled buckets with flowers, sold them online and let customers like Shields pick them up from the Urban Buds porch. The pandemic has forced many florists that relied on weddings, funerals and other events to reevaluate how to keep business running, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Bouquet deliveries have rebounded, with people sending flowers to friends and family in lieu of in-person visits. Many florists have now found ways to do curbside pickup or subscription services.
The plan for distributing federal coronavirus relief money under the $1.9 trillion proposal being considered in Washington would give $195.44 per person to each county in Missouri, the Missouri Independent reports. The distribution plan for cities would follow Community Development Block Grant allocations, though, causing variations. A city like O’Fallon might receive $77.69 per person, while St. Louis receives $1,408 per person. Altogether, Missouri cities and counties would receive $2.5 billion.
Today, we announced that our Sustained Impact Campaign has raised $21.5 million in gifts and commitments, which we’ll use to both grow our programs and sustain our funding pipeline for extraordinary entrepreneurs who want to locate in St. Louis. https://t.co/IqJe9E2n9v
— Arch Grants (@ArchGrants) February 18, 2021
After securing $21.5 million in gifts and commitments through a fundraising campaign, Arch Grants plans to distribute $1.55 million to startups in its annual grant competition this year, instead of the typical $1 million. The $21.5 million will also support the new Growth Grants program, which will provide up to $100,000 to past Arch Grants recipients that need capital to scale. Since 2012, Arch Grants has given $50,000 grants, plus other resources, to startups based in or willing to relocate to St. Louis.
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The St. Louis startup is helping decipher data and information sent from NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance, which touched down on the planet Thursday afternoon after a seven-month journey. Impossible Sensing was founded five years ago and is working out of a vacated church basement, St. Louis Public Radio reports. The team will be asked to build improved sensors for future missions. The company’s founder, Pablo Sobron, previously worked for NASA.