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Session A

Centers of Influence: Why Building Companies in St. Louis Makes Good Sense

There’s little doubt that as capital continues to flow into the region and entrepreneurs build those next great companies that the old rules no longer apply. So, what does that mean for doing business as an up-and coming company in St. Louis? Join a trio of St. Louis dealmakers as they share their perspective on what it takes to build a company in the region, how the biotech industry is driving growth, and why you should consider dipping a toe into the global market. 


Douglas Wilber
Chief Strategy Officer

Doug Wilber is the Chief Strategy Officer at Capacity, an AI-powered support automation platform. Wilber is an experienced AI and social media thought leader, skilled at guiding brands through digital transformation that preserves the authentic relationships core to many industries.


Dr. Han Ko
President & CEO

With over three decades of experience in international tech investment, business scale-up and commercial real estate, Han Ko is a seasoned leader in the field. Leveraging his technology background, Han has successfully launched and managed multiple ventures in both the United States and Asia. His expertise spans venture capital investments in technology and innovation, as well as commercial real estate.

In recent years, Han and his company have solidified their presence in the global market, including significant $10M investment agreements with reputable high tech companies in various parts of the global market in high tech AI platform, visual image processing and ESG solutions, which were recognized by both the South Korean government and the U.S. market. Additionally, USAKO Group has invested in numerous high-tech companies specializing in AI, healthcare, biotech, fintech, blockchain and ecommerce.

As a second-generation commercial real estate investor, Han's background has equipped him to navigate and capitalize on strategic opportunities. USAKO Group, headquartered in the USA with an office in Seoul, South Korea, maintains a global partnership status and network, particularly in the South Korean market.

Driven by his passion for bridging the U.S. and South Korean markets, Han has spearheaded initiatives such as "Go Global with USAKO Group," in collaboration with the S. Korean Government, bringing multiple businesses to the Greater St. Louis market.

Beyond his entrepreneurial pursuits, Han is deeply engaged in the economic development community and mentoring entrepreneurs, actively contributing to various EDO organizations and educational institutes. Currently, he serves as a board member of the St. Louis County Commission as a Commissioner, MO District of Export Council, Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and Southwest Illinois Investment and Trade Council. He has also served as a board member of a S. Korean presidential advisory council for the past 2 decades. In addition, he serves as a part-time faculty at a U.S. university in teaching and mentoring technology and investment. Through his dedication, Han continues to play a pivotal role in advancing regional economic growth, fostering international partnerships and grooming the next generation of entrepreneurs. 


Donn Rubin
Founding President & CEO

Donn Rubin is the Founding President and CEO of BioSTL, a civic non-profit committed to building for St. Louis a thriving, globally-connected innovation economy. Rubin's leadership at BioSTL has been instrumental in driving economic growth and cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem leveraging our region’s world-class strengths in medical and plant biosciences. Initiatives developed under Rubin’s leadership include BioGenerator, the group’s nationally recognized startup arm, and GlobalSTL, which attracts innovation to St. Louis from around the world. BioSTL also leads programs to address our region’s urgent need for a skilled workforce. 

Rubin has played significant roles in advocating for science and innovation-friendly policies at both the state and federal levels. He has served as chairman and president of Missouri Cures for two decades and chairman of the Missouri Technology Corporation —appointed to serve on that board by Republican and Democratic governors for 19 consecutive years.  

Rubin holds degrees from the Wharton School and the University of Michigan Law School. He and his wife Beth have two adult sons, Sam and Harry. 

Conference Location

36 Forest Club Drive
Clarkson Valley, MO 63005
Tel: (636) 227-5030