High-Tech Workshop Where Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey Built Square Eyeing St. Louis

Categories: Tech

Inventors need workshops. Thomas Edison built his in Menlo Park, New Jersey, and it's there that he hit upon the incandescent light-bulb; Nikola Tesla's mythic New York lab contained only God-knows-what. (Teleporters, probably.)

But when St. Louisans Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey needed a prototype for a mobile payment platform, they went to TechShop in Menlo Park, California. TechShop is a membership based workshop stocked with every tool a tinkerer could want. That's how McKelvey and Dorsey built the first Square credit card reader in 2009.

TechShop is eyeing St. Louis for expansion, and the possibility has the city's technology and innovation community hustling to gin up interest and funding.

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Tech Startups Bring New Faces to St. Louis as Investment Dollars Double in 2013

Categories: Tech

Phillie Casablanca on Flickr
Investments in tech startups doubled in 2013, according to ITEN.
There's more money pouring into to St. Louis' tech startup scene, and it's bringing workers from the U.S. and abroad to the city, says a new report.

Financial investments into tech startups doubled in 2013 to more than $66 million from $30 million in 2012, and more local startups received funding than ever before, the IT Entrepreneurial Network (ITEN) says in a new report.

The year 2013 saw an upswing in funding and community partnerships, which means the tech scene in St. Louis "is growing into its adolescence, and after a thorough exam, it appears to be an increasingly healthy ecosystem," says the St. Louis Tech Startup Report.

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Get A Job: Mapquest Co-Founder Chris Heivly Brings Technology Job Fair to St. Louis

Categories: Tech

Chris Heivly wants to get you hired.
No suits. No resumes. If you're looking for a job in St. Louis' technology industry, Mapquest co-founder Chris Heivly wants you to bring your business card and your smile to his sixth circus-themed job fair -- the first in St. Louis.

"As a job seeker, you never get a chance to look someone in the eye," Heivly tells Daily RFT. "Here's your chance."

Heivly is bringing his pet project, Tech Jobs Under the Big Top, to St. Louis Thursday after five similar, successful job fairs in North Carolina, where he lives and manages The Startup Factory.

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Launch Code: How 42 "Unqualified" People Landed Dream Tech Jobs in St. Louis

Categories: Tech

wonderlane via flickr
Launchcode matches aspiring computer programmers with jobs.
The state of the technology industry in St. Louis reads like a bad Craigslist missed connection: companies need people, St. Louis has people, but the two just can't match up where it counts.

When Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey -- both St. Louisans and the cofounders of the ubiquitous mobile payment company Square -- needed a home for their new venture, the Lou was at the top of the list.

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Limo Company Database Hacked, Credit Card Info and Sex Toy Stories Compromised

Categories: Tech

If you've rented a limo in the last few years, you might want to change your credit-card number because a St. Louis-based limo service technology company was hacked, and data for thousands of credit cards for people who wanted to party like a rock star were compromised.

According to Krebs on Security, a cyber-security blog, more than 850,000 credit-card numbers, as well as names and expiration dates, were obtained in a hack from the databases of, which is described on its website as "the leading provider of on-demand software management solutions for the limousine and ground transportation industry."

In addition to parents of prom partiers and quinceanera birthday girls, the credit-card info for many celebrities, politicians and corporate executives had their info -- or the info of whomever was footing their limo bill -- compromised.

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Did Jack Dorsey Fire the "Real Brains" Behind Twitter Before It Hit Big Time?

Categories: Tech, Twitter

Jon Gitchoff / RFT Slideshow
Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey in St. Louis.
A new book on the founding of Twitter slated to come out next month claims St. Louis native and Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey kicked the "real brains" behind Twitter out the door before the company became what it is today, possibly cutting his friend out of billions.

The New York Times published an adapted excerpt from the book Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal written by Nick Bilton. In it, Bilton describes the relationship between Dorsey and Noah Glass. The two met while working at Odeo, a podcasting platform that Glass cofounded with another tech entrepreneur and which hired Dorsey as an engineer. They soon became "inseparable," biking around San Francisco and drinking at concerts.

But then Odeo fell apart, mostly due to Apple getting into the podcast game. Odeo's founders needed to come up with something new. After a drunken conversation between Dorsey and Glass, according to the book, Twitter was born, and a friendship would ultimately die.

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Mizzou Journalism Program Not Allowed to Use Drones, Feds Say

Categories: Tech

Sally French
A student during a practice run of the Mizzou drone.
The Federal Aviation Administration has put the kibosh on the Missouri School of Journalism's groundbreaking drone program.

"Based on your university website, you are currently operating a UAS (unmanned aircraft system) without proper authorization," reads the letter sent to Scott Pham, founder and director of the Missouri Drone Journalism Program. "Operations of this kind may be in violation of Federal Aviation Regulations and result in legal enforcement action."

That's bad news for incoming students who'd hoped to take Pham's drone journalism class this fall. As of now, it's been scrapped. And even once he's properly certified, Pham says the restrictions he's being told to abide by will fundamentally change the usefulness of the technology.

"It's a serious problem for drone journalism, for sure," he says.

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[Updated w/ New Location] St. Louis Best Buy to Showcase Upcoming Nintendo Offerings

Categories: Tech

Super Mario meets super marketing.
Updated 1 p.m. Tuesday: Best Buy just called Riverfront Times to inform us that Wednesday and Saturday's Nintendo event has moved from its South County store to its Brentwood location. The article below reflects the change.

Los Angeles plays host this week to the biggest video game trade show of the year, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. But don't fret. You won't need industry contacts and a ticket to California to experience all the new releases expected to debut this week at E3. That's because Nintendo has decided to trim back its presence at the convention, and, in its place, bring its creations directly to the people with special events at select Best Buys across the country.

And guess what? The Brentwood Best Buy (8300 Eager Road; 314-646-1331) is the only store in Missouri lucky enough to merit inclusion. So what to expect Wednesday afternoon when Nintendo hosts its shindig at the Brentwood Best Buy?

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Revolutionary Solar Plane Lands at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

Categories: Tech

Photos courtesy
The Solar Impulse touches down at Lambert Field early this morning.
It averaged just 26 mph during its 21-hour flight yesterday from Dallas, but finally, at 1 a.m., the Solar Impulse touched down at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The revolutionary solar airplane made of carbon fiber can travel night and day without fuel. The Swiss-based aircraft is traveling from San Francisco to New York City this month with stops along the way in Phoenix, Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

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St. Louis Developer Creates Video Game You Draw and Play

Categories: Nerdgasm, Tech

Screenshot via
Is the ability to create your own video game worth $100,000? Robin Rath is betting that you'll think so.

Rath, a St. Louis web designer and serial entrepreneur, is the mad scientist behind Pixel Press, a mobile app that lets you draw, play and share your own video game. Through his software company Roundthird, Rath launched the Pixel Press idea on Kickstarter May 7, and the project has already nabbed more than $15,000 of the $100,000 goal with a little over a month to go.

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