April 25th- Arch Grants finalists traveled to St. Louis from around the globe and the country to compete for a chance to win a grant worth $50,000.
When the finalist companies arrived in St. Louis to make their final pitch, they are also being treated to a weekends’ worth of activities designed to show off St. Louis the city so that the finalists can get a sense of what living in St. Louis would be like, especially downtown.
On Friday, the finalists day started at 8 a.m. with a panel of previous Arch Grants winners talking about how winning an Arch Grant has helped their business.
After the panel, finalists split into two groups and boarded buses to take them on their tour. In addition to visiting St. louis’ many cultural attractions and learning the history of the city. Apartment buildings are talked about to give people a sense of the cost of living, different neighborhoods are highlighted and, in my own personal view, it’s a pretty fantastic tour. (I got the tour two years ago myself when I was a finalist).
After visiting Lockerdome, the finalists visited Lab1500, where they had lunch, had a chance to network amongst themselves and hear some more information from Jay Steinbeck, who runs finalist weekend every year for Arch Grants.
Finalists will have seven minutes to make their final pitch to judges tomorrow morning and as any good startup entrepreneur knows, death by ppt is a cruel fate, especially when it doesn’t work when it should. “If your powerpoint doesn’t work tomorrow,” said Steinbeck, “you’re going to have to go off your pdf Executive Summary.”
As people finished lunch in Lab1500’s co-working space, Dan Lohman spoke to the attendees about how Washington Avenue in downtown St. Louis has become a “tech corridor” thanks not only to Arch Grants but also to co-working spaces like T-Rex, Lab1500 and Claim.
This evening, finalists will be at a private cocktail reception with Venture Capitalists which will provide them with an opportunity to speak directly with people/orgs that might have an interest in investing in their companies beyond the $50K invested by Arch Grants.