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Midwest the next tech hub?

LockerDome was built from the ground up in St. Louis

Is the first digital tech startup in St. Louis to raise a Series A from a St. Louis-based VC firm in more than ten years
Raised more than $8MM; turned down substantially more The most capital efficient online sports startup in history

Exploded to nearly 14MM monthly unique visitors in just 16 months; fastest growing sports site in the world

You Can Start Anywhere

Were Not Alone

Within 10 years, St. Louis will be globally recognized as one of the top 10 cities in the world for tech startups.

Half dozen accelerator programs, similar to Capital Innovators Dramatic increase in seed and angel funding activity Formation of at least a half dozen Series A/B/etc funds for tech investments 100 deals a year will be funded through Arch Grants and/or similar grant programs Collaborative initiatives that funnel 8 figure resources (cash, services, etc. to programs like Arch Grants) annually into the local entrepreneurship scene to help fill the funding gap

Exits: Dozens of exits annually through M&A and periodic IPOs, which will recycle money back into the ecosystem

St. Louis in 10 Years

More Effective Non-Traditional Education & University Support:

Early stage, non-traditional educational programs for startups will be a prominent piece of the local tech ecosystem Fluid collaboration of both non-traditional education programs, universities, and local startups to better foster entrepreneurship and create a funnel of talent and products
Increased support for product-centric competitions over business plan competitions at the university level Market and comp analyses and due diligence frequently performed by business students on behalf of VC funds and startups

Prominent Conferences: Several prominent tech

conferences will be hosted each year in St. Louis

St. Louis in 10 Years

What does it take to build the next Facebooks and Googles in the Midwest?

The Midwest needs to focus on only the things that are inside of our control
forget everything else.

Stay laser focused on:


The front-end of the funnel still needs a lot of work Front-end funnel goal: Create a high-quality funnel of talent, products, and fundable companies To achieve the above, we must:
1. Build high quality, non-traditional educational opportunities, leveraging tier 1 talent and in a specialized manner 2. Host annual events that generate national/global exposure 3. Keep nearly all early-stage efforts product-focused 4. Allow high quality mentorship + entrepreneurship relationships to organically form through the aforementioned activities

Front-End Funnel: Needs

NUKE the following:

B-grade mentorship programs Business plan competitions (with the
exception of Arch Grants, which is a great program; although, that too should move towards being more productcentric)

Nuke The Rest

Annual digital/mobile/tech product conference in St. Louis, with a product competition as the anchor:
Provide a globally significant prize, such as $1MM for the top winner Finalists will be globally selected Winner will be required to move to St. Louis and/or stay in St. Louis for at least 18 months The event will expose a worldwide audience to whats happening in the Midwest

$1MM Product Competition

Partner to develop a series of events leading up to the event to fuel the pipeline:
Partner with startups, meet-up groups, funds, and universities to host monthly hackathons Partner with The Disruption Department to train the next generation of engineers Partner with facilities (Lab1500, T-Rex, etc.) and the tier 1 local talent (investors, entrepreneurs, etc.) to provide targeted monthly educational opportunities Partner with Channel 9 or another media outlet to develop a series that chronicles the road to $1MM, creating national/global buzz

$1MM Product Competition

Provide $$$
Sponsor the $1MM Product Competition + Conference Sponsor monthly hackathons Sponsor The Disruption Department education series for teaching 14-18 year-old kids how to build products

Provide low-cost or free services

Introductions to decision makers to land early customers Office space Legal Bookkeeping HR / Benefits PR Ex. of someone doing this well: Christopher Reid of Thompson Coburn

How You Can Help



3. 4.

Treat all startups as if they are the next Google or Facebook: No tech startup likes the term small business and the reality is that some of these startups might be the next billion dollar enterprises Only offer advice to entrepreneurs where you add real value: You will lose immediate respect from entrepreneurs by mentoring in areas in which you are unqualified Move at startup speed: Startup speed is incredibly faster than what you are probably used to Cut checks: Truthfully, your best asset to a startup today is money: be willing to cut checks (sponsorships, grants, equity investments, etc.) and then get out of their way

Quick Tips

Gabe Lozano
Co-Founder & CEO

Contact Me