> Arch Grants

A Pillar Of The St. Louis Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Arch Grants was founded as a 501(c)3 in 2012 to build the future economy in St. Louis by attracting and retaining talented entrepreneurs. Arch Grants’ model of providing $50,000 in non-dilutive funding to early-stage businesses and then helping them to grow and scale in St. Louis is unique and continues to evolve to meet changing needs. To date, the organization has funded 154 companies.

Arch Grants’ unique structure and model was made possible because of the needs in the St. Louis region and the organization’s ability to very quickly and effectively begin making an impact.

In its first year, Arch Grants awarded $750,000 to 15 companies, asking in return only that they headquarter their businesses in St. Louis for at least one year as they grow and scale. Every year since then, Arch Grants has added between 15-20 companies to its growing portfolio.

Of the 154 total companies Arch Grants has funded, 126 are still in business and 86% of those still in business still operate in St. Louis. As of December 31, 2018, Arch Grants’ companies have created almost 1,700 jobs, generated over $243 million in revenue, and attracted $223 million in follow-on capital.

The source of Arch Grants’ funding itself is also remarkable: 90% of it comes from generous individuals and corporations in the St. Louis community.

“It’s incredibly meaningful when entrepreneurs learn that the grants are being funded by people and corporations in this community who are giving $25,000, $50,000, $100,000 every year—because they believe in the potential of startups to bring about real change in St. Louis,” says Emily Lohse-Busch, Arch Grants’ Executive Director.

“It instills a sense of community pride in the founders early on, and as their companies start to get bigger and more successful, they start to give back themselves, reinvesting in the community that believed in them from the start. It’s a powerful cycle that’s just picking up steam.”

The growth of Arch Grants companies is clear; in the last six-month period, for example, Arch Grants companies’ total revenue increased by almost 90%. “It’s the kind of exponential growth that each individual founder hopes to see—but at an aggregate level,” Emily says.

One of Arch Grants’ main tenets is to ensure that the new economy it is helping to build includes diverse perspectives and people with diverse backgrounds. To that end, 74% of the companies Arch Grants has funded are led or co-led by a woman, a person of color, an immigrant, or a veteran.

But even as Arch Grants has established itself as a pillar of St. Louis’ innovation ecosystem, the nonprofit knows it has to stay ahead of the curve in order to keep supporting companies—and the city itself—well into the future.

“It’s an interesting time for us, as we transition from startup mode as an organization and develop our own plan to grow and scale,” Emily says. “We’re thinking a lot about what it means to help the hundreds of founders we have attracted to St. Louis to scale and grow their businesses and develop as entrepreneurs and leaders.

We want to show entrepreneurs from across the country and across the world that St. Louis is not only accepting of new ideas an innovative solutions, but that this community will embrace enlightened entrepreneurs and will go the extra mile to help them succeed. It’s like our region’s newly-released outreach effort, STLMade, says; St. Louis is a place where you can start up, stand out, and stay.”

Arch Grants

(314) 272-4857
[email protected]
911 Washington Ave, Suite 140 St.Louis, MO 63101

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