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Nine Startups founded by Washington University Affiliates or Supported by the Skandalaris Center have won $50,000 each through Arch Grants

Nancy Nigh
October 11, 2021

According to nonprofit Arch Grants, they “…back extraordinary entrepreneurs because these believers and builders will contribute to a future that is limitless – for St. Louis and for the world.” On October 1, 2021, Arch Grants awarded 35 equity-free grants to its 2021 cohort, with each startup winning $50,000. Competition applications are evaluated by over 400 investors and industry experts from the St. Louis community and around the country.

II Luscri, Managing Director and Assistant Vice Provost For Innovation & Entrepreneurship, commented, “The wide variety of innovation coming out of St. Louis startups is a testament to the support, mentorship, and funding coming from organizations like Arch Grants. The impact of programs like this is significant and we encourage all WashU startups to apply for Arch Grants’ funding cycles.”

This year, nine of the 35 winners have ties to Washington University, including five ventures founded by alumni:

  • Bask & Bloom Essentials founder, Candera Thompson was featured as a panelist in a Skandalaris webinar discussion amplifying Black Entrepreneurship in St. Louis. Bask & Bloom Essentials is a beauty brand focused on multi-textured hair.
  • Cedars Health founders Raphael Chung (BS ’19, MS ’20), Kevin Park (BS ’20), and Dr. Arett (Associate Professor of Surgery, School of Medicine) were Skandalaris Venture Competition 1st place winners in Fall 2020. Cedars Health was also a Global Impact Award finalist in 2021. Cedars Health invented a new implant to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Halo + Cleaver founders Rob Garwitz (MBA ’18) and Matt Richard (PMBA ’19) are both alumni of the Olin School of Business. Halo + Cleaver is a product line of keto friendly condiments and sauces.
  • Honeymoon Chocolates founders Cameron Loyet (PMBA ’21) and Haley Loyet were Skandalaris Venture Competition 2nd place winners in Spring 2020, and have since served as venture hosts for Skandalaris Center’s St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellowship interns. Honeymoon Chocolates specializes in bean to bar craft chocolate sweetened solely with raw honey.
  • Inventora was founded by Jeremy Blalock and Dianna Allen. Jeremy also co-founded Adalo (which makes applications—mobile or web—entirely without code) in 2018 and assisted with Skandalaris Center’s 2019 No-Code Hackathon. Inventora is an online inventory tracking system designed for handmade business.
  • Mighty Cricket founder Sarah Schlafly served as an internship venture host for Skandalris’ St. Louis Entrepreneurial Fellowship in 2021. Mighty Cricket makes clean protein powder from crickets offered in flavored oatmeal, pancakes, and protein shakes.
  • Mississippi Mud Coffee founder Christopher Ruess (BFA ’78, March ’78) is a Washington University Alumnus. Mississippi Mud Coffee is a St. Louis-based wholesale production company specializing in organic coffees and cafe inspired beverages.
  • Total Orbit founder Michael Margraf (A&S ’87) is a Washington University Alumnus. Total Orbit is an online system that simplifies the way a health organization engages with patients and families.
  • Buck Surgical founder Dr. Donald W Buck completed the Academic Medical Leadership Program for Physicians and Scientists through the Olin School of Business in 2016 and was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the Medical School from 2013-2019. Buck Surgical is a medical device company focused on the development of innovative devices in vascular and gastrointestinal surgeries.