November 5, 2014
Have you ever wondered why the T-REX Incubator in St. Louis is named after a dinosaur? It actually has nothing to do with dinosaurs; it’s an acronym, and it stands for ‘Technology at the Railway Exchange Building’. That’s where the incubator first started out, and they have recently decided to relocate their headquarters.
The historic Lammert building at 911 Washington Avenue is the official new home of the incubator, and T-REX will occupy five of the eight floors. To date nearly 100 different startups call the incubator home.
Supporting the expansion were some of the big-name companies that call St. Louis home: Anheuser Busch, Nestle Purina, and Morgan Stanley. The St. Louis Regional Chamber, the St. Louis Development Corporation, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and the Missouri Technology Corporation also pitched in.
St. Louis has been in the tech news a lot over the last few years, lauded for their growth in the biotech, technology, and manufacturing sectors. That burgeoning innovation was the driver behind demand for a new kind of space for T-REX.
“T-REX is a hub for creativity and provides the essential infrastructure and vibrant community that new businesses need to grow and thrive,” says Dr. Patricia Hagen, President of the Technology Entrepreneur Center/T-REX. “But beyond the brick-and-mortar architecture, we’re just as proud of the outputs and success stories of the T-REX community members working within our walls.”
The nonprofit’s vision is to empower startup entrepreneurs with flexible space, technology, and investment resources as well as a community of creative visionaries. Current T-REX community members include Gremln, Hatchbuck, Tunespeak, Sparo Labs, Dabble, Rovertown, and Pulse Therapeutics.
There’s also affiliated accelerator companies like Capital Innovators and 630, early stage venture capital firm, Cultivation Capital, Arch Grants and iTEN.
“This place is a catalyst,” says Ryan Bell, CEO, Gremln. “It brings the whole community together—accountants and attorneys and service providers come down here and offer services to winners of competitions or to companies that have promise. We may not have existed if T-REX wasn’t here to shine a light on us.”
According to the ITEN Community Report, investments in tech startups in St. Louis more than doubled from $30 million in 2012 to over $66 million in 2013. These startups have access to better resources than they ever had at any time in the past.
“What’s happening in T-REX is indicative of what’s happening in the city as a whole,” says Zoe Scharf, Creative Director and Co-founder of Greetabl. “The community here is giving us resources in the form of grants, but also in different entrepreneurs and incubators and investors. People are willing to talk to you before you’ve made the accomplishments that they might require in a place like New York City.”
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