11 finalists chosen for Alabama Launchpad finale in Auburn


Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

The names are in! Last week, Alabama Launchpad—a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA)—announced the 11 startups that will be completing for a portion of $75K in Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2023. Between now and the Finale, participating startups will learn from experienced Launch Advisors, collaborate with fellow entrepreneurs and develop a rock-solid business plan.

Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2023 finale will take place at The Park at Auburn University on August 17. Learn more and get your tickets online!

Meet the Startups

Concept Stage

Finalists in the concept stage are usually pre-revenue and compete for $25,000.

CheckMySpot, Inc.

CheckMySpot, Inc. is a web and app based teledermatology screening service designed to promote the early detection of skin cancer. Through CheckMySpot, users can submit photographs of skin lesions for timely screening by experienced, board-certified dermatologists. If the lesion is determined to be worrisome, CheckMySpot will expedite a referral to either the user’s dermatologist, or to a qualified dermatology provider in their area for further evaluation.

“Although a cash prize is welcome and needed, what we hope to gain is a network of new friends and colleagues that will take this journey with us. Ideally, by participating in Alabama Launchpad, the CheckMySpot team will form a lasting connection with the EDPA team, our Launch Advisors, and the other participating contestants. By sharing ideas, warning of past mistakes, offering support, engaging in constructive collaboration, and hopefully having a little bit of fun, CheckMySpot and all of the Launchpad teams will walk away maybe not prize money richer, but vastly richer in people, an invaluable resource now and for future endeavors.”

Elizabeth S. Webb, Operations and Regulation, CheckMySpot, Inc.

CheckMySpot, Inc.: Website | Facebook | LinkedIn | Email

NanoPrintek, Inc.

Alabama Launchpad
Masoud Mahjouri-Samani, PhD, Inventor, Founder and President of NanoPrintek, Inc. (NanoPrintek)

“NanoPrintek’s goal is to become the world’s leading printed electronics manufacturing company. This requires development in multiple aspects, including entrepreneurial skills,  marketing skills, management skills, networking, and monetary resources to accelerate the process. I believe Alabama Launchpad can provide access to all these resources. I am looking forward to meeting new people, expanding my network and seeking new opportunities.”

Masoud Mahjouri-Samani, PhD, Inventor, Founder and President of NanoPrintek, Inc.

NanoPrintek is developing the world’s first dry nano printer, transforming the way electronics are printed. Founded in 2022 based on an invention developed at Auburn University, NanoPrintek can print pure, multilateral, multifunctional and hybrid materials on demand.

NanoPrintek, Inc.: Website | LinkedIn | Email

SwiftTrax, LLC

Led by Owens and Mitchell Hall—two brothers from a 4th generation trucking family—SwiftTrax, LCC builds out-of-the-box solutions for the trucking industry. The company’s innovative tech solutions work universally with Transportation Management Systems to help truckers track documents, provide insights to load data and more.

“As first-time founders, we are hoping to learn from advisors how to successfully launch and scale a company. Personally, I’m looking the most forward to meeting new people. It can feel isolating starting a company and being a part of a larger community of founders is huge.”

Owens Hall, Co-Founder, SwiftTrax, LLC

SwiftTrax, LLC: Website | LinkedIn

The Gathering Lab

Alabama Launchpad
Janet King, Founder of The Gathering Lab. (The Gathering Lab)

Through The Gathering Lab, founder Janet King aims to facilitate a new way to grow human connections into strong, meaningful networks. The Gathering Lab matches diverse groups of 8-12 people (based on similar interests, values and/or life stage) and invites them to connect authentically over dinner.

“By the end of Alabama Launchpad, I envision The Gathering Lab has benefitted deeply from the knowledge and expertise of our Launchpad advisors, who have helped us unlock new insights and ideas to further test, validate, and define our concept. And of course, winning the pitch competition wouldn’t hurt!”

Janet King, Founder, The Gathering Lab

The Gathering Lab: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn

VivoSphere, LLC

Alabama Launchpad
VisoSphere Co-Founders Dr. Elizabeth Lipke and Dr. Yuan Tian. (VivoSphere)

Developed by Yuan Tian, PhD and his PhD advisor, Dr. Elizabeth Lipke, VivoSphere technology is designed to create more human-like tissue for the purpose of testing drug responses. By using the human-like tissue from VivoSphere’s technology, researchers can reduce false positive drug candidates at an early stage, which can help avoid failure during the clinical stage.

“I am very excited about all the thinking and learning I will have during the training and coaching process. It will help me to think deeply into our business and have these ‘Aha’ moments. Through Alabama Launchpad, we hope to have a better understanding of all important components contributing to a successful startup through the training and coaching process, and further finalize our business model. We also want to build connections, get our company known by a wider audience, and seek potential business advisors, partners and even investors.”

Yuan Tian, Co-Founder and CTO of VivoSphere

VivoSphere: Website | YouTube | Email

Seed Stage

Finalists in the early seed stage are competing for $50,000 to accelerate the growth of their existing business. 

Autonoma, Inc.

