2012 SBN 100: Group 7


Lina Stern

Lina is an integral part of the entrepreneurial community in New Orleans, for she is the Director of Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University. Prior to her current position, she worked in the Freeman school in various capacities for the last twenty years, proving both her expertise in leadership and her dedication to Tulane. On LinkedIn.

Manuel Valencia

Based in Baton Rouge, Manuel is the VP of Strategy at Excelerant who is experienced in customer/market research, project planning, managing budgets, team integration and delivery schedules, rapid payback and new business development. Back in October, he was a featured speaker at the BREW event, Women Business Leaders Breakfast. On LinkedIn.

Mark Graffagnini

Mark is an attorney licensed in Louisiana and California with a variety of legal and financial experience. Through his firm, Graffagnini+Associates, LLC, he  represents investors and companies in venture capital transactions, corporate formation, M&A and contractual matters.  On LinkedIn.

Mark Kurt

Technology wiz Mark Kurt is the current Chief Technology Officer at TurboSquid, a company which was co-founded by Matt Wisdom (listed below). Prior to that he worked as Director of Divery at Ciber, CIO for the City of New Orleans, and CTO of iSeatz. On LinkedIn.

Mark Lewis

Previously the Executive Director of the Louisiana Technology Council and currently a principal at Simmons & White, Mark is an experienced entrepreneur and leader in our community. Through strategic planning and management, he helps organizations solve unique business challenges for growth and prosperity. For six years he was the owner of Slambook.com and and prior to that was President of Communique, a company in charge of marketing and business development. On LinkedIn.

Matt Candler

Matt Candler is CEO of 4.0 Schools – a school launch and support organization committed to closing the achievement gap in the Southeastern United States (www.4pt0.org). In 2006, Matt joined New Schools for New Orleans as its first CEO and built a team whose human capital and school launch efforts are considered some of the most innovative and successful in the nation. Matt is chairman of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools, a board member of Building Excellent Schools, and co-founder of the New Orleans teacher support community – www.closingthenolagap.org. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.

Matt Culpepper

Matt has been called the best Ruby on Rails developer in New Orleans and one who can solve all technological problems neatly and efficiently. He is the CTO and tech Cofounder and now one of the driving forces behind Connect for a Cause. Matt previously worked at older companies such as iSeatz, which was founded in 1999. As far as we know, he dove head first into the startup world and is in for a treat. Connect for Cause is launching a brand new website soon and has already seen success after its previous launch. On Twitter.

Matt Shwery

Matt is a designer and front-end developer. Originally from Iowa, he’s had integral rolls in making pretty things out of the SquareFour headquarters in Uptown, New Orleans and in the creation of NOLADEX.   He’s also been a major part of the design & front-end development of the web presence for many local start-ups, including his own MinimaList and previous work with VoteIt.  He will be joining the team at Federated Sample in 2013.   On LinkedIn. On Twitter.

Matt Tritico

Matt Tritico, often referred to locally by only his surname, has organized BarCampNOLA for four years solidifiying his role as a developer in charge and his work on projects like LocalSource.it andNOLAdex only bump him higher up the list. Matt’s now a full-time developer for Federated Sample and we expect to see great things coming from that expert team in the near future. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.

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 startup, VoteIt. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.

McKenzie Coco

McKenzie founded FSC Inter@ctive with a vision to working exclusively with online marketing strategies. The dozen employees powering FSC provide SEO, SEM, social media, email marketing, and other online services to clients. On LinkedIn. On Twitter.


  • Launch Pad is the premier co-working space in New Orleans with a variety of options to meet your workspace needs. Visit them in the IP Building and check out the great environment!
  • Louisiana Technology Park is a premier business incubator based in Baton Rouge that helps startups grow. Don’t forget to follow @latechpark on twitter.
  • New Orleans BioInnovation Center is home to an expert team in the science, technology, law, and business fields who offer unparalleled services for commercializing today’s leading research and innovative ideas.
  • Eiffel Society is an amazing special events venue and reception hall where our event will take place. Follow them on twitter @EiffelSociety.
  • BioDistrict New Orleans is focused on the development of a biosciences industry in New Orleans. Learn more here.