When does the competition take place?
We hold an annual competition. Applications opened in autumn, 2013 with grants to be awarded in June, 2014. Grant disbursements will begin at the beginning of July and companies are expected to remain within the Arch Grants program through June of the following year.
What is the maximum allowable team size?
There is no limit on team size, however winners will receive $50,000 regardless of team size.
How do you define startup?
We do not place a limit on the length of time your startup has operated or how much outside funding you have received prior to applying. We award grants to businesses still in their early stages where $50,000 will make a significant impact.
I am not a US citizen. May I apply?
Yes, this is an international business plan competition and Arch Grants may facilitate the visa application process for you, if you are eligible. We successfully relocated simMachines from Costa Rica to St. Louis in our first round so we know it’s possible.
Is anyone ineligible?
Yes, staff and board members of Arch Grants and their immediate family members (spouse, child, parent, sibling) are ineligible to apply for an Arch Grant.
Must entrants disclose any funding already received?
Applicants may be required during our application process to disclose sources of funding already received and/or committed.
Is the final Q&A session required to be in person?
Yes, in-person representation by at least one member of the start-up team is required in order to be considered for a grant. Arch Grants welcomes applicants to visit St. Louis for the final competition weekend to meet other candidates, enjoy an evening with the judges, and get to know the city.
Will entrepreneurs know whom their judges will be?
While the exact step in which judges are involved is not disclosed, a list of all judges involved is announced as it becomes available. Arch Grants reserves the right to modify the list of judges as necessary.
Are final Q&A sessions open to the public?
No, this component is not open to the public. Your audience may be comprised of judges, Arch Grants board and staff, and limited individuals present at the request of Arch Grants. You may invite additional team members to your specific session but you will not be allowed to observe other startups’ sessions.
What do winners of the competition receive?
We’re glad you asked! In addition to $50,000 in capital, Arch Grants recipients receive free legal, accounting, marketing, cloud computing, and mentoring support, discounted office and housing rates, pro bono business mentoring services, and access to the local angel investment network plus a chance to compete for a follow-on Arch Grant of $100,000.
How will the grant award money be distributed?
$20,000 of the grant will be distributed at the beginning of the program followed by disbursements of $10,000 in each of the following quarters, pending a site visit and quarterly report from the start-up.
What kind of startup may apply?
For-profit startups from every industry are invited to apply. Particular attention will be given to the scalability of the ventures. Startups should demonstrate a plan to reach national or international sales. Additionally, we like to see some progress against the concept (e.g.; a prototype, minimum viable product, etc.). Startups planning to scale and remain in the St. Louis region are encouraged to apply.
May nonprofits apply?
No, Arch Grants will not consider applications submitted by nonprofits.
Are multiple applications allowed per person?
No, Arch Grants encourages applicants to apply using their most compelling business idea.
How will I know if I made it to the next step?
All submissions will receive notification of their outcome. Those chosen to proceed to the next step will receive specific instructions for that next step.
How will Arch Grants protect the IP of applying startups?
Arch Grants limits access to applicants’ submitted information to its board, staff, and members of its judging panels. In addition, reasonable steps are taken to limit access to these documents. The judges of Arch Grants’ Business Plan Competition are seasoned professionals accustomed to dealing with confidential materials on a regular basis however, there will be no confidentiality obligation by any recipient of the documents submitted for the competition for information contained therein. We ask that you not share in your application any information you feel to be highly confidential in nature. Please be aware that omitting such information may impact your application consideration.
May I submit someone else’s idea?
Submissions must be your original idea or you must have written consent to submit an idea originally created by another person. In either situation, the applicant is expected to participate as an Arch Grantee. In other words, you may not submit an idea on behalf of someone else.
How many Arch Grants will be awarded?
In its inaugural year, Arch Grants awarded 15 grants to promising startups in 2012, and another 20 in 2013. Information on the number of grants that will be awarded in 2014 will be announced as that information becomes available.
Does Arch Grants take equity in the startups?
No, Arch Grants are truly grants. No equity stake is taken in the companies receiving our grants.
What commitments are required of grant recipients?
Arch Grants recipients commit to the following during their tenure as Arch Grants recipients (from July to June of the following year): 1. At least one individual must work full-time on the startup; 2. The startup must be located in downtown St. Louis (unless the nature of their business precludes them from doing so in which case the business must receive permission to locate elsewhere in the St. Louis region); and 3. Recipients must spend at least one day per quarter concertedly promoting Arch Grants.
How will you know a startup is located downtown?
Start-ups may be asked to provide proof that their businesses are located in downtown St. Louis. This may take the form of a lease agreement or other business license.