Alabama Launchpad funds four startups, honors innovation

Alabama Launchpad funds four startups, honors innovation
Greg Sheek, Launchpad programs director

With Alabama Innovation Week starting Monday, Alabama Launchpad kicked off the celebration a little early with the finale of its latest round of competition.

On Thursday, Alabama Launchpad awarded $240,000 to four start-up companies participating in its state-wide entrepreneur competition. The program, established by Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), works to provide local entrepreneurs access to capital that will help them launch their small businesses.


The winners will be recognized at the 2015 Innovation Awards on Wednesday, Sept. 2, an event hosted by the EDPA. Governor Robert Bentley is scheduled to speak.

The four companies that received funding are:

  • editBIO LLC ($25,000). Represented by Melanie Styers, the company, based in Hoover, aims to create an efficient, web-based marketplace to connect global biological and medical scientists with freelance editors to communicate clearly their science through English-language publications.
  • SimplyProse ($40,000). Created by Auburn University students Jacob Wright and Cole Kinchler, the company created a collaborative online writing platform that provides writers a space to create, critique and market their work for profit or personal enjoyment.
  • Open Frame LLC ($75,000). Represented by Nik Martin, the Mobile company created NitroPCR, mobile electronic patient charts for Emergency Medical Services.
  • IllumniCare ($100,0000). Represented by GT LaBorde from Birmingham, the company’s product is a non-intrusive ribbon of information that hovers over a hospital’s electronic medical record, showing physicians real-time, patient-specific costs and risks associated with tests and medications when they are about to order the next test or medication.

An additional award of $1,000, voted on by the audience, will also be announced at Wednesday’s awards luncheon.


Jeff and Peggy Sutton, founders of Sprouted
Jeff and Peggy Sutton operate the To Your Health Sprouted Wheat Co. in Bullock County.

Along with supporting the businesses with great potential, Alabama Launchpad also honors the established companies that have succeeded in the program’s mission: scaling business to create jobs.

In 2011, Alabama Launchpad hosted its first Alabama Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference. “We had the startup competition, but we realized that Alabama does not have a statewide event where people from all over the state could come together and celebrate innovation and network with one another,” said Greg Sheek, director for Launchpad programs.

Now in its fifth year, the conference focuses mainly on its Innovation Awards luncheon, which will take place at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex this year.

The ceremony will honor four companies and one individual.

“This year, we are focusing on the companies’ stories: what they have achieved to get to this point and where they are heading as a company going forward,” Sheek said.

Four startups split $240,000 in the Alabama Launchpad competition.

The 2015 honorees are:

Corporate Innovator of the Year, large company (50+ employees):

Integrated Medical Systems International Inc., Birmingham

  • The company is recognized by the healthcare industry as the leader for instrument-ready solution that ensure patient safety and surgeon satisfaction

Corporate Innovator of the Year, small company (1-50 employees):

Emergency CallWorks Inc., Birmingham

  • The company is a leading provider of next-generation 911 and emergency incident management software for the public safety industry.

Outstanding Achievement in Innovation Manufacturing:

To Your Health Sprouted Flour Co., Fitzpatrick, Bullock County

  • The world’s leader in sprouted organic flour, the company has grown from sprouting in mason jars to having specifically designed equipment to handle 70,000 pounds of production a week (Read our story about the company).

Outstanding Public-Private Partnership for Innovation:

City of Montgomery and Infinitus Energy, Montgomery

  • The partnership has revolutionized and transformed recycling in the city through Infinitus Energy’s advanced waste process system.

Lifetime Achievement in Innovation:

Gray York, Birmingham

  • As one of Alabama’s most respected serial entrepreneurs with three successful technology companies under his best, his innovation solutions have enhanced routine outpatient healthcare, increased physical productivity and improved hospital profitability.

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