Christine Karslake has been a part of nearly every aspect of entrepreneurship: founder, venture capitalist, acquisitionist. Now, she’s sharing her business acumen and unique insight into entrepreneurship with St. Louis startups in their quest to grow.
Karslake, the Partnership’s new Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, set aside a few minutes to talk startups, St. Louis and the companies to watch in 2015:
What have you learned from your various entrepreneurship-related roles?
- As an entrepreneur, I learned that entrepreneurs need to be flexible and dedicated; but most importantly, I learned that people are everything.
- As a venture capitalist, I learned that teams are extremely important, that resiliency is critical, and that strong corporate partnerships are imperative to a company’s exit strategy.
- When I worked in acquisitions, I learned that companies often don’t think of their exit or plan for it soon enough. Also, merger and acquisition (M&A) integration can make or break deals even though it receives little attention.
What should everyone know about the Partnership’s role in the entrepreneurship ecosystem?
I want people to know just how much we offer. Did you know that STLVentureWorks is the largest incubator network in the Midwest? Or that the Helix Fund financially supports entrepreneurs in plant and life sciences? How about the St. Louis Startup Challenge; it gives away more than $100,000 every year. St. Louis Economic Development Partnership has so many great programs to help startups grow.
What should the world know about St. Louis?
St. Louis is one of the most tightly connected ecosystems in the U.S. People here help each other and work to better our community. St. Louis is a great place to live and start a business.