Speaking Startup covers news and issues important to Missouri entrepreneurs.

Latest episode:

A tale of two types of retail

More recent episodes:

• What’s cooking for Black Restaurant Week?

• Twain, tours and entrepreneurs

• The chalet strategy

• Plush pandemic picnics ‘for the Gram’

• Making green celebrating red, white and blue


All episodes:



Emily Hood

Destiny Muller

JUNE 25, 2021

What a jolt of US tech spending might mean in Missouri

The U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, or USICA, is a $250 billion bill aimed at boosting the U.S. semiconductor industry, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics and more. The legislation, viewed as an effort to encourage American competition with the growing high-tech sector in China, passed the U.S. Senate earlier this month and is working its way through the House. To learn more about what the bill might mean in Missouri, the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast features a conversation with Ben Johnson, vice president of programs at BioSTL, a nonprofit that works to support startups and entrepreneurship in St. Louis. Plus, we hear from Black entrepreneurs in Kansas City who participated in a recent Startland News event focused on systemic inequalities affecting Black-owned businesses in their community.

JULY 2, 2021

Making green celebrating red, white and blue

This week’s episode of the Speaking Startup podcast is a holiday-themed entrepreneurship-focused extravaganza. First, from bubble buses to beer trucks, entrepreneurs across Missouri who cater to crowds at large public events are bracing for brisk business this weekend with the return of large July Fourth events. It’s a different scene from last summer when as many as 80% of Independence Day celebrations were shut down due to COVID-19. Plus, after record consumer spending on fireworks last year, Missouri retailers are seeing strong demand again this year. Strain to the global supply chain has led to diminished supply, but it hasn’t dampened the outlook of sellers across the state.

JULY 9, 2021

Plush pandemic picnics ‘for the Gram’

Many businesses have been hit hard by the cancellation of large, indoor events as a result of COVID-19. According to the Live Events Coalition, an industry group, 90% of events businesses have seen cancellations since the beginning of the pandemic. But in the face of diminished demand for some events, other options have … popped up. Pop-up picnics have been one area of the event industry that has thrived. The plush affairs are often complete high-end dinnerware, custom table settings, themed decor and gourmet catering. And they have caught fire recently on social media. In the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we hear from entrepreneurs who started pop-up picnic businesses in Missouri over the last year about why they think the trend has been so popular and what the future holds. Plus, in the latest story from our Outstate series on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri, we meet 19-year-old Olivia Niemeyer, owner of Two Scoops Ice Cream in Bowling Green, about her family’s passion for entrepreneurship.

JULY 16, 2021

The chalet strategy

In the eastern Missouri town of Bowling Green, the demolition of a pair of prominent buildings a few years ago left a void in the downtown district, and ultimately it inspired a revitalization effort. City leaders are pursuing a host of ideas for reinvigorating the business district. Those big plans start with small, wooden structures. The downtown is now home to three chalets that provide short-term homes for young businesses looking to test their concepts without the burden of long-term leases. “This is more of first startup entrepreneurs who are trying to get their feet wet in the retail world,” said Tracy Brookshier, president of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and chair of the downtown revitalization project. “So, hopefully, this is just kind of like a first step into getting that big brick and mortar down the road.” The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at how the chalet strategy is playing out in Bowling Green. Plus, as the threat of cyberattacks has proliferated, so have businesses focused on cybersecurity. From technology companies trying to neutralize cyber threats to insurance firms looking to mitigate financial damage from hacks, Kansas City is home to a growing number of businesses addressing the needs arising from cyber threats.

JULY 23, 2021

Twain, tours and entrepreneurs

In the fall of 1839, a young boy named Samuel Clemens moved with his family to Hannibal, Missouri. Almost two centuries later, Clemens — more commonly known by his pen name, Mark Twain — has given the town an international reputation. Hannibal is perhaps best known as the childhood home of Twain and the setting of some of his most famous books, including “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Tourists now flock to the town to learn more about the author, and many businesses in the downtown district have sought to honor his legacy. For the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we traveled to Hannibal to learn more about businesses with ties to Twain’s legacy in the northeast Missouri town. Plus, we spoke with the organizers of HERImpact Kansas City, a new pitch competition for female social entrepreneurs, to learn about the event and the need for funding of women-led startups.

JULY 30, 2021

What’s cooking for Black Restaurant Week?

In the midst of Midwest Black Restaurant Week, we set out to find Missouri entrepreneurs getting involved in the second-year event. We wound up talking with a trio of entrepreneurs participating in the event for the first time — because it’s their first year in business. On the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we dig into three Black restaurateurs’ reasons for starting food-service businesses during a time that’s been particularly tough on the industry. Plus, we hear from Elango Thevar, the founder of St. Louis-based startup Neer. His company is trying to help small and midsize communities solve issues with their water infrastructure by using artificial intelligence.

AUGUST 6, 2021

A tale of two types of retail

The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast is a tale of two types of retail. First, we visit with St. Louis entrepreneur Doug Spencer. He’s co-CEO of Bold Xchange, an ecommerce startup looking to boost Black-owned businesses by providing them the exposure and connections they need to grow. Then, we hear another story from our Outstate series on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri. This installment takes us to an Amish community in eastern Missouri to learn about the entrepreneurs there — and how the pandemic has driven a surge in demand for their products.



Jack Anstine

Casey Murray


JUNE 13, 2020

Gauging the pandemic’s toll on women entrepreneurs

Early numbers on job losses resulting from the coronavirus suggest women in the labor force have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. But what about women business owners? In this week’s episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we look at how women entrepreneurs in Missouri are faring in the face of COVID-19. Plus, as protests across the country have brought attention to police brutality and systemic racism, some people have sought ways to support black-owned businesses. We checked in with African American entrepreneurs in Kansas City to see how their businesses are holding up and get a sense of the challenges black entrepreneurs face.

JUNE 20, 2020

Coworking in the coronavirus age

Coworking is often described using terms like communal, collaborative and close-knit. In the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, many of those qualities are akin to four-letter words. Against that backdrop, shared workspace operators and tenants have been forced to adjust. This episode of Speaking Startup features a conversation with Ben Rao, founder of Bridge Space, a coworking facility in Lee’s Summit. He discusses how his facility has navigated coronavirus adjustments. Plus, downtown Columbia’s biannual restaurant week is designed to drum up customers for local establishments during what’s typically a slow season. But this year, with business already brought to a halt by the coronavirus, restaurant week has taken on a different feel for many local restaurant entrepreneurs.

JUNE 26, 2020

Supporting Black businesses by starting with kids

As calls to support Black-owned businesses grow, Christal Rogers is taking a grassroots approach to that effort. A Black entrepreneur herself, Rogers founded an organization called Brownpreneurs, which seeks to teach principles of entrepreneurship to African American youth. Plus, with local news organizations devoting much of their limited time and resources to chronicling the coronavirus pandemic this year, some journalists in the Kansas City area became concerned that coverage of other subjects — especially local government — was being overlooked. Now, in tandem with the nonprofit group KC Digital Drive, some local media organizations are trying to address that concern.

JULY 10, 2020

What gives, millennial entrepreneurs?

Millennials aren’t unfamiliar with criticism. Other generations say they’re narcissistic, need constant validation and overspend on avocado toast. A critique less frequently leveled against the generation is its lack of entrepreneurial inclination. But some research published by the Small Business Administration suggests millennials are the least entrepreneurial generation in a century. On this week’s podcast, we dig into that idea, looking at some of the numbers on entrepreneurship by generation and exploring the gap between millennials’ desire and ability to start a business. Plus, with economic fallout from the coronavirus forcing late cuts to Missouri’s 2021 budget, the Missouri Technology Corp. stands to lose $1 million in state funding. We discuss the latest in series of funding cuts over the last few years could mean for the private-public partnership and its efforts to support technology entrepreneurs in the state.

JULY 17, 2020

Beware the coronavirus cyberattacks

With businesses disrupted, employees working remotely and people seeking the latest information about the coronavirus, the pandemic has been something of a perfect storm for cybersecurity. Since the start of the pandemic, cyberattacks have gone up by 300%, according to the FBI’s Cyber Division. On this week’s podcast, we explore the roots of that increase and how people can protect themselves and their information. Plus, we speak with Ann Duplessis, senior vice president at Liberty Bank, the only Black-owned bank in the state. Duplessis discusses how the bank is faring and how it supports the Black community.

JULY 24, 2020

Driven by a desire for diversity

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we look at entrepreneurs who are driven to start companies because of a desire for more diversity and representation — and how inclusive cultures can help companies thrive. Plus, the 10th rendition of Kansas City’s Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair was forced online by the coronavirus pandemic. We talk with the fair’s founder about what that means for the event and the makers it traditionally brings together.

AUGUST 1, 2020

Accelerating entrepreneurs’ pandemic pivots

Across Missouri, startups have shifted their products and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple businesses that have undergone pandemic pivots participated in the Black & Veatch COVID-19 Response Accelerator. The program, run by Kansas City-area engineering firm Black & Veatch, was created to help accelerate the growth of businesses trying to address problems presented by COVID-19. On this week’s podcast, we caught up with a couple of Missouri-based companies that participated in the program. Plus, we visited with the co-founder of a vegan food truck and restaurant in Kansas City who is building a business while trying to shift costumers’ attitudes about the food she serves.

AUGUST 7, 2020

Teledentistry takes root

On this week’s episode of the Speaking Startup, we chat with Maria Kunstadter, The TeleDentists co-founder, about her company’s origins, its pandemic-fueled growth and the future of telehealth. Plus, as more municipalities across the state embrace mask mandates as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, business owners in places without mask orders face decisions. We spoke with Hannibal restaurateur Tara Hausman about how she has approached that decision for her business.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

Addressing the gender funding gap

Male and female startup founders whose companies raise capital are equally likely to lead those companies to sales or initial public offerings, according to a study from researchers at the Columbia Business School and London Business School. The trouble is, female-led ventures are 63% less likely than male-led ventures to obtain such funding. Those funding disparities were one topic addressed at the virtual Startup Missouri Expo, which ran from Tuesday to Thursday and addressed a range of startup subjects. On this week’s episode of Speaking Startup, we dig into a discussion from the expo on funding gaps that exist between male- and female-founded companies. Plus, we chat with St. Louis entrepreneur Janna Westbrook, who is trying to build a health care startup in the midst of a pandemic. Westbrook’s company, Provider Pool, just completed the Techstars Kansas City accelerator and wants to bring its health care staffing software to the masses.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

Solving the disparity in STEM fields

Women make up half of the total college-educated workforce. However, in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — fields, women only make up 28% of the workforce, according to a 2018 report from the National Science Board. There is an underrepresentation of minority groups in the field as well, with Black people making up 4.8% of the workforce, and hispanic people making up 6% of the workforce, according to the same report. The disparity is even more pronounced when it comes to women of color. Cheryl Cooper is looking to help close that gap. She’s the founder of Women in Security Mentors, an organization based in the Kansas City area that helps women interested in the cyber security field by providing education, workshops and professional connections. On this week’s episode of Speaking Startup, we speak with Cooper about why these gaps in STEM exist and how she assists those looking to enter the field. Plus, St. Louis entrepreneur Sarah Schlafly’s search for an affordable, sustainable source of protein led her to insects. We chat with Schlafly about her company, Mighty Cricket, which makes high-protein food products out of crickets.

OCTOBER 4, 2020

Taking the plunge amid a pandemic

Kyle Richards, Derick Thornton and Dade Sprague form RTS Trio, a Maryville business that manages vending machines, rental property and an expansive Ebay store — with plans to open a brick-and-mortar store. The three would be juniors at Northwest Missouri State University this fall. But, after launching their company in February and weathering the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, they opted to step away from school for the fall to focus on building their business. In this week’s episode of Speaking Startup, we hear the story of the entrepreneurial trio and how they have fared since taking the plunge into entrepreneurship during a pandemic. Plus, Columbia’s Regional Economic Development Inc. has a new entrepreneurship coordinator. Jay Sparks joins the podcast to discuss his own experiences as an entrepreneur and what he hopes to offer the mid-Missouri entrepreneurial community in his new role.

OCTOBER 10, 2020

Cultivating ‘the future of food’ in St. Louis

Fast-growing plant science startup Benson Hill cut the ribbon on a new headquarters in the St. Louis area last month, officially opening a facility the company dubbed “a new home for the future of food.” Jason Bull, who became Benson Hill’s CTO earlier this year, joined the Speaking Startup podcast to discuss his company’s trajectory and the significance of its new headquarters, which he called “a symbol of our growth and how our innovations are panning out.” Beyond serving as a symbol, Bull said, the new facility can be a “magnet … in terms of creating really exciting new jobs” in a St. Louis region brimming with plant science talent and companies. Plus, as local governments across Missouri have grappled with how to regulate businesses during the pandemic, entrepreneurs in the bar and restaurant industry have been forced to navigate an evolving set of challenges. Lydia Melton, the owner of Columbia bar and cafe Gunter Hans and former president of the Mid-Missouri restaurant association, shared the story of how she has worked to keep her business going amid changing regulations.

OCTOBER 17, 2020

Entrepreneurs on the election

Nearly two in three small business owners said they were more interested in this year’s election than in the 2016 election, and 40% of entrepreneurs said they were “much more” interested in this year, according to a September survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Election interest was especially high in the Midwest, where 71% of small business owners expressed interest in this year’s proceedings. On the eve of the election, the latest Speaking Startup episode features perspectives from a handful of Missouri entrepreneurs on this year’s balloting, which comes amid unprecedented and difficult circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, driven in part by pandemic shifts and election-related demand, businesses in the notary industry are modernizing and flourishing. We look at what that has mean for Missouri entrepreneurs.

