If you’re from the Boston/Cambridge area and in the innovation community, it’s very likely that you’ve found yourself at Venture Café Kendall recently, hosted every Thursday at CIC Cambridge. These events are inarguably the preeminent networking gathering in the area. As a matter of fact, several hundred people attend each week.We’re going to highlight one of Venture Café Kendall’s rarer events, Mini-Conferences.
At CIC we strive to create a platform where bright minds of all origins can work together to change the world for the better. Our job is to facilitate great ideas by removing obstacles from entrepreneurs and innovators. To actualize possibility. We would be mistaken if we thought that racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia are not barriers to this.
Product designers from four Boston-area startups recently met up at Fab@CIC to talk about the role prototyping plays in their process. Up front on the panel were Mariya Sitnova from Emulate (organs on chips), Josh Forman from Confer Health (at-home diagnostic kits), Nick Lancaster from Ecovent (room by room temperature control), and Jason Ray of Paperless Parts (“Kayak for manufacturers”).
CIC Worldwide Community,
Echoing the voices of many others in the innovation community, I wanted to share that we at CIC are, and have always been, supportive of international immigration for honest and law-abiding individuals. We have both a moral obligation to help others in need, and a simple, personal benefit to our countries when we are more diverse.
Westward ho! Today, we move a bit further away from CIC’s home in the Boston area. One thousand miles west, we land in St. Louis and are proud to feature our first client spotlight from CIC St. Louis!
Who are you?
Brian Dixon, COO of Capital Innovators in St. Louis
What problem are you trying to help solve?
Capital Innovators helps early-stage IT or IT supplemented companies grow their business very quickly. We provide […] seed funding [and] project-based mentorship from a seasoned pool of knowledgeable experts. Perks and benefits, and office space for the course of 12 weeks [are also offered].
Our investments come from a venture capital fund that we manage, so it provides an opportunity for investors to get in on these early stage deals and have an opportunity to receive a robust return on their investment.
How is your company changing the world?
Capital Innovators’ primary goal is to make a return for our investors, however, we have been able to fuel the growth of 70 companies, creating over 650 jobs, and helping those companies receive over $185 million in follow-on-funding. This, in turn, boosts economic develop and creates the opportunity for sustainable growth in the St. Louis region.
How does being in St. Louis affect what you do?
Building a company in St. Louis costs ~1/5 of what is costs on the coasts. Our companies can be far more capital efficient when it comes to building their business, which allows their investment dollars and revenue dollars to stretch far beyond what coastal startups can do.
What’s unique about your team’s atmosphere?
Our team thinks just like the startups that we train. […] We’re incredibly creative and always thinking outside the box to generate value to each opportunity that presents itself.
If you won a huge grant, what would your company do next?
We would invest the money back inside the business to continue on our growth trajectory. It would likely go into further developing new products and services that provide true value in our space.
What causes do you care about?
I am a board member for the St. Louis Suit Project where we provide professional business attire to deserving individuals in need. We work towards eliminating the barriers caused by financial inequality and unfortunate circumstance throughout all aspects of life.
I am also on the competition committee for Arch Grants where I help select the companies that receive $50K grants to build their startup in St. Louis. Arch Grants is doing some amazing things to help boost economic development in the region and I’m passionate about helping make St. Louis a startup mecca of the Midwest.
Who is your hero?
Although he is no longer alive, Napoleon Hill would be one of my heroes. His work and books have fundamentally changed how I approach life and I believe that his practices should be taught and implemented in every school at every grade level.
What is your biggest fear?
I believe that fear is a negative emotion that should be provided zero energy. People often make decisions based on love or fear. If you make the decisions in your life based on the former, your life becomes a much happier place and things happen for you faster.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment is still in the works and it is building Capital Innovators into a global business that creates value in a plethora of industries.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I’m extremely fascinated with outer space and the potential for space travel to become more affordable as technology advances.
Tell us something about your experience working from CIC.
Working at CIC has been great. It provides the opportunity to work in a creative and innovative environment where a variety of minds collide.
The City of Newton, MassChallenge, and CIC have partnered to open Newton Innovation Center, a startup-friendly collaborative workspace. NIC is a resource open to local entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to make an impact locally and globally, with programming aimed towards giving young people access to the innovation economy. It is open to CIC clients and MassChallenge 2015 alums.