Reviewed by: Pat Byington
Last year, Alabama Launchpad awarded $225,000 in seed funding to six promising Alabama startups. We reached out to four past winners to learn how Alabama Launchpad has helped their companies grow.
Do you have an idea for Alabama’s next big thing? The Alabama Launchpad team wants to help you bring it to life. Applications for the first Cycle of 2023 are open now through February 6th—click here to apply!
About Alabama Launchpad
Established in 2006 by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), Alabama Launchpad drives innovation and job growth in the state through its startup competitions and mentoring for entrepreneurs. With $6 million invested into 112 Alabama startups over the past 16 years, Alabama Launchpad is the state’s most active early-stage fund investor. Today, those investments have generated over 1,300 jobs for the state and have a combined post-money valuation of over $1 billion.
During each Alabama Launchpad competition, finalists are divided into two groups:
- Finalists in the concept stage are usually pre-revenue and compete for $25,000.
- Finalists in the early seed stage are competing for $50,000 to accelerate the growth of their existing business.
In 2022, Alabama Launchpad awarded startup funds to six new winners.
- Cycle 1
- Cycle 2
- Cycle 3 / Social Impact Competition
Interview with 2022 Alabama Launchpad Winners
Aiko Pickering, Monthly
Aiko Pickering is the Founder of Monthly, the Concept Stage winner of Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition. Monthly creates gender-inclusive, sustainable and price-accessible menstrual underwear for all people with a cycle—and Aiko contributes a percentage of Monthly’s profits to charities fighting period poverty in the South.
“Being young, new to the world of business and still finding my way, I constantly get imposter syndrome. The Launchpad Competition, mentors and the amazing people with EDPA really helped me find my confidence with running my business and helped me squash that imposter syndrome. Each person I came in contact with truly helped me realize that I have what it takes to make my business flourish and that I can wake up and get things done!”Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly
Tevin Harrell, TaxxWiz
Tevin Harrell is the CEO of TaxxWiz, a financial technology company that is developing new software solutions for tax professionals. Since the win, the TaxxWiz team has used their Launchpad winnings to ramp up software development and onboard more tax professionals just in time for the tax season.
“Just apply. Even if you don’t win, the mentorship is priceless. We weren’t sure if we were ready to apply, but after a couple of months in the Alabama Launchpad competition we won $50,000—so it’s safe to say we’re glad we applied! The team at EDPA are great and will do anything to help you both during the Alabama Launchpad process and after. Launchpad was an experience that drastically helped us grow our business over the last few months.”Tevin Harrell, TaxxWiz
Jennifer Ryan, Croux
Croux—an app-based solution that connects vetted food service talent to restaurants that need their skills—was brand new when it started its Alabama Launchpad journey. According to CEO Jennifer Ryan, the Alabama Launchpad experience taught the team how to test, iterate and leverage learnings to evolve their idea into the real deal.
“Less than a year after being invited to participate in Alabama Launchpad, we have built an app, broadened the team, activated four markets, filled over 1300 shifts, supported more than 45 businesses and provided nearly 3,000 talent with the powerful opportunity to earn flexibly. Thanks to that momentum, we completed a $1M raise, which will support the company’s growth in 2023 and 2024.”Jennifer Ryan, Co-Founder and CEO, Croux
What’s next for Croux? Currently, they are geared up to launch another 12+ markets across the southeast in 2023, including Jacksonville, Gainesville and Savannah in the coming months.
Emile Hughes, RideResorts
Emile Hughes is a Birmingham native and co-founder of Ride Resorts, a pay-to-ride mountain biking park offering a unique mountain biking experience in The Magic City. Ride Resorts was the Concept Stage winner of Alabama Launchpad’s 2nd Cycle of 2022.
“If you are a first time founder, the Alabama Launchpad competition is worth it. You will learn a lot about how to talk about your business and, in the process, shore up weaknesses in your plan and how to lean into its strengths. Even if something isn’t your strong suit, being forced to work on it and having adequate time to adjust will yield improvement.”Emile Hughes, Co-Founder, Ride Resorts
Your startup could be the next Alabama Launchpad winner
Just like Monthly, TaxxWiz, Croux, Ride Resorts and many other other startups, Alabama Launchpad wants to help you grow your great idea into a thriving new business. If you want to learn from experienced Alabama entrepreneurs, collaborate with other startups and get the opportunity to win thousands in seed funding, all you need to do is apply.
Ready to take the next step? Applications to Alabama Launchpad’s next competition are now open! Click here to visit the Alabama Launchpad website, learn more and apply.