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Unveiling the new Innovate SOMO Funds

Creating new funding options to help startup growth across southern Missouri.

Over the years, we have seen the barriers to early-stage capital in getting potential high-growth companies off the ground. That’s why we’ve partnered with Codefi to put together Innovate SOMO Funds.   

It’s unique in its approach: It combines nonprofit charitable contributions with investments from for-profit partners to make equity and revenue-based investments. Through Innovate SOMO Funds, we’ll fuel even more startups across the southernmost 47 counties in Missouri. 

Fueling tech innovation in Missouri

You’ve heard us talk about how Innovate SOMO was designed to invigorate the lives of Missourians. It’s because we believe Missourians are strong, smart, savvy and have the keys to change the world. And we want them to be able to do it without having to leave the place they call home.  

Through Innovate SOMO Funds, we’ll make the greatest impact during the early stages for these innovators. It’s when funding is hardest to come by.   

“Tech ecosystems beyond the major financial centers are often starved for the type of early-stage, risk-tolerant capital and comprehensive support required to translate great ideas into sustainable, job-creating enterprises,” said Dr. James Stapleton, Codefi’s President and CEO. “These funds are specifically designed to catalyze opportunity in these overlooked geographies, where there is tremendous philanthropy and interest in economic diversity and growth.” 

Innovate SOMO Funds at a glance

Key facts about the Innovate SOMO Funds: 

• Investment focus areas: High-growth potential software focused or enhanced solutions in most industries. 

• Target investment stages: Pre-seed and seed. 

• Co-investment model: Equity and revenue-based investments from nonprofit and for-profit funds. 

• Limited partner investors: Leading foundations, family offices, institutional, and accredited investors. 

Total Funds
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Counties Served

Most investments will be distributed in chunks of $50,000 – $200,000 over the next two to three years.  

Building Innovate SOMO Funds

We’ve received $700,000 in commitments already! This includes an initial investment by the Hatch Foundation, located in Springfield, Missouri, and an anonymous donor from Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  

“Our Foundation is pleased to invest in supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and the companies they inspire, that will create more high-quality occupations for the people living in our communities,” said Erin Danastasio, Executive Director of the Hatch Foundation. “We also think it’s important this is a broad regional effort and invite others across southern Missouri to join us in supporting it.” 

The Bank of Missouri, founded in Perryville, Missouri and an efactory Corporate Partner, has also been a superstar partner. They’ve committed $100,000 to assist with administrative and management costs of the funds for the first two years.  

“The Bank has been a long-time supporter of Codefi, so we know first-hand the economic impact their programs and services generate in the communities we serve,” said Adrian Breen, Executive Chairman / CEO / President, The Bank of Missouri. “We invite other financial institutions to join us in supporting these efforts to create more economic prosperity in our region.” 

You might be thinking, “Whatever happened to those other investments from the efactory accelerator program?” Glad you asked. The remaining funds that we distributed as $30K equity investments into 21 promising startups are now part of the new non-profit fund. 

“We’re really excited to be working with Codefi and the other partners to launch Innovate SOMO Funds, to expand upon the work we began nearly 10 years ago,” said Allen Kunkel, Associate Vice President for Economic Development at Missouri State University. “We appreciate the support of the donors who allowed us to launch our accelerator program, the region’s first program of its type, and those investors supporting the new funds.”   

We believe in Innovate SOMO Funds and its ability to create an ecosystem that gives seed capital at the most crucial moment. Beyond that, we’re prepared to provide coaching and access to resources that launch and fuel the growth of startups. It’s what we do. 

About Innovate SOMO Funds

Innovate SOMO Funds are owned and managed by the Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation, Inc., and are the latest in a series of developments led by Codefi and efactory at Missouri State University, co-creators in the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO). Innovate SOMO is a regional collaborative working to unlock the full potential of entrepreneurship and innovation to transform entire communities in the southernmost 47 counties in Missouri.