A long-running investment conference that previously showcased Kansas City startups to crowds of regional and national funders is expected to resume its in-person events this spring in St. Louis.
The InvestMidwest event series — which rotates between Missouri’s two major startup hubs — is set to return to Kansas City in 2024. Exact dates for the conferences have not yet been released.
“InvestMidwest provides startup companies access to their first institutional capital and facilitates networking among entrepreneurs, VCs and strategic acquirers, while showcasing elements of the innovation ecosystems in Kansas City and St. Louis,” organizers said in an announcement Tuesday.
The event last came to Kansas City in 2019.
Click here to learn more about InvestMidwest.
Claire S. Kinlaw has been named executive director of the rebooted conference and the organization behind it, the announcement said.
“I am very pleased for the opportunity to work with the InvestMidwest Advisory Board and other stakeholders in the innovation ecosystems of St Louis and Kansas City to relaunch InvestMidwest as a vital in-person event,” said Kinlaw. “Bringing entrepreneurs and investors together from across the Midwest will further the commercialization of technologies in three important industry areas: agriculture, healthcare, and technology, including an emerging geospatial sector.”
Kinlaw has been chief scientific officer at Zea Biosciences, an early-stage agricultural biotechnology company, since late 2021. She will continue to serve the company part-time.
She previously served as director of Innovation Commercialization with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, where she helped scientists bridge from their discoveries to commercial opportunities. Among her career and educational credentials, Kinlaw also has an MBA from the Walter Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis on entrepreneurship.
“We look forward to Claire’s leadership in continuing the forum’s efforts to narrow the funding gap in our region compared to the Coasts by attracting more early-stage capital to worthy startups,” said Maria Meyers, advisory board member for InvestMidwest and associate vice chancellor of UMKC and executive director of UMKC Innovation Center.
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.