Christine Karslake Helps Give St. Louis Startups Space To Make Connections

By Tim Barker
St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The pending graduation of Seventh Wave Laboratories from a west St. Louis County business incubator is about to create more work for Christine Karslake, vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship with the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

Karslake is responsible for the organization’s various small business incubators, including the one that’s home to Seventh Wave, which was founded in 2003.

The company, a pharmaceutical research firm, plans to move to Maryland Heights next month.

“After they are gone, there will be a large amount of space left over,” Karslake said.

The Partnership also is about to double the size of its manufacturing-oriented incubator in Wellston.

In a recent interview at the STLVentureWorks incubator in Wellston, Karslake talked about entrepreneurship in the St. Louis region and the resources available for startups. Here is an edited transcript:

Q: What does it mean to see Seventh Wave graduate from the incubator?

A: It’s very gratifying to see a company like Seventh Wave graduating because it means there have been a lot of people in our VentureWorks organization who have helped them graduate and get to the place where they are now. … For me, it’s also really gratifying because I’ve known John Sagartz, the CEO, for a very long time. I worked with John when we were both at Monsanto together. I remember him stopping me on his way off campus, telling me he’d just received a package in the seventh wave. Pharmacia/Pfizer has these waves of layoffs and he happened to be in the seventh one of them. That’s how he got his company’s name. But I remember him stopping me and saying, “Hey, I’m leaving and I’m so excited because I’m going to go start a company.”

Q: What does St. Louis offer for startups?

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