Anyone who’s been paying attention to Birmingham over the past few years knows that the city is fast becoming a hub of startup activity. Even Forbes weighed in, wondering whether Birmingham will be the next Silicon Valley (probably not) or Austin (possibly). To introduce you to some of the local startups worth watching, we’ve decided to start a regular startup roundup.
We hope you’ll join us and let us know about others you’re watching. For this first installment, we decided to focus on local companies that can make your life better. Keep reading for all the details.
Haven’t heard of lifestyle water yet? Purlian Technology is about to change that. Imagine being able to get water that’s naturally flavored or functionally enhanced in the comfort of your own home. Buh-bye environmentally harmful single use plastic bottles. Hello, hydration and pollution-free rivers.
Not sure what functionally enhanced water is? Think vitamins, minerals, caffeine or melatonin. The idea is that Purilan makes hydration for a healthy and active lifestyle super-easy.
So far, according to Mario Carreras they’ve raised over $1M in seed funding which has allowed them to get busy building their team and brand, secure trademarks and apply for patents, develop prototypes and move into a new office at Hardware Park.
A few fun facts:
- Cofounders: Tyler Hurd, CEO, and Sriram Ayers, advisor and first investor
- Around since: late 2018
- Why Birmingham? ” . . .due to its blossoming startup community. We know that the future of tech is bright in Birmingham, and we are excited to be a part of the Birmingham tech boom!” —Mario Carreras, Purlian Technology
So you can say you knew Purilan before it became a household word, follow their journey:
- Will It Distill? Cahaba River. Purilan visits Cahaba Riverkeeper to learn about the Cahaba and what we can do to protect it.
- Support their Kickstarter: they are SOOOO close to reaching their $10,000 goal. If you’re feeling generous this holiday season, and think this is a cool product, why not send some love Purilan’s way?
If you’ve ever hired a lawyer, you know how frustrating it can be to call for an update on your case and get a hefty bill for the quick chat. At the same time, if you’re an attorney, you know how frustrating it can be to spend your time fielding calls from clients about the status of their cases.
Enter Case Status, a tech-driven solution that helps streamline attorney-client communications by providing clients with automatic updates on the status of their cases. It’s a big win-win for everyone.
- Founder: Lauren Sturdivant
- Around since: Fall 2017
- Launched beta: April 2018
- In Birmingham since: March 2019
- Launched version 1: January 2019
- Employees: 18, 9 full time
- Competitions: Techstars in Atlanta, July 2018. One of ten companies who participated out of more than 500 companies from around the world that applied.
- Why Birmingham? Alabama Futures Fund led our seed round in March 2019. We moved our primary headquarters to Birmingham as part of that investment round.
So you can say you knew them when, follow them here:
Some people love taking care of their cars. Every trip to the shop is a chance to learn more about how the marvelous machines that get us from Point A to Point B work.
Others of us ignore the oil change light for more months than we care to admit. Or keep putting off going to get the tires rotated until the tread’s showing through on one side and we need a new set of tires.
If you’re in the first camp, rock on with your bad self. If you’re in the second, though, S(w)ervice has come up with a solution for you. You get on with the business of living while they pick up, drop off and return you car for maintenance. Or a car wash, even.
$25 will get you a one-time valet pass, whereas an $89 annual subscription will get your four trips in a year. I can see this one being a popular gift among the car afficionado Dads who want to make sure their grown kids’ wheels keep running smoothly.
I personally think founder Thomas Walker, Jr. was a genius to come up with this idea. You can give it a test drive:
Or follow their journey to see how far they go:
If you haven’t seen Fiddler on the Roof, you may not know that Yente came to mean matchmaker in Yiddish. That’s what the folks from Two Ravens had in mind when they launched their first startup from the Two Ravens Startup Studio.
According to their website, Yente is the best way to get a great deal on your next car. What’s not to love about that?
They’re in the early stage: they’ve proven their concept and made a sale. Now they’re looking to grow their audience here in Birmingham. Ready to start looking? Their website has all the details.
- Around since: 5-6 months ago
- Founders: the good people at Two Ravens
- Competitions: finalist in concept stage round of Alabama Launchpad’s recent competition
- Why Birmingham? Some of the team is from Birmingham; some isn’t. They decided to try to grow the business here instead of in a bigger city because they believe they can and it can be good for the city, according to Dave Cowart.
Watch them grow:
This company’s one to watch because who doesn’t know someone who’s had some kind of medical device implanted in their body. Whether it’s a stent or a joint replacement, or perhaps screws on a broken limb, sometimes the body’s immune system attacks the device. When that happens, it’s not great and can lead to additional surgeries. Painful, expensive and not fun.
Endomimetics has cooked up what they call a “BioNanomatrix” (no, it’s not a smoothie and it doesn’t have anything to do with The Matrix), which basically creates a coating that mimics human tissue. Why does this matter? Because the body has an easier time relaxing and allowing the device to do its job when it doesn’t think it’s a foreign invader.
While you can’t run out and buy the BioNanomtrix, it may benefit you or someone you love in the near future, so it’s cool to know about what Endomimetics is up to.
- Around since: 2009, but major commercial development of the tech started in 2015
- Co-founders: Brigitta Brott, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Ho-Wook Jun, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer
- Stage of development: all applications of the technology are in the R&D phase, with one almost ready for clinical trials, according to Joseph N. Garner, PhD
- Competitions: Alabama Launchpad finalist in 2012, finalist in SEBIO in 2010
Why would a biomedical tech company like Endomimetics choose Birmingham?
- The Bionanomatrix technology was initially developed in Birmingham
- All of the tools and talent needed to develop the technology are available either in the city or close by.
- The cost of living/operating is relatively low compared to other major cities which allows the company to stretch its capital further.
- The local biotechnology community including large companies like Evonik and Southern Research, along with UAB and its many spin out companies, provides an excellent opportunity to directly collaborate with the leading scientific, medical, and business minds in the industry without leaving home.
I don’t know about you, but as a native Birminghamian, that list, generously provided by Joseph N. Garner, PhD, of Endomimetics, makes me proud of our Magic City.