Olin students play big part in Cultivation Capital investments, portfolio companies

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You can’t walk through the halls of St. Louis’s startup community, T-REx, without running into an Olin student or graduate. You’ll find them in leadership and key roles in St. Louis’s hottest startups. At Cultivation Capital, we have several Olin students and grads on staff; they’re a big part of the deals we have been able to make this summer.

In the past week, Cultivation Capital has announced $1,000,000 worth of investments in two exciting St. Louis startups: Tunespeak and Trakbill. Olin students have been a major part of each of these investments.

Tunespeak is a St. Louis-based musician-to-fan loyalty platform. It connects bands to their most loyal and influential fans, rewarding fans for listening, sharing and promoting bands on their existing social media networks. It does something no other music site on the market is doing: it connects bands to their best fans in a way that benefits and is meaningful to both. And there are several Olin students in on the ground floor helping make it happen.

Through Olin’s CELect course, we had two teams of Olin students work on consulting projects for Tunespeak. Last semester, Olin undergrad Sahil Lalwani led a market research project. This semester, Kasey Joyce, Vibha Vemana, Tod Raeber, and Abbey Hable, are working on a new product development project for the startup.

Cultivation Capital also just announced a $500,000 investment in Trakbill. Trakbill came to St. Louis from the University of Illinois as an awardee of the Arch Grants business plan competition. I have joined the TrakBill Board of Directors, and two Olin students, David Fatoki and Jenny Wu, are working for TrakBill this summer as interns. Founder and President Steven Marciniak created the company in 2012 with the goal of making it easier to navigate the legislative process. TrakBill provides real-time legislation tracking via its online advocacy search engine. Lobbyists, advocacy groups, or individual citizens can sign up to be updated and alerted to state and federal legislative developments in their areas of interest.

Both the Tunespeak and TrakBill investments could not have happened without our team of analysts and associates from Olin who conducted significant research and due diligence for these opportunities. Olin MBAs Kyle Tabor and Mark Gillis, along with undergraduates Harry Bolson and Sahil Lalwani, put together a comprehensive evaluation of both investments.

There has been incredible buzz and energy in the St. Louis startup community this summer. This video does a great job of capturing it.

As you can see, it’s been a busy summer for Olin’s entrepreneurship faculty and students. Stay tuned for more to come!

-Clifford Holekamp

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