InvestMidwest Forum Expands Reach, Influence

CAPCO Programs make the Midwest an attractive location for entrepreneurial endeavors:

In just three years, the InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum has established itself as the Midwest’s premier annual venture capital forum, to date generating more than $100 million in equity investment for innovative entrepreneurial growth companies. From the Forum’s early focus on companies located primarily in the St. Louis/Kansas City regions, InvestMidwest is now poised to expand its reach to encompass the country’s entire central corridor, thereby attracting a larger audience of regional and national venture capitalists.

InvestMidwest is presented by the RCGA, Missouri Venture Forum, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, KCCatalyst, Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation and Technology Gateway Alliance. The Forum is sponsored by the Danforth Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a diverse group of public and private organizations.

The Forum attracts the best of high-growth companies, providing the opportunity annually for 15 to 20 emerging growth businesses seeking funding to showcase their potential to 250 to 300 of the country’s leading venture capitalists, investors, bankers and accounting and legal professionals. Forum organizers ensure that presenting companies provide an excellent cross-section of the range of the Midwest’s diverse economic base, including biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, health care, manufacturing and retail.

Several critical factors make the Midwest an attractive location for entrepreneurial endeavors:

Many Midwestern state and local governments strongly support venture programs. The success of Missouri’s Certified Capital Program (CAPCO), for example, provides strong evidence that state-funded venture capital works to help entrepreneurs create successful businesses that, in turn, create high-paying jobs and enhance the tax base.

The RCGA spearheaded the effort to organize government, business and economic development leaders to work together positioning the Midwest as a world-class market for the biotech industry in particular. Together, they have aggressively marketed the region and created a positive environment for technology and biotech start-ups.

Labor costs in the Midwest have remained relatively low, and critical supporting community and business infrastructure are strong.

Already, InvestMidwest has a strong track record of success in bringing together start-up companies with funding that is helping them realize their potential quickly:

XCELIGENT–a software company that enables real estate brokers, appraisers, developers and lenders to use the company’s CDX data-exchange system to share property information, to date has received $12 million in venture funding, $5 million since presenting at InvestMidwest in May 2002.

QUICK STUDY RADIOLOGY–a provider of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), radiology information systems (RIS), Web distribution and archive technology for small- to mid-sized hospitals and imaging centers–presented at InvestMidwest in 2002 and has to date received $14.76 million in venture funding, from firms including A.G. Edwards Capital, Capital For Business, Oakwood Medical Ventures, and Gateway Associates, managers of a Missouri CAPCO funds.

DIVERGENCE–a venture capital-backed research and development company dedicated to the discovery of effective and ecologically sound strategies for the control of parasites and other pests–presented at InvestMidwest in 2001–to date has received approximately $5 million in equity financing. Divergence has received funding from Prolog Ventures, which raised its funds using tax credits from the Missouri New Enterprise Creation Act (NECA).
In 2003, management representing the InvestMidwest Forum’s 20 selected presenters will seek venture capital funding for their companies ranging from several hundred thousand to $20 million each. Carefully chosen from numerous qualified applicants, presenting companies are scrutinized and selected based on several factors: strength of the company management team, marketing strategy, proprietary nature of the products or services, market opportunity and financials.

The InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum is held annually in May, alternating between Kansas City and St. Louis. Kansas City’s Hyatt Regency Crown Center is the venue for this year’s Forum, May 21-22. For more information, visit

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