By Michael Sznajdermanz
Techstars, the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed, is partnering with Alabama Power, with additional support from the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) and the Alabama Department of Commerce, to launch the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator. The new venture is a startup accelerator focused on innovations in energy technology to be located in Birmingham.
The Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator will attract startups that are building technologies and business models to enhance the future of energy. Focus areas will include smart cities, the “internet of things,” industrial electrification, connectivity and electric transportation.
Through its corporate accelerators, Techstars develops partnerships with corporations to add industry expertise through mentorships, business development opportunities and access to resources. Alabama Power is Techstars’ first electric utility partner.
“This partnership with Techstars is an exciting opportunity that supports our commitment to find better ways to serve our customers and elevate the state,” said Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite. “With a world-class accelerator program, the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator will be an important catalyst for Alabama to continue strengthening its reputation as a growth center for technology and energy innovation.”
“We’re thrilled to launch our first accelerator in Alabama in partnership with Alabama Power, with support from the EDPA and Department of Commerce. This accelerator program will combine these organizations’ dedication to economic development and electrical and utility innovation with our expertise and global network reach,” said Keith Camhi, Techstars senior vice president of Accelerators. “Founders addressing electrical and utility solutions who join
our 2020 inaugural class are poised for three incredible months of mentorship and growth.”
The Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator will source applicants from around the world for the three-month intensive program.
“The Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator is a huge economic development win for the state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “We have made recruiting technology-focused jobs a priority, and this initiative will help us advance toward our goal while also securing more venture capital and resources for all of our companies to grow and prosper.”
Canfield said the partnership between Alabama Power and Techstars, with support from Commerce and the EDPA, is a direct result of changes made to the Growing Alabama Credit through the Alabama Incentives Modernization Act, which went into effect in August. The changes include an incentive for qualifying tech accelerators, and this is the first time it has been utilized.
“Through the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator, we want to show these high-growth potential companies that the state has the right mechanisms in place for them to start, stay and grow,” said Steve Spencer, The Economic Development Partnership of Alabama president. “We are excited to welcome Techstars to Alabama.”
In addition to support provided by Commerce and the EDPA, Altec, PowerSouth, and numerous organizations and companies throughout the state were involved in the recruitment of Techstars. These supporters will have a key role in the accelerator process, with the common goal of growing the number of startup companies based in Alabama.
The first class is planned for 2020. Each class of the annual mentorship-driven accelerator will run for 13 weeks and accept 10 startups. Throughout the program, startups will receive seed investment, mentorship through Techstars’ worldwide network of business leaders, and business coaching through the program’s educational components. At the end of the 90 days, the program will culminate in Demo Day, a public pitch event.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama NewsCenter website.