Missouri TechLaunch

Application Period Open – TBD
Application Deadline – TBD
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.  Awards will be in the form of equity or convertible debt.

Bill Vega at william.vega@ded.mo.gov or (573) 751-3934