Jump to content

OT: Dr. Chaifetz interested in NBA team

Recommended Posts

Richard Chaifetz: 'I’d love to be involved' in bringing an NBA team to St. Louis

... In a wide ranging interview Sunday with the Business Journal, Chaifetz affirmed the sentiment that he thinks St. Louis is an NBA city. Would he be interesting in owning a local NBA team or helping to bring the league to St. Louis?  

“I’d love to be involved with a team in St. Louis in the NBA. It’d be great for the city,” he said. 


The full interview is supposed to be published Thursday. In today's teaser he talks about his friendship with Rick Majerus.

Spoon-Balls likes this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

24 minutes ago, BillIkenFan_Dan said:

How would this affect our attendance if we were both playing on a Friday or Saturday, or something like that. 

I don’t think it would affect it very much and it might actually help it.

Gettting an NBA team would cause basketball fever to take over St. Louis. A lot of kids will want to go to basketball games. Taking a family of 4 to an NBA game will be much more expensive than taking a family of 4 to a Bills game. 

So the father who has a child Screaming to go see a basketball game take the child to the cheaper alternative.

rgbilliken likes this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the follow-up article, interviewing Chaifetz on his plans for broader investment in STL.



'We’re committed to getting much more involved': Chaifetz family looks to make mark beyond Midtown

How SLU's biggest benefactors intend to widen their St. Louis investment portfolio, starting this month


By Nathan Rubbelke
 – Reporter, St. Louis Business Journal

Jan 10, 2019, 10:58am CST

Richard Chaifetz has a passion for St. Louis, and now the Saint Louis University benefactor wants to expand his reach beyond the Midtown campus.

Chaifetz, who donated $12 million to help build SLU’s on-campus arena that dons his name, says he doesn’t “just give money to give money.” A passion about what he’s investing in is a requirement.

In 2018, Chaifetz and his wife, Jill, made a $15 million gift to SLU’s business school, which was renamed for him. Now, he’s looking to expand his local investment beyond SLU’s campus. His private investment firm, Chaifetz Group, intends to target St. Louis and the local startup ecosystem, starting with a pitch competition, to be held in partnership with St. Louis nonprofit Arch Grants, later this month. Chaifetz and his son, Ross, director of venture capital at Chaifetz Group, said the Chicago-based firm plans to open offices locally and increase its St. Louis investment across a wide range of opportunities.

“We welcome any entrepreneurs in St. Louis that feel they want to get involved with a group that’s very unique in terms of how they partner with people,” Richard Chaifetz said. “If they’re open to some degree of mentoring, plus the dollars, and are intellectually curious, they won’t find a better group to work with them and help their passions and their dreams.”

Chaifetz is founder, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based ComPsych Corp., which has become the world’s largest provider of employee assistance programs, behavioral health and wellness services. He is founder and chairman of Chaifetz Group.

The Business Journal sat down with Richard and Ross Chaifetz at Chaifetz Arena Sunday to discuss the family’s investment in St. Louis and the duo’s plan to expand its reach in the city. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity

You’ve spoken about Chaifetz Group increasing its investment in St. Louis. What opportunity do you see here? 

Richard: I’m very committed to St. Louis and the region given my going to school here and how committed I am to the university. We see St. Louis as a ripe place for entrepreneurs. Forbes Magazine recently ranked it at No. 2 for opportunity for entrepreneurs and venture capital. We’re committed to getting much more involved here. We’re doing this partnership with Arch Grants as a way to kick that off. We plan on opening offices here, having personnel here and significantly investing in the St. Louis ecosystem. 

You’ve invested in Pixel Press, a St. Louis-based startup. What did you learn about the St. Louis startup ecosystem based on your involvement with that company? 

