Each Launch Fest is bigger and better than the last, showcasing the best that New Orleans tech has to offer. Speakers from across the country and entrepreneurs from the eight accelerator companies inspired the crowd at the fourth annual startup conference and demo day.
Speakers included: Alexis Ohanian, Reddit and Y Combinator; Patrick Comer, Federated Sample; Ryan Delk, Gumroad; Dick Talens, Fitocracy; Paul Singh, 500 Startups, Dashboard.io; Steve Schlafman, Lerer Ventures; Taylor Davidson, kbs+ Ventures; and Blair Garrou, DFJ Mercury.
Ohanian joked about the importance of cute mascots for startups. He also told the crowd that grabbing the attention of your users is priceless and you don’t need a large budget to do so. And don’t forget to appreciate the first thousand people to use whatever you do. “They are amazing. Show them love…this is the stuff that matters,” continued Ohanian.
Perhaps the most liked piece of advice from Ohanian was, “Don’t wait for people to give you permission because they never will.” Waiting around and second-guessing you idea is not how the most innovative entrepreneurs found success. When you get the entrepreneurship bug, go for it and don’t hold back.
Via Twitter, New Orleans entrepreneurs were called impressive, enthusiastic and the word “awesome” was used frequently. It goes without saying that the local entrepreneurs and ventures are making a bigger impact each year, absolutely impressing other entrepreneurs, investors and members of the community.
The event culminated with eight accelerator entrepreneurs pitching their startups in front of an audience that included local angel and national VCs:
- Anedot – Fundraising platform for causes, non-profits and political campaigns
- Staff Insight – Cloud workforce productivity software
- Sidework – Web-based training for restaurants
- Dreanie – Premium vacation property rental platform
- eTax Credit Exchange – Marketplace exchange for tax credits
- Tutti Dynamics – Platform for practicing music with masters
- Engine – Chrome extension for enhanced Gmail tracking
- Enriched Schools – Staffing solutions for substitute teachers
Sooligan, the app which helps find, quick, up-to-date, and accurate local information about any city, won the Launch Fest Online Pitch Competition through VoteIt. Founders Nikka Umil and Natasia Malaihollo took home the prize, two tickets to Jazz Fest, after beating out six other startup ideas. Their company received the highest percentage of positive votes at 92%.