What Is Fund St. Louis?

Fund St. Louis is a new way to fund a dynamic St. Louis region (crowdfunding).  It is a place to not only highlight the entrepreneurial spirit that currently exists in the region, but a way to bolster that activity and to give an additional funding resource to those who have a great idea and want to turn that idea into a business.  In doing so, we help create a vibrant small and startup business environment in St. Louis.  And that, in turn, creates jobs and a healthy St. Louis economy.
 
We Believe That:

  • A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
  • A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
  • Businesses and individuals can help take matters into their own hands and make St. Louis a thriving, vibrant city.
  • The culture of small business is good for the economy and that we all don’t have to strive to work at large name companies.
  • It is actually more secure to be in business for yourself or in a small business where you have more control.
  • Companies started up through Fund St. Louis should give back to the community that helped give them their start.

Our Model Includes:

  • An all-or-nothing funding method where projects and companies must be fully-funded or no money changes hands. (underfunding is a quick way to stall or even doom a new company)
  • A space where other entrepreneurs can donate products or services to help startup and early stage companies
  • Volunteer exchanges
  • Support and mentoring for startup and early stage companies

 

Why St. Louis?  Aren’t There Other Resources In The Region?

There are other resources in the region that are doing good work to help the business environment in St. Louis.  But we believe there is an underserved group in small and startup businesses.  We believe that Fund St. Louis compliments the activities of those other organizations.  When SBA loans are at lower levels in the region, and the other groups are going after the larger, established businesses to move to St. Louis, or funding groups are looking for the next overnight sensation, we believe there is a need for good, solid small and startup businesses based on steady, organic growth.  A good idea can lead to a profitable business that provides anywhere from 2-200 jobs (or more).  After all, the vast majority of the large employers around St. Louis started off here as a small business.

 

How Does it Work?

Our goal is to match the best ideas with the crowdfunding public that wants to see these opportunities become a reality.  In short, this site serves to highlight opportunities and to allow new opportunities to be promoted on the site.  From there, the non-equity investors, neighbors, foundations, angel investors and others “vote” with their pledges for the opportunities they think will be a great business, add value to St. Louis, or just want to see happen.

If an opportunity reaches its funding goals, then Fund St. Louis will transfer the money from the Funders accounts to the opportunity owner.  Fund St. Louis will work with the opportunity owner to adhere to all the applicable laws and regulations and to make sure the money is used for the purpose as stated by the submitted opportunity.

 

All-or-Nothing Funding?

Every Fund St. Louis project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands.

Why?

1. It’s less risk for everyone. If you need $5,000, it’s tough having $2,000 and a bunch of people expecting you to complete a $5,000 project.

2. It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don’t receive the support you want, you’re not compelled to follow through. (This is huge!)

3. It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they’re going to spread the word.

 

What Is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a non-equity investment in emerging companies.  It is based on micro-finance and is a new way to support entrepreneurs and those with great ideas.  It bolsters the community and helps change the culture to one of support and understanding of small business as opposed to fearing the perceived instability of a smaller company.

 

Does Fund St. Louis Take A Percentage Of Ownership Or Intellectual Property?

Absolutely not. Opportunity creators keep 100% ownership of their work.

 

Who Can Launch A Business Opportunity?

Anyone can launch an opportunity on the Fund St. Louis Web site.  We will work with the opportunity owners to ensure that if/when the opportunity is fully funded that they adhere to the Fund St. Louis agreement, and to all applicable laws and regulations regarding starting a business entity in St. Louis.

 

Does It Cost Anything?

We do not charge any fees to promote the opportunity on the web site.  If the project is fully funded, Fund St. Louis will charge a fee from 3%-8%of the money collected to help pay for its operating costs and credit card acceptance fees to keep the site operating and properly marketed.

 

Do I Have To Live In St. Louis To Launch An Opportunity?

You do not have to live in St. Louis to launch an opportunity, however the opportunity needs to be located in the St. Louis area.  We know there are many, many St. Louis ex-patriots who would love an opportunity to help out back home.  We also hope that this is an incentive to bring more people to St. Louis to start their company and add to our dynamic, vibrant city.

 

How Are Opportunities Chosen To Be Featured On Fund St. Louis?

It is our goal at Fund St. Louis to feature as many opportunities as we can on the site.  After an initial screening, most opportunities will be “made live” on the site.  Those projects that are receiving a lot of attention on the site will be promoted to more prominent positions on the site.  In addition, any project we feel is interesting or adds to the diversity of the site may be highlighted on the home page as well.

 

Who Can Fund An Opportunity?

Anyone can fund an opportunity at any level.  More information on creating a funding account with Fund St. Louis can be found here.

 

Why Do People Fund Opportunities?

 
Better St. Louis

The goal is to create a more active, vibrant and dynamic environment in St. Louis.   We believe that small business is one of the larger drivers to this concept.  The more successful small businesses we have, the more we as a city promote an entrepreneurial culture, the better our city will be at attracting (and retaining!) great families to live and work in our city.

They like the opportunity

The opportunities on Fund St. Louis are creative, fun and exciting.  There are often times we would just like to see an opportunity happen.  It may be for a friend, a neighbor, or someone in our family.  It may be someone we don’t even know but would love to have that business in our neighborhood due to a need in the community.  Whatever it is, a strong opportunity will get funded.

Rewards

Opportunity creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering smart, fun, and tangible rewards (products, benefits, and experiences).

Stories

Fund St. Louis projects are efforts by real people to do something they love, something fun, or at least something of note. These stories unfold through blog posts, pics, and videos as people bring their ideas to life. Take a peek around the site and see what we’re talking about. Stories abound.

 

How Do I Get My Opportunity Featured On Fund St. Louis?

To start a project, go to the Create an Opportunity page. We’ll ask some basic questions about your opportunity. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two for a member of our team to get back to you about your proposal, and if you’ve got a great opportunity that meets our guidelines, we’re good to go.

 

Can Fund St. Louis Help Me With My New Company?

Yes.  Fund St. Louis has many experienced business resources in all areas of expertise.  We are happy to provide counseling, references and other means to help get your opportunity up and running as a business.