BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Dec. 9, 2022) - Two startup companies competed among eight other finalist companies to earn a combined $75,000 in non-dilutive funding in the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Finale, presented by the Alabama Power Foundation. Alabama Launchpad, a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA), partnered with the Alabama Power Foundation to host the in-person finale, at Regions Field, from 5-7 p.m., on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.
VB Ideas claimed $50,000, winning the early-seed stage competition. S.C.H.O.O.L.S. (Success Can Happen Out Of Low Scores), by VB Ideas, provides coaching and a roadmap to success in ACT and SAT scores, so each person can achieve the level they need to pursue the goals they desire.
“This has been the most amazing process ever,” Valencia Belle, Founder of S.C.H.O.O.L.S., by VB Ideas said. “I was a mission-based service organization, and now this validates the fact that I can actually be a multi-million-dollar company. Without Alabama Launchpad, it wouldn’t be possible for me to apply to become a B Corp or scale my product in the way that I have so far. I’m extremely thankful for every Launch Advisor that’s mentored and helped me throughout this experience.”
Monthly, winner of the concept stage prize of $25,000, makes gender-inclusive, sustainable and price-accessible menstrual underwear for all people with a cycle. It is a social enterprise business that contributes a percentage of profits to charities fighting period poverty in the South.
“I feel amazing, because periods happen and the products on the market just aren’t cutting it.” Aiko Pickering, Founder of Monthly said. “I want Monthly to totally disrupt the market. Most of all, I’m happy that this is happening in Alabama.”
Each finalist company received intensive mentorship, through both one-on-one and group session training with Launch Advisors, to prepare for the ultimate finale judging panels.
The early-seed stage companies were evaluated by three judges: Andrew Jennings, Chief Commercial Officer of Transcend, The Fearless Company; Kwamena Aidoo, Co-Founder at Corridor Ventures; Kevin Cook, Director of Finance at Pack Health, a Quest Diagnostics Company.
The concept stage competition included a panel of three judges: Chris Sims, CEO of CAVU; Ginny Cavett, Senior NPI and Source Change Leader at GE Aerospace; Gary Parisher, President and CEO of Cheeriodicals.
"As a prior Alabama Launchpad winner, it's a great experience to be involved as a judge,” Parisher said. “I know what it feels like being in their position, and I enjoy helping the candidates not just go through the presentation process, but appreciate the experience they gain along the way."
The Alabama Power Foundation was the presenting sponsor of the first Social Impact competition.
"The Alabama Power Foundation is placing greater emphasis on efforts to strengthen equity and generate economic opportunity in Alabama," said Hallie Bradley, the foundation's manager of Strategic Initiatives. "Working with partners, we're excited about the possibilities for helping elevate female and minority businesses across the state while supporting underserved communities and creating jobs.”
"It's been a wonderful experience to partner with the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama on their latest Launchpad, focused on small businesses and entrepreneurs eager to make a positive social impact in our state -- and beyond," Bradley added. "We congratulate everyone who participated, and we can't wait to see these businesses grow and prosper while helping lift Alabama families and communities."
The Social Impact cycle brings Alabama Launchpad to new milestones – it has now funded 112 Alabama startups since its inception in 2006. Over the past 16 years, Alabama Launchpad has awarded over $5.9 million in non-dilutive funding to the winning companies, which today have an estimated combined post-money valuation of more than $1 billion and employ more than 1,300 people.
Alabama Launchpad is funded in part by grants from the Alabama Department of Commerce and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), as well as private foundations like Truist, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s Caring Foundation and Wells Fargo.
The Alabama Launchpad program has funded growing companies like Croux, CHONEX, Vulcan Line Tools, Immediate and more by offering non-dilutive prize money for its pitch competition. The EDPA is a private, nonprofit organization that supports business recruitment and expansion efforts in Alabama and promotes innovative and emerging startup companies through its Alabama Launchpad program.
Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact 2022 finalists were able to deliver presentations in-person, while the competition also streamed live online. To view the recorded finale, please visit alabamalaunchpad.com.
The Alabama Launchpad Cycle 1 applications will open Jan. 6, 2023. To learn more please click here.
About Alabama Launchpad
Established in 2006, Alabama Launchpad is Alabama’s most active, early-stage seed fund investor, driving innovation and job growth through startup competitions and ongoing mentoring for Alabama entrepreneurs. Alabama Launchpad is made possible by the generous support from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the Alabama Department of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Caring Foundation, Wells Fargo, Alabama Power and the Daniel Corporation Foundation. It is the state’s longest running business plan and pitch competition. Over the past 16 years, Alabama Launchpad has invested over $5.9 million into 112 Alabama startups. The winning startup companies have generated over 1,300 jobs for the state and have a combined post-money valuation of over $1 billion.