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Gaining Momentum More Than a Start-Up Competition


“Alabama Launchpad, a public-private partnership, plays the vital role in driving the state’s next generation of economic development by working to identify, nurture and grow innovations, technologies and great ideas that have been developed in the state and that can be turned into successful businesses and create jobs.“ GOVERNOR ROBERT BENTLEY

“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.” MICHAEL KORDA, WRITER AND NOVELIST, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SIMON & SCHUSTER

Table of Contents 1 Growing by the Numbers 2 Launchpad Continuum

Building Momentum for Entrepreneurship Support Entrepreneurs give us glimpses of opportunities that lie ahead and the vision for a stronger economy that will create new jobs for Alabamians for years to come. Our supporters are helping us build momentum for this important work, allowing us to help entrepreneurs perfect their pitch, focus a marketing strategy, access early capital, or identify a board member.

4 Nutripilot 5 Alabama Chai 6 Carbon Nanotube Engineered Surfaces, LLC 7 e-Electricity 8 BLOX 9 Exscien Corp. 10 Innovation Conference 11 Mentoring 12 Startup Village 13 The People Behind Launchpad

Angela Wier

As Alabama Launchpad evolves, our supporters are challenging us to raise the bar and have constantly Economic Development greater goals. In response, we are widening our Partnership of Alabama bandwidth and working with entrepreneurs at every stage of development: • At the invention disclosure stage, we are helping entrepreneurs and inventors understand the patentability of their invention and the commercial potential of their market. • At the proof of concept stage we are investing in companies — $235,000 in 2013 and are on target to invest $500,000 in 2014. • In 2014, we are adding a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant support program to help Alabama’s technology rich companies secure SBIR funding, an important form of non-dilutive funding that helps companies develop to be ready for seed stage and angel investment. • Our long-term plans call for the creation of a seed stage fund that can invest again in companies that mature and meet milestones. • In 2013 we joined the statewide angel network and are investing alongside the angel network in all Alabama operated companies. VI CE P R E S I D E N T

Alabama Launchpad is committed to entrepreneurship support. We believe that commitment is the igniter of momentum, and we have momentum.  With your support, we can accelerate again in 2014.  We invite you to continue to challenge us to stretch and ensure that Alabama Launchpad will develop Alabama’s next generation of leaders who will seize the exciting economic opportunities ahead.

Growing by the Numbers Our mission remains focused on growing the base of entrepreneurs in Alabama, and we continue to increase the pipeline of highgrowth start-up companies and to foster support for entrepreneurs in the state. We are proud of a landmark year in 2013 to add to the portfolio of our successes.

Created 221 knowledge-based jobs with Alabama Launchpad companies.

Raised $15 million in follow-on funding

Offered three rounds of competition to vet, mentor and invest in aspiring entrepreneurs. This was the first time in Alabama Launchpad’s history that we presented three continuous rounds to help startups perfect their pitches.

Received applications from 68 teams who sought to compete for a share of up to $100,000 in prize money in our Start-Up competition

Raised $485,000 in new funding

rounds. That’s a triple increase

from charitable foundations and

over previous years.


Assisted 6 Alabama

Drew 447 attendees to Alabama Launchpad

Launchpad start-ups

events. Our third annual Innovation and

to move into an

Entrepreneurship Conference had it largest

Alabama incubator.

attendance to date.

Assessed patentability and market viability to help entrepreneurs and inventors understand the commercial potential of his or her products. Completed 264 assessments.

“As one of the largest patent holders in the state, ADTRAN understands the importance of intellectual property. These innovations when brought to market have the ability to truly change people’s lives. I applaud the efforts of EDPA and Alabama Launchpad. By bringing together the best and brightest startups with our state’s research institutions, successful businesses and funding sources, this program is laying a foundation for success.”



More Than a Start-Up Competition 1

IDEA Assessing annually 400 early stage technologies and ideas for patentability and commercial viability


PROOF OF CONCEPT Offering 3 start-up competition rounds in 2014 with $500k in capital funding available

TECHNOLOGY OPPORTUNITY Marketing technologies ready for license on the “Alabama Interactive� database





High Growth


From idea to scaling up Alabama Launchpad is there every step of the way to help Alabama start-ups succeed.


SEED FUNDING Coming in 2015

6 4

ANGEL FUNDING Co-investing in Alabama-based start-ups with angel networks

SBIR SUPPORT PROGRAM Launching in 2014 with $200k dedicated to assist Alabama companies win federal SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) Grant dollars.


Mentoring & Networking


“You can have a great product, but unless you focus on the business aspects of your product, you cannot take it to market. Alabama Launchpad really allowed me to focus on the business aspect and receive the mentoring that I needed to do just that. Going through Alabama Launchpad helped me launch the product by putting the business plan together, focusing on market validation and getting more into the business aspect. Alabama Launchpad is like a mini-accelerator. It helps you focus on the business aspects and really prioritize that in the way that it should be.” MELANIE RUBERY, CEO AND DEVELOPER

Nutripilot A new benchmark in wellness apps, Nutripilot goes beyond calorie counting and exercise tracking to provide nutritional profiles of foods, simplifying healthy eating at home or on the go. Using compass symbols and colored nutrition icons to show users the best food options for their personal health goals, Nutripilot is positioned to provide a nutrition solution for the $40-billion mobile health market that has boomed to help control health care costs. “As a nutritionist, I saw how my patients needed a tool to help them navigate the thousands of food choices they face every day. Millions of people are working toward weight loss, millions more have a chronic health issue that can be treated with smarter eating. For all of them, Nutripilot is like having a dietitian in their pocket,” said Melanie Rubery , MS, RD, CEO and Developer. In May, Nutripilot became the first Alabama Launchpad Start-up award winner not associated with a university. The app became available on iTunes in November.


“Alabama Launchpad helped me hone and refine my business plan. It helped prove that the idea was valid, substantial and marketable. It provided the funds for me to take the plunge. I had been researching the idea and putting the idea together for about a year. Alabama Launchpad helped me pick up the pace and say, ‘OK, we are actually going to do this; we’re going to do it the best we can, and we are going to take all of our experience and knowledge and take the advice that we get from Alabama Launchpad.’ That was undeniably the catalyst for our launch.” MARSHALL MALONE, ALABAMA CHAI, CEO

Alabama Chai Alabama Chai, founded by Marshall Malone, CEO and Roger Stephenson, CFO, COO, is a beverage company, which sells great tasting micro-brewed, organic tea lattes and Chai (tea with milk & spices). These beverages will be sold as an 8 ounce ready-to-drink (RTD) beverage in grocery stores, cafés, restaurants and will also be sold as a gallon concentrate to cafés and restaurants where mix and steam service is available. In partnership with Working Cows Dairy, Alabama Chai will be brewed locally in Alabama with a mission to save the small dairy farmer.


“Alabama Launchpad is an incredibly valuable avenue to the people of Alabama who have good ideas, are not afraid of hard work and are willing to invest themselves wholeheartedly into bringing something new to life. Alabama Launchpad provides entrepreneurs, and those who want to be entrepreneurs, with the necessary challenges to prove both their ideas and themselves. I would strongly encourage anyone who thinks they have a potential startup to pursue the Alabama Launchpad Competition. I have seen firsthand that the EDPA rewards those who believe in themselves and can demonstrate that their ideas have the potential to create value. Without Alabama Launchpad, I would not have the opportunities I do today.“ ADAM FICKEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Carbon Nanotube Engineered Surfaces, LLC Carbon Nanotube Engineered Surfaces, LLC (CNTES) is a start-up company focused on commercializing new technology related to the production of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). More specifically, the technology enables CNTES to integrate MWCNTs directly onto the surfaces of engineered materials. Carbon nanotubes are microscopic, tube-shaped structures that exhibit strength 100 times greater than steel at 1/6th the weight, electrical conductivity six times greater than copper, and thermal conductivity equivalent to diamond. CNTES’s goal is to become the preeminent provider for MWCNT enhanced materials. The company holds an exclusive worldwide license on patent pending technology developed by Auburn University and the University of Alabama. The technology offers a new method of producing carbon nanotubes, which is significantly faster (1/10th of the time) and lower cost than existing methods.


“Alabama Launchpad not only helped us financially, funding us with $33,500 but also helped us to develop a more thorough business plan. The feedback from the judges throughout the competition gave us valuable insight on what we needed to work on.” SLOAN MCCRARY, CEO OF e-ELECTRICITY

Will Sanders, UA associate engineering professor Jaber Abu-Qahouq and Sloan McCrary

e-Electricity e-Electricity, a start-up company affiliated with the University of Alabama, is developing a new wireless energy harvesting technology, using radio frequency waves to charge mobile electronics. The technology being developed at e-Electricity, wireless energy harvesting, is an antenna designed to receive radio frequency waves from virtually any source, including cell phone towers, WiFi networks, other mobile electronics or any other source of RF waves. These RF waves are then converted into electricity that can either be used immediately or stored within your cell phone’s battery. The firm has developed an initial prototype that is about the size of a wallet that can power a small LED light. The company is working towards miniaturizing this design and then optimizing it to use in mobile electronics. The e-Electricity team includes Sloan McCrary, CEO and a UA master of business administration student, UA associate engineering professor Jaber Abu-Qahouq, Whitney Hough with UA’s Office for Technology Transfer and Will Sanders, UA marketing graduate and CMO of e-Electricity.


