Ready for Liftoff?

You have the idea. You have the drive. Now all you need is an application. If you’re ready to put your idea to the test and compete for a serious financial boost to your business, this is the starting line. Everything you need to know about our competition is right here—the rules, the evaluation criteria, and even some helpful advice on how to fine-tune a successful application. And remember, you can’t win if you don’t enter.

Apply yourself before you apply.

A successful business takes a lot of prep work. And a successful Launchpad application is no different. Please review all the information below first and once you’ve got a handle on what to expect, hit the link to the application.

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    Follow instructions It is very important that you follow all application instructions. Given how many applications we receive, the first cut is always for those who do not follow instructions. All applications will be reviewed by Alabama Launchpad staff and must meet all of the quality check standards listed.


    Review the evaluation criteria You should review the evaluation criteria for the competition. All applications will be reviewed by Launch Advisors and judges based upon these criteria.


    Define your customer clearly Most businesses fail to launch because they don’t have a clear sense of who their customer is or what their customer wants. Get this right. We want to see that you have spent time defining your customer and engaging in discovery!


    Build a solid team that can succeed The second biggest reason why companies fail is that the team is not built to win. One of the main criteria Launch Advisors and judges use to evaluate applications is the quality of the team. Work hard to work well together. Listen to feedback and be flexible!


    Submit an overview video Submitting a video is another important step towards successfully advancing in the competition. Videos should be “content-rich” spending the majority of time introducing you, your team, and your company. With only 90 seconds to use, we do not expect a comprehensive look into your business. This is about the Launch Advisors getting to know a bit about you, your company, and why you’ve decided to pursue this venture.


    Listen to feedback Many teams fail to listen to feedback received. Demonstrating a willingness to adapt and listen to feedback from Launch Advisors and judges is critical to ultimately succeed. We know it’s hard to make yourself step out of the daily grind of the business to work on the business, so time spent with our Launch advisors is not just recommended, it’s required.

  • Quality Check Standards

    Submitted applications must pass a quality check, conducted by Alabama Launchpad staff, in order to be forwarded to our Launch Advisors for evaluation. Applicants are advised to review their applications prior to submitting them to ensure that they will pass the quality check. Non-compliance on any one item will result in the application being rejected.

    • App must be submitted on-time.
    • Video cannot be over 90 seconds. No exceptions.
    • Video must not be listed as “Private” on the platform selected by the user (YouTube or Vimeo). Videos marked as “Unlisted” are permitted.
    • Application fee must be paid by the application deadline.

    Evaluation Criteria

    Applicants eligible to receive funding will be evaluated according to a set of criteria (“Criteria”). Subject matter experts (“Launch Advisors”) will score each applicant with respect to each criterium for an initial assessment and decide which applicants move forward as finalists (“Finalists”). After Finalists are chosen, Launch Advisors will assist the Finalists in business operations, plans, and pitches in preparation for the final competition with a volunteer judging panel (the “Panel”). The Panel will use the below Criteria to determine which Finalist will be awarded Alabama Launchpad funding.

    The Criteria Are


    Product Launchpad is seeking companies with realistic, valuable solutions that meet the customer’s needs and that have a positive and profound economic impact. Even better: if the product uses a unique technology or approach to the customer’s problem, and if the problem is both urgent and important to the customer and the world.


    Customer Discovery & Traction: The Panel looks for companies that have shown significant customer discovery work, as well as potential for traction through things like pilots, trials, sales, capital raised, and social impact to the customer base. Winning concept stage companies show promising feedback from potential customers, while seed stage companies show movement toward product-market fit.


    Market: Winning companies have a clear understanding of their customers and the market they are entering, including its competitive landscape. Ideally, the market is both large enough to support a profitable, scalable business and growing, and the company has a competitive advantage in the market, especially considering the proposed social impact of the company.


    Team: The Panel values strong teams and/or founders that have the skills to create their proposed solution, the team to grow the business (or the ability to create such a team), and a competitive advantage that will make it more difficult for others to create a similar product or solution.


    Local & Economic Impact: Winning companies have the potential to create large numbers of, and/or high-paying, jobs as well as to generate wealth in the state – and plans for reaching that level of scale and impact.


    Financials: Winning companies have an understanding of their costs and financial projections, as well as a realistic strategy for achieving financial sustainability.


    Use of Funds: The Panel values companies with a clear strategy for using Alabama Launchpad funds and a demonstrated need for such funding.


    Other: The Panel may consider other Criteria not listed herein. The Panel, at their sole discretion, and without prior notice to the Finalists, may consider other Criteria not listed herein and alter, amend, or change Criteria. The Panel has sole discretion to determine whether a Finalist has met the Criteria. The Panelists may adopt new or amended Criteria during a Competition. The Panel may consider the Criteria differently than they have been considered in the past.

  • Purpose

    The purpose of the Alabama Launchpad Startup Pitch Competition (“Competition”) is to promote and reward high-growth, innovative ventures that have the potential to grow and thrive in Alabama. The Competition is for ventures in concept or early seed stages of growth.

    Terms and Conditions

    The Competition, a program of The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation, Inc. (the “EDPA Foundation”), requires each company which participates (each, a “Participant”) to agree to these rules and regulations. Disqualification and/or forfeiture of prizes can result for Participants which fail to comply with these terms and conditions.


    Teams: Each Participant shall be represented by a team (the “Team”) of one or more individuals (the “Team Members”). While there is no restriction on the total size of each Team, Team Members may not join more than one Team. All Team Members are expected to be active participants throughout all phases of the Competition. Team members may not be added after a Participant is accepted into the Competition. Team members must be founders, employees, executives, or officers of the Participant. No Team Member may be a public official, public employee, or a family member of either of the foregoing, as those terms are defined in Section 36-25-1, Code of Alabama (1975).


