Meet New Orleans' next set of moguls
The Idea Village’s IDEAxcelerator 2013 program kicked off last week with an impressive group of entrepreneurs. The intensive six-month accelerator program provides promising start-ups with resources and tools critical to their success.
This year, more than 160 entrepreneurs from the New Orleans area applied for the 2013 IDEAxcelerator program. The Idea Village team, which includes the three entrepreneurs in residence as well as Idea Village’s CEO Tim Williamson, have chosen 15 companies to participate this year; 60 percent of them already are revenue generating and 80 percent are tech-based. But the group's innovative ideas span a number of industries, including digital media, education, health care, finance, retail, and entertainment. That diversity reflects the evolution of the entrepreneurial system in New Orleans.
“This year’s class has deep industry experience and showcases the vibrancy of the New Orleans entrepreneurial community,” said Williamson. “Over the next six months, The Idea Village will engage its global network to provide strategy and technical assistance to accelerate the growth of these businesses.”
The application process for IDEAxcelerator, now in its fourth year, has become highly competitive. The 2013 entrepreneurs were selected using specific criteria, including having a sustainable, scalable revenue model, a high potential for positive economic impact, and a willingness to serve as a role model for the entrepreneurial community. All ventures must also be generating less than $1 million in annual revenue and be based in the New Orleans region.
The IDEAxcelerator program is customized to meet specific needs of participants. Coaching and assistance with business strategy, marketing support, and financial guidance are provided by the Idea Village Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and a pool of global business experts, professional service providers and investors.
“The EIRs have extensive experience in general management, marketing, finance, and operations,” said Kevin Wilkins, one of the 2013 EIRs. “We’re all about accountability and if you commit to The Idea Village, we’ll make a difference for your business.”
Since its inception in 2000, The Idea Village has supported more than 2,000 entrepreneurs. IDEAxcelerator alums include ChapterSpot, Cordina, Dukky, HUKA Entertainment, NOLA Brewing Company, The Occasional Wife, Rare Cuts, and VoiceHIT, among many others. Collectively, The Idea Village portfolio of companies has created more than 2,000 jobs and generates more than $100 million in revenue each year for the New Orleans community.
The six-month IDEAxcelerator program culminates with New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), a celebration of entrepreneurship scheduled for March 16-22, 2013.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be participating in IDEAxcelerator,” said Ben Cappiello, CSO of Bioceptive, one of the entrepreneurs in this year's class. “From access to unbelievable networks, to intensive mentorship and strategic business consulting, this program will provide a great boost in aiding Bioceptive through a crucial period leading up to the commercialization of our first device.”
Meet the 2013 IDEAxcelerator Class, and stay tuned for updates on New Orleans’ future moguls:
Bioceptive: Benjamin Capiello & Shuchi (SK) Khurana
Bioceptive is a women’s health company developing a novel platform for gynecological devices, beginning with a patent-pending intrauterine device (IUD) inserter that simplifies the insertion procedure, with the aim to reduce the complications inherent in current insertion techniques. The Bioceptive Inserter replaces a skill-dependent procedure currently requiring up to four tools with an intuitive and easy insertion procedure using one self-contained device. Bioceptive hopes to create a simple, safe inserter that can become the standard of practice for IUD insertions worldwide.
Bissap Breeze: Esailama Diouf-Henry & Tyrone Henry
Bissap Breeze LLC is a food and beverage company that has developed a drink made with organic roselle hibiscus flowers, organic volcanic agave nectar, natural extracts and spices. With a focus on ingredients, freshness, taste, nutritional value, safety and presentation, Bissap Breeze is also giving a portion of the proceeds from every bottle to support secondary math and science education and the performing arts.
BLK RBBT: David Buttrey
BLK RBBT is a marketing and artist development start-up focused on providing motion graphic solutions to those looking to add an attention-grabbing aspect to their communications with the public. They also specialize in interactive videos that react with movement, sound, and lights.
