Columbia on the Rise

This past weekend, Cultivation Capital’s Israel Vicars visited Columbia, Mo., as a participant in a Startup Weekend event to engage with the local community of entrepreneurs, investors and technologists.

Startup Weekend is an international phenomenon with backing from the Kauffman Foundation and corporate sponsors including Google and Microsoft.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where participants can build the foundations of their businesses. On the first day, people gather and pitch ideas for the companies; then they form teams around some of those ideas, and spend Saturday and Sunday working to build them out. Finally, on Sunday night the teams will present their work to a panel of judges for a question and answer session, and the top three teams will be awarded prizes.” Via

At the Startup Weekend event in Columbia, there were 125 attendees, 40 ideas pitched, and 22 teams formed to develop, validate and present a new business concept. The event was amply attended by developers and designers, as well as non-technical attendees.

As a demonstration of the potential of Startup Weekend events, last year’s winners of Columbia’s Startup Weekend, Zapier, were since accepted into Y Combinator.

The assessment of the entrepreneurial community in Columbia is very positive. Successful serial entrepreneurs like Brent Beshore and Brant Bukowsky are well known in the community and actively engaged with early stage and prospective entrepreneurs. The local universities, especially University of Missouri, are a strong source of technical talent with many graduates opting to remain in their college town. The event was held at Musaeo, a beautiful incubator and event space, which houses an opt-in accelerator program called The League of Innovators.

Cultivation will continue to engage with members of the community in Columbia in supportive and collaborative ways. These community engagement opportunities have long term value for the development of Cultivation Capital’s deal pipeline and overall impact.