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Move your business idea beyond the napkin stage during Rocket Hatch’s first startup pitch competition in Huntsville

Rocket Hatch co-founder Antonio Montoya speaks. Rocket Hatch and Southern/alpha held a press conference Oct. 7 at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County to discuss the inaugural Will This Fly? startup pitch competition. (Lucy Berry |

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Rocket Hatch is seeking pre-acceleration, pre-funding, napkin-stage startups that have the potential to grow globally for its inaugural Will This Fly? startup pitch competition late next month in Huntsville.

The open community of creators and innovators held a press conference Tuesday morning at the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County to formally announce the event, which will be supported by Southern/alpha in Nashville and allow entrepreneurs across the South to pitch their business ideas in three minutes or less in a “Shark Tank” fashion.

Antonio Montoya, co-founder of Rocket Hatch, is an entrepreneur and digital strategist who is passionate about connecting the north Alabama startup community with peers in neighboring cities, such as Nashville, Birmingham, Chattanooga and Atlanta. He hopes Will This Fly? will be one of many future events to strengthen relationships between new companies, investors, mentors and potential business partners.

“We want this to be a regional event because I think that Huntsville has this great opportunity to connect with these other places that are doing very interesting things,” he said.

Will This Fly? will take place from 5-8:30 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Design Lab at Lincoln Mill on 1300 Meridian St. in Huntsville. A panel of representatives from GIGTANK in Chattanooga, Start Co. in Memphis and the Jumpstart Foundry in Nashville will serve as judges.

Rocket Hatch will accept applications for Will This Fly? beginning Wednesday through Nov. 2. Montoya, Rocket Hatch co-founder Tarra Anzalone and other organizers will then select the best proposals for the pitch battle.

“It gives you a great opportunity to present in front of a large panel of judges, as well as a general audience, and kind of see how your idea would float in the mainstream,” said Brad Garland, Rocket Hatch board member and CPA with Hall Albright Garrison & Associates.

Rocket Hatch also plans to host several events the day of the competition, including a VIP “speed dating” session, reverse pitch contest and tour of Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and downtown Huntsville.

Montoya is seeking sponsorships at the in-kind, silver ($1,000), gold ($2,500) and diamond ($5,000) levels to help fund cash prizes for standout entrepreneurs and innovators at Will This Fly? Alabama Media Group is one of the sponsors for the competition.

During the past several months, Rocket Hatch has established itself as a supporter of the local startup movement through Sip+Hatch events, its CO.STARTERS program, the three-day Rocket City Launch competition and new “Rocket Hatchers” online portal designed to connect entrepreneurs with members of the Tennessee Valley startup community.

Southern/alpha co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kelley Boothe said partnering with Rocket Hatch facilitates her goal of thinking regionally, not just “city to city.”

“Huntsville is a great example of a progressive city that has already the infrastructure to create this booming startup community,” she said. ” … Our goal is to bring out the best people from all around the South — bring them to Huntsville, stand them on stage, and have them pitch their products, pitch their demos, and sort of place Huntsville is this wonderful position to bring more startup talent to the South.”

Visit for full details.

October 7, 2014

Lucy Berry | By Lucy Berry |

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