Fast Forward in Birmingham’s Startup Scene
Here’s to the daring and bold – Birmingham has your back.
Makers, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs launch smarter in Birmingham. Think Shipt, Daxko, Mixtroz and Wyndy. Mentors, investors and startup-focused enterprises comprise a collaborative startup ecosystem rich in resources.
Universities and colleges, incubators and accelerators, pitch competitions, seed funding, coworking spaces and meetups are some of the assets that make up Birmingham’s startup infrastructure. It’s an entrepreneurial environment that’s catching the attention of venture capitalists, business leaders and media influences around the country.
Located downtown, The Switch is a distinct and tailored home for companies seeking collaboration and access to research, mentorship and talent. At the heart of The Switch is Innovation Depot, a former department store turned modern business incubator that houses nearly 100 startups.
Access that helps startups work easier and take off sooner? Sounds like a win-win to us. In Birmingham, entrepreneurs can mitigate risk while capitalizing on reward.
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Incubators + Accelerators
Innovation Depot is the largest entrepreneur space in the Birmingham area, with 140,000 square feet of downtown office, lab and coworking space. Its flagship program, the Velocity Accelerator, provides tech startups seed funding, workspace and the resources needed to get a venture off the ground.
In the neighboring city of Bessemer, the Bessemer Business Incubation System and Entrepreneurial Center, or BBIS, focuses on the service, light industrial/manufacturing and information technology industries. In addition to state-of-the-art workspace, BBIS offers financial assistance, workshops, help with business and marketing plans and market research.
There’s no shortage of coworking space in the Birmingham area. Budding ventures and entrepreneurs boost productivity and progress with open and flexible workspaces, meeting rooms, member events and other resources.
Among them are Forge in downtown Birmingham and The Hub located in the Homewood neighborhood. In Vestavia Hills, WORXBHM puts a twist on coworking with private offices available in its cabin-style setting in a wooded community.
MAKEBhm is a maker space in the Avondale neighborhood that provides tools for the craftiest among us while Hardware Park is home to a different type of maker, serving as a state-of-the-art incubator for engineers of biotech products and medical devices.
Investors + Resources
Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, is the state’s most active early-stage seed fund investor. Since 2009, Alabama Launchpad has helped fund 84 startups with over $4 million that have evolved into a current valuation of $212 million. Entrepreneurs can leverage the Alabama Launchpad for mentorship, as well as participate in startup pitch competitions.
At REV Birmingham, entrepreneurs experience integrated services that are part accelerator, part coworking and part community development. For five years, REV has hosted its annual Big Pitch competition focused on lifestyle and creative businesses that make Birmingham a vibrant place. Winners earn technical assistance, mentoring, exposure and capital.
Students, faculty, staff and businesses team up at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to launch startups with new or disruptive technologies. Work includes research, developing patents, determining revenue distribution, commercialization and more.