Speaking Startup covers news and issues important to Missouri entrepreneurs.

Latest episode:

The new business of old clothes

More recent episodes:

• Cultivating ‘the future of food’ in St. Louis

• Taking the plunge amid a pandemic 

• Solving the disparity in STEM fields 

• Addressing the gender funding gap

• Teledentistry takes root 

• Accelerating entrepreneurs’ pandemic pivots


All episodes:



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

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.



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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