Tonight in downtown St. Louis the second group of companies to be funded by Capital Innovators will be announced. These will receive $50k in seed funding, free office space and credits toward other useful services as part of their acceleration program. We wrote about their innovative program last fall.

Some of the first companies have launched products or services or are in the process of getting there, according to their entrepreneurs. Most have felt the program worthwhile and given them a jumpstart on their operations.

For example, Sam Glines says, "Effectively, NorseCorp, while led by me, born and raised in St Louis, was a stranger in its own town. I spent very little time here in my professional life, so my local business connections were limited. Capital Innovators accelerated access to and recommendations for vetted service providers, two of which we have brought on. One of them is serving a critical role in a new Norse service offering in Web security." The company has some innovative security offerings for payment card processors that we will cover in the near future. They also signed Global eTelecom as a customer, one of U.S.' largest check processors at the end of December. "Our plan is to have seven figure revenues and be profitable by Q3, in addition to to seven new hires by end of the year," he says.

Jim Dolan, the CEO of Action Online, is looking to launch in May and redo their YoJo.com site. Since joining the program, he has seen an increase in ad sales and also received new investment capital.

Anthony Favazza, CEO of DiningCircle has hired a CTO that will be overseeing a rebuild of our product in early 2012. "We also have an intern from Washington University helping with customer satisfaction and retention, and one of the marketing partners from the program was able to deliver a comprehensive marketing plan for us that included a new logo, website, print marketing, mailers, and a clear message."

Ryan Bell, the CEO of Gremln.com says, "We continue to have advisory meetings to discuss how we will convert free users into paying customers. We have begun the sales cycle with a number of potential clients and are nurturing these relationships during private beta stage and are looking to white label our product."

Jim Eberlin, the CEO of Jbara says, "We are continuing to make enhancements to our current product as sales are increasing. Current customers have helped to improve our analytics. Our customer base pipeline is growing as we're in the process of closing several contracts. We are currently the sole sponsor of a meetup and users group for customer success executives. The group is led by Marqueto, and Exactly, one of our current customers. We have two strategic partnerships in the works that could lead to potential exits. These are in addition to our currently existing partnership with SalesForce."

The new ventures include:

  • Bonfyre is a location-based mobile application exclusively for college students that helps them find what's hot around campus, keep up with friends and save money. Bonfyre was created by Off Campus Media, a company focused on creating value for college students and highly relevant advertising opportunities for local merchants and national brands.

  • BusyEvent is a profitable live event CRM company monetizing some of the 10 million annual face-to-face transactions at conferences, trade shows and business to business events. They track buyer behavior and present that data as actionable information that multiple stakeholders pay for.

  • Click With Me Now makes 1-click Web-sharing for consumers possible; with no cost, no downloads and no frustrations. Supporting businesses that connect with consumers online, they provide tools that let their customers instantly invite friends to co-browse with them. Their SaaS-based, platform-independent solution results in richer experiences, greater conversion and increased sales.

  • Material Mix owns and operates an exchange for reusable industrial byproducts. Each year, U.S. manufacturers pay to dispose of 176 million tons of waste, 34% of which is reusable. The online trade of these recoverable materials represents an unrealized $13.2 billion market opportunity.

  • RollSale is reducing the need for expensive middlemen in the used car supply chain by providing dealers with a simple, inexpensive, mobile-centric social network for buying and selling inventory.

  • Systematic Revenue provides growing businesses with an easy to use and affordable marketing automation software application to consistently follow up with all prospects and customers in a meaningful and relevant way.