“Alabama Launchpad works. Last year BLOX was a young company with potential. Today, we’re producing millions of dollars of medical modules (headwalls, exam rooms, patient rooms) in Alabama and shipping them to hospitals in cities like Houston, Austin and Akron. Alabama Launchpad’s program brilliantly triangulates good ideas, a robust mentor program, and the structured urgency of public competition, to help young companies focus on the tasks that matter. Launchpad made BLOX better; many thanks.” CHRIS GIATTINA, BLOX

BLOX BLOX was founded by a team of architects and builders with 30 years of healthcare experience. BLOX is a single source manufacturer for medical modules – exam rooms, headwalls, patient rooms. BLOX’s factory has a constant feedback loop that allows for proactive corrections. Before it moves down the line, BLOX does rigorous testing on the product. When sealed units arrive on the job site, they are prepunched, pre-inspected, certified and connection-ready. BLOX can install six to eight hospital rooms in a day that would take six weeks to build in with traditional construction. BLOX clients include HealthSouth, Cardiovascular Associates, Hospital Corporation of America, and Ohio Children’s Hospital. They are currently producing projects in their Bessemer plant that will be installed in hospitals in Austin, Houston and Akron.


“Participating in the Alabama Launchpad program catalyzed Exscien’s emergence as a start-up company. The program encouraged us to think more creatively and tactically about commercializing our discovery into a new drug product, and it brought our team into contact with experts having credentials in the business side of drug development.” MARK GILLESPIE, CO-FOUNDER

Exscien Corp. Exscien Corp, a Mobile-based biotechnology firm that develops drugs to repair damage to mitochondrial DNA, will provide the first available treatment for diverse and common diseases, ranging from organ transplant to multi-organ system failure. The company is working on studies in the lung, stroke and cardiac model. The Exscien team includes co-founders Christine Chancery, Steve Cumbie, Dr. Mark Gillespie and Dr. Glenn Wilson, Chief Scientific Officer Exscien, one of the first tenants of the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Innovation Hub, is working on Phase II of the Small Business Technology Transfer National Institute of Health grant.


Made in Alabama @MadeinAL At @AlaLaunchpad today, @GovernorBentley stressed the importance of entrepreneurs & innovators for creating jobs.

“Job creation remains my top priority. Along with our efforts to recruit business to Alabama and to retain existing industry in the state, Alabama Launchpad, a public-private partnership, plays the vital role in driving the state’s next generation of economic development by working to identify, nurture and grow innovations, technologies and great ideas that have been developed in the state and that can be turned into successful businesses and create jobs.“ ROBERT BENTLEY, GOVERNOR OF ALABAMA

Innovation Conference We held our Third Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference at the Hyatt Regency BirminghamThe Wynfrey Hotel on Sept. 26 and 27. This is the

only conference of its kind in the state to celebrate and recognize the vital

role entrepreneurs and startups make as contributors to technological innovation and new job growth. At our awards luncheon, we honored more than 80 companies and organizations across the state for creating thousands of jobs for Alabamians. Our guest speakers included Gov. Robert Bentley and Brad Feld, co-founder of the TechStars seed accelerator program who is widely credited with helping to transform Boulder, Colorado into one of the fastest growing tech entrepreneurial hubs in the country.

Alabama Launchpad @AlaLaunchpad @bfeld: There isn’t a master plan for a startup community: it’s a messy, creative network #StartUpAL2013


“There are many economically feasible ideas and capable entrepreneurs in the great State of Alabama. Alabama Launchpad is needed for Alabama to stay competitive. I think this is a very prudent investment for Alabama dollars versus other prospective budgetary items.”

“Alabama Launchpad is critical to the development and growth of entrepreneurs throughout the state. Congratulations to EDPA and all affiliated with this program for making Launchpad a key element of economic development in Alabama.”



High-Powered Mentoring Alabama Launchpad uses a five-person judging panel which represents the investment/angel community, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.



(January – May)

(May – September)

Jonathan Sides CFO, Daxko

Robert Shufflebarger COO, Atherotech

Chris Otto VP, MobileHelp (former Alabama Launchpad winner)

Jennifer Skjellum Executive Director, Central Alabama Angel Network

Avery Jordan Senior VP, Wells Fargo

John Coleman COO, Harbor Financial Services

Andrew Penman VP, Drug Development, Southern Research Institute Mel Washington Director for Small Business Development Center at the University of South Alabama

Kasey Burleson CFO, McLeod Software Peggy Sammon CEO, GeneCapture (former Launchpad winner)

ROUND 3 (November-March 2014) Jason Fewell VP, Preclinical Research and Development, EGEN, Inc. Michael Perez Senior VP of Administration & Co-Founder, Malcovery Security

Lisa Riley Vice President, Accion Alabama Andrew Ellis Controller, Command Alkon Bobby Bragg Director, Jamison Money Farmer

