2 Alabama startups win $75K at Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition

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Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

On Thursday, December 8, ten startups from around the state traveled to downtown Birmingham to participate in Alabama Launchpad’s Social Impact Competition. With $75K in seed funding on the line, each startup gave it their all—but only two could walk away with the big prize.

Keep reading to learn more about the winners of the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition.

About the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition

Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Each year, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA) drives innovation and job growth in the state through its Alabama Launchpad competitions. Alabama Launchpad is the state’s most active early seed funding source, having invested over $5.9 million in non-dilutive funding in 112 startups throughout Alabama. Today, that investment is worth more than $1 billion and has generated over 1,300 jobs across the state

For its third and final competition of the year, Alabama Launchpad partnered with the Alabama Power Foundation to launch the first statewide Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition. This partnership came about naturally as both organizations are working towards elevating the state while the Alabama Power Foundation has also been growing its involvement in social impact investing.

Meet the Winners of the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition

During the Alabama Launchpad: Social Impact Competition, finalists were divided into two groups. 

  • Finalists in the concept stage are usually pre-revenue and compete for $25,000.
  • Finalists in the early seed stage are competing for $50,000 to accelerate the growth of their existing business. 

Monthly — Concept Stage, $25K

Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
Monthly founder Aiko Pickering standing with the Concept Stage Alabama Launchpad judges. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

The Concept Stage winner of the Alabama Launchpad: Social Image Competition is Monthly, a company that makes gender-inclusive, sustainable and price-accessible menstrual underwear for all people with a cycle. Founder Aiko Pickering contributes a percentage of Monthly’s profits to charities fighting period poverty in the South.

“This win means everything for me and for Monthly. Most of all, it solidifies the amazing startup ecosystem we have here in Alabama and shows that they’re ready and willing to support some really innovative ideas. It also means that Monthly is going to be able to bring better period products out to all people that have periods, which makes me super excited!”

Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly

What’s next for Monthly?

“Monthly has recently gone viral on TikTok, and we’ve used that virality and the resulting pre-orders to justify purchasing our first initial bulk order. With this funding from Alabama Launchpad, we’ll be able to start marketing and get ready for our launch in early 2023.”

Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly

VB Ideas — Seed Stage, $50K

Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
VB Ideas founder Valencia Belle standing with her Seed Stage Alabama Launchpad judges. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

VB Ideas founder Valencia Belle knows how big of an impact a strong ACT score can have. Thanks to her high ACT test results, Valencia was able to have her education completely paid for—and recently completed her doctorate at the University of Southern California.

Valencia’s VB Ideas aims to prepare students to score high on the ACT and SAT, so each student can pursue their dreams. VB Ideas provides coaching and a roadmap to prepare students for standardized tests through achievement-building activities, while infusing elements of character into K-12 and collegiate curriculum frameworks.

“Alabama Launchpad has been the most amazing process, and this win validates the fact that I can grow my idea into a multi-million dollar company and make a social impact. I’m so grateful to Alabama Launchpad for this opportunity and for every advisor that helped me get to this point.”

Valencia Belle, Founder, VB Ideas

What’s next for VB Ideas?

“We’re getting ready to do some targeted launching here in the state of Alabama! I am a proud Alabama public high school graduate and I am on a mission to make sure that these Alabama schools gets the tools they need to succeed. My first step is working to discover the best way that I can make the type of social impact I want to make with VB Ideas.”

Valencia Belle, Founder, VB Ideas

VB IdeasWebsite | Email | Facebook

YOUR startup could be the next big winner

Alabama Launchpad Social Impact
(Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

“Never give up on your dream, trust yourself and launch out there into the world. There are customers who need what you have to offer, so don’t sell yourself short. This is a perfect example that if you hold fast, you can accomplish your wildest dreams.”

Valencia Belle, Founder, VB Ideas

“I’m so grateful that our state continues to have programs like Alabama Launchpad that makes it possible for people to make an impact and create a product that’s good for the world. I’m really grateful to be an Alabamian!”

Aiko Pickering, Founder, Monthly

Have a great idea that needs a kickstart? Alabama Launchpad could be just the opportunity you are looking for! Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers—the Alabama Launchpad team wants to help you grow your idea into Alabama’s next big thing. 

Ready to take the next step? Applications to Alabama Launchpad’s next competition open January 6, 2023. Click here to visit the Alabama Launchpad website and learn more.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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