5 companies ready for mammoth Coulter Challenge at final day of NOEW

Today is the culminating event to New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, the Coulter Challenge IDEAPitch, founded by Jim Coulter, founder of the massive private equity group TPG Capital.  Five companies pitch their companies to a prominent investor panel led by Jim plus Jeff Schwartz of Bain Capital, Kevin Clifford of American Funds, Wendy Lung of IBM Venture Capital, Jeff Brody of Redpoint Ventures, Jim Counihan of Prism VentureWorks and Kris Licht of McKinsey & Company.

Through a combination of live, American Idol-style audience voting via consensor technology and the IDEApitch panel vote, the 2011 IDEApitch winner will receive a suite of HP office products, $5k of legal services from Jones Walker, an all-access trip to San Francisco, arranged by Jim Coulter and TPG Capital, to meet with top investors, as well as a custom designed presentation for use during the trip to San Francisco provided by ProPoint Graphics.

The IDEApitch Entrepreneurs are Federated Sample, MiniVax, Naked Pizza, NOvate Medical Technologies, LLC and Spa Workshop:

Federated Sample (FED) is a market research technology firm based in New Orleans that focuses on bringing efficiency and automation to online sampling.  Started in March, 2010 by Patrick Comer and a management team that has extensive experience in the technology, targeting, delivery, and pricing elements of online sampling, Federated Sample has recently opened offices in New York, Los Angeles and Singapore and continues to grow quickly to meet industry demand.

MiniVax – Pneumonia often attacks patients with impaired immune systems, especially those with HIV/AIDS, premature or severely malnourished children, the elderly, those who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment, and others undergoing solid organ or bone marrow transplantation. Among these pneumonias, Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a fungal infection that occurs frequently.  MiniVax, a spin-out from LSU, is developing a novel, patent pending, vaccine platform to prevent PCP infection.  MiniVax has developed both novel antigens as well as innovative vaccine platforms to target the patients at greatest risk of this infection.  PCP is an initial focus but will be expanded into other opportunistic fungal infections as well.

Naked Pizza – Naked Pizza was formally launched in the fall of 2009 with a mission to reinvent fast-food demonstrating, by example, that this culturally ubiquitous industry could be part of the solution for the global epidemic of obesity and chronic disease attributable to diet.  While the recipe is based on the latest nutritional science, the taste is all pizza – saucy, cheesy, still round, still comes in a square box, and made universally accessible by the Trojan horse of the $60 billion global carryout and delivery pizza industry and its proven, popular, disciplined, and scalable business model.   Since its launch 17 months ago, Naked Pizza has secured the backing of two billionaire investors, earned international media coverage for its ground-breaking use of social media, attracted over 6000 franchising inquiries and today, has more than 450 stores under contract around the world with 70 scheduled to be opened by the end of 2011.  It employs more than 40 people in its New Orleans-based headquarters and helped to create more than 250 jobs and $5 million in new construction in 2010.

NOvate Medical Technologies is a New Orleans-based medical device development company focused on commercializing low-cost medical products. NOvate’s first product offering, SafeSnip, is aimed at decreasing healthcare costs and increasing standards of care while addressing global health issues. SafeSnip is a disposable obstetric device that simultaneously cuts, clamps, and shields the umbilical cord from infection. The core technology, developed at Tulane University by a team of Biomedical Engineers, will become the foundation of a differentiated product line to provide front-line neonatal diagnostics, infant tracking, and umbilical cord blood collection.

Spa Workshop – Spa Workshop promotes health and rejuvenation with water by bringing the latest technology to traditional spa treatments.  Spa Workshop’s TAG Shower products are multi-headed showers controlled by computerized technology.  The patent-pending valve system delivers shower experiences based on centuries of European hydrotherapy tradition.  At the tap of a touchscreen, a guest selects shower experiences that invigorate them, reduce stress, relieve muscle tension, reduce cellulite, or a custom treatment unique to that shower.   Clients with TAG Showers include the Spas at the Broadmoor Hotel, The Coeur d’Alene Resort, and Tucker’s Point in Bermuda.

You can attend the pitches at Gallier Hallon St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans from  1:30pm to: 5:00pm.  Good luck!