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The University of Alabama

UA Start-Up Firm Set for Launch After Placing in Business Competition

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama start-up company developing technology to charge cell phones and other portable devices wirelessly was a winner in a state-wide business competition.

Judges from the 2013 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition awarded e-Electricity with $23,500 to help further the company’s goal to develop wireless harvesting, allowing mobile devices to recharge wirelessly by converting radio waves to electricity, eliminating the need for an electrical outlet.

The company is based off technology developed by Dr. Jaber Abu-Qahouq, a UA associate professor of electrical and computer engineering who is also a consultant with the company. Dr. Whitney Hough, venture development associate with UA’s Office for Technology Transfer; and Will Sanders, a UA senior marketing major, from Mobile, are members of the team led by Sloan McCrary, a UA Master of Business Administration student from Alpharetta, Ga.

“We are very excited about receiving $23,500 in funding from Alabama Launchpad,” said McCrary. “With this amount we are able to begin the first stage of prototyping. This will allow us to confirm the feasibility of the technology.”

Three other companies were also awarded. In all, 27 teams started the competition cycle, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, and nine entrepreneurial businesses were selected to present to judges this summer. Four continued to the recent Alabama Launchpad Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham where they made final pitches in hopes of securing up to $100,000 in prize money.

The competition, in its seventh year, is geared to promote, reward and increase the pipeline of high-growth innovative ventures that have the potential to create and keep jobs in Alabama.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s fully accredited College of Engineering has more than 4,100 students and about 120 faculty. Students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz and Truman scholars.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.