Two Kansas City companies are expected to be part of Arch Grants’ largest-ever selection of startups, earning spots in the highly competitive St. Louis grant program’s 35-member, nearly $2 million 2021 cohort.
PlaBook, an edtech reading platform, and Erkios Systems, a cybersecurity hardware startup, were announced Oct. 1 as winning candidates for the program, which saw more than 400 applicants, according to Arch Grants.
“With these 35 new companies, Arch Grants has surpassed the 200-company mark, an important milestone in our drive to solidify St. Louis as a beacon for innovation in the country and throughout the world,” the program said.
PlaBook is now positioned for success and Arch Grants adds fuel to its momentum, said Philip Hickman, co-founder and CEO of PlaBook.
“The support and excitement that they carry was exactly what we needed,” he added. “St. Louis has such a great established startup ecosystem and PlaBook is so excited to be fully immersed.”
Click here to learn more about PlaBook.
Each winning company receives $50,000 in non-dilutive cash grants, and those from out of town get an additional $10,000 to relocate to St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which first reported the news. As a condition of the program, at least half of a company’s founding team must move to St. Louis for the next year.
PlaBook did not immediately disclose plans to open headquarters in St. Louis, though Erkios — led by co-founders Sean Null and Philip Van der Straeten — confirmed it would move its offices to the Arch Grants city.
Click here to learn more about Erkios, its momentum and plans for Arch Grants funding.
“PlaBook has successfully finished its pilot at a local school district in Kansas City and will be launching this month and is looking to be in districts in Kansas City, Saint Louis, Texas, and possibly on the East Coast helping children learn to read,” Hickman detailed, offering insight into the startup’s next steps.
PlaBook recently completed Techstars Kansas City’s 2021 cohort and was among the winning finalists in the 2020 OHUB.KC accelerator.
Only 15 of the 35 Arch Grants selections were from the St. Louis area, according to the program, emphasizing its ongoing long-term economic development impact through drawing entrepreneurs to the gateway city. Winning companies hail from Philadelphia to West Palm Beach, Florida; Denver to Des Moines; and even South Korea.
Click here to see the full list of 2021 Arch Grants recipients, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Since 2012, Arch Grants has awarded $10,570,000 in cash grants to attract or retain 208 early-stage businesses in St. Louis, invigorating the city’s startup scene with new talent and ideas and helping to shape the future of the St. Louis economy,” the program said.
Grant winners are expected to be honored Nov. 17 during a virtual gala. St. Louis native Jim McKelvey, founder of Invisibly, founder of LaunchCode, and co-founder of Square, is set to be honored with the 2021 Entrepreneur Award for his contributions to the St. Louis community.
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.