It’s that time again. Check out six Alabama startups, four of them from Birmingham, vying for capital at the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition on February 28 in Selma. Which of these innovative solutions would you vote for?
Pssst—Your fledgling business can apply now for the 2019 Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Cycle 2, happening in Tuskegee on May 9. Enter before the deadline on March 1, 2019.
Alabama Launchpad Cycle 1 2019 – Concept Stage Finalists for $50K Prize
1. What if finding the right cancer treatment were as simple as tic-tac-toe?
CerFlux says, “Let’s do it!”
COO Lisa Johnson (left), CEO Karim Budhwani (center) and CFO Christopher M. Kreb (right) of CerFlux. Photos via cerflux.com
- CerFlux homebase: Birmingham
- Why we need it: With today’s cancer treatment protocols, much of the trial and error happens on the patient. Out of more than 1.7 million cancers diagnosed in the United States each year, nearly three out of four patients receive ineffective first-line treatment, according to CerFlux’ website. Ouch.
- CerFlux‘ solution: This startup’s technology is like the world’s smallest tic-tac-toe grid, except the board is an ultra-thin live tumor sample. The X’s and O’s are treatments that failed and worked. With CerFlux testing done first, patients can receive personalized cancer treatments on the first go-round.
2. Must my knee brace be so ugly and uncomfortable?
Satterfield Technologies says, “Let’s whip something up for you on our 3D printer.”
Founder/CEO Forrest Satterfield (left) and Lead Biomedical Engineer Daniel Bolus (right) of Satterfield Technologies. Photos via LInkedIn
- Satterfield Technologies homebase: Birmingham
- Why we need it: Athletic braces can prevent injury and minimize pain after injury. Yet current options on the market are “very expensive, not comfortable to wear, and people are embarrassed to be seen wearing them,” said Forrest Satterfield, founder/CEO of Satterfield Technologies.
- Satterfield Technologies’ solution: Use 3D printing to create braces that are affordable (even without insurance) and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Plus, you can customize the appearance to match your personal style. Sweet!
3. Seriously, we’re in the golden age of tech-driven delivery services. My mechanic can’t get my car part any faster?
PartDispatch says, “Precisely! That’s why you need us.”
Founder/CEO Lasisi M. Osaji Jr. of PartDispatch. Photo submitted
- PartDispatch homebase: Huntsville
- Why we need it: “We have been stuck using traditional ways to locate and find auto parts by having no other choices to control costs to get auto parts quickly,” said Lasisi M. Osaji Jr., founder/CEO of PartDispatch. Also a former military contractor, Osaji got to see this problem up close and personal when he helped found a used car dealership in 2015.
- PartDispatch’s solution: Through a patent-pending process, a network of qualified pickers source needed auto parts. Then parts are dispatched directly to your doorstep. “Our unique business method will take the stress out of locating and ordering the parts you need,” Osaji said.
Alabama Launchpad Cycle 1 2019 – Seed Stage Finalists for $100K Prize
4. This parenting stuff is overwhelming. Can you get me a village … on an app … stat?
Babypalooza says, “Check out this line of moms wrapped around the block at the BJCC at one of our events. We think we found your village.” (Play video below.)
- Lifestages Media/Babypalooza home base: Birmingham
- Why we need it: Big box stores no longer deliver the engagement parents want. Meanwhile, brands are hungry for better ways to connect their products with parents, according to Cecilia Pearson, founder/CEO of Lifestages Media and Babypalooza.
- Babypalooza’s solution: Babypalooza has been addressing this issue since 2005. Its live events and technology connect moms to products, bloggers and content. Last year 40,000 attended Babypalooza events in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee. Now, it’s a matter of scaling up. With the $100k prize, the company would invest in software development and technical staff to create a next-generation app. The goal: increase engagement from 40,000 to 400,000 to 4 million.
5. I want to shop local and be rewarded.
Pointz says, “We’re on it like white on rice.”
Founder/CEO Andrew Petrovics (left) and Co-Founder/Sales & Marketing Sydney Unruh of Pointz. Photos via Pointz’ website
- Pointz homebase: Birmingham
- Why we need it: Everyone likes being rewarded and wants local businesses to thrive. But we’d like to ditch all the rewards cards cluttering up our wallets, please.
- Pointz’ solution: The Pointz app rewards you for spending time at local businesses, which helps those proprietors generate foot traffic. In March 2018, Pointz already snagged the $50,000 Alabama Launchpad prize. That money helped them grow from a well-tested idea with a prototype to a scalable product. Now they’re back with hopes of scoring $100,000 in seed funding. What’s their next step? “If we won the $100k, we would be able to scale Pointz outside of Birmingham and put Pointz in every major city in Alabama,” said Andrew Petrovics, founder/CEO of Pointz.
6. The hospital-borne infections I hear about on the news are getting pretty dang scary.
VentorLux says, “UVC light to the rescue!”
Founder Nathan Carr (left) and Executive Director Drew Barwick of VentorLux
- VentorLux homebase: Phenix City, Alabama
- Why we need it: Healthcare-associated illnesses rack up more than $40 billion in annual healthcare costs.
- Vector Lux’ solution: “I invented a UVC light that kills pathogens responsible for HAI’s (healthcare-associated illnesses),” said Nathan Carr, founder of VectorLux. The lights are installed in high-volume fans in healthcare facilities’ HVAC systems. Then the lights sterilize air as it flows through. If VectorLux wins the $100K, they’ll use it for microbial testing and to build a fourth light core with higher-powered LED’s.
Alabama Launchpad Cycle 2 2019
Alabama Launchpad is Alabama’s most active early-stage seed fund, with nearly $5 million invested in startups. Does your business have what it takes? Then apply by March 1 for Cycle 2 of the 2019 Startup Competition.
Alabama Launchpad is brought to you by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA).