The Birmingham startup scene is getting a lot more interesting. Innovation Depot, which rents space and offers in-house resources to local startups, is ready to showcase almost a dozen different graduates of its Velocity accelerator program.
To learn more about the upcoming startup showcase, I spoke with Estes Gould, the Velocity accelerator program’s manager, over lunch at the delicious and experimental Serendipity cafeteria.
What is Velocity?
Birmingham has a surprisingly small tech scene for a city of our size, and Nate Schmidt wants to change that. Nate worked at a Seattle accelerator program and is a co-founder of Instagift: he has the skill set to manage a startup, or a collection of them. Using a combination of seed money, mentorship, networking and customer attraction, the Velocity program at Innovation Depot compresses potentially years of work into twelve weeks before showing off the results of the elite companies’ effort.
The teams range from data analysis for banks to social media prediction services to bringing the gig economy to legal services to crowdfunding medical research – there’s a little bit of everything, but with one common trait: all the startups in Velocity are tech startups.
What’s happening now that the initial twelve weeks are finishing? Demo Day, a chance for each startup to present their vision to regional investors, industry leaders, and the Birmingham community. Happy hour at Iron City from 4PM on, presentations from 5PM on, and the event is free. This is a chance for Birmingham to become a leader in the data-driven economy, and to pull the rug out from under Silicon Valley’s expensive, overcrowded, and self-isolating startup scene.