With our “new normal” of COVID-19, we’ve had to face many new challenges. Reignite Alabama, the 3rd Alabama Launchpad competition of 2020, aims to specifically address these challenges affecting both Alabama and the country. We took a closer look at 7 of the 14 participating startups that will be competing for a portion of $75K in funding at Reignite Alabama.
Reignite Alabama Premieres August 27Alabama Launchpad judges separated with a plexiglass shield for COVID-19 safety protocols at the previous Alabama Launchpad Virtual Finale. Photo via Alabama Launchpad
This quarter, Alabama Launchpad—a program of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama—is doing things a bit differently. In the wake of the many challenges presented by COVID-19, contestants in Reignite Alabama will compete in four different categories:
14 finalists will be competing for a combined total of $150,000 in funding divided between the four sectors, which means each company is vying for $37,500 in prize money! We took a look at seven finalists competing in the Healthcare and Education sectors to learn more about their company’s vision and how the prize money could propel them to the next level.
Healthcare SectorHow do we make our healthcare centers in both rural/urban centers and workforce more resilient and adaptable?OBEX HealthCustom, 3D-printed facemasks in a variety of colors and designs. Photos courtesy of OBEX Health
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One of the chief complaints about the use of facemasks today is their lack of comfort. For some users, they can be difficult to breathe in and fog up the users glasses.
That’s where OBEX Health comes in. An offshoot of Satterfield Technologies, OBEX Heath is developing 3D-printed, comfortable and reusable N95 face masks. If they take home the big prize, OBEX Health plans to use the money to develop an app that would allow users to 3D-scan their face and send it in for a custom-fit mask.
“Since each mask is custom-made, they are comfortable to wear and don’t fog up your glasses. Plus, they come in a variety of colors and designs. They’re just like designer shoes—serving a functional purpose, but stylish at the same time.
Forrest Satterfield, OBEX Health, CEOTheraplayTheraplay is a unique approach to helping children through counseling. Photo via Theraplay
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Theraplay is a unique approach to counseling with children. It is an engaging, playful, relationship-focused treatment method that is interactive, physical, personal, and fun.
Oftentimes, children who have experienced trauma—such as abuse, neglect, medical issues and more—will have trouble regulating their emotions and behaviors. Theraplay is designed to help them relearn how to regulate themselves and their emotions.
Solution Studios—a spin off of a program in the University of Alabama at Birmingham—is an online forum and digital workspace where clinicians and STEM students can form teams to collaborate and develop solutions to unsolved clinical challenges.
Here’s how the program works:
A clinician identifies a patient-centered problem and posts it to the Solution Studios website.Connected innovators select a problem they would like to work on, and meet with clinicians to discuss the problem and identify areas for improvement.With help from health care professionals, their clinical partner and mentors, the student innovators develop solutions to the problem.The team creates a prototype, then tests and refines it. Solutions Studios helps to create a path toward commercialization.Education SectorHow do we use this opportunity to reinvent education?Safe Cop StopsGraphic via Safe Cop Stops on Facebook
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Do you know the proper procedure when pulled over by a law enforcement officer in a traffic stop? Even if you were taught during Driver’s Education, it is easy to forget. That’s where Safe Cop Stops shines.
Safe Cop Stops is a campaign to ensure that each traffic stop goes as smoothly as possible. The campaign is developing a curriculum to teach motorists their rights, the importance of law enforcement itself and how to conduct yourself during a routine traffic stop.
In addition to the curriculum, Safe Cop Stops is developing a phone app to use during traffic stops. When used, the app records the stop to the cloud and dials in ten individuals to witness the encounter. In addition, users of Safe Cop Stops can place a reflective sticker in their rear window to let law enforcement officers know that the traffic stop is being recorded.
“I’ve been working on this project for three years, but lately there is a heightened awareness of what is going on. I’ve interviewed 50 police officers and more than 1,400 individuals to identify ways that we can ensure each of the 116,000 traffic stops each day goes as smoothly as possible.”
Michael Burrow, Safe Cop StopsEdifyOnlineEdifyOnline previously won $50K at Alabama Launchpad in 2017. Photo via Alabama Launchpad
Learn more: Website
As we lean back into the school year, a number of institutions are transitioning into online learning curriculums. EdifyOnline aims to ease that transition by providing a platform for independent teaching talents from universities and communities to work together to achieve important milestones for students in higher education. EdifyOnline’s end-to-end platform helps the online ecosystem:
Provide an avenue for qualified, online teaching talent to centrally access unique teaching experiences.Lower the cost and increase the scalability of online delivery.Focus on learning effective online pedagogy and promote best practices.Culminate in high quality, accessible, and affordable education opportunities for learners.
“For any startup, the opportunity to receive feedback from the experts at Alabama Lauchpad is invaluable. We’re looking forward to revisiting our business strategy and utilizing the resources that Alabama Launchpad has to offer.”
Vik Agarwal, EdifyOnlinePack EducationGraphic via Pack Education
Learn more: LinkedIn
Pack Education identified that in the Community College world, graduation rates are lower due to a number of extenuating circumstances that affect many of the students. Many Community College students are first-generation attendees who have to balance a job and their education while often facing financial, housing and other challenges.
Pack Education aims to provide a cohesive universal curriculum for these students to help them get the support they need. Initially, Pack Education will be rolling out their service in three community colleges in Alabama to help support students who are at risk of dropping out.
“We are looking forward to using the platform of Reignite Alabama to help educate the marketplace about our service and get our name out there!
Mazi Rasulnia, Pack EducationTUTR
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For two and a half years, TUTR has been conducting market research and developing an app to connect college students with tutors. TUTR is on-demand tutoring—so, if you’ve procrastinated on your homework, you can find a tutor to help you right then and there, rather than set up an appointment. And the best part? While existing tutoring apps connect students with tutors from around the country, TUTR makes sure that each tutor is based locally.
“Participating in this experience with the judges and entrepreneurs at Alabama Launchpad is invaluable to me—you can’t buy that experience with money.”
Joshua Mickler, TUTRTune in to Reignite Alabama on August 27A finalist pitching his idea to visitors and judges at the Alabama Launchpad Cycle 1 event in Montgomery on February 28th, 2020 (before social distancing). Photo via Alabama Launchpad
While we can’t show up in person, it’s easier now more than ever to see these Alabama entrepreneurs take to the stage. Tune in to the Reignite Alabama Finale competition to help support these innovative ideas.
You can catch the livestream on Alabama Launchpad’s website and Facebook page starting at 4:30PM on August 27!