Saturday, July 2 2022
The HDat team. (HDData)

The Magic City is rapidly growing as a hub for game-changing startups and innovative companies. From Quebec, Canada to Denver, Colorado, read on to find out why these CEOs decided to move to Birmingham to grow their businesses.

Immediate founders
Michael Ormel (COO), Matt Pierce (CEO) and Jason Gwizdala (CTO). (Immediate)

One cannot always wait until the next payday to cover the costs of daily living. As a result, many people turn to predatory loans, overdraft bank accounts, and other options that leave you financially stressed.

Walk in Immediate. Immediate works with businesses to give their employees access to their paychecks whenever they need it. The best part? Signing up is completely free for employers and reports show that Immediate reduces turnover rates by 40%.

Founder and CEO Matt Pierce has been making waves lately as he was recently inducted into the Forbes Technology Consultingan invitation-only organization for world-class technology executives.

Origins: Atlanta, Georgia

Why Birmingham?

Matt explained that Immediate had three main reasons for moving its headquarters to The Magic City.

  1. Payday loans were deemed illegal in Georgia (where Immediate got its start). To provide people with a responsible alternative to predatory lending services, being in a place like Birmingham was the perfect fit.
  2. There are over six million people living in Atlanta. Although this is a great place to start a FinTech (financial technology) business, there is a much higher potential to be swept away because there are so many of them. Whereas here in Birmingham there is room to stand out a bit more and gain access to a unique tech ecosystem, more potential investors and customers.
  3. Matt and his co-founders went through In the direction of Birmingham, a program launched by Shipt in order to develop the technological ecosystem of our city, which gave them a very good idea of ​​what life is like here. They got hooked and decided it was the right place to continue developing Immediate.

Favorite places in The Magic City: Big Bad Breakfast, GM Pizzeria, Railroad Park

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Find out as much as you can. There are so many awesome resources to learn more about business. My biggest disappointment about turning 20 was that I felt like I wasted a lot of time that I could have invested in myself, so keep learning and invest in yourself. Spend time watching. Find people you admire, watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts. Just keep learning.

Matt Pierce, Founder + CEO, Immediate

Immediate return of the head office
Immediate is getting a beautiful new headquarters in the heart of Homewood, set to be completed this summer. (Immediate)
Devin Davie of The Office Exchange
CEO and Founder of The Office Exchange. (Devin Davis)

Post-pandemic, the way we work has changed forever with a dramatic increase in remote working. The Office Exchange makes the most of empty or underutilized office space by connecting workplaces with the flexibility of short-term rental agreements. Devin describes it as “the Airbnb of commercial real estate”.

Whether you are a host or an employee, there is no cost to be on the platform. Not only that, but The Office Exchange pays the marketing to show off your spaces. You are able to determine which users you want to acquire, whether your space is set up for lab equipment, startups, events, or a more traditional office environment.

Alabama Futures Fund, which brings early-stage startups to Birmingham, recently placed an investment on The Office Exchange, kickstarting their growth here in The Magic City.

Origins: Denver, Colorado

Why Birmingham:

“I’ve heard a lot about commercial property in Birmingham and the growth that’s happening in the startup space. What better place to have your headquarters than somewhere that is experiencing a renaissance of growth and excitement, not only from an influx of new people, but also from people who have been there for years and are delighted to help stay true to the beauty of what Birmingham has.

The startup culture here is so unique, it’s something that I think happened in other big cities many years ago. I get chills thinking about it because it’s so exciting to be part of this growth.

Devin Davie, Founder and CEO, The Office Exchange

Favorite places in The Magic City: Boutique Shu, Collins Bar, Le Rougaroux

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The advice I would give to someone just starting out is to grab this opportunity and hang in there. Your time will come. Surround yourself with the right mentors and the right team. When it gets tough you have to push yourself, that courage will take you further than anything else.

Devin Davie

Hudson Hollister—HDData

HData's Hudson Hollister
Hudson Hollister, CEO and Founder of HData. (HDData)

For many energy companies, reporting to government is a tedious task with a lot of manual work. HData changes that and provides a new way to manage government regulations for the energy industry. Budding company RegTech (regulatory technology), which recently partnered with Alabama Power, is helping modernize the data reporting process for energy companies that need it.

CEO and Founder Hudson Hollister came up with the idea for HData during his previous job at a government agency. He saw for himself that the software they were using required a lot of unnecessary manual work. After trying hard to persuade government agencies to make the switch, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made a big change to stop using its old method of collecting reports.

Since then, HData has saved energy companies from the manual work they were stuck in and showed them how this digital data reporting platform can make their lives easier.

Origins: Joliette, IL

Why Birmingham:

HData traveled from Illinois to Alabama for the Accelerator Techstars Alabama EnergyTech, the only energy-focused startup program in the world. Through the accelerator program, HData was able to raise $3 million from investors and significantly grow its team in a short time.

“The accelerator that operates in Birmingham is the best, and the only one in the world for startups that have to do with the energy industry. As a result, Birmingham is the best place in the world for startups working on energy.

Hudson Hollister, Founder and CEO, HData

Hollister said one of the best things about the acceleration program was having other tech entrepreneurs by your side throughout the process.

“It was unreal to be able to stand alongside other people who were driving growth and innovation in the energy sector, just like me…and we also face some of the same challenges.”

Hudson Hollister

Favorite places in The Magic City: Railroad Park, Jim Reed Books, Helen

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Really take advantage of the events and organizations in Birmingham that focus on the tech space. Innovation repository hosts events and organizations, Birmingham Technology is really active, UAB has an entrepreneurship program which hosts many public events. If someone has an idea they want to pursue and is passionate about it, these are great places to start. The hardest part is taking the first step. Take the steps you don’t feel ready for.

Hudson Hollister

Jonathan Lamer—Module

Jonathan Lamer of Moduly
Jonathan Lamer, CEO of Moduly. (Module)

Let’s face it, we could all use a little help when it comes to sustainability and responsible energy consumption. Not only is managing your energy use good for the environment, it also saves you money. Moduly simplifies the optimization of your energy consumption from your home.

Moduly debuted in 2019 and aims to help consumers reduce their energy consumption with the best energy intelligence, automation and prediction tools. The startup is made up of a superstar team with expertise in energy storage, management and more.

Jonathan Lamer, CEO of Moduly, has been an entrepreneur since the age of 18. In his previous job, he decided to work with his team to create an all-in-one solution to meet customers’ energy needs. Moduly does the heavy lifting for you, delivering a customizable product that meets your unique energy consumption habits.

Origins: Quebec, Canada

Why Birmingham:

Although part of their team still operates in Quebec, Moduly has moved the majority of its business to Birmingham as part of the Accelerator Techstars Alabama EnergyTech. Its focus on the energy industry and its partnership with Alabama Power attracted Moduly to join the program. As well as being part of the Accelerator, Jonathan loved the hospitality of South Birmingham.

“The day I brought my son and my wife here, we realized that we feel good here and that we like the people here, they are so welcoming. We think it’s a great place for a company like Moduly to be in a tech ecosystem, and I love that. We have great customers here and we don’t have competitors, so it’s a great strategy for business.

Jonathan Lamer, Founder + CEO, Moduly

Favorite places in The Magic City: Railroad Park, Red Mountain Park, Vulcan Park

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Never give up. Live outside your comfort zone because as an entrepreneur most of your time will be uncomfortable. Sometimes you just have to focus on your inner voice and how you feel because that’s the right one. Never let the fears of others hold you back.

Jonathan Lamer

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