1st50K announces winners for 2022

Grants from a rural innovation foundation for technology companies will bring three new businesses to Cape Girardeau.

Codefi -- a Cape Girardeau-based foundation -- announced three winners for its $50,000 1ST50K Startup Competition that will be joining the Cape Girardeau business community, according to a news release from the foundation. Startups Sequel, Sizze and Transition were selected out of nine finalists for the grants. The competition will also be awarding two grants to startups relocating to Paducah, Kentcuky.

"After seven years of having this competition, I'm astounded that the quality of teams continues to get better every year," Chris Carnell, co-founder of Codefi, said in the release. "It really speaks to the success that past awardees have had and what is possible for tech startups here."

Codefi has given out more than $700,000 in grants since the competition began in 2019.

Sequel is a software platform for cryptocurrency and digital assets founded by Alan Long and JT Seger in Cape Girardeau.

Sizze is a Kazahkstan-based startup focused on "a no-code solution for building and publishing mobile applications." It was founded by Nick Ivanov, Sergey Kurakov, Dasha Timbush and Kate Tuyhai.

Transition is a recruiting platform founded by Kayla Wright-Jackson and Corey Shaw created to address the health care worker shortage by bringing training schools and employers together.

"A tremendous amount of work has been done to attract this high quality of teams to our region. They are all in the startup phase of raising capital or needing technical help where we can provide much-needed assistance," James Stapleton, co-founder of Codefi, said in the release.

Stapleton added that it will take a community effort to help the startups take root in their new locations.

The grants are equity-free and designed to help attract or keep tech startups in the Midwest, the release said. The grants are made possible because of non-dilutive investments into the competition from numerous partners including the City of Cape Girardeau and Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, among others.