OCTOBER 25, 2020

Lessons learned launching an accelerator in a pandemic

Kansas City’s BCP Tech Accelerator concluded its first cohort earlier this month. The debut was not without challenges. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the accelerator and forced it to go from an in-person format to a virtual one. But the program, which is focused on startups developing technology for the insurance brokerage industry, eventually went on. Nathan Kurtz of Brush Creek Partners, the insurance company behind the accelerator, joined the Speaking Startup podcast to discuss challenges and lessons learned launching an accelerator in a pandemic. Plus, in another story of a pandemic-driven pivot, we look at the rise of so-called ghost kitchens — restaurants without dine-in options that make food exclusively for delivery. St. Louis chef Adam Pritchett talked with us about KC Bones, a ghost kitchen he helped launch after the coronavirus hit.

NOVEMBER 2, 2020

The new business of old clothes

Thrift shopping and resale have grown significantly over the last few years, and Missouri entrepreneurs are riding the wave of that popularity. Take Caylin Willis and Jared Armstrong, the co-founders of vintage and upcycled clothing store Yvonne and Mitchel. The couple turned a love of fashion and thrifting into a social media-driven clothing resale business. On the latest episode of Speaking Startup, we look at the business of thrifted and upcycled clothing, which is expected to be a $64 billion industry in the next five years, according to a report from the resale brand thredUP. Plus, following the announcement of the inaugural Kindness in Business awards, we hear the stories of several mid-Missouri entrepreneurs who have been recognized for their exemplary kindness in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NOVEMBER 14, 2020

In a small town on the brink, entrepreneurs get creative

In Kimmswick, located about 25 miles downriver from St. Louis, flooding and the coronavirus pandemic have dealt back-to-back blows to local businesses and the municipal budget. Two major festivals in Kimmswick — the Apple Butter Festival and the Strawberry Festival — have been canceled the last two years. The events can draw 100,000 visitors to the small town and account for about 80% of municipal revenue. Business owners are struggling, too. In the latest installment of Outstate, our series on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri, we look at how Kimmswick entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to attract customers to help both their businesses and the town. Plus, Global Entrepreneurship Week kicks off Monday. Because of the pandemic, the annual celebration of entrepreneurs has been forced to pivot this year. Jenny Miller of KCSourceLink, one of the event’s lead organizers in Kansas City, joined the podcast to discuss how Global Entrepreneurship Week is going virtual.

NOVEMBER 21, 2020

A cornucopia of small-scale ag entrepreneurship

From honey to paw paws, the final pre-Thanksgiving episode of Speaking Startup features a veritable cornucopia of Missouri produce. First, we explore the business of bees. Honey bee colonies add $15 billion of value to U.S. agriculture annually, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but the U.S. honey bee population has declined by almost half since the 1940s. Today, entrepreneurs across Missouri are working with bees to help the pollinator ecosystem — and build businesses. Then, we look at the paw paw. Not familiar? You’re not alone. The relatively obscure fruit is native to Missouri but hasn’t been widely commercialized. However, entrepreneurs in the state see potential in paw paw-derived products, from brandy to gelato.

DECEMBER 6, 2020

Putting St. Louis geospatial startups on the map

With the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s $1.7 billion new western headquarters under construction in St. Louis, a flurry of activity around geospatial technology has followed. The federal intelligence agency isn’t scheduled to move into its new facility until 2025, but numerous efforts — especially at the intersection of geospatial technology and early-stage business — have been announced in recent months, with St. Louis looking to strengthen its position as a hub for the industry. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast features a leader of those efforts, Mark Tatgenhorst. He is the founding director of Geosaurus, a geospatial resource and innovation center affiliated with the T-Rex startup space in downtown St. Louis. He joins this week’s show to discuss recent developments in the area’s geospatial technology sector. Plus, the latest installment of our Outstate project on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri takes us to the southwest part of the state. There, fifth-generation farmer Kevin Johansen is trying to bring the gig economy to farming with his startup, AgButler.

DECEMBER 12, 2020

Hunting and the rural entrepreneurs who rely on it

Hunting in the U.S. has grown into a multibillion-dollar industry. Hunting expenditures nationally exceeded $26 billion in 2016, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. That has implications for entrepreneurs in Missouri, where hunting-related businesses draw outsiders to spend time — and money — in rural communities. During the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has seen “unprecedented spikes” in hunting and fishing, according to Matt Dunfee of the Wildlife Management Institute. However, that hasn’t necessarily translated into improved profits for local businesses. The latest installment of our Outstate series on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri took us to Macon, in the northeast corner of the state, where a wide array of businesses depend on hunting. Plus, the mid-Missouri town of Eldon has been hit by hardship in back-to-back years. In the spring of 2019, a tornado ripped through the town of about 4,600. This year, Eldon finds itself grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. We checked in with the publisher of the local newspaper to get a sense of how businesses in Eldon are faring.

DECEMBER 20, 2020

A pandemic, a Netflix hit and a chess boom

For chess shops across Missouri, merchandise has been moving off the shelves faster than pieces off the board in a game of speed chess. The Saint Louis Chess Club has reported a 200% increase in sales at its Q Boutique Gift Shop following the release of “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix. The Kansas City Chess Club has experienced similar growth, with sales of chess accessories increasing 300% to 400% recently, according to the club’s executive director. Between interest stimulated by the hit Netflix show and an uptick in participation driven by people taking up new pandemic hobbies, chess is experiencing a popularity boom. The latest Speaking Startup podcast checks in on some of the Missouri businesses benefitting from that heightened interest. Plus, as businesses in Missouri’s medical marijuana industry have begun operating in recent weeks, we look into another part of the nascent industry — home growers, who are opting to grow their own cannabis.

FEBRUARY 5, 2021

A pandemic pause and big restart for venture capital

When the COVID-19 pandemic created more uncertainty than startup investors could handle, they took a break. But it didn’t last long. Brian Matthews, a founder and general partner of St. Louis-based venture capital firm Cultivation Capital, said after a few months of watching the market, the group decided to jump right back in to investing. Data suggest Cultivation Capital wasn’t the only firm to react this way. Despite the pandemic, 2020 brought more venture capital investment than 2019, according to a Crunchbase report. Also, as the pandemic has brought new attention to the food supply chain, some local farms have seen a boom in interest. This week, we spoke with Brooke Salvaggio of Kansas City’s URBAVORE urban farm, who said sales for small, organic farms like hers are “through the roof.”

FEBRUARY 12, 2021

The teledoctor is in

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Shelley Cooper saw an increasing demand for health care and a shortage of doctors. Cooper found a solution through virtual doctors appointments. She founded telehealth consultancy Diversity Telehealth in 2014. In 2019, she launched SureShow, a startup that works to help doctors replace no-show appointments with virtual visits. Once the pandemic hit, Cooper saw her industry really take off. Telehealth has grown into a $3.5 billion industry, according to market research company IbisWorld, up from around $500 million in 2014. Cooper and others in the sector say virtual doctor visits will have longevity after the pandemic. In this week’s Speaking Startup podcast, we look into telehealth’s rise and staying power. Plus, as distance medicine thrives, the same cannot be said for other industries, like food service. We spoke with one Missouri entrepreneur using an app to encourage people to support restaurants, while also fighting food insecurity.

