Arch Grants, in partnership with local charitable fund, provides $50,000 each to five high-growth startups in Greater St. Louis

St. Louis-based NISA Investment Advisors’ Charitable Fund has partnered with nonprofit Arch Grants to increase the amount of funding available from Arch Grants’s annual startup competition via the newly formed #STLOnward Awards. NISA contributed $270,000 to the effort, allowing Arch Grants to fund five high-growth startups for $50,000 each. This comes in addition to the…

The winning founders (L to R): Edwin Williams; Kathy Tomlinson; Peter Wright; Marvin A. François; Dr. Philip William Van Hickman
The winning founders (L to R): Edwin Williams; Kathy Tomlinson; Peter Wright; Marvin A. François; Dr. Philip William Van Hickman

St. Louis-based NISA Investment Advisors’ Charitable Fund has partnered with nonprofit Arch Grants to increase the amount of funding available from Arch Grants’s annual startup competition via the newly formed #STLOnward Awards.

NISA contributed $270,000 to the effort, allowing Arch Grants to fund five high-growth startups for $50,000 each. This comes in addition to the 35 startups selected through Arch Grants’s most recent $1.9 million startup competition round. NISA and Arch Grants hope this inspires other companies to join in on the effort.

The winning founders (L to R): Edwin Williams; Kathy Tomlinson; Peter Wright; Marvin A. François; Dr. Philip William Van Hickman

The five startups receiving the grants were chosen because their missions are congenial to NISA’s focus on education, workforce development and increased access to capital for traditionally underserved populations. The winning startups are Equalizer Games, oneKIN, PlaBook, Rock The Score, and ZenHammer, all of whom will be recognized at the 9th Annual Arch Grants Gala event Wed., Nov. 17, also known as the #STLOnward Awards – Powered by NISA.

Founders had this to say:

  • “As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that capital, when matched with a systematic ecosystem of knowledge, mentors, professional supports, colleagues, and connections, better guarantees the further success of your company,” said Dr. Philip William Van Hickman, CEO and Founder of PlaBook. “Being a recipient of an Arch Grant gives PlaBook this capital along with a terrific network that will help us to positively impact children who are learning how to read.”
  • “Given Arch Grants’ strong track record of success, my team and I are humbled to be part of the initial class of #STLOnward Award recipients,” said Marvin A. François, CFA, Co-Founder and CEO of oneKIN.While the program has only just started, we have already been provided with precious resources and are confident this next year will bring outsized growth for our company.”
  • “Receiving an Arch Grant for $50,000 and the accompanying support, coupled with being back in St. Louis, has allowed us to move at the pace we have only dreamed of previously,” said Edwin Williams, CEO of ZenHammer. “We are ecstatic to be back building our business here in St. Louis and to becoming an active part of the community again.”
  • “We are thrilled about building our business in St. Louis and accelerating our sports and education technology platform,” said Kathy Tomlinson, Co-Founder and President of Equalizer Games. “We will be creating more job opportunities in technology while taking our business to another level of success because of Arch Grants.”
  • “It is truly an honor for Rock The Score to receive an Arch Grant and the recognition such an award holds, said Peter Wright, CEO and President of Rock The Score. We are incredibly proud of the success that we have worked so hard to achieve, and it feels great to have that echoed by Arch Grants. 

 

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