The entrepreneurs in this summer’s Arch Grants recipients group come from a wide range of backgrounds.
(You can see the list of 11 grant winners here.)
Since its launch in 2012 the not-for-profit organization has given equity-free grants of $50,000 to 66 startups, for a total of more $3.65 million. Executive Director Ginger Imster said this class is among the most diverse. She said nine of the 11 startups are minority or women-led.
"What we’re really excited by is the inclusivity that we continue to be able to maintain because of the tremendous diversity among the applicants," Imster said.
Listo is a good example.
Co-founder and CEO Roberto Garcia is a native of Mexico who came to St. Louis as a marketing executive for Anheuser-Busch. He left the company last year to fully devote his time to the startup, which is developing an app that allows people to listen to movies in their own language.
The idea came while watching “Iron Man” in Texas and seeing a father and son kicked out of the theatre because the son was translating the film to his father.
"It’s an experience that I was just never able to shake off,” Garcia said. “It’s always been in my mind and that’s what inspired Listo."
Garcia said the technology for the app is complete. Now he’s working with movie studios and plans to have the app available this year.
Dr. Agnes Scoville is an ER doctor who spent four years in the Navy, including almost a year in Iraq. Scoville & Company is her effort to keep people out of the ER.
"Especially when it comes to babies, because they don’t know what’s going on and it’s miserable for them," Scoville said.
The company’s first product, Pacidose, helps deliver medicine through a standard oral syringe that’s attached to a special pacifier. Scoville said they sold 400 in just a matter of months with very little marketing.
With the Arch Grant she said the company hopes to get three or four more products to market in the next year.
Better Weekdays was founded in late 2011 in Chicago by Chris Motley and Kunal Parbadia.
They’ve created a jobs matching platform for mobile devices. It’s meant to better connect college graduates with job opportunities and track those numbers for colleges and universities.
"A lot of the public institutions, some of the career colleges and technical schools, their funding is being tied increasingly to job placement rates," Motley said. "So having the data and insights to understand the school’s ability to deliver on that value proposition is becoming very important."
Motley said providing better access to opportunities is important to him, in part because of his own life’s journey. Born to a teenage mom on the south side of Chicago, Motley said programs he was involved in progressively gave him better opportunities in education and work.
The second class of Arch Grants recipients will be named in November.
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