Alabama Launchpad Cycle 3 finale to have Auburn Engineering flavor

Published: Oct 11, 2023 2:45 PM

By Joe McAdory

Will Bryan assumed he’d accept a traditional job after earning his Auburn Engineering education. Those plans changed when Bryan took professor David Bevly’s system dynamics and controls class.

“I found it to be the culmination of the engineering principles I had learned at Auburn,” said Bryan, who is working toward a doctorate in mechanical engineering. “Near the end of that semester, Dr. Bevly (the Bill and Lana McNair Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering) offered me an opportunity to join the GAVLAB (GPS and Vehicle Dynamics Laboratory) and pursue a master’s degree.”

From there, Bryan began a journey of research and development of autonomous vehicle software and now… entrepreneurship.

Zakariya Veasy, a senior in computer science and software engineering (CSSE), desires to resolve financial issues for new Americans who resettle from countries that lack widespread availability of traditional financial services.

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Zakariya Veasy, CEO and founder of OMNIS, finished third in last spring's Tiger Cage Student Business Pitch Competition and won last October's Halloween Pitch Competition.

“We all know how hard it is to get credit when you have no history of borrowing – it’s the Catch-22 of the financial industry,” Veasy said in a New Venture Accelerator online news story. “Imagine how difficult it is for the new arrivals to borrow money on favorable terms when they don’t have a history of borrowing and making timely payments in this country.”

Bryan wants to make an impact on the automated vehicle industry. Veasy wants to make an impact on the financial well-being of new Americans. Both are among 10 finalists at Alabama Launchpad’s Cycle 3 competition Dec. 7 in Hoover, where startups will pitch business ideas before a panel of industry professional judges.

Alabama Launchpad, whose Cycle 2 competition was Aug. 17 at the New Venture Accelerator, features entrepreneurs in two stages of development: concept (pre-revenue) and early seed (looking to accelerate the growth of an existing startup).

Bryan, a Cycle 2 finalist, is CEO and founder of Autonoma, which creates autonomous vehicle simulation and validation tools. Autonoma, which is among six companies competing for $50,000 in Launchpad’s early seed stage, combines an autonomous vehicle simulator with high-bandwidth, low-latency wireless communications to allow a real vehicle to “see” a virtual environment around it, allowing for safer transition from simulation to on-road operation. It is less expensive and more efficient than current validation methods.

Veasy, founder and CEO of Omnis, merges blockchain technology with traditional banking to empower users with peer-to-peer loans, credit building and seamless transactions, is among four companies competing for $25,000 in Launchpad’s concept stage.

Veasy took third place at last spring’s Tiger Cage Student Business Idea Competition, won the annual Halloween Business Pitch Idea Competition last October and was recently recognized by the Business Journals as a “2023 Inno Under 25” entrepreneur. He credited courses taken in CSSE for developing the skills used to create an innovative startup.

“The best thing about being in Auburn’s CSSE program is that it helps build the fundamentals of coding and being able to understand what I was looking for,” Veasy said. “A lot of our structure for the application comes from fundamentals of the CSSE program and helps us understand how everything works together and to identify and coding issues.”

Bryan, who founded Autonoma in 2022, previously served as the Autonomous Tiger Racing (ATR) team lead.

“I had the honor of leading the (ATR) team, where we achieved major milestones, built international relationships, and showed the world what it means to be an Auburn Tiger,” Bryan said. “However, without the immense support of Auburn, the College of Engineering, the alumni, and Dr. Bevly, none of this would have been possible.

“It was the lessons learned and network formed during my time leading ATR that culminated in founding Autonoma,” he said. “The bond with Auburn remains strong as we collaborate on projects and welcome top-quality Auburn grads as employees. Today, as we navigate the challenges of running a startup, the values instilled by Auburn—a spirit that is not afraid and hard work—are our guiding principles.”

Established in 2006, Alabama Launchpad has funded 115 startups and invested more than $6.2 million in nondilutive funding. Its winning companies have a combined post-money valuation of more than $1 billion and have generated more than 1,300 jobs across the state.

Media Contact: Joe McAdory,, 334.844.3447
Will Bryan, CEO and founder of Autonoma, was team lead for Autonomous Tiger Racing.

Will Bryan, CEO and founder of Autonoma, was team lead for Autonomous Tiger Racing.

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