ST. LOUIS, Mo— Gov. Jay Nixon will join LockerDome CEO and Co-founder Gabe Lozanoat the company’s St. Louis headquarters today to announce that this rapidly growing tech startup will embark on a multi-million dollar expansion in 2016. LockerDome, an interest-based social media platform, will also create up to 300 new jobs in St. Louis over the next five years.
“Cultivating the next generation of great innovators and entrepreneurs has been a top priority from Day One, so it’s exciting to see companies like LockerDome continuing to grow here in the Show-Me State,” Gov. Nixon said. “This significant expansion by a homegrown startup is proof positive that the investments we’ve made through the Missouri Technology Corporation are creating jobs and accelerating growth all across our state.”
This news builds upon Missouri’s reputation as a global hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. Recent census data showed Missouri led the nation in new business creation, growing by 16 percent from the previous year. And for the first time, Missouri ranked as a top ten state for startup funding in Fiscal Year 2015, according to Forbes.
Created in 1994 to promote entrepreneurship and foster the growth of high-tech companies, the Missouri Technology Corporation has provided more than $24 million to 70 start-ups under Gov. Nixon’s leadership, helping these companies leverage more than $200 million in private capital to commercialize their products and services, create jobs and grow. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget signed by Gov. Nixon includes $18.3 million for MTC, which was recently named the number one venture capital investor in the Midwest in terms of deals.
In a pivotal year in 2012, LockerDome received nearly $200,000 through the MTC IDEA Funds program. This early stage co-investment helped LockerDome anchor a $1 million seed round from other investors. In March of 2013, MTC’s stake in the company was purchased in a subsequent round of financing, resulting in the state receiving twice its invested capital.
Launched in 2008 by St. Louis native Gabe Lozano, LockerDome bills itself as a platform to help you personalize the web. The company builds interactive widgets, which are embedded across thousands of partner websites, delivering engaging, interest-based content to more than 100 million people each month. In 2015, LockerDome launched its native advertising platform, allowing brands to also deliver interactive content across its platform, as a more effective means to reach customers than traditional digital advertising channels.
“Missouri has really embraced entrepreneurs and technology—offering a number of resources to help companies like LockerDome grow and create jobs,” said Gabe Lozano, CEO and Co-founder of LockerDome. “And when you couple the strong support from the state with the St. Louis region’s emerging tech ecosystem and skilled workforce, there is no better place for us to locate and expand than right here in St. Louis, Missouri. I thank Governor Nixon for his support of Missouri’s entrepreneurial economy, and everyone who has helped make LockerDome a success.”
LockerDome will lease space near its current facility on Washington Avenue. Its expansion includes a 120-day build-out of its new 18,000 sq. ft. space. The company plans to begin construction in the second half of 2016, and occupancy is expected by end of 2016. LockerDome has already begun recruiting candidates for a number of highly skilled occupations, including product development, engineering, data and analytics, editorial, administration and operations, and business development.
To assist with LockerDome’s expansion, Missouri has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets certain job creation criteria. The City of St. Louis as well as the St. Louis Development Corporation also assisted the company with its expansion.