Last year, Alabama Launchpad awarded $225,000 in seed funding to six promising Alabama startups. We reached out to four previous winners to learn how Alabama Launchpad has helped their businesses grow.
Have an idea for Alabama’s next big thing? The Alabama Launchpad team wants to help bring it to life. Applications for the first cycle of 2023 are now open until February 6th – click here to apply!
From the Alabama launchpad
Founded in 2006 by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), Alabama Launchpad promotes innovation and job growth in the state through its startup competitions and mentoring for entrepreneurs. With $6 million invested in 112 Alabama startups over the past 16 years, Alabama Launchpad is the most active early-stage fund investor in the state. Today, these investments have created over 1,300 jobs for the state and have a combined post-money valuation of over $1 billion.
During each Alabama Launchpad contest, finalists will be divided into two groups:
- finalists in the concept stage are usually ahead of sales 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 entry fees to six new winners.
Interview with the winners of the 2022 Alabama Launchpad
Aiko Pickering, monthly
Aiko Pickering is the founder of Per month, the winner of the concept phase of Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition. Monthly makes gender-sensitive, sustainable and affordable menstrual underwear for every cycler – and Aiko donates a percentage of Monthly’s profits to charities fighting period poverty in the South.
“Being young, new to the business world and still finding my way, I get impostor syndrome all the time. The Launchpad competition, mentors and amazing people at EDPA have really helped me find my confidence in running my business and helped me overcome this impostor syndrome. Every person I came into contact with really helped me to realize that I have what it takes to make my business a success and that I can wake up and get things done!”
Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly
Visit Monthly’s website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
Tevin Harrell, TaxxWiz
Tevin Harrell is CEO of TaxxWiz, a financial technology company developing new software solutions for tax professionals. Since winning, the TaxxWiz team has used their Launchpad wins to accelerate software development and onboard more tax professionals in time for 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 few months in the Alabama Launchpad contest we won $50,000 – so it’s safe to say we’re glad we applied! The team at EDPA is great and will do everything they can to help you both during and after the Alabama Launchpad process. Launchpad has been an experience that has helped us tremendously in growing our business over the past few months.”
Tevin Harrell, TaxxWiz
Learn more about TaxxWiz on their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Jennifer Ryan, Croux
Croux — an app-based solution that connects vetted foodservice talent with restaurants that need their skills — was brand new when it began its Alabama Launchpad journey. According to CEO Jennifer Ryan, the Alabama Launchpad experience taught the team how to test, iterate and use what they learned to turn their idea into action.
“Less than a year after being invited to join the Alabama Launchpad, we built an app, expanded the team, activated four markets, filled over 1300 shifts, supported more than 45 companies and provided nearly 3,000 talent with a powerful flexible earning opportunity. Thanks to this momentum, we have completed a $1 million raise that will support the Company’s growth in 2023 and 2024.”
Jennifer Ryan, co-founder and CEO of Croux
What’s next for Croux? They are currently poised to open an additional 12+ stores in the Southeast in 2023, including Jacksonville, Gainesville and Savannah in the coming months.
Visit Croux’s website and their Facebook and Instagram pages to find out more.
Emile Hughes, Ride Resorts
Born in Birmingham, Emile Hughes is the co-founder of Ride Resorts, a pay-to-ride mountain bike park offering a unique mountain bike experience in The Magic City. Ride Resorts was the winner of the concept phase of the second cycle of Alabama Launchpad in 2022.
“If you’re a first-time startup, the Alabama Launchpad contest is worth it. You will learn a lot about how to talk about your business while balancing weaknesses in your plan and building on its strengths. Even if something is not your forte, if you are forced to work on it and given enough time to adapt, it will lead to improvement.”
Emile Hughes, co-founder of Ride Resorts
Visit the Ride Resorts website to learn more and plan a ride, and don’t forget to connect with them on Instagram.
Your startup could be the next Alabama Launchpad winner
Just like Monthly, TaxxWiz, Croux, Ride Resorts and many other startups, Alabama Launchpad wants to help you turn your great idea into a thriving new business. If you want to learn from seasoned Alabama entrepreneurs, collaborate with other startups, and have the opportunity to attract thousands in seed capital, all you have to do is apply.
Ready for the next step? Applications for the next Alabama Launchpad contest are now open! Click here to visit the Alabama Launchpad website, learn more and apply.