St. Louis tech startup Bonfyre expects to double workforce size in 2016

February 25, 2016

ST. LOUIS, Mo.— The Missouri Department of Economic Development today announced that the creator of a private social communication platform, Bonfyre Inc., will double its presence in St. Louis with the addition of 12 new high-paying jobs this year, bringing total employment at the company to 24.

“Bonfyre is emerging to become one of St. Louis’ great tech startup success stories,” saidMike Downing, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “Through the Missouri Technology Corporation and other avenues, we are fostering a strong tech scene in Missouri so companies likes Bonfyre can create jobs and thrive.”

Missouri Technology Corporation supported the company with an IDEA Funds co-investment when the company was founded in St. Louis in 2012. MTC also co-invested $300,000 in a more recent funding round which helped the company leverage a total of $2.4 million, led by Arsenal Capital Management.

The Bonfyre platform focuses on employee engagement for corporate events, team projects, employee groups, learning programs and more. By focusing on human connections in the user experience, the platform helps organizations leverage existing investments in events such as conferences; meetings and incentive trips; and employee engagement programs – and ultimately lead to better actionable intelligence, productivity and revenue. 

Clients include Marriott, Express Scripts, Centene, Commerce Bank, Chipotle and Enterprise Holdings to name a few.

“The State of Missouri and the Department of Economic Development are playing a needed and critical role in helping accelerate and catalyze the start-up ecosystem in the St. Louis region,” said Chris Dornfeld, president and co-founder of Bonfyre.

Dornfeld founded Bonfyre with Mark Sawyier, a native of New York and graduate of Washington University who stayed in St. Louis after college building his first start-up company.

“St. Louis and the state of Missouri are creating a vibrant and incredibly supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs young and old to develop innovative ideas,” Sawyier said. “I am not aware of any region in the country providing this level of genuine support and access to people as we have found in St. Louis.”

Last week the company hired former Energizer Human Resources Director Robert Seay to head Bonfyre’s recruitment efforts and grow the company while maintaining its unique entrepreneurial culture. Current openings focus on engineering, user experience and more, and more information is available on Bonfyre’s website.

Since 2011, through the IDEA Funds, MTC has invested in 82 Missouri startups. Those companies have leveraged MTC’s investment to raise over $280 million in additional capital to help grow their businesses and create jobs.

DED also utilized the Bonfyre platform to engage attendees at its 2015 Governor Conference and is helping make introductions for Bonfyre to other state organizations.

To assist Bonfyre with its continued growth, DED has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.

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