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Alabama Launchpad chooses finalists in latest startup competitions

The state’s most active early seed funding source for startup companies has selected 11 finalists in its latest competition.

Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), announced the finalists for two stages of its competition: those in the concept stage, who are usually pre-revenue, and those in the early seed stage, who are looking to accelerate the growth of their existing business.

Companies receive investments from the fund after a panel of judges determine they are the best among a cycle’s finalists.

During its 15-year history, Alabama Launchpad has funded 102 startups with over $5.6 million in non-dilutive money. Winning companies have created nearly 900 jobs in the state and reached a combined post-money valuation of $400+ million, according to the organization.

The concept stage finalists competing for $25,000 are:

Cheers: a food delivery service accessible by text message, bringing you the most convenient, affordable meals from local restaurants to your home and office

Etrak Technologies: an IoT company with wearable technology and supporting applications that collect and analyze a user’s movement, helping to predict and reduce overuse injuries

NanoXort: an Auburn-based startup that creates safe and multifunctional contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that will enhance diagnostic accuracy and provide patients with safer, more effective treatments

ProU Sports: a digital sports ecosystem built specifically for college fans to keep up with their favorite former athletes now in the pros

Solved!: a Madison-based company that uses proprietary mathematical software to develop algorithms that greatly reduce calculation times involving large datasets

The Help Project: a concept for a community hub designed as a safe space for creatives, parents, professionals and businesses to work, live, create and collaborate

The companies in the early seed stage, who will be competing for $50,000, are:

Feast B’ham: an online platform helping local restaurants utilize catering to increase sales, create jobs & reach more customers

Field Culture Compost: a former Alabama Launchpad concept stage winner that uses organic wastes bound for landfills to produce compost that is sold to farmers, landscapers and home gardeners

Sandler Scientific: a Montgomery-based medical company with an innovative and effective nasal rinse that offers a better customer experience

The Wealth Edit: a digital ecosystem focused on financial literacy for women through live classes, a library of courses, office hours and community discussions

Xcellent Life: an AI-powered mobile app that improves wellness by analyzing information captured from wearables and other sources to provide real-time insights into a person’s health

As the competition moves forward, each company will participate in workshops and seminars with coaches and business consultants who will share field expertise. The cohort is comprised of entrepreneurs from Auburn, Birmingham, Madison and Montgomery, Alabama and a majority of founders identify as people of color.

Miller Girvin, EDPA executive vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, highlighted the strength of the startups taking part in the competition.

“We are impressed with the applicant pool that was interested Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 2 2021, and look forward to progress with the eleven companies our Launch Advisors have selected,” Girvin stated. “Cycle over cycle, we are encouraged by the growth, commitment, and creativity of entrepreneurs across the state. We are grateful to our Launch Advisors for providing their expertise to strengthen these promising companies and look forward to seeing the finalists’ growth over the next six weeks thanks to their mentorship.”

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The two winners from last year’s competition, MOXIE and Culture Compost, received a combined $150,000 in funding. MOXIE is a company that creates high-tech web-based solutions for industrial operations. Culture Compost is a firm that aims to reduce landfill waste by producing compost.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia