Jul 24, 2019
Grant expands BioGenerator Labs and Commercialization Resources
ST. LOUIS – BioGenerator, the investment arm of BioSTL, has won a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) to be used over three years to turn agtech innovations into new companies and new jobs in the St. Louis region.
Centering on food, fiber, and fuel, BioGenerator’s Agtech Proof of Concept Center will leverage the St. Louis region’s unique strengths as a global center for agricultural and bioscience research and development and its unique location as a bridge between urban innovation communities and rural farmer/grower economies. BioGenerator will accelerate the path to market for early-stage agricultural technologies by evaluating, de-risking, and advancing their commercial viability – translating them into high-growth ventures.
BioGenerator will leverage the EDA’s Regional Innovation Strategies program grant with nearly a $1 million cash match to accelerate commercialization of agtech discovery.
The combined investment will enable BioGenerator to provide its Fundamentals customized, startup business advising program, along with its associated network of expert resources; an array of services designed to help startups secure non-dilutive grant financing through its Grants to Business program; and to expand its low-cost, wet laboratory facilities (located in the Cortex Innovation Community) to a pilot laboratory with an agtech-company focus in Creve Coeur at the new BioGenerator@Helix Lab. In partnership with St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and with support from the Missouri Technology Corporation, BioGenerator has opened these new lab facilities inside the Helix Center at 39 North to meet the needs of agtech companies.
“Our team will work hand-in-hand with burgeoning St. Louis agtech company founders to evaluate innovative technologies and new business concepts to drive to milestones that accelerate the path to traditional financing,” said Eric Gulve, President of BioGenerator. “Coupled with our own early-stage investment capital, this grant will help us further develop high-growth-potential companies, de-risking them for follow-on investors, thus creating more opportunities and jobs for St. Louisans.”
To date, BioGenerator has invested $23 million into more than 70 St. Louis-based startup companies. These investments attracted more than $770 million in additional capital from outside funders. BioGenerator’s ability to generate that 34x leverage places it among the leading early-stage investors in the country.
BioGenerator received the highest of this RIS award funding possible and was among less than 25 percent of applicants that received an award. This is the fifth competitive EDA grant BioSTL has won since 2010. This round, EDA provided a total of $23 million in awards to 44 nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 28 states to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds.
“St. Louis is a leader in building and supporting innovative businesses in agtech and bioscience and that is due in no small part to the work and results of our partners at BioSTL and BioGenerator,” said Angela Belden Martinez, EDA Regional Director. “EDA is excited to once again partner with BioGenerator – this time in bridging the rural/urban divide by giving businesses in agricultural technology more support and resources to be successful. There is no doubt that we will see more investment, jobs and economic opportunity in America’s heartland because of this investment.”
Thanks to St. Louis’ Congressional Delegation – especially Senator Roy Blunt – for championing this program, BioGenerator was able to compete to bring these federal resources back to Missouri, and we were excited to see Arch Grants also secure an award to bring dollars into St. Louis,” said Ben Johnson, Vice-President of Programs at BioSTL and Chairman of the national Innovation Advocacy Council. “We anticipate the grant funding will allow us to help our new, St. Louis-based agtech companies add more than 200 jobs and $100 million in additional funding or revenue in the coming years.”
To learn more about the i6 program and the awardee projects, visit eda.gov.