Start-up roundup: Birmingham tech companies name new leaders + more

Apple CEO Tim Cook helps launch ED Farm in Birmingham on February 27, 2020. Photo by Nathan Watson for Bham Now

The world is like an iceberg at its tipping point, but at the waterline, you’ll find Birmingham tech companies setting motions in place that will not only have a positive impact on our city, but also nationally. As new leaders come into play, let’s see how they’ll shape Birmingham for the better.

New CEOS for Ed Farm and Innovation Depot

Velocity Accelerator, Birmingham, Innovation Depot
Innovation Depot’s former CEO Devon Laney explaining the program. Via Velocity

Cutting edge. Yep, if you’ve been paying attention even a little you’ll notice Birmingham’s tech scene is hotter than our summers. It couldn’t come at a better time either, as we switch our world to almost entirely digital during the COVID-19 pandemic. We chatted with these new leaders to see how they will propel Birmingham further into the future.

Ed Farm

You might remember a not-so-little announcement this year of the major education initiative led by Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Ed Farm uses innovative strategies and technology to partner with educators in Alabama. Through these tools and partnerships, the company sets big plans to increase educational equity, improve learning outcomes and arm the future workforce for all areas of the city.

“COVID has forced every organization to reimagine how it operates. Fortunately, Ed Farm was envisioned to provide solutions to the future of work. Our team is focused on equipping teachers with innovative digital teaching strategies and learners with digital skills, that are valued in the workplace. I am excited to be on this journey with them.”

Waymond Jackson

Now, the first-ever CEO Waymond Jackson will help lead those milestones Ed Farm aims to achieve and it’s likely he won’t disappoint given his previous background. Before joining Ed Farm, he was senior vice president of Public Policy for the Birmingham Business Alliance, where he earned a national reputation for advancing workforce development initiatives.

“Our tech companies, large and small, need tech talent. Ed Farm will serve as a top of the funnel organization, that increases the number of people in our community who are equipped with digital skills.”  

Waymond Jackson

Innovation Depot

Birmingham thrives on entrepreneurship and Innovation Depot is the epicenter for having locals grow their big ideas. After a national search, the company chose Birmingham native Drew Honeycutt to lead them into the next phase.

“I’m excited and bullish on the direction our tech community is headed. Birmingham has incredible entrepreneurs and a growing number in the tech space. This downturn in the economy will certainly spur more innovation and new businesses will emerge.

The Innovation Depot is poised to help entrepreneurs from our region and beyond incubate their businesses from startup to scale. Our goal is to give companies their best shot at success by working alongside them and showing them the blueprint for growth.”

Drew Honeycutt

You could definitely say Drew will fit in here considering he’s a mighty entrepreneur himself—one of his most recent projects includes Funnelfly. Drew successfully launched and sold multiple businesses in several industries, from software to construction.

However, he’s probably never come into a job during a situation quite like the one we’re facing. In uncharted territory for everyone, Innovation Depot has plans to elevate our city.

“If you look back at history, innovation always occurs during downtimes in our economy. The Innovation Depot is a beacon of support for entrepreneurs starting and scaling high growth businesses.

We plan to offer additional training and programming to help give entrepreneurs their best shot at success. From a facility standpoint, we plan to be proactive in our approach to helping curb the spread of this and other infectious diseases. This includes hand sanitizer stations, additional disinfecting, and ongoing education for our member companies and their team members.”

Drew Honeycutt

What else is new in Birmingham’s tech world?

Birmingham, University Fancards, fan cards
Gooooooooooooo team! Photo courtesy of University Fancards.

Students can now access free WiFi around the city

In response to remote learning due to COVID-19, UAB and Birmingham City Schools are offering free WiFi for UAB and K-12 students who need internet access.

How students can find drive-in WiFi in Birmingham.

University Fancards goes for the gold

The local fintech company is young, but mighty. University Fancards recently raised over $4 million in Series A Investment round. The pre-paid reloadable cards feature your favorite sport’s team and make spending money a little more fun.

Read what’s next for the growing company and how they’ll take off next.

Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator gets new date

Don’t worry, Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator is not going anywhere—the date is now moved from July to September. Alabama Power joined the Techstars game for the first time and we’re pretty pumped to see the program thrive with the help of tech wizard Nate Schmidt.

Get to know team leader Nate Schmidt and Alabama Energy Tech Accelerator a little better.

Big things are happening, Birmingham and we want to hear your thoughts. Give us a shout on social @bhamnow!