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

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. Now, Shannon said, he can pick up the phone and call people who, once upon a time, “probably wouldn’t have answered.” Shannon joined this week’s Speaking Startup podcast to discuss the new accelerator program, which kicked off last month. It’s working with six minority-founded startups, and Shannon hopes it can catalyze change in the startup landscape. Also in this week’s episode, we look into entrepreneurs who are trying to make waves in the business of beers and bars — without the booze. Beverage companies and bars are trying to attract customers with the idea of alcohol-free versions of experiences and products that would typically involve alcohol.

FEBRUARY 26, 2021

Digging into Missouri’s history of Black entrepreneurs

As Black History Month draws to a close, this week’s episode of the Speaking Startup podcast digs into two stories of Black entrepreneurship in Missouri. First, from Columbia’s Sharp End business district to a St. Louis entrepreneur with ties to the famed Madam C.J. Walker, Missouri his a history rich with thriving Black businesses. We look at the evolution of some of those businesses and their legacies today. Then, we hear from Black entrepreneurs looking to change the landscape of Missouri farming through their work in urban agriculture.

MARCH 6, 2021

A fitness business making gains in a pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has posed an existential threat to businesses in the health and fitness sector, with various industry estimates suggesting more than one in seven gyms has closed for good since the onset of COVID-19. The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association estimated that 15% of gyms and fitness studios had shuttered through the third quarter of 2020. A December report from ClubIntel put that figure at 18%. Still, some businesses in the sector have grown as others have shuttered. In Columbia, Jennifer Mullen expanded her Adaptable Pilates and Physical Therapy studio and is looking to make her first hire. Mullen’s approach to business has been — like the name of her studio — adaptable. Plus, there’s a new startup accelerator looking to put itself on the map in Missouri. Mission Control formed last year with a focus on early-stage startups working on the future of mobility, space and food technology, among other industries. Central to the accelerator’s approach is pairing startups with students from universities in Missouri.

MARCH 12, 2021

Sleep science vs. entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are often known for working around the clock to keep their business afloat. But is sacrificing sleep for work actually what’s best for business? According to Jeff Gish, an entrepreneurship professor at the University of Central Florida, the answer is no. Gish’s research shows that a lack of sleep can have a negative impact on decision making. In the latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, we dig into the subject of sleep in entrepreneurship. Plus, we hear from Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop. The entrepreneur made her name building a retail empire but has focused her recent efforts on enabling other entrepreneurs and bridging racial and economic divides in St. Louis.

MARCH 19, 2021

Fun with non-fungible tokens

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have been drawing lots of attention — and investment — in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the digital artist Beeple set a record for the sale price of an NFT when a piece of digital art he created sold at auction for more than $69 million. But it’s not just artists that are tapping into the capabilities of NFTs, which are unique digital assets whose ownership is authenticated using blockchain technology. Early adopters of NFTs say the technology has potential for use across a variety of industries. In this week’s episode of the Speaking Startup podcast, some of those early adopters project what the adoption of NFTs could mean for the broader business world. Plus, the owners of live music venues and the performers whose careers rely on those venues have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though some have shuttered, others in Missouri have found ways to keep going — and a new wave of federal aid is expected to provide more relief.

MARCH 26, 2021

Parsing pandemic entrepreneurship data

Though economic recessions historically lead to increased unemployment, they also can lead to increased entrepreneurial activity. Dane Stangler, director of strategic initiatives at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Census numbers show a surge in business applications in the second half of 2020. Stangler said one cause of this is that when people lose their jobs and can’t find another, their next best option is to become self-employed. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast digs into recession entrepreneurship data to get a sense of what the entrepreneurial landscape may look like after the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, we hear from Sarah Hill, the founder of Healium, a Columbia-based augmented and virtual reality startup focused on relieving stress. In a recent presentation, Hill shared lessons she’s learned while getting her startup off the ground.

APRIL 9, 2021

Social enterprises of all shapes and sizes

The subject of social entrepreneurship may call to mind big brands like footwear company Toms Shoes and eyewear retailer Warby Parker, but social enterprises come in all different shapes and sizes. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at Missouri entrepreneurs running businesses that aim to address social, cultural and environmental problems. Plus, the latest installment from our series on Black farmers in Missouri looks at different agricultural operations in Kansas City’s urban core, where people are taking an entrepreneurial approach to revitalizing communities and combating food insecurity.

APRIL 16, 2021

There’s no such thing as bad ‘Shark Tank’

From investment pitches to the sharks, to bars being rescued, to diners, drive-ins and dives getting Guy Fieri’d, television today is littered with examples of entrepreneurs sharing their stories and seeking expert advice. It’s a tried-and-true formula for compelling television. And for the businesses involved? Missouri entrepreneurs who have been featured on shows like “Shark Tank,” “Bar Rescue” and “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” will tell you their reality doesn’t always match what ends up on the airwaves. But all seem to agree with the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at what being featured on television shows has meant for Missouri entrepreneurs. Plus, with esports continuing to grow globally and draw increasing sponsorship dollars for local university teams, we look at how local businesses are looking to ride the wave of growing interest in collegiate esports.

APRIL 24, 2021

The attack of the SPAC

The special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, has seen a surge in popularity recently. A SPAC is company without any operations that goes public for the purpose of acquiring another company, effectively enabling the acquired company to go public without the same scrutiny and processes it would have to navigate in its own initial public offering. The number of SPACs to go public jumped to 248 last year from 59 in 2019, an increase of 320%, according to data from the website SPACInsider. This year’s total has already eclipsed last year’s mark, with more than 300 SPACs going public to date. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast explores the explosion of SPACs and the effect they are having on startups in Missouri. Plus, a rise in anti-Asian hate incidents since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt acutely at businesses run by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The most common site for these instances of discrimination has been places of business, according to the nonprofit organization Stop AAPI hate. We visited with Asian American entrepreneurs from across Missouri to hear about their experiences over the last year.

MAY 2, 2021

Balancing books, business and basketball

Jonaie Johnson grew up in a single-parent household with a mom she describes as “the epitome of a businesswoman,” and Johnson knew from a young age that she wanted to run her own business. In high school, she hatched the idea for a connected device to enable busy dog owners to monitor and interact with their pets remotely. Now a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Johnson is the founder of Interplay, a startup developing that device. When she’s not studying or working on her startup, she’s starting at guard for the UMKC women’s basketball team, which she led in assists last season. It’s a schedule that sometimes means sacrificing sleep, but Johnson finds a way. “I’m a firm believer of, you make time for what’s important to you,” she said. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast features a conversation with Johnson about her startup’s progress and her experiences balancing books, business and basketball. Plus, the latest installment of our series on Black farmers looks the impact education and representation have on Black students who aspire to make careers in the agriculture industry.

