UA Entrepreneurs Compete in Business Competition

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Three entrepreneurially-minded teams with University of Alabama members are among the 12 participating in a statewide business competition.

The teams, competing in the 2013 Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition, will pitch their company’s product to a panel of judges March 4 in Birmingham in an effort to advance to the next round of the competition, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.

Teams are vying for awards totaling $100,000. The competition, which continues through May, “promotes, rewards and increases the pipeline of high-growth, innovative ventures that have the potential to grow and thrive in the state,” according to the EDPA.

The three teams with UA representatives chosen to compete from among the 22 that registered are:

Graphenics LLC  –  provides engineering services and materials to enhance the properties of plastics by a patented process to produce graphene. Dr. Rachel Frazier, a research engineer with UA’s Alabama Innovation and Mentoring of Entrepreneurs center, is a member of the team, led by Hunter Adams, who holds a juris doctor from UA.

MagnnPro – provides a new MRI contrast agent designed to be safer and more effective than those presently in use. Dr. Yuping Bao, a UA assistant professor in chemical and biological engineering, is a member of the team led by one of Bao’s graduate students, Thomas Macher, of Prattville.

ThruPore Technologies LLC – provides superior catalysts for chemical manufacturers based on the company’s advanced materials science. Dr. Martin Bakker, a UA associate professor of chemistry, leads the team that also includes Dr. Franchessa Sayler, of Augusta, Ga., who recently completed her UA doctoral degree requirements.

Alabama Launchpad receives support from six partnering universities: Alabama State University, Auburn University, The University of Alabama, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the University of South Alabama.

Alabama Launchpad is funded with support from corporate sponsors and the Alabama Research Alliance, a program of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. For more information, visit


Chris Bryant, UA media relations, 205/348-8323,; Val Walton, communications director, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, 205/943-4715,