Richard: We were pleasantly surprised to see the number of early-stage and entrepreneurial ventures in St. Louis. We met with probably 20 to 50 companies going back over the last few years, and we made the Pixel Press investment. I personally met with 10 or 20 companies. There’s great activity, there’s passion, there’s enthusiasm and a lot of out-of-the-box thinking that probably surprises a lot of people when they think of a Midwest city. What’s missing is money and opportunity for some of these entrepreneurs to really accelerate their businesses. And we see ourselves helping to fill some of that void. There’s a number of organizations and firms that have addressed that, but there’s plenty of opportunities for companies like ours and what we bring.

What kind of investment strategy will you take when it comes to St. Louis and investing here?

Richard: We’re going to invest in anything from early-stage up to more mature companies at various levels of opportunity depending on their needs and the match with us. We’re also making some real estate investments here, and any other kinds of opportunistic things that fit within our niche will be investments we look at and make. 

Ross: You raised the point about Pixel Press, which was an earlier investment for us and I think that was a very unique case because when we made that investment (in 2014), that was at the beginning of the emergence of the startup scene here in St. Louis. I think it’s really a prime example of what we bring to the table as investors. Pixel Press was a company that had built a great product, but the founder was very product-focused and didn’t necessarily know how to build a great business around the product. So that was a cause where, given my dad’s experience as a first-hand entrepreneur, our marketing, our legal and banking experience sort of (came) to fruition as a whole in helping him grow the company. When we invested, revenue was in the hundreds of thousands, now they’ve done exceedingly well. That’s a prime case of the value we bring to the table here in St. Louis. 

How much of your investment approach stems from being an entrepreneur yourself and knowing how much more there is to success beyond good product?

Richard: One, I clearly understand what entrepreneurs struggle with. I was in a little bit of a more unique position. I started my company with less than $1,000. I never raised capital. I was fortunate to build it relatively quick. When I started, capital raising was in the nascent stages. I was forced to think out of the box. That early experience has clearly shaped how I approach business. More importantly, it’s allowed me to bring new ideas and a grittiness to the business and in coaching others. Plus, now our experience in raising capital and investing capital and seeing companies go — like my business — from a small startup to a market leader, entrepreneurs love that. They love to hear the stories. They love to hear the experiences somebody went through and they like to be mentored by someone who’s actually done it as opposed to a banker, a venture capital guy who may have been a financial engineer but not really in the trenches building a company from the beginning. 

When making investments in St. Louis companies, will you be looking across all sectors and all industries?

Ross: In general, we’re all across the board and that’s what is unique about being a family office. We can write checks less than $1 million or up to $10 million-plus, given my dad’s expertise and the group we’ve put together. We provide a lot of different tools to that toolkit we mentioned and it gives us an opportunity to look at everything, from A to Z, from small checks to large checks. 

Richard: We tend to focus on service industries, tech-enabled industries. We tend to shy away from heavy (capital expenditure), old-school kind of industries, but I wouldn’t say never because we’ve invested in distribution and things like that. Service businesses — that’s what I built my company around. Tech-enabled businesses: fast-growing, interesting businesses. We want people and businesses that stand out, that disrupt the common core and entrepreneurs who are willing to think out of the box, but more importantly have a passion to do things different and have intellectual curiosity to continue to drive them. Without that, we’d probably lose interest

Is this part of a broader expansion into the rest of the country for Chaifetz Group, or this more of a specific decision?

Richard: This is pretty targeted for us right now. We invest across the county now and have even (invested) overseas, but this is a very targeted approach to St. Louis for the reasons we’ve been talking about.

When you made your initial donations to SLU in the 2007, the startup ecosystem in St. Louis was in its beginning stages. It’s grown a lot in terms of venture capital investment and the development in Cortex. How closely have you been watching it develop and what are your takeaways on it?

Richard: Very closely. We think it’s tremendous, and probably long overdue. There’s plenty of opportunity here. I always talk up, as does Ross, the opportunities in St. Louis from Enterprise Zones to entrepreneurs to the city improving and becoming an attraction for people to live. I’m clearly involved with SLU in a big way and with the sports programs. I think focusing on what the community could bring to people who just want to live here, that’s changing and getting better. A lot of the past stigmas St. Louis had are slowly falling by the wayside.

