Last Friday (March 28), invited participants gathered for a presentation featuring three entrepreneurs competing for an opportunity to meet with venture capital firms in Silicon Valley.
Coulter IDEApitch, named after billionaire investor and New Orleans lover Jim Coulter, was created in as part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) in 2010 to give local startups the chance to reach world-class investors.
Dinner Lab, an event platform for consumers looking for next idea in food who want to get connected to the top up-and-coming chefs, mSchool, the first content agnostic, macro-adaptive platform solving the sharing data problem in schools, and Zlien, the company that gives construction industry companies control over receivables, all pitched in the Coulter IDEApitch.
All of the companies participated in NOEW events and pitches last year, noted Tim Williamson, co-founder and CEO of The Idea Village.
The winner was chosen jointly by the audience and the judging panel, which included: Coulter; David Hall, Revolution Ventures; Annie Kadavy, Charles River Ventures; David Mount, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers; and Robbert Vorhoff, General Atlantic.
Zlien, which provides software and services to help building material supply and construction companies reduce their credit risk and default receivables through the management of mechanics lien and bond claim compliance, won over the audience and judges.
Zlien founder Scott Wolfe said it’s their mission to empower construction industry businesses to get what they earned on every project.
Wolfe told the audience that construction liens were created by Thomas Jefferson to protect those at the bottom of the chain. Zlien gives companies complete control over lien rights by taking steps to keep clients in secure position. The company that shifts the financial risk paradigm in the realm of construction liens.
“We’re a disruptive platform that allows more business with less risk. We can flip financial risk situation and help companies with their bottom line.”
The company brought in over $1 billion in receivables for the construction lien industry in 2013 alone.
Zlien has grown year over year by more than 100% and will be cash positive in approximately three months. 40% of the seed money previously received is still in the bank.
“Ultimately, winning the Coulter IDEApitch is just another mile marker in our journey to deliver on this mission industry-wide.”
“We’re proud of our win at the Coulter IDEApitch, especially considering the stiff competition from great New Orleans ventures Dinner Lab and mSchool. We believe we are working on a big industry changing platform, and getting validation from an esteemed panel about our venture is validating.”
Wolfe believes there is a lot of growth opportunity for the company, and their capital plans will impact the direction of the platform. “We’re excited for the opportunity to meet one-one-one with the nation’s most influential venture capitalists to explore these opportunities.”
Zlien is looking toward the future. With more customers the platform will pull in more data, enabling companies to get more insight into risk. They have a unique insight and competitive advantage to credit analysis and receivables management already. Imagine the trillion-dollar industry going through Zlien’s platform.