St. Louis Innovation Community The Heartland of Bioscience Research and Innovation
In the last two decades, St. Louis has made a clear commitment to fostering an innovation ecosystem – emerging as a hub for bioscience and agtech startups.
St. Louis’ dynamic system of entrepreneur support organizations, venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators serves as a magnet for talented scientists and entrepreneurs from across the globe. Between 2013 and 2019, St. Louis-based bioscience companies raised over 70% of all capital invested in St. Louis startups. BRDG Park also is home to Benson Hill, a food tech company cofounded in 2012 by Danforth Center scientist Todd Mockler, PhD, and Matt Crisp. Benson Hill went public on the NYSE: BHIL in 2021 and now employs more than 300 people.
Business growth is sparked by several venture capital firms with a focus on agriculture research and technologies: BioGenerator, Cultivation Capital, Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Rabo AgriFinance, Tech Accel, and Yield Lab to name a few. A partnership with the Wells Fargo Foundation Innovation Incubator (IN2) provides non-dilutive funding to emerging agtech startups paired with a research collaboration with Danforth Center Principal investigators to advance their proof of concept.
St. Louis delivers an impressive combination of connectivity to grower customers because the region is within a 500-mile radius of more than half of all U.S. agriculture production, including 80% of the nation’s corn and soybeans. The region is home to the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Soybean Export Council, Renewable Fuels Association, and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action.
A recent Brookings Institute study praises St. Louis’ approach to creating an innovation cluster: “The implementation of the St. Louis agtech cluster is distinguished by the fact that the region took a broad approach from the very beginning, with parallel strategies focused on every major area of need: capital, talent, facilities, and networks.”
ST. LOUIS AG/FOOD ECOSYSTEM
Corporate Strategic Partners
- Bayer Crop Science
- Novus International
- AB Mauri/British Foods
- Panera Bread
- Post Foods
- AB InBev
- Millipore Sigma
- 39 North
- BRDG Park
- Helix Center Biotech Incubator
- Cortex Innovation Community
- Cambridge Innovation Center
- Center for Emerging Technologies
- Danforth Plant Science Center
- Washington University
- Saint Louis University
- University of Missouri
- Missouri Botanical Garden
Industry Specific Assets
- National Corn Growers Association
- American Soybean Association
- United Soybean Board
- U.S. Soybean Export Council
- U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action
- St. Louis AgriBusiness Club
- Renewable Fuels Association
- Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association
- Mid-America Crop Life Association
- BioSTL EAGIC – Early Adopter Grower Innovation Community
- Advantage Capital Partners
- Arch Grants
- Bayer Grants4Ag
- Capital Innovators
- Leaps by Bayer
- Lewis & Clark AgriFood
- Rabo Agrifinance
- Tech Accel
- Yield Lab
- Wells Fargo IN2 Innovation Incubator
- 1,000+ Plant Science PhDs
- STLCC Biotechnician Training Program
generated by regional ag industry
regional bioscience companies
in bioscience venture capital under local management
in infrastructure projects underway at 39 North
Growing a 21st Century Economy
BRDG Park is one piece in an amazing ecosystem growing here in St. Louis.
This includes the 39 North innovation district of which we are a part, and additional innovation communities throughout the region.
39 North is a physical place – and a distinct idea where the world’s best minds in food, water, energy and the environment converge. The 600-acre innovation district is anchored by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, BRDG Park, Bayer Crop Science, Helix Center Incubator, Yield Lab Accelerator, BioGenerator, the St. Louis Community College Center for Plant and Life Sciences, and more than 100 bioscience companies. More than $9M in publicly funded infrastructure projects are underway. The 39 North Master Plan is well on its way to realizing the vision of connecting assets and creating a place that enables collision and collaboration.
Other key players helping to support and accelerate the St. Louis innovation economy are the Cortex Innovation Community, T-REX and BioSTL.
The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency confirmed in 2016 its decision to stay in St. Louis and construct a new $1.7B facility. Farmers use satellite imagery and mapping platforms to assess crop performance and health to make more informed decisions. These applications potentially hold solutions to challenges ranging from food insecurity and climate change to pandemic prevention and global terrorism. Early estimates suggest the cluster will create approximately 27,000 jobs in the geospatial sector, generating an additional $4.9 billion in regional economic activity. NGA has shown a willingness to collaborate with the private sector and plans to have non-secure workspaces for contractors in the new facility.
The Center for AgTech and Applied Location Science and Technology (CATALST) collaboration led by the Danforth Plant Science Center, BioSTL and T-REX, was launched in 2021 with funding from the EDA. CATALST will capitalize on the demand for new precision ag technologies by tapping into the St. Louis region’s expertise in agtech and location science to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship and to advance ideas to commercialization and create jobs for a broad and diverse population.
The St. Louis region provides a critical mass of talent and the greatest concentration of ag-science Ph.D.s, working on global issues like food production and security, climate change, and clean energy. Institutions like Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Harris-Stowe State University, and St. Louis Community College, to name a few, educate some of the brightest minds in the world, fueling a steady pipeline of talent to meet rising demand from companies in advanced industries. St. Louis is also home to nationally recognized skills providers, such as LaunchCode.
More than 40% of the metro area college graduate population have science and engineering (or related) as their first degree.
Recent AgTech News
We chose to expand our presence in St. Louis because of its leadership in plant science and commitment to innovation. Dr. Danforth’s vision to build an ecosystem in food and agriculture research was fostered by stakeholders across the community, and Benson Hill is an example of those efforts coming to fruition.”
CEO of Benson Hill