2021 Arch Grants Virtual Gala

2021 Arch Grants Entrepreneur Award Honoree

Jim McKelvey might be best known for co-founding Square, the mobile payment system, but his entrepreneurial spirit goes beyond inventing new technology. A 1987 graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, McKelvey is also a master glass artist and author, having written the world’s most widely read text on the subject, The Art of Fire. Jim recently ventured from textbooks and authored The Innovation Stack, a narrative that provides a first person look into the world of entrepreneurship.

In 1989, McKelvey founded Mira Digital Publishing, an early digital technology startup, where Jack Dorsey interned before launching his own tech career and founding Twitter. McKelvey co-founded Square in 2009 with Dorsey, to enable small businesses to run their storefronts on a mobile device. McKelvey’s other endeavors include LaunchCode, a non-profit creating a pathway for people seeking careers in technology. LaunchCode now has multiple locations and works with over 500 companies to place job-ready individuals. In the Delmar Maker District lies Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the nation’s main centers for glassblowing arts, and more recently opened MADE, a makerspace, both cofounded by Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer. McKelvey’s newest project, Invisibly is on a mission to engineer an online solution that gives advertisers the ability to have richer interactions to forge stronger connections with people in a way that builds trust. In addition to everything above, in 2017 McKelvey was appointed as an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve and is currently the Deputy Chair.

Jim, and his wife, Anna, have two children.

For his relentless entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to the St. Louis community

Photo credit: Joe Martinez

honorary gala host committee

  • Benjamin & Jessica Angelette
  • Jack & Anne Bader
  • Matt & Mary Badler
  • Laura Burkemper
  • Barry T. Cervantes
  • Dan Creston
  • Dave Finklang
  • John & Alison Ferring
  • Ambassador & Mrs. Sam Fox
  • Mark Gorman
  • Tom & Jennifer Hillman
  • Anne Jump & Ed Rossier
  • Steven Landry
  • Deanne Kuhlmann-Leavitt & Robert Leavitt
  • James McCarter
  • Margaret McDonald
  • Kathy Osborn
  • Stephanie Riven
  • Dana & Barry Sandweiss
  • Sue & Jerry Schlichter
  • Susan & David Sherman
  • Ronak Sheth
  • Thad Simons
  • Richard Wile
  • Heather Wood
  • Mark S. Wrighton & Risa Zwerling

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