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The HData team. (Hdata)

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

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

We can’t always wait until the next payday to cover the expenses of everyday life. As a result, many people turn to predatory loans, overdrafts, and other options that put them under financial stress.

Input Immediate. Immediate works with companies to give their employees access to their paychecks at any time. The best part? Signing up is completely free for employers, and reports show that Immediate reduces turnover by 40%.

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

Origins: Atlanta, GA

Why Birmingham?

Matt explained that there were three main reasons Immediate moved its headquarters to The Magic City.

  1. Payday loans were deemed illegal in Georgia (where Immediate got its start). To offer people a responsible alternative to predatory lending services, being in a place like Birmingham was perfect.
  2. More than six million people live in Atlanta. While it’s a great place to start a FinTech (financial technology) business, there’s a much higher potential for being washed out because there are so many. Whereas here in Birmingham there is room to stand out a little more and have access to a unique technology ecosystem, more potential investors and customers.
  3. Matt and his co-founders went through with it Birmingham border, a program Shipt started to build our city’s tech ecosystem that gave them a really good feel for what life is like here. They were excited and decided this was the right place to continue growing Immediate.

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

Tip for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Educate yourself as much as possible. There are so many great resources to learn about the business. My biggest disappointment about my 20s was that I felt like I wasted a lot of time that I could have invested in myself, so keep studying and investing in yourself. Spend time watching. Find people you look up to, watch YouTube videos and listen to podcasts. Just keep learning.”

Matt Pierce, Founder + CEO, immediately

Instant rendering of HQ
Immediate will have a beautiful new headquarters in the heart of Homewood, scheduled for completion 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 rise in remote work. The Office Exchange makes the most of vacant or underutilized office space by combining workplaces with the flexibility of short-term leases. 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, The Office Exchange also pays for the marketing to show off your spaces. You can determine which users you want to attract, whether your space is set up for lab equipment, startups, events or a more traditional office environment.

The Alabama Futures Fund, which brings early-stage startups to Birmingham, recently made an investment in The Office Exchange and kick-started their growth here in The Magic City.

Origins: Denver, Colo

Why Birmingham:

“I’ve heard a lot about commercial real estate in Birmingham and the growth that’s happening in the startup space. What better place for your HQ than a place that is experiencing a renaissance of growth and excitement, not just from the influx of new people, but from the people who have been there for years and are excited to help make the Staying true to the beauty of Birmingham has.

The startup culture here is so unique that I think it took place in other big cities many years ago. I get goosebumps just thinking about it because it’s so exciting to be a part of this growth.”

Devin Davie, Founder and CEO, The Office Exchange

Favorite spots in The Magic City: Shu Shop, Collins Bar, The Rougaroux

Tip for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“The advice I would give to someone who is just starting out is to seize this opportunity and hold on. your time will come Surround yourself with the right mentors and the right team. When things get tough, you have to assert yourself, that courage will take you further than anything else.”

Devin Davis

Hudson Hollister—HData

Hudson Hollister by HData
Hudson Hollister, CEO and Founder of HData. (Hdata)

For many energy companies, reporting to the government is a tedious, manual task. HData changes that and offers a new way to manage government regulations for the energy industry. The burgeoning RegTech (regulation technology) company, 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 while at a previous position at a government agency. He saw firsthand that the software they used required a lot of unnecessary manual work. After working to convince government agencies to make the switch, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Made a big change to deprecate the old way of collecting reports.

Since then, HData has been rescuing energy companies from the manual work they’re stuck with and showing them how this digital data reporting platform can make their lives easier.

Origins: Joliet, Illinois

Why Birmingham:

HData made the trip from Illinois to Alabama for the Techstars Alabama Energy Tech Accelerator, the only energy-focused startup program in the world. Thanks to the Accelerator program, HData was able to raise $3 million from investors in a short period of time and greatly increased its team.

“The accelerator running in Birmingham is the best and only one in the world for startups related to the energy industry. Therefore, Birmingham is the best place in the world for startups working in the energy space.”

Hudson Hollister, Founder and CEO, HData

Hollister said one of the best parts of the Accelerator program has been having fellow tech entrepreneurs by its side throughout the process.

“It was unreal to be around other people who, like me, were pushing for growth and innovation in the energy industry … and we face some of the same challenges as well.”

Hudson Hollister

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

Tip for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Really leverage the events and organizations in Birmingham that focus on the tech space. innovation depot hosts events and organizations, Tech Birmingham 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 that idea, these are great places to start. The hardest thing is taking the first step. Take the steps you don’t feel ready for.”

Hudson Hollister

Jonathan Lamer—Moduly

Jonathan Lamer from 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 use. Managing your energy consumption is not only good for the environment, it also saves you money. Moduly makes it easy to optimize your energy consumption from home.

Founded in 2019, Moduly aims to help consumers reduce their energy consumption with world-class energy intelligence, automation and forecasting tools. The startup consists of a superstar team with expertise in energy storage, management and more.

Jonathan Lamer, CEO of Moduly, has been an entrepreneur since he was 18 years old. At his previous job, he decided to work with his team to develop a total solution for customers’ energy needs. Moduly does the hard work for you, providing a customizable product that suits your unique energy consumption habits.

Origins: Quebec, Canada

Why Birmingham:

While part of their team still operates in Quebec, Moduly relocated much of its business to be part of the Techstars Alabama Energy Tech Accelerator. The focus on the energy industry and the partnership with Alabama Power led Moduly to join the program. As well as being part of the Accelerator, Jonathan also loved Birmingham’s southern hospitality.

“The day I brought my son and my wife here we realized that we feel comfortable here and love the people here, they are so hospitable. We think this is a wonderful place for a company like Moduly to be in a technology ecosystem and I love it. We have some great customers here and we have no competitors so it was a great strategy for the business.”

Jonathan Lamer, Founder and CEO, Moduly

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

Tip for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“Never give up. Live outside of your comfort zone because most of the time being an entrepreneur will make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes you just need to focus on your inner voice and how you’re feeling because it’s the right one. Never let yourself prevented by the fear of others from moving forward.”

Jonathan Lamer

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