May 5, 2015
New Orleans is famous for Mardis Gras and jazz music, and the 2009 NFL Champion New Orleans Saints. But, similar to the city of Detroit, New Orleans has had to rebuild in the last decade. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city and the entire region in 2005, recovery and recession were challenging wars that the region had to wage. In the face of this challenge, the rate of entrepreneurship in New Orleans has grown more rapidly than most places in the U.S.
This makes New Orleans the most logical final stop on Steve Case and Revolution‘s Rise of the Rest Startup Tour. After visiting Richmond, Raleigh-Durham, Charleston, and Atlanta, having selected one startup in each region to award a $100,000 investment, the Rise of the Rest will arrive in New Orleans on May 8 to tour the economic wins in the region and hear pitches from 8 selected startups. Understanding the “important role that all sectors – public and private – play in helping the entrepreneurial economy thrive”, is one of the main reasons for this tour, according to Revolution’s blog post.
Many of the active angel and venture funding firms in New Orleans were founded within the last five years, and the amount of startup funding in 2013 was an unevenly distributed $48M. But incubators like The Idea Village are working hard to change that. By producing New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week, the spotlight on the growth and vibrancy of the area is able to shine bright. Firms such as Nola Angel Network, Operating Venture Capital, South Coast Angel Fund, and New Orleans Startup Fund help to round out the resources that provide startups with necessary access to mentorship, education, and funding.
When the Rise of the Rest tour bus pulls in to New Orleans, they will get a full immersion into the local historical culture and the startup culture as they dine on Cajun food before touring the BioInnovation Center to learn about the region’s digital health and clean technology initiatives. But the region’s largest startup industry, education, is sure to be the focus as the team visits The Idea Village to meet with local education startup founders such as Matt Candler of 4.0 and Jen Medberry of Kickboard. Saints Quarterback Drew Brees will also be on hand to help host the visiting tour, whose members include Tech.Co CEO Frank Gruber.
The local entrepreneurs not involved in the Rise of the Rest competition will have the opportunity to give a show-and-tell about their startups while riding upon a Mardi Gras float! The “Krewe de Nieux” will actually drive through New Orleans, from the Idea Village down to a local tap room, while entrepreneurs on board give their pitches. If that’s not enough excitement, the day’s events will culminate at the New Orleans Jazz Market, where jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and New Orleans Saints tackle Zach Strief will help judge the startup finalists. These finalists will compete to win the $100,000 investment from Steve Case.
The eight startups in the Rise of the Rest startup competition are:
- GoToInterview – on-demand video interviewing platform for high-turn industries
- PlantBid – business to business marketplace for the professional horticulture products industry
- WhereY’Art – marketplace and social network connecting artists/buyers
- Servato – industrial internet of things solution provider
- Get Healthy – software and services powering direct primary care revolution
- Million Dollar Scholar – transforming how schools and parents prepare students to pay for college
- Welcome to College – helps colleges optimize the college visit and enroll optimal fit students
- Community Health TV – multicultural, multi-platform health media company
The Rise of the Rest Tour is possible with partnerships from Google for Entrepreneurs and UP Global, in addition to the support from both new and previous tour partners including Salesforce for Startups, Engine, Startup Grind, Village Capital, Seed Here Studio and.
Image Credit: Flickr/La Citta Vita
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