What Four St. Louis Startups Say about the Region's Tech Scene

At LaunchCode, we love adding tech talent to the St. Louis startup scene. Not only is LaunchCode fueling a pipeline for tech talent growth in St. Louis, but the city is being put on the map for growing a tech startup ecosystem. We reached out to four startups we work with to hear their thoughts on the startup community’s impact on St. Louis:

Why is fostering start-up growth important to the St. Louis region?

Cabanne Howard, 1904Labs: A healthy start-up community is vital to any region and St. Louis is no exception. Start up-minds are among some of the brightest. A healthy local ecosystem for start up companies will help ensure this talent will consider making St. Louis home.

Tyler King, Less Annoying CRM: St. Louis has a lot going for it. It has a rich history, unique culture, strong institutions, and some of the best people in the country. But it also has problems. The population and economic strength of the region have been shrinking for decades, and inequality has been rising. That means that the region needs something new. New businesses, new ideas, new jobs, and a new vision. Startups are all about new. The easier we make it for creative and ambitious people to bring new ideas to the region, the faster we'll start moving in the right direction.

Raj Sampath, FinLocker: Successful start-ups foster innovation, job & economic growth. St. Louis with its vibrant community has a lot to offer, there is a lot of hidden talent to be leveraged. LaunchCode enables the harvesting of those talents.


Why did you choose to work with LaunchCode?

Cabanne Howard, 1904Labs: LaunchCode was a natural fit as a community partner for 1904labs in that we share a common goal of harnessing technology, talent and education for good. Many 1904labs employees have been mentors and we have worked in a myriad of ways with them to help advance the strength of the tech community in St. Louis.

Brad Harris, 160over90: We choose to work with LaunchCode because we believe that great ideas and great people can come from anywhere and any situation. We want a diverse workforce that can bring new ideas to our team and we’ve found exceptional candidates through LaunchCode that we wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Tyler King, Less Annoying CRM: We choose to work with LaunchCode for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is that there's a big gap between "computer science" as it's taught in college and many of the actual jobs that exist in the tech industry. We spent a couple years trying to hire for this position through traditional recruiting channels, and we just couldn't find anyone with both the interest and ability to do what we needed.
The apprenticeship model that LaunchCode offers was the perfect fit. They instantly put us in touch with a number of talented applicants who were hungry to learn the specialized skill set we needed.

Raj Sampath, FinLocker: The St Louis market for technology skills is highly competitive. We had challenges retaining employees. As a startup, we invest a lot to onboard talent and need to retain talent for the long-term. We tried a few hires from LaunchCode as an experiment. We found those hires to be great. They continue to help us in advancing our product strategies.


What value do LaunchCoders add to your team that you may not find through traditional hiring practices?

Brad Harris, 160over90: We have found that LaunchCoders bring a different kind of experience to our team.  Developers with traditional backgrounds approach problems differently than those that come from LaunchCode and we’ve found that combining the two allows us to look at problems, and then solve them with a unique and holistic approach.

Tyler King, Less Annoying CRM: LaunchCoders bring a lot of value that we haven't found from other channels. Every LaunchCode graduate got there in their own unique way, and they bring those experiences with them after they're hired. The diversity of backgrounds from the LaunchCoders we interview cover the whole spectrum and reflect the St. Louis community in a way that no other channel does. LaunchCoders come in with a fantastic attitude and a willingness to learn.

Raj Sampath, FinLocker: We wanted to hire highly motivated talent with a passion for technology, curiosity for continuous learning and someone who can integrate into our high-performance culture. LaunchCoders quickly adapt to our work culture compared to traditional hires from the market. They are eager to learn and prepared to take on challenges.


Let's talk about your startup team's growth and how LaunchCode can be a resource along the way.  Email mnorthrop@launchcode.org to start the conversation.