These 4 Alabama startups have big plans for 2021

Based out of the DEFT Venture Studio in downtown Birmingham, APEX Pro is a local startup that aims to improve the way racing data is displayed and communicated to racecar drivers. Founder Austin Gurley and his team, alongside racer Andrew Rains, has built an innovative, machine-learning technology to make logging drivers’ data easier and more effective.  

Birmingham startups adapting to pandemic needs

Being nimble and adaptive is part of the ethos at DEFT Dynamics’ Venture Studio, a startup that breeds other startups to market products it creates. CEO Ross Wesson and CTO Dr. Austin Gurley have worked on everything from IoT (Internet of Things) applications to the APEX Pro, a tiny computer for a vehicle dashboard performing real-time data analysis for professional racers.

“We were actually in a unique position,” Wesson said. “Everything we do, even though it involves apps and programming and coding, relates to physical items. We make stuff.”

Former TicketBiscuit CEO joins IoT operation

“Birmingham’s startup scene has been on fire for the last few years, and I’m hopeful that creating a ‘network within a network,’ through Helium, will create a whole new playing field for local entrepreneurs, right alongside biotech, fintech and other sectors where our startups are innovating,” Gale said. “A forecast from IDC projects the number of IoT devices to surpass 40 billion by 2025 — that’s five devices for every man, woman and child on earth.”

Several prominent names in the Birmingham startup community have volunteered to host the hardware powering the Helium network including Fleetio, Fast Slow Motion, Moxie, Conserv, Hardware Park and the new TechStars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator.


MOXIE IoT has built an App-dashboard that shows the vital data points from the sensors embedded in ventilators used to treat COVID-19 patients. The world is focused on making more ventilators, which is absolutely necessary. But what people are not focused on yet is the fact that it is very time intensive for a medical professional to monitor and record the various sensor levels for a patient on a ventilator.

Medical staff are having to don a mask, sanitize outside the patient door, sanitize inside the patient door, manually check the life-saving data points including Pressure (cmH2O), Flow-rate (mL/s) and Volume (mL) on patient’s ventilators. Then record that data, make sure it feels within normal ranges, or decide that you need to check back sooner than usual because of danger signs. Even with 500,000 more ventilators available in the US, the TIME COST to monitor this massive amount of data in a manual fashion is staggering. Not to mention the worst risk of all – every single time a medical professional enters an infected patient’s room, they are putting not only themselves in danger, but even worse their children, spouses, parents and grandparents are at increased risk as a result of these heroes’ daily work to save the lives of strangers.

There is a better way, and we don’t have to imagine it – we’ve built it. Using MOXIE’s secure, wireless Sensor-to-App monitoring technology, a caregiver can remain outside the patient’s room, and their MOXIE App will automatically pull in all data since the last visit, and allow danger thresholds to be customized for each datapoint, individualized to each patient, to trigger alerts for danger signs.

PaR Systems supports development of smart robots for next-generation nuclear reactors with Southern Research & DEFT Dynamics Robotics, under Department of Energy grant

The work is enabled by a $2.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that has been awarded to a team led by Southern Research and supported by PaR Systems. Other industry partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the creator of the first Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) using thermal fluoride technology, Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation, a company that specializes in training in 3-D virtual environments, Southern Company, a leading energy company based in Atlanta, and DEFT Dynamics, an innovative small business developing real time feedback for robots and manipulators.

DEFT Startup Studio, MOXIE IoT: Alabama presence at top high-tech show includes inventions, recruiting push

DEFT Dynamics Startup Studio will have a booth at CES that showcases several startups in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and robotics fields that have sprung up in the company’s 5,000-square-foot Birmingham facility.

Key startups are DEFT Dynamics, Moxie, Apex Pro and Tocaro Blue.

APEX Pro: Auburn’s Harbert College alums discuss the importance and growth of big data

“Even in this age of machine learning, humans ultimately still make the decisions – on the race track and in the board room,” said Rains, whose APEX Pro machine-learning device sells for $450 and is the only product on the market that conveniently relays information from sensors via Bluetooth directly to a user’s cell phone.

INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY: Venture Studio DEFT Moves Into Internet of Things (IoT)

“Deft has already had a tremendous impact on Birmingham’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, and with the new venture, Moxie IoT, they are poised to make an even bigger impact. Deft has the potential to help solve problems for some of the area’s largest companies right in their backyard and at a fraction of the price. Ross and Austin have created a dynamic operation that continues to produce some of the most exciting and innovative projects in the region.”