5 Startups In Alabama Competing For $100,000 As Part Of Launch Pad Competition

Alabama Launchpad,Alabama startups,startup newsAlabama’s startup supporters have put their money where there mouth is as the current  Alabama Launch Pad competition prepares to come to a close late next week.

Alabama’s Launch Pad competition began in 2005 and gives early stage startups and small businesses a chance to compete for much needed funding that can help spark a company to the next level.

The current competition saw 12 startups compete in a pitch off style competition on March 3rd which initially cut the number of teams down to 7. They then had another “market assessment” which narrowed the field to five. Those five remaining teams will compete in a finale on May 3rd which will determine how much of the $100,000 prize each team will get.

“Our goal is to really feed the pipeline for early stage startups. Having just one competition per year is not enough,” Angela Wier told the Birmingham Business Journal. “What we would like to do is run a pre-seed four times per year, but we can’t leap to that overnight.”

The Economic Development Partnership Of Alabama raises the Launch Pad prize money from the private sector, the Alabama Research Alliance and seven Alabama Universities.

Launch Pad Programs Director Greg Sheek is hopeful that they will raise additional funds to run another program this year, possibly targeting “speed up” startups.

One of the challenges that Sheek and Wier are working with is that 50% of the money coming out of the Birmingham based Central Alabama Angel Network is going to out of state companies. Both are hoping to curb that by giving more companies access to programming that will prepare them better for pitching investor.

“We want to get in a place where we’d like to prepare more and more companies to pitch to the investment community and keep them right here,” Wier said.

Alabama ranks as one of the friendliest cities to small business, read that story here!

Birmingham Startup NotIt Labs Shows Off iPhone App At SXSW [video][sxsw]

Notit,NotIt Labs, Birmingham Startup,Alabama Startup,startup,startups,startup interview,sxsw,sxswiBirmingham Alabama’s startup ecosystem continues to grow. Joshua Gilmer knows that first hand. He’s a serial entrepreneur that already has a successful web agency and is now putting the finishing touches on his mobile startup NotIt Labs.

NotIt is a mobile app that will debut on the iPhone in the next couple of months. The app makes delegating tasks fun, and a bit more fair.

Say you’re at the office and someone needs to go on a coffee run. Well, using NotIt everyone in the office can basically call “not it” and the last person to respond of course gets stuck with the task of running to the coffee shop.

It’s just as effective with house hold chores, mowing the lawn, picking up the kids, or even an old fashioned game of tag.

“We all know how to play Not It: give out some task arbitrarily to an open forum and all the kids would say ‘not it.’ We are taking that social contract to social media,” Joshua Gilmer,told Mashable in an interview as SXSW.

While the idea behind the mobile app is simple enough, it hasn’t been done before and the UI looks fantastic for an idea so simple.

In the interview below Gilmer talks about how he came up with the idea after reading the book “Reality is Broken”. He wanted to create something that blended the online world with real life.

The iPhone app should release in the coming months. The team plans to resort to KickStarter to raise money to build an Android version as well.

Check out the video below and for more info visit notitlabs.co

Here are more startup stories from SXSW 2013

Auburn Startup: GetCharitable Nominated For 2013 Mobility Award At CES

GetCharitable, Auburn startup, CES 2013An Auburn Alabama startup that accelerated in Oklahoma City’s BluePrint For Business accelerated has just made history, by getting nominated for a distinguished 2013 Mobility Award at CES 2013.

GetCharitable, founded by Auburn University students Michael Isaacs and Kyle DeTullio, makes donating to charity extremely easy for the slackest of slacktivists. The app, currently available in the Google Play Store for Android devices, downloads a sponsored image daily.

Once the app is installed it’s so easy, GetCharitable says:

“That’s it! Once the app is running, you needn’t do a thing – just kick back and wake up each morning with the confidence that you saved a hungry child’s life as a new sponsored image appears each day.”

The Auburn startup was nominated for a prestigious “2013 Mobility Award” as part of the Mobiletrax event. Mobiletrax and the Mobility Awards were founded by longtime industry expert Gerry Purdy PhD.

While most exhibitors at the International CES are vying for “Best of CES” awards and nominations the Mobility Awards are a distinguished honor voted on by top level peers in the mobile industry as well as mobile focused media.

What’s particularly noteworthy for this honor in regards to GetCharitable is that this is the first time that such an early stage startup has been among the nominees. That alone speaks eons to the viability and prospects for the idea focused behind this mobile, socially conscious startup.

The winners will be revealed during a ceremony and banquet January 9th in Las Vegas during the International CES.



More on the 2013 Mobility Awards at CES

Startups in the village have 3 chances to pitch for $100,000 in cash

Auburn Startup Get Charitable Prepares For Demo Day In OKC

One day over a cold draft I’ll tell you the great story behind Michael Isaacs and Kyle DeTullio, their Auburn startup Get Charitable and just how they got into the BluePrint For Business Startup Accelerator in Oklahoma City at the last possible second. Once they made it in though, this duo is looking more like the 2010 Auburn Tigers rather than the Auburn Tigers of today (what a difference a little time makes).

