Find out how Birmingham’s tech scene is growing + 3 companies to watch

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Birmingham tech scene
Let’s discover Birmingham’s growing tech scene with Matt Hottle, Redhawk Advisory. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now.

When thinking of cities with the biggest growing tech scenes in America, you’ll probably mention San Francisco or Austin, but it’s about time to add Birmingham to that list. Thanks to Alabama Futures Fund (AFF), more tech companies are growing in the area and choosing our city as their startup location. Read to find out more about AFF and the exciting new startup companies redefining Birmingham’s tech scene.

What is the Alabama Futures Fund?

Birmingham tech scene
AFF is bringing new tech startups to Bham. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now.

AFF is a 25 million dollar fund set up to invest in early-stage tech companies. They’re purely focused on companies in Alabama or ones willing to relocate their headquarters to Alabama.

They have currently invested in 13 startup companies. Four of these were already based in Alabama while the nine others were recruited country-wide from places including San Francisco and New York City.

Where we are right now

Birmingham's tech scene
Prepaid2Cash is one of the many exciting companies consisting of Birmingham’s tech scene. Photo via Prepaid2Cash

Matt Hottle is co-founder of Redhawk Advisory, the investment manager for AFF, and he gave us some insight on what the tech scene really looks like and where its going.

Hottle says our city’s technological scene has grown exponentially in recent years, and we’re just starting to become an emerging eco-system for tech startups in our geographical area.

However, Birmingham has already had some huge successes, like Therapy Brands selling for 1.2 billion dollars to KKR and Shipt selling to Target for 550 million.

We still have a long way to go, but in the next five years Matt sees major growth happening.

Where we’re going

As more companies move to Birmingham, even more tech-startups are sure to grow out of them.

“If you look at other areas, you’ll usually find a few large tech companies, and they’ll shed talent, so these few companies turn into dozens of new companies. I think that is what we’ll see in Birmingham.”

Matt Hottle, Redhawk Advisory, Birmingham

With large companies such as Shipt that involve big exits, employees take their stock options and use the money to start their own businesses. This further expands Birmingham’s technological ecosystem.

Another big factor that will continue to draw big tech companies to headquarter in our city is location. As larger cities up north continue to have an exodus leading them to less compacted areas, Birmingham stands as a perfect place to relocate.

“Places like Birmingham represent all the opportunity with a tenth of the cost and potentially a significant improvement on quality of life.”

Matt Hottle, Redhawk Advisory, Birmingham

Many of AFF’s founders have said that upon moving to Birmingham, they not only were able to operate at much lower costs, but they also greatly enjoyed life in the Magic City.

Companies to look out for

Birmingham tech scene
Discover new businesses creating our tech scene. Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now.

AFF is bringing so many new companies to the area that you’ll want to check out. Their most recent investment is with MomentMD, a telemedicine application, and they will be moving their headquarters from Oviedo, Florida to Birmingham.

Here are a few other tech companies you should follow that are either already in our city or coming soon.

1. Prepaid2Cash

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You can turn your gift-cards into cash with Prepaid2Cash. Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Prepaid2Cash is a mobile app letting people exchange gift cards for cash via smartphone. Their technology and partnerships allow users to exchange cards and receive payment directly to their bank account within 24 hours.

Thanks to AFF, Prepaid2Cash moved their headquarters from San Francisco to Birmingham.

2. Datacy

datacy logo
Photo via Beth Cunningham for Bham Now

Based in London, England and Dayton, TN, Datacy is relocating its US headquarters to Birmingham. This company allows businesses to buy data collected directly from participants.

Datacy hopes to change the data collection process by ensuring consumers’ privacy, control and visibility into their personal data through a simple platform. Buyers subscribing to the platform will receive ethically sourced, high-quality data sets while consumers will be paid for data they would otherwise have been giving away for free.

3. Joonko

Joonko is a promising startup based in Birmingham. Photo via Joonko
Joonko is a promising startup based in Birmingham. Photo via Joonko

Joonko is a platform using advanced technologies to help companies find and hire candidates that reflect a more diverse workforce. They moved their global headquarters from San Fransisco to Birmingham in 2018 after receiving funding from the AFF.

What are you most excited about when it comes to Bham’s tech scene? Let us know by tagging us @bhamnow!

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