Launchpad Ignition Blasts Off First New Orleans Startup Class

May 6, 2011

4:35 pm

Startup accelerator programs have been spreading like wildfire over the last few years. We have been covering them since 2007 as TechStars launched in Boulder, Colorado to emulate Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston’s Y Combinator model. Since then we’ve seen TechStars expand to other cities, become part of Startup America and open source its model to a handful of other incubators across the country as part of the TechStars Network. One of the network incubators, Launchpad Ignition, happens to be down in the New Orleans bayou and is founded by Chris Schultz, Barre Tanguis, Will Donaldson, Peter Bodenheimer and Mark Graffagnini. They initially created Launchpad as a co-working space in 2009. Leveraging the community hub, the team has been working tirelessly for the past five months to prepare its initial six companies for demo day, which took place yesterday.

Chris Schultz, one of the co-founders of Launchpad Ignition:

“Our mission is to keep these companies in New Orleans and build a solid tech ecosystem. One of the keys to this program is to ensure that local investors and angels lead the funding rounds with national funds supporting those investments.”

Chris Schultz Speaks at Launchpad Ignition launchfest 2011

Chris Schultz Speaks at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

The program started in mid-March and concluded yesterday. So let’s take a look at the six companies that launched.

Dydra on-stage at Launchpad Ignition Demo Day 2011

Dydra on-stage at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Dydra – cloud-based database as a service. It allows companies to store, analyze and leverage big data.

Gamebuilder Studio Team at Demo Day 2011

Gamebuilder Studio Team at Launchfast 2011

Gamebuilder Studio – cross-platform visual game creation tool for creating games. It’s like XtraNormal for games and offers a drag-and-drop interface for creating simple games. It’s a way for anyone to create a game in just a few minutes and then distribute to any platform they want.

Badger Team at Demo Day 2011

Badger Team at Launchfast 2011

Badger – social picture sharing that allows you to discover photos around interests rather than just around friends.

Rayku at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Rayku at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Rayku – peer-to-peer micro-tutoring network. Founded by an 18-year-old freshman in college, Rayku is the marketplace connecting tutors with students.  It’s focused on college and university students and takes a percentage of every tutoring transaction. It’s not meant for in-person tutoring but more for web-based tutoring.

The Kinio team at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

The Kinio team at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Kinio – sells videos online. The service is focused on independent filmmakers to upload and distribute their films. This sounds very similar to DC-based SnagFilms. The transaction engine is built into the player so that videos can offer a revenue stream in the video.

Liveset on-stage at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Liveset on-stage at Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Liveset – HD streaming platform for live concerts. It’s like the “HBO for concerts” as they capture and produce a high-quality video for live shows. Their biggest challenge may be scaling, but they are approaching this by working with musicians with larger audiences and capitalizing on the transactions for each show.

Audience at Launchpad Ignition at Launchfast 2011

Audience at Launchpad Ignition at Launchfast 2011

Taylor Davidson, a mentor to the program and investor at kbs+p Ventures, had this to to say about the first demo day:

“Ignition brings together the local and national entrepreneurs, mentors and investors to raise the level of awareness of what technology companies can do in the New Orleans region.”

So it sounds like the Launchpad team is doing some interesting things down in New Orleans. It will be exciting to watch their progress as well as to follow the companies they have been working with in the region.

Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Launchpad Ignition Launchfest 2011

Photos © 2011 amy jett photography.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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