Ameren Accelerator strides confidently into 2nd year

Dan Lauer, founding executive director of UMSL Accelerate

Dan Lauer, founding executive director of UMSL Accelerate, is looking to expand on the success of the Ameren Accelerator program. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Ameren Corporation is ready to open its wallet for a new group of energy-focused startups.

Applications for the second installment of Ameren Accelerator, a program powered by the University of Missouri System, UMSL Accelerate and Capital Innovators, are being accepted through March 9.

Selected companies each will receive $100,000 in seed capital along with intensive mentoring, technical assistance, facilities and networking connections from the Ameren Accelerator partners.

“Through the Ameren Accelerator, we’ve been able to identify and support startups and innovations that have the potential to make a lasting, positive impact for our customers and our industry, while bringing new jobs to our region,” Ameren Chairman, President and CEO Warner Baxter said in a statement. “We look forward to opening the next chapter of this unique public-private partnership and welcoming our second Ameren Accelerator class.”

With the success of the 2017 program and launch of the 2018 installment, Founding Executive Director of UMSL Accelerate Dan Lauer said his team is eager to expand its accelerator model through new corporate partnerships.

“UMSL Accelerate is a startup, and with the help from our angel investor, Express Scripts, and our first customer, Ameren, 2017 was a banner year,” Lauer said. “For 2018, we hope to scale our corporate ‘powered by’ accelerator program, and we are off to a great start with the launch of our second annual Ameren Accelerator.”

Lauer also pointed to the extensive engagement from key partners across the UM System as a central strength of the 12-week accelerator. This involvement includes faculty participation from each of the four campuses and a “home run experience” for University of Missouri–St. Louis student interns.

Up to 10 UMSL students will again have an opportunity to work directly with the startups during the 2018 program, which runs from June 11 to Aug. 31. Interns will earn a $2,500 stipend and are expected to work 20 hours per week. The deadline to apply is March 2.

“As a student, (the internship) gives me the biggest competitive advantage there is,” 2017 intern Yaniv Dudaie told UMSL Daily in an earlier interview. “Business in the past was very concrete and not open-minded. There was a certain way of doing things. This internship proves that since I’m studying business, I can do whatever I want to do. There are so many opportunities out there.”

For the inaugural cohort, the Ameren Accelerator attracted more than 200 applications from startups representing 23 states and 31 countries. Seven companies were ultimately selected.

Media coverage:
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Business Journal
St. Louis American
Markets Insider
Washington Missourian

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