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New Arch Grants leader wants to boost St. Louis’ economy and minority-owned startups

Gabe Angieri, Arch Grants Executive Director, on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at St. Louis Public Radio’s headquarters in Grand Center.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
Gabe Angieri, Arch Grants executive director, on Thursday at St. Louis Public Radio’s headquarters in Grand Center.

The new head of Arch Grants wants to build on the nonprofit's record of helping minority-owned startups while encouraging more early-stage companies to commit to the city of St. Louis.

Gabe Angieri was recently named the organization’s executive director after spending five years as Arch Grants’ director of development. His career includes managing talent development and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives for the St. Louis Regional Business Council.

“I think it's key to St. Louis' future economic outlook and vibrancy to have an entrepreneurial ecosystem that more closely resembles the St. Louis community in which we all live," he said.

Arch Grants has funded more than 200 companies since 2012. Angieri said nearly 70% are led or co-led by a woman, a person of color, an immigrant or a veteran.

The organization provides grants and other support for early-stage companies in exchange for placing their headquarters, or significant operations, in the city of St. Louis for at least one year. Roughly 70% of those funded in the past 10 years are still in business, and many still have strong ties to the area.

Angieri said that “85% of those companies are still active in St. Louis. To see those numbers continue to stay strong and grow would be a real measure of success for me.”

Like most organizations, he said, Arch Grants has had a tough couple of years because of the pandemic. But that has not slowed the organization’s momentum. It managed to fund 34 companies last year.

That trend seemed to have taken hold throughout the country earlier in the pandemic. A January 2021 Money Tree report from PricewaterhouseCoopers/CB Insights shows startup investing reached a record $130 billion in 2020.

Another report focusing on this year shows venture funding is dropping after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a spike in inflation.

Despite that most recent swing, Arch Grants is planning to award as many as 25 startups grants of $75,000 each this year. They could also be eligible for $25,000 to help move to St. Louis.

Startups that received funding over the years have created more than 2,600 jobs in the region, and Angieri said the organization has also grown into a catalyst for activity in the city.

“We've seen a lot of urban sprawl over the last decades, and Arch Grants represents a key ingredient in driving true and impactful economic growth in the heart of St. Louis,” he said.

Companies applying this year will find out in September if they’ve been selected for one of the grants.

Wayne is the morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.