1. Chris Schultz
Chris Schultz is the most honestly passionate and down to earth supporter of entrepreneurs you might ever meet. He co-founded Launch Pad and Launch Pad Ignition, and founded Voodoo Ventures, Flatstack, and TribeCon. Before that, he started several other companies to various levels of success and failure. His own experiences, support, and mentorship have been spread 100 times over to many people on this list and many people who will end up on this list in the future. Chris also brings his network of investors, experts, and influencers to New Orleans to interact with our community. Overall, the New Orleans start-up scene specifically has benefited greatly from his presence, passion, and leadership. Chris’ Blog. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
2. Tim Williamson & Team Idea Village
Tim Williamson is the President and Co-Founder of The Idea Village, an independent 501c3 non-profit with a mission to create economic and social change in New Orleans through innovation and entrepreneurship. After working in the private sector for over ten years, Tim saw an opportunity to create lasting change in New Orleans by making the city more open to entrepreneurship. With 3 co-founders, The Idea Village was born. Today The Idea Village team consists of hard working individuals including Emily Madero, Brent Godfrey, and Kate Schneiderman. Together the organization has been a big part of turning New Orleans from the biggest brain drain city into the biggest brain gain city. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, organized by the Idea Village, has also been a big part of putting the city on the start-up map. On LinkedIn. Tim on Twitter. Idea Village on Twitter.
3. Matt Wisdom
Matt Wisdom is a digital media guru who co-founded TurboSquid and currently leads the growing team as CEO. TurboSquid is the largest library for 3D models in the world and the New Orleans-based team includes over 50 employees. He currently serves on the boards of GNO, Inc., the New Orleans Startup Fund, and The Idea Village, and is a mentor for Launch Pad Ignition. Previously recognized as an Innovator of the Year and Technology Leader of the Year, Matt is also on the board of recently angel-funded start-up, VoteIt. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
4. John Elstrott
Dr. John Elstrott is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Executive Director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and the Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Tulane Entrepreneurs Association. He is an active entrepreneur in the venture capital, wetlands mitigation banking, pharmaceutical, financial services, medical and functional food, and authentic herbal remedy industries. Dr. Elstrott is well known for his conscious capitalism courses and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Whole Foods Market. Dr. Elstrott is also the Executive Director of the management consulting firm, EMH Strategy and serves as the Investment Committee Chair for the New Orleans Startup Fund. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
5. Receivables Exchange: Nic Perkin & Justin Brownhill
Nic Perkin and Justin Brownhill co-founded The Receivables Exchange in 2007. Justin currently serves as CEO and Nic serves as President of the company, which is based in downtown New Orleans at the Exchange Centre. The rapidly growing firm, which offers an online marketplace for receivables, has made national news non-stop with their top management team, NYSE Euronext partnership, and their success while being based outside of New York. Justin on LinkedIn. Receivables on Twitter.
6. Leslie Jacobs
Leslie Jacobs was an executive in the insurance industry for over twenty years and in her spare time, was heavily involved in public education. She began as a business partner to an elementary school, served as an elected member of the New Orleans School Board, and served a twelve year government appointed position on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Today she runs Educate, Now! a non-profit focused on education reform. Outside of education, she focuses her passion on start-ups through the New Orleans Startup Fund, which she helped create and fund as the driving force, as a board member of the Idea Village and GNO, Inc., through private angel investing, and through the creation and support of 504ward. On LinkedIn.
7. Patrick Comer
Patrick is the CEO of Federated Sample, one of the hottest start-ups on the Silicon Bayou. Federated Sample, launched in March of 2010, is a market research technology firm based in New Orleans that focuses on bringing efficiency and automation to online sampling via their primary product, Fulcrum. After starting out as one man at a desk in Launch Pad, FedSample now has a rapidly growing staff and a recently injected shot of Series A capital. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
8. Robbie Vitrano
Robbie Vitrano is a name frequently tossed around on the Silicon Bayou because he’s involved in numerous corners of it. His claims to fame include his role as a co-founder of the Idea Village, a co-founder of Naked Pizza, Chairman of Trumpet, CEO of Trumpet Ventures, and a Board member of GNO, Inc. Robbie also mentors entrepreneurs through Launch Pad Ignition and speaks around the world on branding and communications. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
9. Czarina Walker
Czarina got the bug for developing custom software while working at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge. After designing several custom applications there, she left and formed InfiniEDGE Software to work on an initial project for Entergy. InfiniEDGE Software has since grown to over 25 full time staff and is based in Prairieville, Louisiana. Outside of InfiniEDGE, Czarina is on the Board of Directors of the Ascension Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Innovation Organization and is active in the Baton Rouge entrepreneurial scene. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.
10. Kenneth Purcell
Kenneth is the founder and CEO of iSeatz, a company providing integrated transaction and booking engines to travel providers worldwide. Their customer lists includes Air Canada, Amtrak, CitiBank, Delta Air Lines, KLM, MasterCard and Northwest Airlines. iSeatz continues to grow and prosper with a team of over 50 employees. Outside of his day job, Ken is a mentor for Launch Pad Ignition and blogs on the iSeatz website. On LinkedIn.
Support our sponsors:
- Launch Pad is the premier co-working space in New Orleans with a variety of options to meet your workspace needs. Follow @launchpad on twitter and check them out in the IP Building!
- VoteIt, recently featured in TechCrunch, is making group decisions easy with a groundbreaking new web platform. Sign up for their Beta and follow them on twitter: @LetsVoteIt!
- Flatstack is a development firm dually based in New Orleans and Kazan, Russia. The @Flatstack team works primarily in Ruby and if you can dream it up, they can build it for the web.
- The Idea Village is a non-profit organization that has been helping entrepreneurs succeed in New Orleans for over 10 years. Follow @IdeaVillage on twitter to see them in action!
- Baker Donelson provides top notch legal services across more than 30 practice areas including Business Technology, Intellectual Property, and Emerging Companies. With offices in New Orleans, Mandeville, and Baton Rouge they are the #1 source for entrepreneurial law. Follow them @Baker_Donelson.