Alabama Launchpad announces first round finalists

Nine firms are competing for start up funding

Lauren Pearson and Emily Lassiter, co-founders of The Wealth Edit, were Launchpad winners in 2021. Photo by Nathan Watson

Alabama Launchpad has selected nine competitors  for concept stage and seed stage funding in the first cycle of 2022.

A program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Launchpad is listed by Pitchbook as the most active early seed funding source in the state. It has invested more than $5.7 million in 106 startup companies that have generated more than 1,000 jobs.

Concept stage finalists, which include beginner companies in the pre-revenue stage, are competing for $25,000. They include:

  • Croux, an app-based program to connect workers with hospitality and restaurant work opportunities.
  • Equip, a program offering post-secondary education and technology to enable greater impact for students and automated processes for programs.
  • GrowSafe, a game-like app teaching financial literacy to children.
  • RideResorts/Ride BHM, a mountain bike resort concept offering trails and more. Its first site is in Birmingham.
  • Starlight Haven provides glamping opportunities. Its first site is at Weiss Lake.
  • Storyline, a program to help mental health patients keep up between sessions.

Seed stage finalists, which are seeking to grow their young companies, are competing for $50,000. These three companies are:

  • 2U Tire of Alabama, a mobile service bringing tires and other auto needs to clients and installing them.
  • House Plant Collective, an indoor plant retailer, that seeks to grow through agreements with additional prospective shop owners.
  • Isodate, a video speed-dating program now being tried in the New York City area.

“We have a strong pool of participants in Birmingham, including seasoned entrepreneurs; yet, we have an equally strong pool of state-wide applicants. Building a network from Mobile to Huntsville is invaluable for our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Launch Advisor Bebe Goodrich, VP of business operations at Interior Installations. “Early-stage companies can test in multiple markets; emerging companies can lean on one another for introduction to investors outside of their local market. Geographic diversity is a win all-around, and I look forward to seeing it play out with this group.”

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Launch Advisor Hunter Strickler, who is director of venture operations at Harmony Venture Labs, added, “Launchpad is continuing to attract high-caliber founders with big ideas. With each new cycle, we are seeing more evidence of smart and capable founders “doing their homework” in terms of early validation of their ideas. Couple this with exposure to the launch advisor program, and you have the ingredients for really exciting startup activity throughout the state.”

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