MAY 8, 2021

A pandemic pivot from dogs to wine

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought extreme difficulties for bars and restaurants. More than 110,000 of those businesses across the U.S. shuttered either permanently or temporarily last year, according to the National Restaurant Association. Still, amid widespread closures resulting from the pandemic, some business owners have gotten bars and restaurants off the ground over the last year-plus. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at two such businesses. First, in a new installment from our Outstate project on entrepreneurs in small-town Missouri, we hear from Kirksville business owner Laci Cook. She made an usual business pivot during the pandemic, selling her pet grooming business and opening a wine bar. Then, we visit with Sid Panchal, owner of vegan Indian restaurant Bombay Food Junkies in St. Louis. Panchal followed a similar trajectory to many food service businesses, starting as a food truck before establishing a brick-and-mortar location in early 2020.

MAY 14, 2021

Without branches, neobanks take root

Neobanks are a type of financial technology, or fintech, aimed at making banking faster, cheaper and easier. They have grown significantly, especially alongside racial protests over the last year highlighting financial inequities, which have been exacerbated partly by lack of access to banking. Tim Prier started one of these neobanks, called Wicket, in the Kansas City area. He saw it a way to reach communities that couldn’t access traditional banking services. “I wanted to be able to offer an inexpensive or a cost-efficient way for them to be accessing the same services that the bank was utilizing,” Prier said. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at upstart neobanks, the problems they are trying to address and the challenges they face. Plus, the latest installment of the Outstate project on entrepreneurs in small-town Missouri takes us to Kirksville. There, we heard from immigrant entrepreneurs who have started businesses in the food sector, bringing a taste of their home to Missouri.



Maxwell Hogan

Naomi Klinge


FEBRUARY 21, 2020

The ripple effects of a corporate mega-merger

What might a merger involving one of Kansas City’s largest corporations mean for the city’s startups? We explore that in this week’s episode of Speaking Startup. We also caught up with James DeWitt, co-founder and CEO of United American Hemp, about how his Kansas City-area company is trying to carve out a niche in the newly legal hemp market.

FEBRUARY 28, 2020

A new face at a familiar KC entrepreneurship group

In this episode, we speak with Melissa Vincent of Kansas City-based Pipeline, which runs a yearlong entrepreneurial fellowship for Midwestern startup founders and a maintains a nationwide network of alumni and supporters. Vincent visited with us about her vision for the organization and — as a recent transplant to Kansas City — her assessment of the city's startup landscape. After that, we caught up with Kristen Brown, founder of Columbia-based ad agency Hoot Design Co. which has entered its second decade in business.

MARCH 6, 2020

Big aspirations in two small Missouri towns

This episode takes us to a pair of rural Missouri towns for stories of how early-stage businesses affect smaller communities. The first stop, Hamilton, in northwest Missouri, once was best known as the childhood home of James Cash "J.C." Penney, founder of the retail chain that still bears his name. Today, it's the birthplace of another business empire — the Missouri Star Quilt company, which has boosted the town's tourism business with its rapid growth over the last decade. Then we turn our attention to Jonesburg, a town of about 800 that will house one of the state's 60 licensed medical marijuana cultivation facilities. We visited Jonesburg — and talked to residents of a similarly sized city in Colorado — to get a sense of what the new industry might mean to a town of its size.

MARCH 15, 2020

Growing girls in gaming

In this episode, we speak to Lindsay Zeiter, founder of Girls Who Game, a Columbia-based organization that hosts camps to help girls build gaming skills and learn the basics of game programming. Plus, as coronavirus-related cancellations pile up, Kansas City Fashion Week has canceled its spring events, which were set to take place this month. We catch up with Annette Sunshine, a designer and entrepreneur based in the Kansas City area, to discuss her business and the significance of the city’s Fashion Week.

MARCH 20, 2020

Working from home and avoiding door handles

This week’s Speaking Startup podcast features two entrepreneurs who have hatched solutions to challenges being brought to the fore by the spread of the coronavirus. First up, we speak with Zapier co-founder Bryan Helmig about navigating remote work. We also explore avoiding high-touch surfaces with southwest Missouri entrepreneur Mike Sewell. Sewell is one of the co-creators of the StepNpull, a tool for opening doors without touching handles. The product was designed to reduce the spread of germs and has seen a surge in demand due to the coronavirus.

APRIL 3, 2020

Gauging entrepreneurs’ concerns in a pandemic

This week’s Speaking Startup podcast looks at early findings of a KCSourceLink survey assessing how Kansas City entrepreneurs are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and the accompanying economic slowdown. Plus, at a time when wedding season would normally be about to kick into high gear, we caught up Missouri entrepreneurs whose wedding-centric businesses are being forced to pivot by the cancellation of public events across the state.

APRIL 11, 2020

How to track a pandemic without compromising privacy

In this episode, TripleBlind co-founder Greg Storm discusses how his company, which makes security software, has joined an international effort to develop an app using GPS data from mobile phones to track the spread of COVID-19 without compromising users' data security. Plus, at a time when the coronavirus has cast uncertainty over all business planning, we looked at how that uncertainty is affecting investment in early-stage companies.

APRIL 19, 2020

Makers pitch in to produce PPE

In this episode, we speak with Nick Ward-Bopp, a facilitator for the Black & Veatch MakerSpace and co-founder of Maker Village KC. Ward-Bopp discusses how makers are working to help meet the need for personal protective equipment. Plus, University of Missouri student entrepreneur Drew Patel won $25,000 in a student pitch contest that pitted Patel against top student entrepreneurs from across the state. We visited with Patel about what the funding will mean to Pollinate, his startup that's building software for the e-commerce industry.

APRIL 24, 2020

The big investor pitch moves online

For 20 years, the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum has provided an annual opportunity for Midwestern startup founders to pitch in front of a room full of investors, typically in either Kansas City or St. Louis. This year, that room full of investors is moving online. Phyllis Ellison, executive director of InvestMidwest, joins this week’s podcast to discuss the process of moving the event online, and what ramifications the pandemic might have for early-stage investment. Plus, in the face of the coronavirus, resilience is a must for entrepreneurs who hope to help their businesses survive. Missouri Business Alert’s Isabelle Robles has been reporting on entrepreneurial resilience and joined the podcast to discuss a panel discussion she hosted on that very subject.

MAY 1, 2020

The pandemic's toll on a tourism town

In the small Missouri River town of Hermann, winemaking is big business. So is the tourism surrounding that wine industry. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated tourism, presenting a new — and potentially existential — threat for small wineries looking to carve out their niche. On this week’s podcast, we check in with Hermann’s winemakers to get a sense of how they are faring as tourist traffic has dried up. Plus, in the midst of a statewide stay-at-home order that has led to many businesses temporarily closing their doors, the owners of gyms and fitness businesses have tried to find ways to make up for lost revenue. For many, that has meant a move online.

