Capital Village marks the culmination of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), the annual celebration of entrepreneurship, which is home to over 50 events, 75 entrepreneurs and a crowd of the nation’s most innovative business leaders, financiers, entrepreneurs and students.
NOEW is now in its sixth year and still making important changes, including pitch competition modifications and a greater focus on homegrown angel investors and startups.
Formerly Power Pitch, Demo Day @ NOEW debuted earlier today during Capital Village. Historically the event brought in investors from across the country. Power Pitch was changed to Demo Day to focus on the burgeoning and exciting local angel community, according to Idea Village financial advisor Taylor Beery. Demo Day is a chance for companies to connect with an audience of investors and show off what the entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Orleans has to offer.
Idea Village co-founder and CEO Tim Williamson said he hoped the event would serve as a platform that will contribute to the continued momentum of local angels and emerging businesses.
The keynote for Demo Day was Jeff Pulver, VoIP pioneer and Vonage co-founder. Pulver was an early investor in both Twitter and Foursquare. His initial $50,000 investment in Twitter would have been worth over $24 million at the time of the company’s IPO (Pulver ended up selling his shares prior to the IPO). “$50,000 matters,” he noted. Pulver also admitted to being a high-risk investor.
Through a share of hands, Pulver determined that not one person in the room currently works in the field that they studied in college. He congratulated the pivots and the risks that not only the entrepreneurs take, but the ones the audience and potential future investors in the room take as well.
Without the use of a formal panel, entrepreneurs pitched for eight minutes and took questions directly from the audience.
The first pitch came from Alex Reed, co-founder and CEO of Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies, also known as APMT, who is a New Orleans native. “I’m happy to say our company is solving the $100 billion production inefficiency problem in the polymer manufacturing industry right here in New Orleans.”
Reed told the audience that polymers make modern way of life possible. APMT provides systems, services and software solutions in real-time based around their core technology of Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring of Polymerization Reactions (ACOMP). He admitted to having indirect competition, but “we’re the first to do this,” he continued.
Next up was Education Everytime (E²), the education technology company that uses the power of songs to maximize student-learning time. E² is currently the only company making music solely for the classroom and plan to be cash flow positive within 24 months.
The company plans to target the nearly four million K-12 teachers in the United States to help them increase classroom efficiency through the subscription-based “songs-as-a-service” model. Former teacher turned COO and CTO Spencer Grey said the company will have nine different genres of music by year four. By year five, Grey and founder Lorenzo Castillo predict $5 million in revenue, which is just 5% market penetration.
Maritant, the so-called Amazon.com for shipbuilding without the warehouses, provides instant access to the equipment data that marine engineers, naval architects and shipbuilders need by bringing the process from traditional paper to a modern digital platform.
The platform launched three weeks ago and already has paying customers. Founder and engineer Chris Stuckey said what sets Maritant away from the pack is that the platform formats equipment specifications, which are broken down into 321 categories and even more subcategories. “We’re a concierge service for engineering teams,” he continued.
Daily equipment updates with new features rolling out in the next few months will help the platform scale. Stuckey said he is looking for connections to people with shipbuilding and Software as a service (SaaS) experience to continue to grow.
Halfway through the pitches, Chris Schultz made an announcement. “As Tim [Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village] would say, today is the Mardi Gras of Entrepreneur Week. We’re excited to announce what’s next.” Schultz explained that Launch Pad, in partnership with The Idea Village, is gearing up for the entrepreneurial post-season in preparation for Launch Fest that will bring in national venture capitalists to hear from local companies. Companies that have an investor commitment from a local angel after the pitches today will be eligible to go on the road following Launch Fest.
The company that provides an un-tethered mobile phone charging solution was up next. MobileQubes is the first-ever self-automated kiosk that dispenses smartphone batteries called “Qubes” that customers and rent and return for a small fee.
Once the launched, the national network of Qubes will charge 99% of phones fully in about nine minutes. Three years from now, MobileQubes will have 1,000 machines in its network and $34 million in revenue. CEO Sean Carrigan said they know the $5 fee will give them strong revenue growth. “We’re bringing convenience to a category that has been inconvenient from the start,” he continued. “In two years we expect to break even.”
SNAP Real Estate Photography, debuting as IMOTO, provides superior quality image marketing content to real estate agents, which increases the likelihood a property will be sold. Their listings sell 50% faster and 39% closer to the original list price. “Clients receive a valuable return on a minimal investment,” said CEO Darryl Glade during his pitch.
One audience member asked about the competition. “Bring it on,” says Glade. As the company grows and sales increase, their profit margins are predicted to skyrocket due to the easily scalable model both locally and nationally. Since launch, IMOTO has done $400,000 in sales through its 660 active customers.
The final pitch came from a company that combines innovative distribution technology with fresh, healthy food to offer meal solutions to corporate and healthcare clientele. Your Nutrition Anytime, formerly known as Your Nutrition Delivered, founder Erik Frank says the meals calorie specific and delicious, along with vegetarian, heart healthy and many more options.
Your Nutrition Anytime is utilizing a self-pay “Fresh Cooler” kiosk, which uses the patented ShelfX technology, to distribute meals. There are currently only 15 coolers in the country that provides fresh, healthy food and Your Nutrition Anytime operates eight of them with plans to launch at least six more in the near future. Frank says partnerships with benefit companies will help them scale more quickly.
Today, Frank is actively seeking a real estate investment partner with strong ties to Texas, specifically Houston, which represents a $300 million opportunity.
Interested parties and investors alike can contact any of the six companies by visiting their websites (links above). For more information about NOEW, visit http://noew.org.