23:10 PM

St. Louis Spirit: Startup Voodoo - The Black Magic Of Building A Tech Business

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The central goal of my St. Louis trip was to help with Startup Voodoo, the launch of a new conference focused on helping to grow the local startup community by bringing together investors, mentors, and startups to share their lessons and encourage each other to succeed.

Startup Voodoo was founded by Ed Domain of tech news site Techli.com and Aaron Perlut of digital marketing firm Elasticity. Here are some scenes and my notes from the event:

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Left to right: David Levine of Geostellar, Joni Cobb of the Pipeline Entrepreneurs program, Gabe Lozano CEO of Lockerdome.com.

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Lots of great questions...

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My job was to ask questions following the speaker sessions,  Delon Dotson of Delotek, (above) was one of my favorites. The former Netscape executive and had recently suffered a small stroke, which is why he is in a wheelchair, but his enthusiasm for helping startups find funding couldn't keep him away. 

He had some great advice about securing millions of dollars of capital from European and Dubai-based investors who take no equity. The trick is to know how much is available, for example, Dubai investors have $5m packages and they look for a $6m repayment with no equity demanded. 

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 Ed Domain publisher of tech news site Techli.com

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Left to right: David Kidder of Bionic; attorney Brian Salmo of Polsinelli; Laura Frerichs of the Research Park at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana; Kane Sarhan of Enstitute. 

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Most Promising Startup winners announced: From left: Aaron Perlut with Elasticity; Vishal Shah of Learncore; Ron Daugherty of Daugherty Solutions; Ethan Linker with Leancore; Ed Domain of Techli.com.

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My favorite part of the conference was the closing session in which I interviewed on stage Fang Cheng, (above) a remarkable serial entrepreneur.

She arrived in New York more than ten years ago from China to finish her Ph.D in Bioinformatics from New York University before joining a brokerage where she was the only female among 300 male brokers. She quickly rose to the top of the pack and then co-founded Touchco, which was sold to Amazon in 2010. She now heads Silicon Valley startup Linc.

She is a very successful female entrepreneur. She was asked how she managed in a man's world, as in the brokerage. She said she never thought about herself as being female and disadvantaged in any way.

I loved her story about her first day in New York, someone came up to her and asked for directions. She said she felt instantly that she belonged.

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I really enjoyed the conference and all the people I met. Everyone had excellent feedback and the quality of the startups, the entrepreneurs, and the local investors was very impressive. 

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