Alabama Launchpad awarded $580K from the State. Here’s how that money will be used.

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Screen Shot 2020 04 27 at 10.52.32 AM Alabama Launchpad awarded $580K from the State. Here's how that money will be used.
The Governor signed a bill granting $580K to Alabama Launchpad. Photo via Alabama Governor Kay Ivey

Each year, the Alabama Launchpad competition awards a total of $600K to several promising startups to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in Alabama. Due to the success of the program, the State of Alabama recently awarded a $580K grant to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama to keep the program going. Here’s how that grant will be used.

$580K for Alabama Startups

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The grant money goes directly towards funding startups that fuel innovation in Alabama. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

“This program is a true representation of the American and the Alabama spirit to beat the odds at a time when we need it most.”

Governor Kay Ivey

Alabama Launchpad is a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) that aims to mentor Alabama entrepreneurs and offers an opportunity to compete for major, non-dilutive seed funding. Non-dilutive seed funding is a huge deal—this type of funding gives these startups the capital they need to grow without sacrificing ownership of their company. Thanks to the recent grant, Alabama Launchpad will be able to continue to help Alabama startups grow their businesses.

Since its inception in 2006, Alabama Launchpad has provided funding to nearly 100 promising startups. In fact, some of our favorite local companies got their start with the help of the program, such as Wyndy, BLOX, Pointz, and more. Learn more about previous winners here.

How does this funding affect Alabama startups?

Simply put, funding from Alabama Launchpad is one of the most effective ways for Alabama startups to expand their business and innovate even more. In addition to funding, Alabama Launchpad offers mentoring programs that help startups grow their business and fulfill their mission.

Here’s how the prize money has helped several previous winners grow their startups.

Cerflux

PSX 20200228 074940 scaled Alabama Launchpad awarded $580K from the State. Here's how that money will be used.
Cerflux recently won $100,000 at Alabama Launchpad. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

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“The Alabama Launchpad Seed Award will be invested in areas ranging from procuring additional equipment, hiring and training scientists, to underwriting costs associated with intellectual property protection and regulatory approval processes. Bottom line: we intend to multiply and reinvest this “seed” back in Alabama.”

Dr. Karim I. Budhwani, CEO, Cerflux

Cerflux is a Birmingham-based biotech company working tirelessly to crush cancer. Since cancer treatment is not a one-size-fits-all deal, Cerflux is developing personalized medicine technology to determine which treatments might work for each individual patient. 

Funding from Alabama Launchpad helped Cerflux purchase their first brick-and-mortar location with a state-of-the-art biotech lab. As they pick up more steam, Cerflux hopes to continue to foster world-class biotech innovation right here in Birmingham.

In response to COVID-19, Cerflux teamed up with several doctors from UAB to design half-mask respirator adaptors for use by clinical providers engaged in procedures with high risk of aerosolization. The collaborative effort resulted in the design of a new respirator assembly – the Pierce-Arora-Budhwani Respirator (PABR) – using commercially available low-cost half-mask respirators and inline N100 filters. They have shared the design and are in process of securing FDA emergency use authorization to make it easier for institutions around the country to produce the design.

Acclinate Genetics

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Acclinate Genetics is dedicated to expanding diversity in clinical testing. Photo via Acclinate Genetics on Facebook

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“The money from Alabama Launchpad is allowing us to greatly accelerate our participant recruitment and platform development.”

Dr. Del Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, Acclinate Genetics

Did you know that black people have a higher likelihood of receiving a cancer diagnosis than white counterparts, yet only account for less than 5% of participation in clinical trials? Since the sample in many genetic studies is not representative of the population, Huntsville-based Acclinate Genetics helps bio-pharmaceutical companies expand their studies and clinical trials to include diverse ethnic groups.

Since the advent of COVID-19, interest in Acclinate Genetic’s business model has increased exponentially. Currently, the team is working to accelerate participant recruitment and platform development to assist with the numerous vaccine trials.

Swell Fundraising

Birmingham, Alabama, Alabama Launchpad, EDPA, 2017 winners
Swell Fundraising founder and CEO Brooke Battle with other winners. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

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Swell Fundraising is a platform that helps nonprofits launch online campaigns, custom donations pages and virtual events to help with fundraising. Now that nearly everything is online, many nonprofits are pivoting and turning to Swell Fundraising to help with virtual events.

Almost overnight, Swell Fundraising saw an increase in business from current and potential clients. Thanks to funds from Alabama Launchpad, Swell Fundraising was prepared to pivot their clients quickly.

O3 Solutions

Launchpad startups
Pintz and O3 Solution, winners of 2018 Alabama Launchpad competition. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

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“The $100k enabled us to hire another full-time software developer faster than we would otherwise have been able to do which increased the velocity of our software development team.”

Mandi Coker, VP of Education & Engagement, O3 Solutions

O3 Solutions is a modern SaaS (Software as a Service) solution that aims to help construction projects manage their projects. Since O3 has always supported a virtual working environment, they’ve transitioned a little easier than most.

While they work from home, O3 Solutions has worked closely with their employees, clients, partners, and prospective clients to understand their needs and offer best practices. The web-based nature of O3’s SaaS tool helps their clients complete work on time while they shelter in place.

Learn more about Alabama Launchpad

PSX 20200228 023231 scaled Alabama Launchpad awarded $580K from the State. Here's how that money will be used.
Judges and staff from Cycle 1 of Alabama Launchpad 2020. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

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In accordance with social distancing guidelines, Alabama Launchpad will be hosting their Cycle 2 Finale Event virtually on June 11, 2020. Stay tuned for further updates.

Don’t forget to apply for Cycle 3 of Alabama Launchpad 2020! Applications open June 11!

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Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer with Bham Now | Originally from Tennessee, Nathan moved to The Magic City after graduating from Birmingham-Southern College. Nathan is passionate about recognizing Birmingham's history and is thrilled to learn more about the big things planned for The Magic City's future.

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