In the city of Birmingham, Alabama, the god of metalworking, Vulcan, famously keeps watch. Vulcan stands as the world’s largest cast iron statue (reflecting the location’s renowned history as an iron and steel producer), and his effigy is dwarfed only by the Statue of Liberty. As of late, however, new giants have been gaining traction in Birmingham — tech giants, that is. The city has recently found itself in the midst of an impressive business and technology boom, and as a result has earned a reputation for being the “Southern Silicon Valley.”
Birmingham’s business and technological renaissance has spurred success stories like that of Shipt, an internet-based grocery delivery service that was acquired by Target for $550 million in 2018, and Evonik, a company specializing in drug delivery technologies.
This growing success can be attributed to the city’s focus on being an incubator for new and on-the-rise startups. Birmingham’s empowerment of its growing startup and tech scene is epitomized at the Innovation Depot, a 140,000-square-foot building in the city’s downtown, home to the largest tech startup program in the Southeastern U.S. Over 60 companies from across healthcare, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals, the food industry, manufacturing and more can be found here, leveraging the shared resources, community and programs to accelerate their growth and performance. The local innovation ecosystem is also bolstered by its proximity to assets like the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), which boasted $538 million in research expenditures in 2017, and Southern Research, a nonprofit promoting advances in pharmaceuticals, engineering and energy.
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