Alabama Launchpad teams take time to mix and mingle before pitching their plans



Alabama Launchpad held a kick-off event Thursday night for the startup teams selected for our second round of competition.

We want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting the launch of the competition’s next phase.

We had a wonderful turnout at the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s Skyline Dining Room, where all 10 competing teams mixed, mingled and munched on delicious finger food.

This gathering allowed us to place faces with the team names.   Melanie Rubery, one of the three winners from our last competition that ended May 3, made an appearance. Rubery, founder of Nutripilot, offered words of wisdom and encouragement to the current competitors.

We remain impressed with the startups’ diversity of ideas and how determined these entrepreneurs are to make their businesses a reality in the hopes of creating more high-growth jobs for the state of Alabama.

We know entrepreneurship and innovation matter to Alabama’s economy, and that’s why Alabama Launchpad is working to boost the business climate to lift Alabama’s standing as a state producing more high growth startups.

This is our first year of running back-to-back “pre-seed” phase competitions.  We offer congratulations to the teams, and we will see them on July 12 at Evonik Industries in Birmingham, where they will present business plans and make their first pitch presentations before our distinguished panel of judges in hopes of proceeding in the competition and winning a share of up to $100,000.

Alabama Chai: Alabama Chai, beverage category, plans to sell great tasting micro-brewed organic tea beverages, prepared in the Chai method, to grocery stores, cafés, restaurants and other venues where ready-to-drink (RTD) products are sold. Team leader: Marshall Malone, based in Birmingham.

Bidsters: Bidsters, internet and web services category, is an online interactive database in which construction industry businesses can display their information to get connected with others in the industry and communicate with them all in one place. Team Leader: Ben Bickerstaff, based in Tuscaloosa with a University of Alabama affiliation.

BLOX LLC: Blox LLC, business services and product category, sells a way for owners, contractors and designers to make better buildings faster and with lower cost through the manufacture and integration of prefabricated building components in healthcare facilities. Team leader: Mike Waller, based in Birmingham.

e-Electricity: e-Electricity, telecommunications category, is developing, wireless harvesting, allowing for mobile devices to recharge wirelessly, without the need to plug-in to a power outlet, which it said is a tremendous advantage for individuals to who are always “on the go” or traveling. Team leader: Sloan McCrary, based in Tuscaloosa with a University of Alabama affiliation.

FIT-ability: Fit-ability, healthcare IT category, gives you the right type of workouts and motivational techniques for your personality and level of fitness and helps personal trainers get results faster with their clients by not having to take more time trying to understand or even experiment with different workouts and motivation techniques. Team leader: Andrea Walker, based in Birmingham.

Healthfundit: Healthfundit, internet and web services category, is the only peer-reviewed, subscription-based crowd funding portal for health research and biotechnology at academic institutions. Healthfundit allows people to directly donate to medical research & follow their impact while offering institutions a service that increases funding and facilitates efficient commercialization of biotech. Team leader: Larry Lawal, based in Birmingham.

Heartlife Technology LLC: Heartlife Technology LLC, healthcare services category, plans to put easy-to-use, inexpensive, reliable defibrillation technology in the homes and pockets of everyone at risk by replacing the most expensive components of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) with smartphones. Team leader: Tommy Foote, based in Auburn with an Auburn University affiliation.

Respriva: Respriva, biotechnology category, is using the Respriva vaccine, a low cost and effective vaccine that will minimize the swine industry’s losses due to bacterial pneumonia, a problem that currently costs the industry over $300 million per year. Team leader: Robert Koski, based in Auburn with an Auburn University affiliation.

Surface Integrity LLC: Surface Integrity LLC, medical devices and equipment category is a research and development ( R&D) company that develops custom surfaces for a wide variety of industries and applications, including controlling the surface of degradable metal implants by surface treatments. Team leader: Michael Sealy, based in Hoover with a University of Alabama affiliation.

Vsim 360: Vsim 360 works to develop its current technology into full 3D spherical video, creating a very unique technology product to record immersive 3D 360º experiences. The entire 3D 360º field of view and multidirectional audio are captured on-site and processed for interactive immersive viewing on consumer-level 3D head-mounted display technology, or gracefully degrading to tablets, smartphones, or laptops. Team leader: Corey Shum, based in Birmingham with a University of Alabama at Birmingham affiliation.