6 early concept-stage startups compete for $25K at Alabama Launchpad


The team from Field Culture Compost, a past winner of Alabama Launchpad. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

On April 1st, we took a look at five of the Seed-Stage Startups competing in Alabama Launchpad on May 13th. But that was just seed! We also spoke to the six concept-stage startups who are gearing up for their big day on May 12th. Here’s what we learned.

Alabama Launchpad will air the Concept-Stage Virtual Finale on May 12th, so follow Alabama Launchpad on social media to stay up-to-date with all the details. To get a sneak peek at what’s happening behind the scenes, follow Alabama Launchpad on Instagram!

Meet the 6 Startups competing for $25K

Alabama Launchpad
The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama building, headquarters of Alabama Launchpad. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

Since its founding in 2006, Alabama Launchpad has invested $5.6M+ in 100 promising startups throughout the state, aiming to support innovation and job growth throughout Alabama. But that’s not all. This year, Alabama Launchpad introduced a new panel of Launch Advisors—experienced mentors offering invaluable coaching to each finalist.

Concept Stage companies are generally pre-revenue, but they have more than an idea. Whether it be a prototype, MVP, or customers on a trial basis, these Concept Stage finalists are turning their ideas into a reality. So, let’s introduce the 6 Concept Stage finalists competing for $25K in Alabama Launchpad’s first competition of the year.

1. Stelona Shoes

Lydia Pass surrounded by a few of her favorite shoes. Photo via Stelona Shoes

Contact: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | LinkTree

Have you noticed your closet filling up with dozens (or more!) pairs of shoes, many of which you only wear occasionally? You’re not the only one. In 2018, Lydia Pass noticed that her warm-weather shoes were more comfortable and dependable than her others. If she could replace her shoes’ straps, she could have comfortable shoes year-round.

Fast forward to 2020. After graduating from Auburn University with a degree in Apparel Design and Production Management, Lydia set about creating the prototype for Stelona Shoes. With its modular design, the basic Stelona Shoe can be mixed and matched with a variety of accessories, customizable for any event!

“When I learned about the pivots Alabama Launchpad made this year, I was excited to learn more about the opportunities each finalists would have. I’ve learned so much this past week, so I’m looking forward to how I as a founder, and Stelona as a company, will grow in the next six weeks in Alabama Launchpad.”

Lydia Pass, CEO, Stelona Shoes, LLC

2. MRIMath, LLC

Contact: Website

When it comes to cancer diagnosis, accurate tumor delineation and measurement are some of the weakest links in the process. That’s why Birmingham-based MRIMath, LLC is getting involved. With their expertise in medical imaging, MRIMath, LLC offers time and labor-efficient solutions that can accurately distinguish tumors from healthy organs. By utilizing their expertise, MRIMath, LLC aims to empower phycisians with reliance and cost-effective tumor detection software.

“We hope to learn from all of the seminars offered by Alabama Launchpad, and we are looking forward to connecting with the network of entrepreneurs at Alabama Launchpad.”

Nidhal Bouaynaya, MRIMath LLC

3. Bordo

Bordo helps small businesses grow through organic content marketing. Photo via Bordo

Contact: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter

In today’s day and age, a strong social media presence is as important to a mom & pop store as it is to a multinational corporation. Managing multiple social media accounts can be an entire job by itself, and the team at Bordo is here to help.

Bordo is a free social media management software that can help small businesses manage their social media accounts simply and effectively. Through Bordo, users can utilize royalty-free photo content from Unsplash, create stunning graphics with Canva and schedule posts to all social media platforms with a simple click.

“I’m most excited about making new connections in Birmingham. We know loads of people in the tech space, but branching out to other adjacent areas will be good moving forward. I’m excited to learn from the people who have built businesses several times over, and can give us the “what not to dos” as much as the tips and tricks.”

Michael Panik, Co-Founder, Bordo

4. Vulcan Line Tools

Vulcan Line Tools
Zac Young holding his Wave Timer. Photo via Vulcan Line Tools

Contact: Website

A star innovator at Auburn University is bringing his ground-breaking idea to the Alabama Launchpad competition this year. In fact, Zac Young of Vulcan Line Tools recently won $25,000 at the Auburn’s Harbert College of Business’ seventh annual Tiger Cage Competition for his product, the Wave Timer.

But what is the Wave Timer? Sag, temperature and tension are all crucial components of proper maintainance of power lines, but many power lines are built without knowing they meet the specifications. The Wave Timer connects to smartphones via Bluetooth to display sag, tension, and line temperature data, meaning line crews can quickly determine if the power line is properly set.

“I’m looking forward to the knowledge I can gain from my Launch Advisors. I’ve only been meeting with my advisors for about a week, but they have already helped me tremendously. I’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time, and I can’t be thankful enough for them. Being able to get advice from people who have years of experience has been awesome!”

Zac Young, Vulcan Line Tools

5. Fighting Cancer Network, Inc.

During the treatment process, cancer patients can easily be overwhelmed by the clutter of resources available. Fighting Cancer Network is a service designed specifically for cancer patients to help cut through the noise to find trustworthy resources pertaining to their diagnosis.

How does it work? Fighting Cancer Network will produce highly educational, short form videos with information about each specific diagnosis. The videos will include information from the world’s leading oncologists, without being too technical to comprehend. Once complete, Fighting Cancer Network’s collection of videos will be available to watch on a multitude of devices for free.

“We plan to fast-track our launch and I think our success will be shaped by the guidance we’re getting from Alabama Launchpad. If gold is refined by fire, this must be the first part of that process for Fighting Cancer Network. We’re already a better company, and we’ve just begun!”

Matt Scalici, CEO, Fighting Cancer Network

6. Pure Game Sports Network, Inc.


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If you’re looking to keep up with local high school sports, you need to keep Pure Game Sports Network on your radar. On their website, Pure Game Sports Network has the latest stats, rankings and more on all your favorite local sports teams. Through Pure Game Sports Network, high school sports programs can easily connect with their fans, making it easier to raise funds and engage with their audience.

Learn More at Alabama Launchpad’s Virtual Finale, May 12th

Austin Senseman, CEO of Conserv, pitches at an Alabama Launchpad Virtual Finale. Photo via Alabama Launchpad

On May 12th, these six concept-stage startups take the stage at Alabama Launchpad for a pitch you won’t forget (followed by five seed-stage companies on May 13th). Be sure to tune in to the Alabama Launchpad Virtual Finale to learn more about each participating startup!

If you think your startup has what it takes to be the next winner, be sure to sign up for Cycle 2 of Alabama Launchpad. Sign up today for the Concept Stage and Seed Stage categories!

Which startup do you want to learn more about? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

Sponsored by:

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer + Photographer

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