MAY 8, 2020

The downward trend in state entrepreneurship funding

As lawmakers have worked this week to finalize the state’s budget, entrepreneurial support organizations across Missouri have been watching with interest. They are concerned about the downward trend in state funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation, a private-public partnership established to promote entrepreneurship and boost the growth of technology startups in the state. On this week’s podcast, we check in with some of those innovation centers to get a sense of how they have handled decreased funding — and what additional cuts could mean. Plus, in the latest installment of Outstate, our series on entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri, we look at Weston, a popular getaway destination outside Kansas City. With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing tourism to a halt across the state, business owners in Weston have been forced to make significant adjustments.

MAY 17, 2020

Entrepreneurship born of necessity

For some, starting a business is about opportunity — the pursuit of the right idea at the right time. For others, businesses are born out of necessity — that is, a founder needs a job, so they create their own. With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to historical levels of job losses, that second type of entrepreneurship is likely to spike in the coming weeks and months, according to research of past recessions. This episode of the Speaking Startup podcast focuses on the issue of entrepreneurship by necessity.



Seth Bodine

Isabelle Robles


JUNE 21, 2019

Entrepreneurship education goes to prison

In this episode, we travel to a prison in Vandalia, where the state piloted a new program designed to teach prisoners the skills necessary to start their own businesses once they're released. Then, we turn our attention to the future of transportation in an interview with Jy Maze, founder of Maze Freight Solutions, a 2-year-old freight and logistics company based in Kansas City.

JUNE 28, 2019

Funding talk with the Women's Capital Connection

This episode includes headlines from the past week in Missouri startup news (1:28), an excerpt from Pitchin', a new podcast about student startups (2:52), an interview with Kelly Sievers of the Women's Capital Connection in Kansas City (6:47) and noteworthy numbers from the week gone by and a quote to close (13:20).

JULY 12, 2019

Navigating Missouri's CBD industry

In this episode, we check in with Kevin McGinnis. A former Sprint executive, McGinnis is now working to build the Keystone Innovation District, a district he envisions as a central hub for entrepreneurship in Kansas City. We also chat with Kristen Williams, the CEO and creative director of a Columbia startup called Hempsley. Williams is part of a wave of entrepreneurs trying to build businesses in Missouri's burgeoning CBD industry.

JULY 19, 2019

Smart homes and wellness at work

In this episode, we hear from hear from Blake Miller, founder of Homebase, a Kansas City startup that makes software to help landlords manage "smart" residences. We also have a conversation with Tara Gregor, owner of BreakWell. The St. Louis-based company brings wellness education to businesses, which Gregor says is important for employee productivity and retention.

JULY 26, 2019

Bringing tech innovation to the farm

In this episode, we stopped by the InfoAg conference in St. Louis to chat with Vijay Chauhan of GlobalSTL, an organization that works to recruit international startups to the St. Louis area. Then, we visit with Anurag Patel, co-founder of Helix Health, a Kansas City startup that uses data analytics to help health care providers create preventive care for patients with chronic diseases.

AUGUST 1, 2019

The business of yoga ... with goats

In this episode, we traveled to a Missouri farm to speak to local entrepreneur Jessica Baker about her new business: goat yoga. Then, we visited with Mindy McCubbin, one of the founders of a new angel investing group in Columbia, the Women’s Investment Network for Entrepreneurs.


A postcard from the businesses of a small-town square

This week's show offers a glimpse of the entrepreneurial scene in Marshall. The mid-Missouri town was the destination for the latest installment of the Outstate project, which looks at entrepreneurship in small-town Missouri. In a sneak peek of our work from Marshall, we take a look at a staple of the town's business landscape — the square. (Stay tuned for much more from Marshall when the full project goes live later this month.) Then, we hear Isabelle's interview with Meghan Winegrad, the founder and CEO of Generopolis, a St. Louis-based social venture and online marketplace. She reflects on running a mission-based startup.

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019

Assessing the state of VC in KC

On this episode of speaking startup, Isabelle looks into a maker fair that was hosted by The Loop in Columbia and focused on small-scale entrepreneurship. Then Seth shares his interview with Adam Arredondo, executive director of the Kansas City Startup Foundation, about a recent report that came out that has details about Kansas City businesses that gained venture funding.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2019

The expansion of a Springfield accelerator

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we speak with Rachel Anderson, the director of the Efactory in Springfield. The Efactory is a resource center for entrepreneurs that recently received a federal grant to allow its expansion. Then, we hear from Jason Harrington, the founder of SpraySeeMO, a festival in Kansas City that highlighted spray-paint muralists.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019

A new event to connect KC entrepreneurs to capital

This episode features a blend of entrepreneurial endeavors old and new. First, we hear from RJ Pahura, co-founder of FUND Conferences. FUND hosts events to connect entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and it's hosting its first Kansas City conference Oct. 9-10.Then, we catch up with Gary White. He's the CEO of Kansas City-based Water.org, which uses microfinancing to bring water and sanitization to people around the world.

OCTOBER 3, 2019

Recruiting top tech talent 'Back2KC'

On this episode, we hear an interview with Jessica Powell of the Kansas City Startup Foundation. She's helping organize #Back2KC, an event that aims to bring top professionals with Kansas City roots back to the area. Then, we hear a conversation reporter Rashi Shrivastava had with Naga Rayapati. Rayapati, who created GoGetter, a job matching marketplace for software contractors.

OCTOBER 10, 2019

Revitalizing rural Missouri through entrepreneurship

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we hear an interview with Sandy Allison, the executive director of the Marshall-Saline Development Corporation in mid-Missouri. As part of Missouri Business Alert’s Outstate project, we spoke with Allison about her ideas on how to revitalize small towns like Marshall. Then, we turn to a conversation with Dr. Michael Holtzman, a physician and professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Holtsman has done pioneering research about respiratory disease, and he formed a startup to commercialize some of that research.

OCTOBER 17, 2019

Cultivation Capital goes coastal

In this episode of Speaking Startup, we speak with Cliff Holekamp, co-founder and managing director of Cultivation Capital. Holekamp co-founded the St. Louis venture capital firm in 2012, and he recently retired from his position as an entrepreneurship professor at Washington University in St. Louis to focus more on his work at Cultivation Capital. His move comes at a big time for the firm: Cultivation Capital has recently announced the establishment of offices in Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

OCTOBER 25, 2019

The art of the elevator pitch

In this episode of Speaking Startup, we get tips for an effective elevator pitch from Columbia Startup Weekend organizers and participants. Then, we travel to Glasgow to tell the story of Fred Foley, who pulls double duty as the owner and chef of a local restaurant and the mayor of the mid-Missouri town. We also sit down with Conner Ruhl, whose idea of an app for paragliders was one of the big winners at Columbia Startup Weekend.

NOVEMBER 1, 2019

A grassroots group of women helping women lead

In this episode of Speaking Startup, we hear from Lauren Conaway, the founder of InnovateHER KC, a group that promotes the professional advancement of women in the Kansas City area. After that, we sit down with Brandon Erbschoe and Jacob Muchow of QuarkWorks to talk about the Columbia app developer’s plans for expansion. Plus, we have the week's news and numbers in Missouri startups.

NOVEMBER 7, 2019

A new name in local news

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we hear from Kelsey Ryan, the creator of the Beacon, a non-profit news organization launching in Kansas City. Then, we spoke with Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Loop CID. That, and the latest headlines in entrepreneurship news.

