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Two of the 11 startup companies selected for the second round of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s annual Alabama Launchpad competition have Auburn University connections. The contest, which is in its ninth year, offers up to $250,000 in funding and mentoring to entrepreneurs.

The companies with Auburn involvement are Simply Prose, which includes Raymond J. Harbert College of Business undergraduate students Cole Kinchler and Jake Wright, and Tennibot, which includes College of Architecture, Design and Construction graduate student Xuemei Yuan and Samuel Ginn College of Engineering doctoral student Haitham Eletrabi.

SimplyProse, based in Opelika, is a collaborative writing platform that affords all writers a space to create, critique and market their work for profit or personal enjoyment. Tennibot, based in Auburn, is a robotic tennis ball collector that allows the player to focus on having fun and hitting balls, not collecting them.

The startups were picked out of 22 applicants and will make their first pitches June 26 in Birmingham. After the first pitches, select startups will advance to the Alabama Launchpad Competition finale on Aug. 27 in Birmingham.

For more information about the Alabama Launchpad competition, go to