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Startup Voodoo Kicks Off In St. Louis

(courtesy Startup Voodoo)

It’s got a funny name, but a serious purpose.

Startup Voodoo, a one-day conference at Ballpark Village Thursday, is an attempt to help Midwestern entrepreneurs capture that indefinable something that’s helped so many startups become successful, said conference co-founder Aaron Perlut.

"We likened it to this voodoo that every one of these startups has, whether it’s incredibly hard work, a great idea, a smart team, great technology," he said. "There’s just that something that every startup that’s been successful has had."

The conference features several high-profile speakers from around the country. Perlut said he and co-founder Ed Domain of Techli want to give Midwestern startups a chance to learn and mix with leading entrepreneurs.

"We really hope the take-away is that people can learn from people who’ve been there in a broad variety of roles, whether they’re venture capitalists, whether they’ve helped write legislation helping startups, or whether they’ve started businesses themselves time and time again," he said.

The speakers include:

  • Jim McKelvey: co-founder of Square and founder of LaunchCode.
  • David Karandish:  CEO of Answers Corp.
  • Fang Cheng:  CEO of Linc, a venture-backed startup based in Silicon Valley.
  • Tim Rowe: founder and CEO of Cambridge Innovation Center.
  • Delon Dotson: former director of software engineering for Netscape Communications.
  • Sherwood Neiss: co-author of the “Crowdfunding Exemption Framework,” which became the basis of Title III of the Jobs Act.

The conference also includes a competition for “most promising” startup. Nearly 100 companies were whittled down to three finalists who will give two-minutes pitches to a three-member panel on Thursday. 
They are:

  • LearnCore: Based in Chicago, Learncore is an online communication and skill-building platform used by companies such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Sungard.
  • Servabo: Based on the research park of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, Servabo develops technology that discreetly connects customers with assistance needed in threatening or emergency situations.
  • Champio:  Based in St. Louis, Champio helps companies get a return on their investment in social media by generating and optimizing content that increases follower engagement.

The winner will receive a package of services and funding valued at $10,000.
Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.

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