Early Stage VC Fund Cultivation Capital Launches in St. Louis

By April 16, 2012

cultivation capitolA new early stage venture capital fund called Cultivation Capital is giving St. Louis entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their startups locally thanks to a series of up to $1 million investments, which will be announced after its first investment committee meeting on April 17th.

The fund will make eight to 15 investments a year in startups that are in two distinct stages: an early execution stage or a catalyst stage. Five to 10 of the total investments will go toward early execution startups. These startups will be paired with successful entrepreneurial mentors in the community and closely monitored by the fund. Cultivation Capital will make follow-on investments in the companies that show the highest growth potential.

The other three to five investments will be catalyst investments. According to the Cultivation Capital team, catalyst investments will be allocated toward companies that are generating revenue from a working product, but do not yet have enough traction to know if the product will sustain itself. These pre Series A investments will help Missouri entrepreneurs stay in the state to scale their startups rather than seeking the critical investment elsewhere.

Together, the members of Cultivation Capital bring extensive financial and entrepreneurial experience to the the St. Louis startup scene. General Partners include Rick Holton Jr., Brian Matthews, Peter Esparrago, and Jim McKelvey. Kyle Welborn and Israel Vicars are Associate Partners.  The team behind Cultivation Capital holds an impressive list of credentials, including multiple company exits, over 25 companies started, and over $200 million raised.

According to Matthews, the time is now for major players to start investing in local entrepreneurs:

St. Louis is finally getting its act together and implementing a support system or entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides additional support to founders who want to take the plunge and start a new business. That ecosystem did not exist in a formal way 2-3 years ago.

He also noted that the St. Louis startup ecosystem is ready to attract other investment opportunities as well:

There is a need for $10 million – $20 million a year to support the companies in this early stage round so there is room for additional funds to enter the St. Louis area.

Cultivation Capital’s efforts are supported by key players in the St. Loius startup ecosystem including StartLouis, Missouri Venture Forum, accelerator Capital Innovators, and grant program Arch Grants.

Cultivation Capital is looking for technology companies with strong management team first, followed by a disruptive idea and product, and some revenue. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for consideration by Cultivation Capitol should do so at the fund’s website.

Photo provided by pond5 – the world’s stock media marketplace.