More than 160 local startups have taken the first step toward a handsome cash prize and top tier professional services. Now, judges are in the process of selecting the top 30 applicants, who will compete in the St. Louis Startup Challenge’s semi-final round.
In the semi-finals, challengers will submit an analysis of their business and pitch it live to the judges. They’ll also get a STLVentureWorks membership and professionally produced pitch video.
"We’ve had a great variety in our submissions this year. A mix of consumer products, biotech, high-tech and social entrepreneurs have all thrown their hat in the ring," said Travis Sheridan, assistant vice president of innovation & entrepreneurship for St. Louis County Economic Council. "Now, we are excited to watch the best-of-the-best rise to the top."
With some of the biggest sponsors in St. Louis, including Edward Jones, and some of the best prize packages, St. Louis Startup Challenge highlights local entrepreneurs, helps them develop their venture and rewards the best at Startup Connection.
Follow the competition by tweeting with us: #STLStartupChallenge.
We caught up with young tech entrepreneur Ben Auton, co-owner of Endless Electronics, an electronics repair shop he started just three years ago in college. We asked the STLVentureWorks incubator client about his experience taking risks and how he sees St. Louis playing a part in the future of gaming and technology.
What is Endless Electronics?
Endless Electronics is an electronics repair shop. We believe that to treat your iPad, iPhone, PlayStation 3, or Xbox 360 as a disposable device is expensive. Endless Electronics helps you get more life and usability out of electronics.
Where did it all begin?
I started Endless Electronics in a basement while in college. I intended to repair PlayStations on the side for spending money. So, I posted a listing on eBay, and before I knew it, I had 80 PlayStations in the basement! Going to college full-time and trying to repair hundreds of PlayStations was insane, but I was too stubborn to quit. That’s when Tom Nowlin joined me as a business partner. We now have one part-time and three full-time employees, and we get orders from all over the country.
What is the best part about being a young entrepreneur?
Being young is a great time to take risks and try something. And being an entrepreneur forces you to wear many hats and get out of your comfort zone. The way I see it, the worst case scenario is the business fails, and I have to try something else. You can have a few trial and errors and still have a very successful career.
What do you think about the tech buzz in St. Louis?
There is a lot of buzz around tech in St. Louis. St. Louis has a lot to offer for startup businesses of all kinds from video gaming to medical technology. I think St. Louis is often grossly underrated, but there seems to be a lot of leaders ready to help take the region to the next level.
Immigration & Innovation Conference
Each summer, St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis host a conference on how to grow our regional economy. This year, be there to hear how leaders plan to make the St. Louis region the fastest growing area for immigration by 2020 and how immigration initiatives can jumpstart our economic growth.
Time & date: 7:30-10 am, Thursday, June 27, 2013
Please register: www.worldtradecenter-stl.com ($25 per person)
Core Laboratory and Equipment Showcase
Need short-term access to specialized laboratory equipment to move your innovation forward? Join us to learn about the resources, equipment, facilities and expertise available at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator Core Lab, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and St. Louis Community College Plant and Life Science Center at BRDG Park.
Time & date: 8 am-1 pm, Thursday, June 20, 2013
Please register: http://corelab.eventbrite.com