“Alabama Launchpad is more than a competition. It is a platform for entrepreneurs from all walks of life, business experts, and mentors to come together to inspire, challenge, guide, and ultimately help grow the innovation economy in Alabama. Companies who enter the competition, regardless of where they end up, benefit from the program’s structure, documentation requirements, and the constant reinforcement (through process) of the importance of a start-up’s expert ability to be able to tell their story and the story of their customers. My participation as a judge was a learning experience for me. I learned from the entrepreneurs in the competition as well as the other judges. It is clear that successful companies need more than just tangible resources to succeed. The intangibles like networks, experts to call on, and connections for making partnerships happen as a company develops, are just a part of what Alabama Launchpad offers.” JENNIFER SKJELLUM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTRAL ALABAMA ANGEL NETWORK


Innovation Depot @innovationdepot Five of the companies at @AlaLaunchpad #StartUpAL2013 Startup Village are from @InnovationDepot! @vipaar @instagigt @malcovery

“Alabama Launchpad is an important part of this state’s larger economic development plan, Accelerate Alabama, by supporting and mentoring entrepreneurs, promoting job creation and investing in startups that have the potential to build the next generation of Alabama companies.” GREG CANFIELD, ALABAMA SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

“Encouraging Alabamians to turn their businesses ideas into reality leads to new, home-grown products and more jobs. We are proud to support the Alabama Launchpad program because of its proven ability to help entrepreneurs establish and maintain successful businesses that provide paychecks to hundreds of Alabamians.” JIM BYARD JR., DIRECTOR OF THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

Start-Up Village The Third Annual Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship featured for the first time a Start-Up Village, which shined a bright light on some of the most innovative new companies in the state. Start-Ups demonstrated their product, service or app.

Cathy @CathysSocial @AlaLaunchpad >>in AL, difference-makers=#innovative #risktakers leveraging their “southern thing” to fire new successes. Must-see-pitches!



Who We Are BOARD James H. Sanford Chairman, EDPA Foundation Board Chairman, HOME Place Farms Inc. Board Dr. Joe Benson Vice President of Research, University of Alabama Bob Powers President, The Eufaula Agency Michael Chambers President & CEO, Swift Biotechnology Jim Hudson Co-Chairman, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology Art Tipton President, Southern Research Institute Bill Waite CTO & Co-Founder, AEgis Technologies Dr. John Mason Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Auburn University Dr. Bernadette Chapple Associate Executive Vice President, Alabama State University Lynne U. Chronister Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University of South Alabama Dr. Shaik Jeelani Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs, Tuskegee University Dr. Daniel Wims Provost, Alabama A & M University Jim Byard Director, Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Ed Castile Director, AIDT Andre Taylor Board of Trustees, Alabama A & M University Dr. Richard Marchase Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University of Alabama at Birmingham Dr. Rayford Vaughn Vice President for Research, University of Alabama in Huntsville

OUR TEAM Bill Taylor Economic Development Partnership of Alabama President Steve Sewell Executive Vice President Angela Wier Vice President Greg Knighton Vice President Greg Sheek Director, Launchpad Programs Jennifer Braxton Senior Project Director Greg Blalock Project Director, Building, Sites & Communities Database David Rose Research and Grants Analyst Austen Parrish Research and Grants Analyst Val Walton Director, Communications Margaret R. Johnson Corporate Secretary Maynard, Cooper & Gale PC

(not pictured Bill Waite)

Thank You PLATINUM LEVEL ($50,000 and up)

The State of Alabama   (Alabama Research Alliance) EDPA Foundation Wells Fargo Foundation The J.L. Bedsole Foundation Alabama Power Company GOLD LEVEL ($25,000 and up) The University of Alabama/   UA Office of Technology Transfer Auburn University University of South Alabama University of Alabama at   Birmingham The Daniel Foundation of Alabama The Hugh Kaul Foundation SILVER LEVEL ($10,000 and up) Alabama State University Alabama A&M University University of Alabama in Huntsville The Caring Foundation of Blue   Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Maynard, Cooper & Gale BRONZE LEVEL ($5,000 and up) PowerSouth Energy HudsonAlpha Institute for   Biotechnology FluidWare – ReviewRoom platform FRIENDS OF ALABAMA LAUNCHPAD (Up to $5,000) City of Auburn Ballard Spahr Southern Research Innovation Depot Infomedia Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority Alabama SBDC Network Daxko Barfield, Murphy, Shank & Smith Birmingham Business Alliance The AIM Group Burr & Forman TreMonti Consulting

500 Beacon Parkway West Birmingham, AL 35209 @alalaunchpad

Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation (501(c)3), is a public-private partnership formed in 2006 that focuses on developing high growth companies in Alabama by vetting start-ups and helping promising entrepreneurs perfect their pitch, obtain mentors, build networks, and gain access to capital investment to take their ideas from concept to high-wage jobs for the state.

2013 alabama launchpad annual report final  
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