The eFactory is a tech-focused business incubator and entrepreneurial development center. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.

You've read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.


A nonprofit tech-based development organization with ties to Springfield has launched a venture fund to help develop startups in the southern part of Missouri.

Codefi, a nonprofit based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, launched Innovate SOMO Funds April 18, according to a company press release. Innovate SOMO Funds combines a nonprofit fund and a for-profit fund to co-invest in startups across the southernmost 47 counties in the state.

The funds were developed by Codefi and efactory at Missouri State University, which together created the Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SOMO), according to the release. Innovate SOMO is a regional collaborative aimed at developing entrepreneurship and innovation in southern Missouri.

Innovate SOMO Funds totals $2 million from combined nonprofit and for-profit funds, according to the release. It will focus on software-focused and enhanced solutions companies in industries like information technology, tech manufacturing, financial services, healthcare and more.

The funds are intended to provide money to companies in the pre-seed and seed stages of development that are located in often-ignored cities and towns in southern Missouri. The company anticipates most investments will range from $50,000 to $200,000, according to the release.

“These funds are specifically designed to catalyze opportunity in these overlooked geographies, where there is tremendous philanthropy and interest in economic diversity and growth,” Dr. James Stapleton, Codefi president, wrote in the release.

Financial commitments with Springfield ties

The funds have received $700,000 in commitments of investments from southern Missouri partners, according to the press release. Codefi's goal is to deploy the initial funds in two to three years.

Initial investment was led by the Springfield-based Hatch Foundation and an anonymous donor from Cape Girardeau.

“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,” Erin Danastasio, executive director of the Hatch Foundation, wrote in the release.

Perryville, Missouri-based Bank of Missouri, which has branches across southern Missouri, has committed $100,000 for administrative and management costs of the funds for the first two years, according to the release.

In August 2023, Innovate SOMO launched a pipeline of programs aimed at attracting and supporting tech-based startup concepts, founders and companies, according to the release.

Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins is the business and economic development reporter for the Hauxeda. Collins graduated from Glendale High School in 2011 before studying journalism and economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He previously worked for Bloomberg News. Contact him at (417) 849-2570 or More by Ryan Collins