Chris Heivly, the co-founder of The Startup Factory, recently put on one of his “Jobs Under the Big Top” events in St. Louis and draws a sell-out crowd. Was he testing the waters about expanding the Factory there?

Heivly answered – in a way.

“We have not made a decision to expand to STL as TSF,” Heivly wrote in an email response to a query from WRALTechWire.

After a followup question, he responded:

“This is something I do on the side and has no direct affiliation with TSF.

“Now, if this gave me another excuse to see, feel and touch the STL area – that might be a good idea, huh? ;-)”

So what’s your guess, dear reader?

The jobs fair, where companies take the stage to make the pitches to prospective employees, drew a big crowd. So Heivly has even more reason to think the city of the mighty Gateway Arch might be a metro area ripe for a Startup factory new business accelerator.

“Crowd sold out at 250,” Heivly wrote.

“Another 99 on the wait list.

“10 companies presented.”

As WRALTechWire reported last August, Heivly and partner Dave Neal were thinking about expanding. They have a West Coast investor providing the $5 million that is enabling them to fund selected startups with $50,000 in capital and notes of much more after the new and emerging ventures complete the Factory’s six-month development program.

Accelerators continue to be a rage across the U.S., and major metro areas are prime candidates.

As far as TSF is concerned, Heivly and Neal are in the process of picking the six firms for their next group of investments – the fifth.

“Lately we have been using ‘cohort,'” rather than “class,” Heivly said, conceding: ”It’s a little geeky.”

TSF changed its name last summer from Triangle Startup Factory to nationalize its brand.

This week wrapped up the selection process, and Heivly said picking the six wasn’t easy.

“[Numbers] are similar but quality seems up another notch,” Heivly said.

“We are having good trouble selecting.”