simMachines is relocating its headquarters to St. Louis from Costa Rica. Dr. Arnoldo Müller-Molina, founder and CEO of the similarity search engine startup, is heading to the city after receiving funding from Arch Grants, the global business plan competition providing $50,000 grants to startups and taking no equity in return.
Dr. Müller-Molina arrived in the city from Central America yesterday after receiving his E2 visa with assistance from Arch Grants and attorneys Jeffrey Bell of Polsinelli Shughart and George Newman of Stinson, Morrison, Hecker. Both lawyers provided pro bono services to support Müller-Molina’s move to St. Louis. Getting the E2 visa was the last hurdle in finalizing plans to move simMachines to the United States.
“I welcome Arnoldo and simMachines to St. Louis. I look forward to this business growing roots in St. Louis, making investments in our community, and hiring local residents,” said Mayor Francis G. Slay. “I’m thankful to Arch Grants for attracting entrepreneurs and startup businesses to our City – and we will continue to work to attract and nurture entrepreneurs and startups in St. Louis.”
As one of 15 winners of the 2012 Arch Grants Business Plan Competition, simMachines was awarded $50,000 in startup capital to help the aspiring entrepreneur’s vision.
“I am excited and proud to be a part of the American startup community,” said Müller-Molina. “Receiving my E2 visa demonstrates that the United States is willing to support startups as a means of economic growth in the country. I have big plans for simMachines as we establish operations and grow in St. Louis, creating jobs locally and participating in the startup economy.”
Dr. Müller-Molina’s startup is pioneering a cutting-edge technology in the search engine field. This data science allows companies to perform “fuzzy” data matching and pattern recognition tasks. “Fuzzy” matching is the process of retrieving similar objects in a database, commonly used in fingerprint searches or music recognition found in cell phones.
Located in the T-REx shared workspace in downtown St. Louis, simMachines plans to hire up to 10 people, including a co-founder, by the end of 2013 to support the product.
While most Arch Grant recipients came from the St. Louis region, the organization hopes simMachines’ move will attract more international startups to St. Louis.
“With simMachines’ relocation to St. Louis, we’ve made progress in international entrepreneurship for the U.S. and for St. Louis,” said Sarah Spear, Executive Director of Arch Grants. “It’s historically been quite difficult for foreign-born entrepreneurs to come here and we are hopeful that Arnoldo’s case signals increased government support for foreign-born entrepreneurs beginning their startups in America. We’re excited to bring companies like simMachines to the region as part of our efforts to establish an innovation hub in St. Louis.”