Six years ago, British immigrant to the U.S. and then resident of Silicon Valley, entrepreneur Amit Kothari didn’t even know what St. Louis, Missouri was. Today, he is the successful CEO of Tallyfy, and Missouri is home. The Business Journals recently sat down with Amit to talk about his journey and how he got to where he is today.
Can you paint a picture of the ecosystem you are in today?
I lived in Silicon Valley for two years [after immigrating from the UK] and [the ecosystem in St. Louis] is much more close-knit. You can actually get advice from people. People have time for you. And it’s a dense and interesting scene of all kinds of different companies.
Has the pandemic changed anything?
There’s been a huge, extreme change in investor views. They are not asking people to physically be somewhere to pitch them, so you can raise capital from anywhere. If I was talking to you last year, I’d say “if you want to raise a big round, you go to Silicon Valley.” [Today] they’re doing a Zoom call. And there are a lot of investors here. In fact, most of the capital we’ve raised as a company, our seed round, came from St. Louis investors, not from Silicon Valley investors.
How did you end up in Missouri?
We won a program called Arch Grants, which introduced us to [St. Louis]. We came, we didn’t expect much, and we stayed because it was probably the best place in this whole country to start a business and grow a business. And it’s the best decision we ever made.
Why do you think it’s the best place to come and start and grow a business?
You can always go to the coast if you come to the States for the first time. So, why St. Louis? For me, there were three reasons. One is the cost of living. It’s just a far more effective place to get a lot more done at a lower cost. The second is a different kind of humility in people here versus the coasts. People are open and able to open up their diaries for you. You can chat with people and connect with people much more quickly. And third, is that we have everything that normal, super-urban centers like the East or West Coast have, but with all the benefits of nature.
Check out the full interview with Amit Kothari in the Business Journals here.