Isaacs and DeTullio met at Auburn University as pledge brothers in 2008 at Sig EP.

Isaacs and DeTullio had been thinking about socially conscious startups last fall.  Over Thanksgiving break last year, Michael thought that if they could leverage smartphone markets, they might be able to make a little difference with a startup.  If they could use advertising revenue, Michael realized, they could possibly feed one child per day for every person that would download their app.  But to make sure they could get this revenue to feed the child daily, the advertisement would have to be outside of an app that the user would have to open.  That’s when Michael knew they had to bring the advertisement to the user, so everyone could work together to make a difference for each child.  The wallpaper and notification menu were the perfect place.

Auburn is a college town built on steadfast traditions. Auburn is a nice town, with a huge swell when class is in session. When it’s not it shrinks down to a small town atmosphere. It’s very old school when it comes to business. If you were going to open a new restaurant you could easily get the townspeople on board. A startup, not so much. A tech startup, even more not so much. A social startup, fuggedabout it.

That’s why the duo started looking for an accelerator outside of Alabama and landed on Blue Print for Business. BP4B is a member of the Techstars/Global Accelerator Network and their first class is graduating on Thursday.

Check out our interview with Isaacs below.

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Birmingham Startup: VIPAAR First To Receive Funds From Central Alabama Angel Network

The Central Alabama Angel Network, formed last February, has found it’s first startup to invest in. The company called VIPAAR works out of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot.

The Birmingham startup is led by CEO Drew Deaton and is based on a technology licensed from the University of Alabama At Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. VIPAAR is a telemedicine startup which allows surgeons and others in the OR to communicate with other ORs, galleries or consult.

VIPAAR works with cameras that are extremely light weight but provide great pictures, and also two way audio communication that allows the surgeon to explain whats going on in the camera shot, and if appropriate, answer questions. VIPAAR, and telemedicine for that matter, allow surgeons who often lecture by showing and explaining surgery through video, to actually show surgeries in real time, using VIPAAR and transmitted via the internet, keeping those speaking doctors in the OR for more surgeries.

VIPAAR’s VIP system can be applied in other teaching scenarios as well. The system combines two major parts an image processing server and a video conference unit. In the surgery setting a video image of the surgery site is shown and an image of the surgeons hands is super imposed within the image.

VIPAAR has a variety of uses in the operating room. The system could be used to offer close up teaching videos to students in an observation deck. It could also be used to transmit surgeries from an operating room in Baltimore to a class of students in Los Angeles using high speed internet.  The VIP system could even be used in a one on one setting such as a consult or if a surgeon wants a second surgeon at a remote location to sit in on the surgery.

Medcitynews reports that VIPAAR has raised more than half of the $1.2 million dollars they are looking for in this round. It has not been disclosed how much the Central Alabama Angel Network contributed.


Check out VIPAAR here

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Auburn Alabama Startup: GolfJoust The Perfect FREE Father’s Day Gift

Auburn Alabama is known for their Auburn Tigers championship football team, Bo Jackson, Cam Netwon and being the alma mater of Apple CEO Tim Cook. It’s not known (yet) for it’s thriving startup scene.

There’s a startup in Auburn hoping to change that, and they are Verge Pipe Media. Verge Pipe Media is a media engagement, social, app developer who’s signature product Golf Joust is turning heads on the golf course because it’s easy, different and a lot more fun than just a boring old score keeping app.

The Verge Pipe team is headed by CEO and founder Don Crow and COO Meredith Singer. Crow had a seasoned career at America Online and has a firm background in media. Singer also has a background in media having worked in television and interactive media throughout their career. They came together last year to work on both Verge Pipe Media and their first major project GolfJoust.

Their office in downtown Auburn is screaming startup culture despite the fact that they’re just a smidgeon older than the 20 something sect of startup founders springing up across the country. That doesn’t matter though, when you walk in there’s of course orange and blue accents, but high top wooden desks, macs everywhere and the classic big ass table in the middle of the office for brainstorming sessions, meetings and lunch.  It’s here next to Auburn’s oldest used bookstore and a stone throws away from campus that the magic happens.

You may be asking yourself just how magic can a golf app be. After all Golf Joust is their first signature product. Well Crow and Singer along with their developers have come up with a golf app that combines golf, scoring, daily deals, social networking and gamification into one complete package.

With Golf Joust you keep your score and as you play more rounds you move up through knighthood. You stay social within your golf group (typically of four) and also golfers near you and the entire network.

There’s challenges, badges (for good and bad) and even the ability to get deals from clubhouses and golf courses.

They’re even working on an element of Fantasy golf where you can play against your favorite PGA players at your favorite PGA courses. I really hate paraphrasing EA sports but Golf Joust really lets you get in the game.

Crow and Singer are constantly brainstorming more and more things that they can add to Golf Joust and they aren’t afraid to get out in the trenches. They regularly spend days out on the golf course promoting Golf Joust. Crow admits that while he expected easy adoption from golfers 18-25 their next biggest segment is in their early 40’s like himself.

