The Missouri Technology Corporation’s investment committee voted Tuesday to recommend $500,000 in funding to four startups, including H3 Enterprises and PlanIT Impact, winners of $50,000 grants in the 2017 LaunchKC grants competition.
The MTC’s board of directors will make final decisions about the funding at the end of June, but Bill Anderson, executive director of the MTC, said it is fairly likely that the board will approve the committee’s recommendations as they are.
“Unless there is some kind of exigent circumstance … typically the investment committee makes a recommendation for funding and the board approves that,” Anderson said.
The investment committee recommended the following funding:
- $250,000 to Babyation, a startup that develops discreet, quiet breast pumps
- $100,000 to H3 Enterprises, a startup that combines music and technology into tools for children’s education and health
- $100,000 to PlanIT Impact, a sustainable design tool
- $50,000 to Jarvis, a mobile concierge technology (contingent on the Mid-Missouri Accelerator Fund investing at least $25,000)
Babyation is based in St. Louis. The other three startups are based in Kansas City.
The Innovation, Development, and Entrepreneurial Advancement Funds, or IDEA Funds, are used for “direct co-investments into high-tech startups headquartered in the state of Missouri,” accing to the MTC’s website. The MTC was created by the state legislature to support entrepreneurship by investing in startups.
In the current fiscal year, Anderson said, the MTC received 25 applications requesting a total of $5.8 million in co-investment. If the investment committee’s recommendations are approved by the board, the MTC will approve a total of $2.76 million in co-investment for 16 applications, Anderson said in an email.
Since the IDEA Funds were launched in 2011, the MTC has invested $42.8 million in 122 companies, Anderson said in an email.
In considering investments, Anderson said, the committee considers many of the same things private investors would look at, such as market opportunity, the startup’s team, the support they receive from entrepreneurial support organizations, and potential co-investments. He added that the MTC also looks at economic development and job opportunities.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the MTC also addressed the Missouri General Assembly’s decision to reduce its funding for the upcoming fiscal year by $250,000, down to $2.25 million. MTC is the leader funder of the LaunchKC competition, which has awarded $1.5 million in grants to 29 entrepreneurs in just three years.
LaunchKC is currently accepting applications (through July 11) for the 2018 competition. During July and August, a panel of LaunchKC judges will select 20 finalists from the pool of applicants to advance to the competition Pitch Day on Oct. 12 in Kansas City
Anderson told the investment committee, “there may be some programs that we can’t do in the coming fiscal year, given the current budget.”
“This is going to be really, really tough, in meeting the needs of the entrepreneurs,” said Jason Hall, chair of the MTC’s board of directors. “Re-engaging with the legislative leadership (and) the new governor will all be very, very critical.”