Our Approach

Portal Fund makes pre-seed investments into founders based in the Gulf Coast region that are in the early stage of developing companies with high-growth business models (high-growth startups).

The Portal Fund is designed to accelerate the entrepreneurial ecosystem of South Alabama and the central Gulf Coast region. The Fund will attract, retain, and support high-growth ventures in the region by providing startup founders with seed capital and access to Portal programming, milestone-based mentoring, and workspace, all designed to encourage venture development, growth, and job creation.

Portal Fund closed its latest round on September 10, 2020 and is not accepting applications at this time. Check back in 2021 for the next investment round!


Up to 10 Each Year
Convertible Notes



Develop Milestones
Direct Mentoring
Startup Programs



Business Growth
Job Creation
Economic Impact

  • Fund Overview
  • Eligibility
  • Application Process
  • Investment Criteria
  • Investee Requirements
  • 501(c)(3)
  • Early stage investment fund
  • $25,000–$150,000 investments
  • Investments awarded as convertible notes. Convertible notes are investments in the form of a loan that have the option of converting into equity once specified milestones are met. These milestones and other terms of the note are agreed upon by the Investment Council and founder(s) prior to investment.
  • Inaugural fund raised in 2019
  • Inaugural investment round initiated in 2020
  • Next investment round will open for applications in 2021
  • Located in Gulf Coast region


  • Support founders in the Gulf Coast region
  • Encourage venture development
  • Attract and retain founders in the region
  • Encourage ventures to create jobs
  • Attract and retain talent in the region
  • Prepare founders for follow-on, equity-based funding
  • Create deal flow for funders
  • High-potential founders: We back founders who are obsessed with developing a business around solving real problems in innovative ways. We’re looking for founders that are coachable, responsive, motivated, and that have a unique ability to lead and inspire others to join their journey.
  • Venture based in the Gulf Coast region: HQ and at least 51% of founding team located in Mobile once investment made.
  • Ventures with high potential for rapid growth: We look for startups that can grow into sizable businesses in Mobile, creating high-wage jobs and revenues.
  • Ventures in any sector: However, particular consideration will be given to startups that are utilizing emerging technologies aligned with regional industry activity (aerospace, med-tech, shipping and logistics, ship building, chemical, etc.).
  • Ventures in early stage of development: Ideation, concepting, launch, revenue-generating, etc.
  • For-profit ventures only: The Portal Fund will not consider applications submitted by nonprofits, although social enterprises and social impact businesses with for-profit business models are encouraged to apply.
  • Submissions must be the original idea of the applicant.
  • Complete online application (will reopen for next investment round in 2021)
  • Interview with Investment Committee
  • Pitch before the Investment Committee and Advisory Council
  • Complete due diligence review
  • Remain honest and responsive to Portal staff and Investment Council throughout the process
  • Committed founders
  • Validation
  • Scalability
  • Innovative nature of the product, technology, or service
  • Business development and success metrics to date
  • Market landscape
  • The qualities of the founder and executive team
  • Strength of investment opportunity
  • Potential impact on the region
  • Diversity
  • Identify milestones and goals for the following year
  • Develop timeline and action plan to achieve milestones
  • Meet regularly with Portal staff
  • Report regularly on venture status and progress
  • Prepare for follow on funding
  • Participate in Portal activities
  • Provide regular reports for the life of the venture

Investment Council

Advisory Panel

Portal Fund Donors