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Helix Fund

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St. Louis County has created a double support system for entrepreneurs in the field of plant and life sciences that fulfills the need for both affordable space and essential funding. Together, the Helix Fund and Helix Center enable the continued growth of early stage plant and life science companies while strengthening the region's bioscience hub.

The following FAQ provides more information:

 

 

 

What is the Helix Fund?

The $1.5 million Helix Fund co-invests with specific partners to promote the growth of bioscience and related technology businesses in St. Louis County. Eligible companies must be referred to the Helix Fund for investment consideration by one of our partners. An eligible company that already has the support of one of our partners may also request funding directly, but only after the partner has committed funding to the specific opportunity.

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What kinds of investments does Helix make?

Funding is available in three categories:

  1. Investment for early stage bioscience companies
  2. Grants to our partner organizations to support experienced entrepreneurs (also known as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence) to evaluate and advance the commercialization of new ventures
  3. A loan fund for mature, small- to medium-sized companies that are expanding in or relocating to St. Louis County

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I'm a startup company. Am I eligible to receive funds?

Only plant science, life science and technology companies based in St. Louis County or that have a principal who is a full-time resident of St. Louis County are eligible.

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Who are the Helix Fund's partners?

Partners include: BioGenerator, Nidus Partners, St. Louis Arch Angels, and Prolog Ventures, as well as the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and Innovate St. Louis. More information about partners is available on their websites

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How much does the Helix Fund invest in startup companies?

The Helix Fund may match the investment of its partners dollar-for-dollar, with a maximum investment of $50,000.

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Is there an application for startup funding?

The Helix Fund has no application form but does require eligible companies seeking funding to provide a written request describing the company and its technology. The request should also include:

  1. The amount of funding requested
  2. The amount of partner match
  3. Budget for the funds
  4. Team members' background and experience
  5. Milestones and deliverables
  6. Market opportunity
  7. Potential return on investment
  8. Economic development impact (projected job creation, company growth, etc.).

Note: The referring partner also must submit its written due diligence findings. (See partner information above)

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How is a decision made?

The Helix Fund investment committee reviews the funding request along with its partner's due diligence findings and basis for funding. After reviewing this information, the investment committee may have additional questions for either the company or partner. The company may then be invited to make a presentation to the Helix Fund investment committee, after which the funding decision will be made.

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Who are the Helix Fund's decision makers?

The Helix Fund has an investment committee comprised of members of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership staff.

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How does the Helix Fund distribute its funds?

Helix Fund invests on the same terms and conditions as its partners. Typically, funding is awarded in the form of a convertible note, although other options may be considered.
Funding provided to startup and growing companies is not a grant.

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Do Helix Center Biotech Incubator client companies have preferred status?

Only plant science, life science and technology companies based in St. Louis County or that have a principal who is a full-time resident of St. Louis County are eligible. Therefore, client companies at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator are eligible as a St. Louis County business. However, like other applicants, companies at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator must be referred by one or more of the Helix Fund partners that already has committed funding to the specific opportunity.

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How does the process differ for mature, small- to medium-size companies expanding in or relocating to St. Louis County?

Requests typically are generated through the business development division of St. Louis Economic Development Partnership with support and oversight of its business finance division. Funding allocations are based on satisfying existing loan criteria as well as providing information regarding the project and its benefits.

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Why was the Helix Fund established?

The Helix Fund was established in 2010 by St. Louis County Port Authority (an affiliate of the Economic Development Partnership) to support the growth of entrepreneurship, businesses and employment opportunities in bioscience and related technology sectors as part of St. Louis County's economic development platform.

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Who do I contact for more information?

Beth Noonan, Vice President, Bioscience & Technology, Business Development Division, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, The Helix Fund office is located at the Helix Center Biotech Incubator.