Meet the startups in the Alabama Launchpad Social Impact Competition: Reboot Reforestation and OMNIS
On December 8th, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the Alabama Power Foundation will host the finale for the latest Alabama launch pad Competition for startup companies. This round of the launchpad focuses on companies’ intent to make a positive impact on the community. Ten finalists compete for total funding of $75,000.
Reboot Reforestation wants to plant one seed, or more specifically, thousands of acres of seeds, across Alabama and the Southeast.
The Tuscaloosa-based startup wants to help restore longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States.
The longleaf pine, Alabama’s state tree, once spanned an estimated 90 million acres from Virginia to Texas, but less than 5 percent of its original acreage remains, according to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Restoring longleaf pine forests has become one of the top conservation priorities in recent years. More than 30 endangered and threatened species, including the red-headed woodpecker and tortoise, rely on the pines for habitat.
Enter Reboot Reforestation, which said it can “solve the destruction of longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States and … do it in the most environmentally friendly way.”
Reboot Reforestation uses drones to plant trees, deliver herbicides and fertilizers. “By using drones, Reboot is able to reduce reforestation costs by up to 30%, eliminate soil compaction and erosion, and use up to 50% less herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers than helicopter spraying ‘ CEO and co-founder Dalton Morris said.
That reduces the environmental impact, as does the trees themselves, which Morris says absorbs 2.5 tons of carbon each year for every hectare of new forest that grows.
The drones plant innovative seedballs that protect seeds “from predators, lock in moisture, and provide nutrients that improve germination and survival.” Drones are highly efficient and enable large-scale planting at a lower cost than mechanical or manual planting, the company says.
Learn more at rebootreforestation.com.
OMNIS strives to bridge the gap between banks that don’t lend people money and payday lenders and “loan sharks” that only do so at astronomical interest rates.
“The underserved and unbanked have never had an alternative to get the funds they need, aside from exploitative services averaging 400% interest per loan,” said Zakariya Veasy, CEO and Founder of OMNIS.
OMNIS is a financial services app that helps people access capital and build credit, Veasy said. He describes OMNIS as “a social crowdsourcing platform that allows individuals to make money through their community with peer-to-peer short-term microcredit and where others can borrow money to meet their immediate needs.”
Lenders receive loan requests in their feeds, and when they decide to make partial or full payment of the loan, they choose the interest rate to pay back. Borrowers submit a loan request to their community and can accept or decline the terms of the loans offered to them.
Veasy envisions OMNIS improving financial literacy and helping people with limited or no credit history “build a solid reputation with big bureaus”.
OMNIS has partnered with several banks including First Independence Bank, Greenwood, Regions, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, giving those who are being turned away by banks a chance to get what they need from OMNIS. The company will also partner with non-profit organizations and hospitals.
“The real impact of our OMNIS solution is a reality where immigrants, students and other marginalized communities can fulfill their American Dream,” said Veasy.
Learn more at omnisapp.org.
The finals of the Alabama Launchpad Social Impact Competition will be held on December 8th at 5:00 p.m. at Alabama Power Headquarters, 600 N. 18th St. in downtown Birmingham. The event is open to the public, but the number of participants is limited. To secure a place, please register here.