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InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum to hear from 45 growth firms


From Illinois Business Journal news services

ST. LOUIS — Some 45 entrepreneurial growth companies are set to participate this week in the 17th annual InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum in St. Louis.

Set for Wednesday and Thursday at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, the event will showcase some of the most promising emerging companies in the life sciences, technology and food/agriculture/bioenergy fields that are developing products and services addressing many of the global issues making recent headlines across the country. Some 140 applicants were reviewed by a panel of experts, with the final companies selected to present based on their value, proposition, products/services, financial summaries, management teams and marketing strategies and opportunities.

More geographically diverse than ever before, this year’s selected presenters hail from 15 states, and one is based in Europe. States represented include Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The chosen teams will present their business plans to an audience of the nation’s top venture capitalists, corporate and private investors, and investment bankers.

“We are very pleased with the response we received for the 2016 forum,” said Chris Walsh, executive director of InvestMidwest. “We are eager to give these 45 companies the opportunity to present their business plans at this year’s forum and are confident they will provide regional and national investors with excellent and diverse investment opportunities.”

A total of 545 entrepreneurial companies have presented at InvestMidwest over the past 16 years. This year, the food/agriculture/bioenergy track will showcase presenters developing ways to improve food quality, safely increase crop yields and prevent and manage diseases affecting our food supply; as well as those utilizing technology to further connect the farm industry and allow farmers to better manage their farmlands.

Presenters in the technology track include companies that have developed software to help improve business efficiency, workforce management and talent acquisition; along with companies that are working to revolutionize the healthcare industry by improving healthcare management, patient experiences, communication and coordination among hospitals and patients.

The life sciences track will feature several innovative technologies, ranging from alternatives to radiation therapy in breast cancer patients to medical devices that address a number of medical conditions, including complex spinal problems and infertility. The track will also include biopharmaceutical companies focused on enhanced diagnostics and the development of drugs that could potentially treat and cure human and animal diseases and disorders.

As an additional highlight, the 2016 forum will feature presentations by two renowned speakers on Thursday. George Paz, chairman and CEO of Express Scripts, is serving as the breakfast speaker. Paz drives Express Scripts’ strategy, ensuring its business model of alignment with clients’ best interests delivers better, more cost-effective health outcomes for millions of people.

Dennis E. Lower will kick off the luncheon program. He has served as president and CEO of Cortex Innovation Community in midtown St. Louis since 2010 and for 12 years prior, he served as vice president of Planning and Development for the Biomedical Research Foundation and Director of InterTech Science Park in Shreveport, La. Lower will share insight on his experiences leading these two urban innovation districts.

Since its first forum in St. Louis in May 2000, InvestMidwest has helped generate over $1 billion in investments and acquisitions for innovative growth companies. InvestMidwest’s mission is to provide access to equity capital for emerging, privately held companies seeking venture funds from $1 million to $20 million. Because InvestMidwest is such a concentrated opportunity to meet with venture investors, many consider it the Midwest’s premier annual venture capital forum.

The 17th Annual InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum is supported by a diverse group of public and corporate sponsors including the Kauffman Foundation, the Founding Educational Sponsor of InvestMidwest. The organizational sponsors include the St. Louis Regional Chamber, Missouri Venture Forum, Enterprise Center of Johnson County and KCSourceLink.

For more information about the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum, visit or call (314) 444-1151.

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