Alabama’s Innovation Portal invests in two Mobile-based startups


Mobile’s Innovation Portal has announced the first investments from its Portal Fund for early stage startups.

“On behalf of the investment council of Innovation Portal, I am excited to announce our initial investments in Deuce Drone and Barkd,” said investment council Chairman Henry O’Connor. “Partnering with dynamic, engaging and local entrepreneurs is in line with Innovation Portal’s mission and will hopefully encourage other entrepreneurs in our area to pursue their goals.”

Deuce Drone received a $50,000 investment. The company is providing a cost-effective, technology-driven solution for same-day delivery that allows local retailers to compete with major e-commerce players. The Deuce Drone process makes it easy for local retailers to provide same-day delivery in a few easy steps with no intermediate human package handling, making the delivery process truly contact-free.

Barkd received a $25,000 investment. It is a mobile application that helps you find your next puppy. Using its simple matching process, Barkd ensures you and your pup are perfect for each other. You can download Barkd from the App Store or Google Play.

The Portal Fund was created to “ignite the local entrepreneurial ecosystem” by attracting and retaining entrepreneurs in Mobile. Innovation Portal members Deuce Drone and Barkd will have access to Innovation Portal programming, support and workspace all designed to encourage venture growth, job creation, talent retention and further investment in the region.

“We are very excited to have been chosen as a recipient of the Portal Fund,” said Barkd co-founder Stephen Riggs. “The support from Innovation Portal since the inception of Barkd has been invaluable, and we’re looking forward to working closely with the team at Innovation Portal.”

Barkd co-founder Daniel Riggs said being in the Port City is important.

“We’re proud to be based in Mobile and thankful for this opportunity and the support we receive from our community,” he said. “The funds will greatly help expedite our product development as we’re working towards product-market fit.”

The nonprofit Portal Fund is for early-stage ventures in the Mobile area with high-growth potential. The fund had its inaugural round in May 2020, when the online application process opened. More than 100 applications from around the world and 21 from local founders were submitted.

Eleven semifinalists were chosen from the 20 eligible applications from local founders and that was whittled down to five finalists that were invited to make pitch presentations with two selected for investment.

Funding decisions were made by an investment council consisting of area entrepreneurs, philanthropists, investors and a select number of the organization’s staff and board members.

Support from the Alabama Department of Commerce, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and Alabama Power enabled Innovation Portal to develop Portal Fund and make investments into early-stage startups.

For information on eligibility, the evaluation process and future investment rounds, visit


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