Crow explained that many people love the game of golf but know their limits and levels so utilizing Golf Joust and then adding the ability to play against their favorite players makes it even more fun. But the social element makes it ripe for “crap talking” against golfing buddies. You can even give badges to your fellow knights when they hit the double bogey.

So while we would never advocate giving someone a free gift for Father’s Day, introducing your dad, or the golfer in your family to Golf Joust for Father’s day may get a thank you for many years to come.


Check out Golf Joust at their web page here

Here’s your download link for the Google Play Store

Here’s Golf Joust in the iTunes Store

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Alabama Startup: Arch Data Intelligence Introduces Arch Patent


A very promising startup in Huntsville Alabama has released a professional version of their patent product called Arch Patent. Arch Patent is a product catered to startup founders, inventors, lawyers and corporate R & D departments.

According to founders Tony Rainoldi and Jason Martin, who are both graduates of UA Huntsville, say that their product simplifies patent research.

Most investors, lawyers, and founders are relying on free search tools and even Google to do vital research on intellectual property and patents, that could, down the road, lead to a ton of legal problems. The Arch Patent product has fees associated with it, but it’s much more affordable than hiring a patent research firm.

“We found that people were relying on free search tools offered by Google and other, but were frustrated that they didn’t do enough. They had lots of ideas about what functionality they needed to save time and money. We set out to build the best patent search tool available,” Martin said to AL.com

Arch Patent has other advantages too. One of those is the ability to search patents dating back to 1920. Other patent searches only go back to 1976. Arch Patent will eventually grow to be part of what the two co-founders are calling the Arch IP Global Marketplace.

Rainoldi and Martin are using $25,000 in seed money that they recently won in the Alabama LaunchPad Business Plan Competition. There were three UA Huntsville entrants in the competition. Of the three, Arch Data Intelligence was the only one to make it to the pre-seed or proof of concept stage. They then advanced to the next field where they took part in sharing a $100,000 seed money prize.


Find out more about Arch Data Intelligence here

Source: AL.com

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Huntsville Alabama Startup Has The Answer To Losing Money On Penny Auction Sites

Over the past few years penny auction sites have exploded. Just about every TV network has a slew of ads promoting one penny auction site or another. “Imagine getting the new iPad for $25” that’s how they attract bidders to their site. Many people have avoided penny auction sites because of the old adage, “If it sounds to good to be true it probably is” however, if you understand how penny auction sites work, with a little luck it can prove to be very profitable.

For those of you not familiar with the penny auction site, here’s a little primer of just how it works. You register for the site and link a payment source. The product that you’re bidding on starts off with a penny and moves up in price as more people bid on it. Easy enough right? Well while you’re bidding on the item at penny intervals, there is a payment or a bid cost that you incur, it could be anywhere from $.25 to $.99 so as you increase the cost of the item you are dumping that much more money into the auction itself.

When the penny auction closes, let’s say for that New iPad for $25.00 that could have been 2500 bids. If that penny auction site is charging say $.25 per bid that’s $625 they just made for the new iPad which would have cost you $499 in an electronics store. Now say you’re the winner. You would pay $25.00 the cost of the winning auction, but lets also say you have 100 bids in.  So now you’re paying $275.00 for the new iPad not $25.00. However, look it at for what it’s worth you just saved half price on a brand new iPad. What happens with the money if you don’t win?

More after the break
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Startup Quick Byte: Birmingham Al Startup Inks Deal With Zillow

A Birmingham AL new media startup called magiccitypost.com, which is a community news and lifestyle site in Birmingham Alabama has inked a new deal with real estate giant Zillow. The startup operates out of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot a local tech accelerator.

The Birmingham Buziness Journal reports that a new co-branded web product will launch next month. Although the details are scarce it would make sense that it will be some sort of real estate directory or interactive listing section for the site.

Emily Lowery, founder of Magic City LLC said that the launch will include rebranding and new marketing. She would not disclose the financial details of the deal to the Business Journal. It has been reported that the deal is expected to double their annual revenue.

Source: Birmingham Business Journal

Birmingham Alabama Hosting A Startup Day On April 24th

They don’t have a Startup America affiliation yet and they haven’t had a formal 3 day 54 hour startup weekend, however Birmingham Alabama has a growing startup scene. Birmingham has an active startup Twitter account called StartupBirmingham and they have a startup day coming on April 24th.

The all day event will be held at Birmingham’s WorkPlay theater and the organizers are calling the event the Startup Summit. The organizers are Jonathan Sides the CFO of Daxlo and Tony Summerville the founder of his own startup called Rarestep which makes Fleetio a web based solution for fleet management.

As with all great startup events Sides and Summerville have enlisted the help of some of the top entrepreneurs in Birmingham’s startup ecosystem as well as community business leaders. More than 100 startup founders and entrepreneurs will attend the event. Sides and Summerville promise in addition to the content, lectures and panels there will be several networking coffee breaks, a networking lunch and an after event party where startup founders can network with each other. As we know that’s an integral part to any startup event.

More after the break
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