    Excluded Business Ventures: The Participant’s venture shall not be based on a buy-out, a real estate syndication, a tax shelter, a franchise, a distributorship, a spin-out from an existing entity, or any concept which is not, at heart, developed by and belonging to the Participant. Nonprofit ventures are not eligible to participate in the Competition.


    Documentation of Separate Entity Existence: The Participant must provide documentation of its separate legal existence prior to the Competition. Each Participant shall additionally provide the EDPA Foundation with its governing documents, an IRS Form W-9 and any other documents requested by the EDPA Foundation.
    Originality and Intellectual Property Rights: Participants certify that the ideas and concepts outlined in the submissions to the EDPA Foundation are the original work of the Participants and the Team Members. If intellectual property (“IP”) is involved in the venture, Participants must have obtained the exclusive legal rights to use the IP during the Competition and for a five-year period thereafter.


    Ineligible Participants: Winners in previous rounds of the concept Competition may not apply for the concept Competition but may apply for the early seed Competition.


    Equity Investment and Revenue Requirements: Any external funding received by the Participant or Team Members relating to the venture which is the subject of the Participant’s entry must be identified and reported in the application form. A Participant is not eligible for the Competition if such persons have raised equity capital, including convertible securities (including convertible notes and SAFE agreements), for the venture totaling $1 million or more from sources other than Team Members, or if such persons have realized more than $2 million in sales for the venture in the twelve months immediately preceding the Competition. This Federal grants and awards (including funding from SBIR/STTR programs) as well as awards from similar competitions are excluded from this restriction.


    Headquarters: The Participant must have commenced operations in the state of Alabama at the time of application, such that the senior management of the Participant must reside in the state of Alabama at the time of the Competition.


    Competition Process

    The Competition consists of multiple rounds. During each phase, the judging panel will eliminate Participants based on evaluation criteria and the judges’ judgement of which Participants have the greatest chance of success. In this cycle of the Competition, the judges will evaluate the Participants’ potential to create economic impact in Alabama.


    General Competition Process Details: The judging panel will be comprised of multiple individuals representing the investment community, entrepreneurs, and corporate stakeholders. The same judging panel reviews all phases of the Competition. During any phase of the Competition the judging panel may solicit additional information prior to making a decision. Submission of all Competition materials and distribution of judges’ feedback will be managed electronically. Data may be retained by the EDPA Foundation. Each Competition will follow a posted schedule. Teams with qualifying scores will advance to the final and are eligible to be funded.


    Launch Advisors: EDPA Foundation will employ various business consultants (“Launch Advisors”) to work with the Participants on various elements of startup development, including the social impact of the venture. The judging panel will consult with the Launch Advisors as to their views of the Participants.


    Application and Application Fee: All Participants must apply for the Competition and pay a $150 application fee. The application fee must be paid at the time of submission.


    Waiver and Release: Upon submission of the application, all Participants shall execute and submit a Waiver and Release and shall upload to the EDPA Foundation a Social Media Release duly executed by, and binding up, each Team Member. The EDPA Foundation reserves the right to require Participants and Team Members to execute additional agreements at any time.


    Award Requirements


    General: Winners will be required to execute a funding agreement within thirty days of the conclusion of the Competition. Upon execution, no more than half of any prize money will be paid to the Participant. The funding agreement and subsequent correspondence may provide conditions set by Competition judges, which must be met prior to the payment of any remaining prize money. Failure to meet such conditions may result in a forfeiture of the remaining prize money.


    Payment and Use of Prize Money: The EDPA Foundation reserves the right to distribute any award of prize money over time based on milestones achieved as determined under the sole discretion of the EDPA Foundation. Prize money shall be used for the growth and development of Participant’s venture which was the subject of the Competition. Prize money shall not be used for repayment of personal investment in the business or repayment of other debt. Winners are encouraged to consult with a financial advisor prior to accepting the prize money to understand any relevant tax implications to the business. The EDPA Foundation does not provide any tax advice to winning teams.


    Forfeiture and Repayment of Prize Money: If any Team Member or Participant makes a material misrepresentation in connection with the Competition, or if a winning team does not fully satisfy the above requirements or achieve satisfactory completion of project milestones as imposed by the EDPA Foundation, the Participant may be disqualified and may be required to repay any awards that have been received plus ten percent interest, compounded annually.


    Waiver and Release: Upon submission of the application, all Participants shall execute and submit a Waiver and Release and shall upload to the EDPA Foundation a Social Media Release duly executed by, and binding up, each Team Member. The EDPA Foundation reserves the right to require Participants and Team Members to execute additional agreements at any time.


    Sole Discretion of the EDPA Foundation

    All decisions made by the judges on all matters relating to the Competition are final. The EDPA Foundation, at its sole discretion and without prior notice to any party, reserves the unrestricted right to interpret these rules and regulations and to alter, amend, or change Competition rules, regulations, or awards. The EDPA Foundation has sole discretion to determine whether a Participant and its Team Members have fulfilled the requirements herein. The EDPA Foundation has sole discretion to adopt new or amended rules and regulations during a Competition. The EDPA Foundation has sole discretion to apply rules and regulations differently than they have been applied in the past.

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    A complete application


    A 90-second video introducing you, your team, and your company


    A pitch deck, based on our template attached in the application


    Agreement to the Terms and Conditions


    $150 application fee (paid through PayPal)


    Meet all Quality Check Standards

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