Companies cash in during busy stretch of startup competitions

Between a $25,000 prize here, $60,000 of awards there and a $120,000 flurry the same day, it was a lucrative week for winners of startup competitions in the Show-Me State.

Accelerate St. Louis Challenge

On Tuesday at the annual St. Louis Startup Connection event, some of the St. Louis area’s top early-stage companies won a combined $120,000 through the Accelerate St. Louis Challenge.

Geneoscopy, which has developed a non-invasive screening test for colorectal cancer, took home the $50,000 top prize.

“The competition itself was instrumental in developing Geneoscopy’s business plan and the award will provide funds to support a 1,000 patient pre-clinical FDA trial,” Geneoscopy’s Erica Barnell said in a press release. “This pivotal trial will bring our test one step closer to the 80 million Americans recommended to undergo regular colorectal cancer screening.”

Babyation, which makes a discreet breast pump for nursing mothers, received the $30,000 second prize.

Pro-Arc Diagnostics, which is developing a test for Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, a potentially fatal virus, took third place and won $20,000.

AirZaar, Idiomatic and Upaya Pharmaceuticals each received $5,000 prizes at the annual competition, which is put on by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership and the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

STL Export Accelerator

Also Tuesday, the STL Export Accelerator awarded $60,000 to four companies.

U.S. International Foods, which exports food and grocery products to growing international markets, won the $20,000 top prize.

Aggio, which makes a cloud-based platform for agricultural data, won $15,000 for taking second.

AirZaar, which makes software for managing commercial drone fleets, took home the $5,000 third-place prize.

Aggio, AirZaar, U.S. International Foods and Arch Innotek also picked up $5,000 prizes for awards in specialty categories.

The competition, designed to promote global strategies from companies in the St. Louis area, was coordinated by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, World Trade Center St. Louis and JPMorgan Chase.

1 in a Million

Across the state in Kansas City on Wednesday, Pandere Shoes won $25,000 cash and a variety of other prizes in the 1 Million Cups “1 in a Million” competition.

Pandere, an Alaska-based startup that makes shoes for women with Lymphedema, emerged from a field of more than 200 companies to win the contest. 1 in a Million was open to past presenters from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups events.

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