Advantage Capital Partners Makes $300K Donation to Arch Grants

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Contribution celebrates firm’s 20  years of funding entrepreneurs and fostering community impact

ST. LOUIS, March 27, 2012 – Advantage Capital Partners, a leading venture capital and small business finance firm, has committed $300,000 over the next three years to Arch Grants, the global business plan competition providing $50,000 grants to startups. Arch Grants expects to award more than a dozen grants in its inaugural year, with no equity in return, in an effort to create a more robust startup culture and infrastructure in St. Louis.

“We can’t think of a more meaningful way to honor our firm’s 20th anniversary than by fostering entrepreneurs, helping to create a more robust startup culture and infrastructure, and participating in the regional effort to increase jobs and business growth,” said Advantage Capital senior managing director Scott Zajac. “For 20 years, our firm has maintained excellent investor returns and created significant community impact. We have made hundreds of investments, and created thousands of jobs. We believe our involvement in Arch Grants will both underscore and complement this momentum.”

Advantage Capital joins a number of other local funders, including Peabody Energy, Emerson Electric and other corporate and individual donors, who are supporting this effort with donations of time, money and strategic assistance. In addition, Jim McKelvey, St. Louis native and co-founder of Square, a billion-dollar mobile payments device company, will help select and mentor grantees as head of Arch Grants’ Advisory Board.

“This donation by Advantage Capital Partners reinforces the strength and viability of St. Louis as a startup center,” said Arch Grants Executive Director Sarah Spear. “The city offers advantages and amenities that other cities can’t match, particularly affordable space, powerful broadband capacity, access to support services and professional firms, and a developing group of entrepreneurial companies that will bring it renewed vigor and drive.”

About Advantage Capital Partners

Advantage Capital Partners is a leading venture capital and small business finance firm focused on providing growth capital and other investments supporting state and local economic development efforts. The firm’s typical forms of investment include early stage, expansion equity, mezzanine financing, senior and subordinated loans and government-guaranteed lending. With offices and partners in St. Louis, New Orleans, and other U.S. cities, Advantage has raised more than $1.6 billion in institutional capital since 1992 and invested in companies located in geographic areas underserved by traditional capital.

About Arch Grants

Arch Grants is creating an entrepreneurial culture and infrastructure to increase employment growth and counteract the recent loss of jobs in the traditional manufacturing sector in the St. Louis area. Launching multiple high quality, new ventures simultaneously, Arch Grants will also help change the image of St. Louis among aspiring entrepreneurs and others looking to have a formative role in building a new entrepreneurial climate in St. Louis. Arch Grants also seeks to provide positive perceptions of St. Louis by developing an environment where entrepreneurs and young people want to start and grow businesses and live in a vibrant community where the cost of living is significantly lower than comparable cities and there is an immense level of support from business and community leaders.