ST. LOUIS — Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Venture Cafe St. Louis has been nimble. It’s moved to a digital format to continue operating its well-known gatherings. But long term, the coronavirus could put the nonprofit organization at risk of shuttering.
Venture Cafe St. Louis said Tuesday it is projecting a significant revenue loss due to the pandemic and is asking for $250,000 in donations in an “urgent call to save” it from closing.
A staple of the St. Louis startup ecosystem, Venture Cafe provides programming and networking for entrepreneurs. That includes weekly gatherings in the Cortex district and monthly events at the 39 North agtech district. With a financial model that relies on rentals and putting on events, Venture Cafe says the social distancing measures in place will dry up its major revenue drivers.
"This lapse in programming and rentals makes the future uncertain for Venture Café and our entrepreneurial communities. Not only have our gatherings in Cortex and 39 North been postponed, but Innovation Hall — a free and paid workspace — must suspend large events, which are a main source of income," Executive Director Tyler Mathews wrote in an online post.
Innovation Hall, which is located inside the 4220 building in Cortex, opened in 2018 and provides free drop-in workspace as well as event and meeting areas.
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