The purpose of the Missouri Venture Capital Roundtable is twofold. One purpose is to increase venture capital opportunities for businesses located in Missouri. The second purpose is to create and make available a network of capital and intellectual resources for Missouri investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers and the general public. Joe Driskill, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development said, “The Missouri Venture Capital Roundtable has already done an outstanding job in increasing awareness of venture capital activities in the state. As an advisory group, the Roundtable will make recommendations to the governor in order to continue increasing the amount of venture capital investments made in Missouri. As a result, the state will be able to nurture entrepreneurs in a way that will cause more start-up businesses in the state and help a greater number of them succeed.”
There are currently 35 members including venture capitalists, businesspeople and government officials from Missouri and Kansas.
The late Governor Mel Carnahan held the first VC Roundtable on August 18, 1999. A formal discussion was held regarding the creation of a venture capital infrastructure in Missouri. The Department of Economic Development has since hosted five meetings in different locations including St. Louis, Kansas City and Jefferson City.
It was decided by the Roundtable members that co-chairs, one from St. Louis and one from Kansas City, would serve the group. Dr. Robert Calcaterra, President and CEO of the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise, was unanimously selected as the co-chair from St. Louis on October 25, 2000. Paul Holewinski with Midwest Capital Advisors, LLC, was introduced as the Kansas City co-chair on May 15, 2001.
The Roundtable has outlined specific goals to accomplish, which include:
· Facilitate the creation of a venture capital web site to serve as Missouri’s Venture Capital Resource. In June, the MO Department of Economic Development provided the Missouri Innovation Center with seed money to develop the MarketMaker.org site to serve this purpose.