Getting Funded in Louisiana: Tools for First Time Entrepreneurs

So you’re a hopeful entrepreneur with a great idea and you need some cash to get to the next step. This article is a collection of resources to help you get funded in Louisiana. The best part about these tools? The people behind them are right here in Louisiana.

Helpful Info

If you’re new to the startup world, check out Catherine Lyons’ article for a glossary of common startup vocabulary.

Next, check out Kevin Pollard’s PPT from Net2NO‘s January meetup. Kevin gives great advice on raising capital and protecting your interest in a company or idea. Kevin is a seasoned veteran of the startup and venture capital world. He currently serves as the President of GlobalSolve Management Services and on the Executive Committee for the World Trade Center (New Orleans) and the Horizon Initiative.

Start searching for the perfect investors for your business on Voodoo Ventures public wiki page. Here you’ll find a list of Louisiana based angels and venture capital firms. Chris Schultz is the successful entrepreneur behind VooDoo Ventures and makes angel investments through the firm. Beyond just a list of investors, Chris created the public wiki to “share and distribute [VooDoo’s] organizational knowledge with the community.” Three firms not on the VooDoo wiki but worth mentioning are Venture PaceNew Orleans Startup Fund, and Trumpet Ventures.

Groups and Events

Starting a company is a brave endeavor. Here are some groups and events to help you meet other entrepreneurs and knowledgeable business people in the community. And if you’re willing to submit a business plan you can even win some seed capital.

The Idea Village is a non-profit group that supports New Orlean’s entrepreneurs with business resources and networking. In 2011 they also hosted New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW). The Coulter Challenge IDEAPitch was a main event at this years NOEW. At the IDEApitch teams presented their business plans to a prominent investor panel for a grand prize including a suite of HP office products, $5k of legal services by Jones Walker, an all-access trip to San Francisco to meet top investors arranged by Jim Coulter and TPG Capital, and a custom designed presentation for the trip from ProPoint Graphics. Contact the Idea Village for help finding investment and other resources year round, and be sure to sign up for NOEW in 2012.

Every year the Tulane Business Plan Competition awards large prizes to teams from across the country. In 2011 teams will be competing for a grand prize of $50,000. They generally start accepting applications in January and the final round usually wraps up in early April. Check out the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association site for competition rules, dates, and how to apply.

Net2NO (pronounced Net-Squared-New Orleans) was founded in 2008 as a way to get local entrepreneurs, innovators and tech people into the same room. Since then it has grown from a mere 30 members to over 700 people. Meetings usually take place the first Tuesday of each month. These meetups are a great chance for changemakers to hangout and share ideas, learn from each other, and even collaborate on projects for real world impact. In fact, the origins of Silicon Bayou News can be traced back to a Net2NO event.

Update: Also for funding, be sure to check out Rebirth Financial, they’re a New Orleans based startup that connects small business borrowers in Louisiana with individual and institutional lenders nationwide. Checkout their ‘how it works’ page here.