NOVEMBER 15, 2019

A look at inclusion and Global Entrepreneurship Week

On this episode of Speaking Startup, it's almost Global Entrepreneurship Week. The worldwide series of entrepreneurship-focused events takes place Nov. 18-22, and Kansas City is slated to host more than 200 of those events. To mark the occasion and explore one of the week's key themes — inclusion — we visit with Mary Shannon, who's the founder of Connectus Worldwide and serves on the organizing team for Global Entrepreneurship Week in Kansas City. Then, we chat with Nia Richardson of InnovateKC. The 16-week "startup in residence program" connects technology startups to city departments in an effort to develop solutions to challenges facing city government.

NOVEMBER 21, 2019

The big significance of Small Business Saturday

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we speak to Linda Landon and Hope Snyder of RLadies-MidMO, a data science community in Columbia. Then we speak with Nickie Davis, the executive director of The District in downtown Columbia to talk about small business in the holiday season. That, and the latest headlines and numbers in entrepreneurial news.

DECEMBER 1, 2019

How to ‘shop local’ this holiday season

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we hear about aspiring entrepreneurs in the medical marijuana business in Eldon, Missouri. Then we speak with Austin Barnes of Startland News about the Kansas City holiday gift guide. That, and the latest numbers and headlines in entrepreneurial news.

FEBRUARY 14, 2020

Cutting through the Hyperloop hype

On this episode of Speaking Startup, we take a closer look at the hyperloop. Developers of the futuristic transportation system say it could carry passengers between Kansas City and St. Louis in about half an hour, and that has led to lots of hyperloop buzz in Missouri. Already, state lawmakers have advanced a bill aimed at helping Missouri become the home of one of the world’s first hyperloop tracks. Despite that momentum, many questions remain.



Elliot Baumann

Suman Naishadham

Joe Siess


FEBRUARY 1, 2019

Surveying Missouri's startup landscape in 2019

In this episode, we check in with representatives from the state's four biggest startup ecosystems to to get a sense of what 2019 holds in store for early-stage companies in Missouri.

FEBRUARY 15, 2019

Trash to treasure

In this episode, we take a look at three organizations that are turning trash into treasure, making environmental sustainability a focus by recycling resources to generate revenue.

FEBRUARY 22, 2019

Health care's Digital Future

In this episode, we set out to answer a question: is the future of health care on your phone? We found that digital technology is not only the future, but a huge part of the present health care industry.

MARCH 11, 2019

Invisibly, AdSwapper and the changing world of ad tech

In this episode, we look at the ad-tech industry. The web provides an unprecedented opportunity for advertisers to collect user data and more effectively advertise to them. But has this model grown old?

MARCH 21, 2019

Getting started in medical marijuana

This episode is all about the future of the medical cannabis industry in Missouri. Voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalized marijuana for medical use in November, opening the door for entrepreneurs and investors from across the state to participate in an industry that has proved lucrative in states like Colorado and California.

APRIL 19, 2019

The risky business of music festivals

On this episode, we’re taking a look at the business of music festivals in Missouri. At their core, they all share one thing: ambitious entrepreneurs looking to harness their growing popularity and make money. But in their race to become the Coachella of the Midwest, overspending or under-planning can lead to catastrophe.

MAY 3, 2019

Your business does what?

In this episode, we ask the question, "Your startup does what?" We talk with entrepreneurs behind some of the most unusual Missouri-based companies we've encountered to learn about where their ideas came from and how they turned them into viable businesses.



Annika Merrilees

Megan Liz Smith

Michael Stacy


JUNE 14, 2018

Ripple Glass' rise, net neutrality's demise, AI in the office

This episode covers Gov. Mike Parson meeting Missouri businesses (0:39), net neutrality's repeal and its effect on local startups (5:04), Answers founder David Karandish's new AI startup (8:24), reporter Kristoffer Tigue's trip to Kansas City to learn about Ripple Glass (10:45) and a look at numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (16:44).

JUNE 22, 2018

AMC answers MoviePass; Zach Pettet on KC's new fintech accelerator

This episode covers how Kansas City's AMC Theatres responded to the challenge posed by the upstart MoviePass (0:53), what a new World Health Organization classification could mean to the burgeoning esports industry (4:30), two efforts announced this week to fund Kansas City startups (8:25), a Q&A with Zach Pettet, managing director of Kansas City's new Fountain City Fintech accelerator (11:40) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (17:30).

JUNE 29, 2018

Amazon delivery, sales tax, KC Crew, True/False

This episode covers a new Amazon program aimed at helping entrepreneurs create their own delivery services (1:00), a U.S. Supreme Court vote to allow states to charge tax on online retail (2:43), KC Crew, a business that organizes adult sports leagues in Kansas City (5:10), a Q&A with Mason Aid, a Columbia-based diversity and inclusion specialist (8:32), a Q&A with Tynan Stewart, a Columbia Missourian reporter, about changes at the True/False Film Fest (14:15) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news.

JULY 6, 2018

Immigrant entrepreneur rule in limbo, Uber for lawns launches

This episode covers what a $28.6 billion state budget means for Missouri entrepreneurship (0:59), the International Entrepreneur Rule (1:51), the acquisition of Welltodo, a St. Louis migraine-management startup (4:11), a Q&A with Mow Magic co-founders Ryan Leffler and Mike Braun (6:04), a Q&A with Kristoffer Tigue, the Missouri Business Alert reporter who covered the re-opening of St. Louis’ gateway arch and the business district it will impact (12:40) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (16:40).

JULY 13, 2018

Plastic straws, blockchain, Talent for Tomorrow, Digital Sandbox KC

This episode covers the first fiscal year of the Missouri Technology Corporation after major cuts to its state funding (1:00), Talent for Tomorrow, an initiative aimed at improving Missouri's workforce (3:00), a Digital Sandbox KC announcement of two new grants (5:20), a discussion with Missouri Business Alert reporter Kristofer Tigue on how companies in the state are getting rid of plastic straws (8:13), a Q&A Chris Mertens, the founder of Blossom, a St. Louis based company bringing blockchain technology to the energy industry (14:30) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (22:40).

JULY 20, 2018

Techstars’ new KC class, Arch Grants’ annual report, scooters in St. Louis

This episode covers Techstars' newest cohort (1:00), scooter startups in Kansas City and St. Louis (2:12), an interview with the executive director of Arch Grants, a nonprofit that’s looking to build up St. Louis’ startup community (4:55), a Q&A with Missouri Business Alert reporter Kristoffer Tigueabout an entrepreneurship project we'll be releasing soon (10:43) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (14:40).

JULY 27, 2018

Disrupting payday lending in KC; supporting entrepreneurs in Kirksville

This episode looks at a Techstars startup hoping to offer an alternative to payday loans (1:11), a veto by Gov. Mike Parson of a bill that had support from Missouri tech companies (3:20), Rightfully Sewn, a Kansas City startup that provides training and job placement for at-risk individuals (5:15), a Q&A with Carolyn Chrisman, executive director of the Missouri Rural Enterprise and Innovation Center in Kirksville (6:55) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (12:45).