Classroom Blueprint: Jess Bialecki
Classroom Blueprint is an online community where teachers share and discover best practices for classroom design. Teachers publish their classroom setup and the stories behind them, receiving colleagues' feedback and suggestions to refine it. Teachers also tag specific products they’ve used in their classrooms, with links to online vendors, giving users immediate access to teacher-approved resources. Users can build their own “classroom blueprints" by compiling their favorite spaces from across the site and then can share these blueprints with others.
Clothesline Software: Stephen Fingerman & Lady Fuller
Clothesline Software (CL) launched in 2011 with the objective of developing software that enhances the sharing of information between retail and wholesale businesses. The focal point of the software is a cloud-based purchase order process, which digitizes what is now a manual system.
Connect for a Cause: Jason Nicosia
Connect for a Cause is a first-of-its-kind social fundraising platform that allows you to obtain meetings with influential people by supporting the causes they care about. Anyone can register to bid on available lunch meetings, or make themselves available for auction to support their favorite non-profit. The higher the winning bid for each lunch, the more money goes to the selected charity. Think Linkedin meets Ebay for social good.
Digital Forensics Solutions: Daryl Pfeif
Digital Forensics Solutions LLC is a deeply technical company that specializes in computer security and digital forensics. Founded in 2005, DFS has developed a loyal client base and garnered a reputation for prowess in incident response, evidence preservation, investigation, and analysis. The company also is actively engaged in research and development for the federal government. Its Registry Decoder, developed for The Department of Justice, was nominated for Forensics Tool of the yea. Other DFS software tools are imbedded in the standard security toolkits used in the forensics and security community worldwide.
Education Everytime: Lorenzo Castillo
Education Everytime is an educational record label specializing in the production of high quality original music and video for schools.
eTax Credit Exchange: Peter Loop & Raelynn Loop
eTax Credit Exchange is the nation's online marketplace for trading tax credits and other economic incentives using a proprietary trading platform. The exchange brings access, transparency, efficiency and uniformity to the industry, allowing buyers and sellers direct access to trading in real time. The exchange will include all transferable tax credits and incentives in every market that offers them, including Motion Picture, New Market, Historic and any other state-specific tax credit program.
GoToInterview.com: Todd McDonald
Gotointerview.com is a web-based tool designed to connect employers and employees in high-turnover industries. This unique technology creates a channel for employers to review short video interviews of potential candidates answering customized questions they have initiated.
SLUG: Erin Walters-Bugbee
SLUG is a mobile software tool for the film industry. A record-keeping solution, the SLUG Mobile App enables users to navigate an intuitive web interface, and log in from anywhere, at any time. Users can store and search information about filming locations based on their own criteria, update existing records, and make submissions. SLUG enhances interactivity within locations departments and the communities they serve.
Traverst: Andrew Dunn & Natalie Greene
Traverst is an online platform that makes travel planning and booking easier. Rather than scouring multiple travel websites to find the best value hotels, most authentic restaurants, neatest day trips, and easiest way to get from city to city, Traverst allows travelers to connect with a local who will design a custom itinerary suited to their desires, tastes, and style. Through the Traverst platform, the local expert will present options and suggestions that can’t always be found on travel websites or in guidebooks.
Your Nutrition Delivered: Erik Frank
Your Nutrition Delivered takes the guess work out of what to eat, reading labels, tracking points or counting calories: Company chefs prepare lunch and dinner for you, fully cooked and ready for re-heating. They provide a changing menu of salads, wraps and entrees, delivered twice weekly to your door. The Your Nutrition Delivered team believes the key to weight loss success is the stabilizing of blood sugar by eating four to five healthy small meals per day.
Zero Touch Digital: Gregory Morey & Larry Van Hoose
Zero Touch Digital is a software company with a platform (OMNIA) targeting the mobile market – think Windows for the mobile world. Its first product, LifeGuard, is a mobile application aimed at parents to help them monitor their kids’ digital activity.
Zlien: Scott Wolfe
Zlien provides software and services to help building supply and construction companies manage mechanics lien and bond claim compliance. With its lien compliance resources and services, Zlien helps thousands of companies across the United States secure their receivables and get paid.
To learn more about the annual Idea Village Entrepreneur Season, IDEAxcelerator, and New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and find out how to get involved, visit www.ideavillage.org and follow us on Twitter (@ideavillage).