Sprocket Innovation has teamed up with Codefi from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to launch 1ST50K, a pitch competition designed to bring software-based businesses to Paducah. After nearly 200 applications from around the world were received and reviewed, the largest intake since the program launched, Codefi’s 1ST50K Startup Competition has selected the finalists to its Pitch Day this week. Winners will receive a $50,000 grant award and be located in Paducah as they accelerate the growth of their technology companies.

“We are ecstatic about the number of and quality of teams that we’ll be bringing to town,” says Sarah Gant, Program Director. “Now the real work is to identify the final 3 companies that fit best into our community, so we can go to work and help them thrive here.”

Winners selected will be in good company. 1ST50K awardees since 2019 have created nearly 40 jobs and generated over an estimated $2 million in economic impact in Cape Girardeau according to a recent Economic Modeling Systems report.

The finalists competing are:

Advanced Robotics (Pasadena, California)

Designs and manufactures an artificial intelligence enhanced robotic system to dispense medications in pharmacies – realizing that technology is the critical depreciating factor to bring better medical services to an increasingly expensive world.

Food Haven (San Francisco, California)

Connects restaurants with users interested in purchasing freshly prepared meals, made from surplus ingredients and sold at discounted prices.

Noninvasive Diagnostic Instruments (St. Louis, Missouri)

Provides cost-effective, convenient, and rapid non-invasive point-of-care blood cholesterol testing for patients and their healthcare providers.

Particle Space (Kansas City, Missouri)

Provides a single platform to help grow and automate property management operations. Through a seamless platform, they take the burden of onboarding tenants, rent collecting, and maintenance, and use AI and automation to streamline day-to-day tasks.

RentHub (New York City, New York)

An alternative data platform for the multi-trillion dollar rental housing industry. With their data, industry stakeholders are empowered to make more intelligent decisions.

Seamly Systems (Huntsville, Alabama)

Develops scalable technology that enables fashion’s digital transformation in today’s connected world to increase profits, reduce waste, and heighten creativity for a large or small  fashion business.

WATT (Los Angeles, California)

A community engagement platform for virtual charity walks and running events. Described by customers as the “Fitbit for a cause.”

XpressRun (Louisville, Kentucky)

A fully automated, last-mile logistics platform built for local retailers to efficiently and effectively dispatch anything they want, when they want, within minutes.

Plastiblok (Paducah, Kentucky)

Through its brand Lok-N-Blok®, they strive to become the world leader in innovative composite technologies for the construction industry.

Finalists arrive later this week. They will get an introduction to the Paducah community, a chance to practice their pitches, and will participate in TechFest, an exclusive event where they will showcase their products. In addition, several other projects to grow Paducah’s digital economy will receive the spotlight. Exciting announcements will also be made during the evening. The following day finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their products. A group of local, seasoned entrepreneurs, executives, and technology specialists will recommend winners to the competition. Once the competition directors finalize due diligence, teams will be invited and begin building their businesses from Paducah in September.

1ST50K awards are equity-free as an incentive to keep or help relocate innovative digital companies and talented people to the region. These awards are made possible from generous sponsorships from public and private institutions that have agreed to work together towards improving the future outlook of our community: McCracken County Fiscal Court, Triangle Enterprise, Independence Bank, Silicon River Capital, Kalleo Technologies, James Stapleton, Susan Baier, Julie Tennyson, Ken Wheeler, Sandra Wilson, Connie Johnson, and Jill Poimboeuf.

About Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation

We’re tech entrepreneurs driven to help rural communities build and expand digital economies and prosperity.

About Sprocket

We are a nonprofit innovation lab that connects people and ideas to resources and opportunity in order to build a more vibrant digital economy in our community. 

For more information contact: Monica Bilak, 270-556-8240

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