AUGUST 4, 2018

Feds mull fintech; TripSushi talks travel; Mission Taco cuts straws

This episode covers changes to the way fintech is regulated (0:57), Kansas City’s Innovation Partnership Program (3:05), an update on a story from a previous episode (5:06), a Q&A with TripSushi founder Spencer Carlson (7:08), a Q&A with Adam Tilford, co-owner of the St. Louis-based chain Mission Taco Joint (14:30) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (18:36).

AUGUST 24, 2018

St. Louis VC, Startup Week, car sharing

This episode explores the carsharing startup Getaround that has been raising a lot of capital lately (1:13), the annual venture capital report for 2017 from the St. Louis Regional Chamber (3:53), KC startups vying for the chance to speak at SXSW (5:44), an interview with Jason Wiens about startup week in Kansas City (7:17) and a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (13:01).


A craft beer boom and a ‘fake meat’ fight

This episode includes Missouri's new regulation for plant-based meat alternatives (0:44) and the craft brewing boom in St. Louis (2:45), an interview with Parker Boron, a University of Missouri senior and the co-founder of marketing startup Apex Media (4:54), a look at important numbers for the week in entrepreneurship news (16:57) and top headlines in startup and entrepreneurship news from across Missouri (17:56).


A method to the scooter-sharing madness

This episode covers the unexpected, last-minute cancellation of LouFest (1:05), Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's special legislative session on STEM careers (4:07), an interview with Scott Latham about the strategy and risks behind scooter startups' aggressive go-to-market strategy (6:55), a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (12:16) and top headlines in startup and entrepreneurship news from across Missouri (13:53).

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018

The wide-open world of AI

This episode covers how technology is changing the grocery industry (0:48), a new University of Missouri System accelerator for student startups (3:44), AI entrepreneur Dave Copps (5:46), a look at important numbers from the week in entrepreneurship news (20:32) and top headlines in startup and entrepreneurship news from across Missouri (21:46).

OCTOBER 6, 2018

Podcast creator Amy Martin on the business of audio journalism

This abridged episode includes an interview with Jack Schroeder, founder of the specialty sauce retailer Lost in the Sauce (1:14) and an interview with Amy Martin, creator of the "Threshold" podcast, about what it's like making a living as a podcaster, and what it takes to get started (7:50).

OCTOBER 17, 2018

Techweek Kanas City debrief; Startup Weekend Columbia reflections

This episode includes a Techweek Kansas City recap (1:13), an interview with Ross Scanlan and Jake Eovaldi, two of the founders of the app SL.APP (8:16), a look at important numbers in recent entrepreneurship news (18:05) and a rundown of startup stories from across the state (19:22).

OCTOBER 23, 2018

Lessons in language from an executive coach; coworking as a high school class

This episode includes an interview with Sheyvette Dinkens, a Kansas City area teacher turning her classroom into a coworking space (1:22), an interview with Trisha Scudder, a University of Missouri alumna and longtime executive coach, who recently returned to MU to accept an award (11:33), a look at important numbers in recent entrepreneurship news (15:50) and a rundown of startup stories from across the state (16:53).

NOVEMBER 17, 2018

Cannabis entrepreneurs and Missouri’s emerging market

This episode includes a rundown of startup news from across the state (1:14), an interview with Robin Ann Morris, founder of an Ohio-based staffing agency for the medical marijuana industry (2:37), an interview with Kristen Williams, the founder of a Columbia-based startup called Hempsley (8:23) and a look at important numbers in cannabis entrepreneurship news (18:58).

DECEMBER 19, 2018

Chatting coworking with Hatchery founder Amanda Quick

This episode includes a rundown of startup news from across the state (0:57), an interview with Amanda Quick, founder of the Hatchery, a coworking space in Columbia that offers childcare and maternity programs (2:05) and a look at important numbers in coworking news (11:07).



Emma Rhyner

Michael Stacy

Samantha Stokes


MARCH 16, 2018

IPOs, ICOs and Startup Weekend KC — for free

In this episode, our hosts have a roundtable discussion about SixThirty and World Wide Technology partnering, key findings from a new Kauffman Foundation survey, and a new app that takes users “off the grid.” We also exchange digits from the week in entrepreneurship news.

MARCH 23, 2018

Ax-throwing in KC; startup support at SEMO; Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark

This episode features a roundtable discussion about startup support organizations in southeast Missouri, ax-throwing clubs in Kansas City and the fallout from Facebook’s latest scandal (1:16), an interview with Maxine Clark, the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop (11:00), and takes a look at upcoming startup news by the numbers (15:41).

APRIL 6, 2018

Firebrand Ventures’ new fund, SixThirty’s plans, esports in Columbia

This episode includes a roundtable discussion covering Firebrand Ventures’ new $17.7 million fund (1:38), SixThirty’s progress toward a new $20 million fund (3:43), a marquee collegiate esports event taking place in Columbia (5:45), and a look at this week’s important numbers in Missouri startup news (8:53).

APRIL 13, 2018

The ‘We Create KC’ report, Strange Donuts’ expansion, Zuckerberg in Washington

This episode features a roundtable discussion covering KCSourceLink’s We Create KC Report(1:04), Strange Donuts’ expansion and franchise plans (2:49), Pitchbook’s Venture Monitor report (6:06), and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Senate testimony (8:26). Plus, we take our weekly look at the important numbers in Missouri startup news (12:30).

APRIL 17, 2018

Startup Visa limbo; top small cities to start businesses

This episode features a roundtable discussion covering startup visas (1:00), the most cost-effective small cities to start a business (2:59) and the REDI Women’s Pitch Competition (4:50). Plus, we take our weekly look at the important numbers in Missouri startup news (7:35).

APRIL 20, 2018

Bike-sharing in St. Louis, foreign investment regulation, Branson’s sinkhole hotel

This episode features a roundtable discussion covering bike-sharing in St. Louis (1:50), bills that could restrict foreign investment in the U.S. (4:08), a new Kansas City marketplace showcasing local vendors (6:55), and Johnny Morris’ sinkhole hotel (8:48). Plus, we take our weekly look at the important numbers in Missouri startup news (11:15).

MAY 4, 2018

Sprint merger’s ripple effects; 1 Million Cups turns 6

This episode features a roundtable discussion covering what the Sprint sale means for startups (2:31), a major court ruling for the gig economy (5:40), the Tiger Cage pitch competition (8:13) and One Million Cups’ 6th birthday (10:06). Plus, we take our weekly look at the important numbers in Missouri startup news (13:07).

MAY 11, 2018

Square’s St. Louis expansion; FestPop’s move to KC

This episode features a roundtable discussion covering Square’s expansion in St. Louis (1:47), FestPop’s move to Kansas City (4:09) and the effect of entrepreneurship on moms (9:46). Plus, we take our weekly look at the important numbers in Missouri startup news (12:52).

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