Alabama Launchpad
Will Bryan and Mustafa Alp, Co-Founders of Autonoma. (Autonoma)

Autonoma has developed a high-fidelity vehicle-in-the-loop (VIL) testing platform that allows companies to test their vehicles in a safe environment while “seeing” a virtual world. This technology will help companies improve the performance of self-driving cars in edge cases.

“By the end of the Launchpad process, we hope to improve our company’s messaging and story, be better prepared for growth, and refine our business model. With the great mentors Alabama Launchpad provides, we have a great opportunity to improve our company in many facets, including things we have not prioritized in the past. We are most looking forward to pitch day, where we can show our vision for safer future mobility and reflect on the progress made during the previous weeks.”

Will Bryan, Co-Founder and CEO, Autonoma, Inc.

Autonoma, Inc.: Website | LinkedIn | Email


Alabama Launchpad
Blutapp’s Bluetooth-enabled therapy device. (BluTapp)

BluTapp is an innovative personal device enabling the remote treatment of anxiety, PTSD and trauma. Founded by Chris Causey MA—a licensed psychotherapist with 15+ years of experience in treating PTSD—BluTapp was initially designed for therapists as a remote, digital tool to use with their clients. Soon, BluTapp will be available to consumers.

“We are looking forward to making new connections and contacts through Alabama Launchpad—and $50k would be so helpful as we ramp up production! I was born in Birmingham and love the big, small town feel of the people and the connections!”

Chris Causey MA, Founder, BluTapp

BluTapp: Website | LinkedIn


Alabama Launchpad
Jonathan Shugart, CEO and Co-Founder of CharIT, LLC. (CharIT, LLC)

CharIT, LLC is a fintech SAAS company that aims to create a modern charitable giving tool and marketing it in a simple, smart and social way. The company’s first SAAS product is a modern DAF (Donor Advised Fund) platform for a public charity called B Charitable. This platform will allow donors to set up charitable crowdfunding campaigns through the platform. Donors can sign up, name their charitable giving fund, and get started in about 5 clicks.

“By the end of the Alabama Launchpad process, I hope to have a better idea of both our strong points and blindspots in our organizational leadership, our platform, and our go-to-market strategy. I am most looking forward to being challenged and helped by some amazing coaches and resources in the startup space.”

Jonathan Shugart, CEO and Co-Founder, CharIT, LLC

B Charitable: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn


(Left to right) Jennifer Ryan, Lindsey Noto, Stewart Price, Brett Ables and Kenny Kung of Croux. (CROUX)

Founded by hospitality veterans, CROUX connects talent with flexible work opportunities—providing businesses with the ability to grow their workforce quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively while providing talent with the flexibility to earn cash easily and immediatel

“We were fortunate enough to go through the Launchpad experience last year right when we launched the company. Alabama Launchpad was the single most formative experience for our business and our team, from the mentorship and advice to the practical guidance. We’re most excited about receiving tough but valuable feedback on our progress to date. Having access to this smart and seasoned group of people is not an everyday experience. We’re not taking that brainpower for granted.”

Jennifer Ryan, Co-Founder and CEO, CROUX

CROUX: Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

Health OpX, Inc.

Founded by 2nd Generation Americans, Health OpX, Inc. offers software to help nonprofits—such as food pantries, diaper banks, churches and more—accurately and effectively report their impact to donors and partner with government entities and healthcare organizations. Their goal? To help create a sustainable change in their communities by supporting the community-based organizations that helped them growing up.

“I am most looking forward to working with the mentors during the program and asking for specific guidance to improve our business. Additionally, anytime that we have the chance to work with people with the pedigree that the mentors at Alabama Launchpad have and have the opportunity to turn them into an advocate for our organization, the happier we are!”

Wesley Ma, Founder and CEO, Health OpX, Inc.

Health OpX, Inc.: Website | LinkedIn | Email

NIXA, Inc.

By seamlessly incorporating advanced and eco-friendly technologies into everyday homes, NIXA, Inc. aims to revolutionize the smart home ecosystem. For example, one of NIXA’s notable inventions is a patent-pending smart level 2 electric vehicle (EV) charger. NIXA’s smart charger enables at-home EV charging and also integrates with smart home devices, creating a connected ecosystem that automates daily routines.

“Our primary objective is for NIXA to emerge from the Alabama Launchpad program fully equipped to navigate the challenges of a start-up. We are grateful for the invaluable assistance and support provided by Alabama Launchpad’s talented team of advisors, which will play a crucial role in our journey. We look forward to meeting fellow founders and advisors in the thriving Alabama start-up community. Engaging with like-minded individuals will provide valuable networking opportunities and foster mutual growth.”

McDowell Pinckard, Co-Founder, NIXA, Inc.

NIXA, Inc.: Website

See these startups compete on Thursday, August 17

Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
Past Alabama Launchpad winners Monthly and VB Ideas. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2023 finale will take place at The Park at Auburn University on August 17. To learn more and reserve tickets, please click here.

Which of these Alabama startups do you want to learn more about? Tag us @bhamnow to let us know!

Sponsored by:

Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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