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Missouri TechLaunch

Application Period Open – Fall 2019
Application Deadline – Fall 2019
Investment Committee meeting – TBD
Final Approval – TBD

Commercializing research and launching new high-tech companies in Missouri has been shown to have a lasting and significant economic impact.  Missouri-based companies such as Emerson Electric, Monsanto Company, and Leggett & Platt, among others, all started as entrepreneurial start-ups developing then-cutting-edge technologies.  For over 100 years, these companies have contributed to the Missouri economy in irreplaceable ways, including creating high-paying jobs throughout the State.  The Missouri TechLaunch program is designed to help high-tech entrepreneurs overcome the principal financing challenges of launching new start-ups that leverage discoveries and talent at Missouri’s world-class public and private universities and other research organizations.  This pre-seed funding will be awarded to entrepreneurial start-ups for intellectual property development and evaluation, including in-depth analysis of market potential, conducting competitive analysis, establishing proof of concept of a scientific discovery, prototype design and development, and related activities.

Program Goals
The Missouri TechLaunch program seeks to achieve the following goals in Missouri:

  • Accelerate the commercialization of research discoveries;
  • Increase the number of investment-grade start-up companies launched;
  • Leverage research and talent at Missouri’s public and private universities and other Missouri research institution to promote economic development;
  • Attract research and capital investment; and
  • Create sustainable high-paying, private sector jobs.

Eligible Applicants
A Missouri-based start-up company (or company relocating its headquarters and operations to Missouri) that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • Has at least one principal with significant industry experience related to the technology to be commercialized or a committed collaborator and/or mentor with such experience;
  • Has at least one principal with significant experience successfully launching a start-up technology business or a committed collaborator and/or mentor with such experience, which may include a relationship with an innovation center or other entrepreneurial support organization that can provide expertise appropriate to the project;
  • Is committed to commercializing a discovery aligned with one of the following Missouri high-tech industry clusters: animal health, plant science, biomedical science, applied engineering, or defense and homeland security;
  • Has or will establish a relationship with a Missouri public or private research university or research institution;
  • Has a viable plan (i) for securing follow-on seed capital financing needed to successfully grow the start-up company; or (ii) to successfully sustain the company upon completion of pre-seed financing;
  • Has an actual, conditional, or anticipated market-based third-party funding commitment that (i) equals at least 100 percent of the total requested Missouri TechLaunch funds; and (ii) will close and transfer the proceeds of the investment to the start-up company in a syndicate with the Missouri TechLaunch funding;
  • Is in a pre-seed financing stage, which generally means that the start-up company has not exceeded total debt and equity financing of $250,000 (excluding the requested Missouri TechLaunch funding; required Missouri TechLaunch matching funding; sponsored research; and SBIR/STTR awards);
  • Has less than 500 existing employees;
  • Will not use the Missouri TechLaunch funding for any prohibited purpose as set forth in the program application or by the U.S. Department of Treasury; and
  • Has not previously been awarded Missouri TechLaunch funding.

 Evaluation Criteria
The submissions by Eligible Applicants will be evaluated based on dimensions of the quality of the submission and a demonstrated likelihood to achieve the following outcomes in Missouri:

  • Acceleration of a scientific discovery into a new high-growth company;
  • Increase research and capital investment funding;
  • Leverage private investment;
  • Create successful collaborations and partnerships needed to commercialize technology and create a high-tech start-up;
  • Develop solutions to solve key business and technical milestones to position the technology and resulting start-up company for additional venture capital funding and marketplace penetration;
  • Strengthen one or more of MTC’s targeted high-tech clusters; and
  • Create sustainable high-paying, private sector jobs.

 Funding Available:
The amount of requested co-investment should be specifically and narrowly tailored to the plan outlined in the application submitted to MTC, but individual awards will not exceed $100,000.  Accordingly, it is not expected that each applicant will request the maximum amount of funds that may be awarded under this program.