You’ve been a booster of St. Louis for a while, right? 

Richard: We walk the walk and talk the talk, even though we are Chicago-based and I’m from New York originally. We make plenty of investments in Chicago clearly since we’re well known there and around the country. I have a passion for St. Louis. We do boost it as much as we can. We advocate people to consider it as a place to start and grow businesses. 

What led to your decision to donate $15 million to the business school last year and why now?

Richard: My first donation was driven around paying back a commitment to Saint Louis University for allowing me to stay here in school without having the money to pay my tuition. But my commitment never ends. I believe leaders need to step up and make statements and lead by example. And I wanted to do something big, and business and sports are two passions. So, that was a natural fit for me once that opportunity came up. I’m very passionate about business, and I think if you combine those two together, those are the two areas, in all due respect to all the other programs that the university has, that lead a university. If you have a great business school and a great athletic program, you’re well known. I think we can be a top-10 school in a lot of areas and well-known nationally and internationally if we continue to grow those two very important areas. 

With your commitment to the business school, did you feel a greater obligation to be involved in the St. Louis business community?

Richard: Yeah, I’m going to get much more involved in the business community. Hence, why we are getting involved with our investments. I’ll be very involved in the business school as well as Ross. He’s going to get more involved. I’m bringing other well-known people from, not just St. Louis but around the country that I have contacts with to get involved. I want to elevate the business school to be a top 10 business school, a top 10 entrepreneurship program.

Ross: I’d be careful to call it an obligation to be involved in the business community. I think what we saw and what excited my dad and our family about making the investment in the business school is all this excitement in the business community in general. My dad mentioned the Forbes article and everything that’s being talked about in terms of the excitement around the startup and business ecosystem here. We saw it as an opportunity to pour fuel on the fire, if you will. With the investment, we see it as a way to really go full steam and get the best students we can on campus and build the businesses to not only support the university but the greater St. Louis ecosystem as a whole. 

With your donation for the arena and the business school, do you feel like you’ve had a positive return on those investments? 

Richard: The donation to the Chaifetz Arena is probably my No. 1 philanthropic activity that I’m most proud of, most excited about and have the most fun with. Every single day, I’m glad I did it and it’s been an important part of my life. I also believe the donation to the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business that involvement will be up there as well as something I’ll look back down the road and say I’m glad I did it.

Read an item from earlier this week in which Richard Chaifetz discusses why St. Louis is a suitable city for a professional basketball team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is what past and current admins have failed to realize.


3 hours ago, QUAILMAN said:

If you have a great business school and a great athletic program, you’re well known. I think we can be a top-10 school in a lot of areas and well-known nationally and internationally if we continue to grow those two very important areas. 



Box and Won likes this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...
47 minutes ago, Lord Elrond said:

If Dr Chaifetz is interested, here’s his chance to bid on a team.  There have been teams sold since 2019, and he didn’t buy those, so I’m not sure I’d get my hopes up, but we’ll see…

I cant see a team leaving PHX

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, AnkielBreakers said:

I don’t know that I have lived anywhere that despises the NBA more than St. Louis. I don’t think you can even survive in most jobs if you bring up the NBA regularly in this town. I just can’t imagine it succeeding here.

other than watching curry play, i have absolutely no interest in anything nba at this time.  the attitudes and typical style of play in the nba is nothing that resembles the basketball i enjoy. 

 i follow goodwin's progress in the minor league more than anything else in the nba.    

MB73 likes this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, billiken_roy said:

other than watching curry play, i have absolutely no interest in anything nba at this time.  the attitudes and typical style of play in the nba is nothing that resembles the basketball i enjoy. 

 i follow goodwin's progress in the minor league more than anything else in the nba.    

same way.  Im a Curry and SLU(if ever) fan. nothing else besides that 

billiken_roy likes this
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...