The new PowerMoves.NOLA initiative is about creating power and opportunity through entrepreneurship in New Orleans. The goal is to increase the number of high-growth, minority-owned businesses through connecting entrepreneurs to mentors, financing and technical assistance both locally and nationally.
Organizers have teamed with the mentorship-driven startup accelerator Techstars for the Risingstars Bootcamp that will take place during PowerMoves.NOLA, schedule for July 3rd through 5th, 2014. Earlier this week, the list of leading entrepreneurs and investors that will be brought to New Orleans as mentors for the participating entrepreneurs was announced.
“Through Risingstars we are creating opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the tech startup community,” said Risingstars Founder and Director, Tom Chikoore. “We’re fortunate to have a highly qualified group of mentors – and partners like PowerMoves.NOLA – who are equally committed to supporting entrepreneurs.”
Each mentor will help the 20 early-stage companies in the Boot Camp, all of which are currently in the running for a $50,000 PowerMoves.NOLA fellowship, a $25,000 cash award, and up to five may be selected for Risingstars mentorship program.
Mentors participating in the Risingstars Boot Camp will include:
David Drach, Vice President of Business Development, Techstars. Drach is responsible for corporate relationships at Techstars and helped build the powered by Techstars programs. Previously Drach was Managing Director of the Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, focusing on startup and venture engagement across XBOX, Windows, Office and Bing. Drach helped create and grow the Microsoft BizSpark, BizSpark + and BizSpark One startup offerings from Microsoft. Dave helped build Great Plains Software which exited to Microsoft for $1.2B.
Fred Hutson, Founder and CEO of Pigeonly. Fred used his time behind bars for trafficking marijuana to plan and develop a business idea that would affect the lives of people no one else was paying attention to – inmates. He founded Pigeonly, a platform that identifies and organizes data on the nations’s incarcerated. Pigeonly has raised $2 million dollars in venture capital funding and currently employs 12 people and is growing. Fred is an alum of the Techstars Risingstars Program.
Jerry Johnson, Managing Director of RLJ Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on generating long-term capital appreciation by investing in profitable and growing businesses founded in 2006 by Robert L. Johnson and The Carlyle Group. He joined RLJ Equity Partners from American Capital, a publicly traded alternative asset management company with more than $20 billion of assets under management. Previously, Johnson was with Bank of America and also served as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.
Shaun Johnson, Co-Founder of the Startup Institute. Shaun Johnson is a technologist, early adopter and helper of people. He is the co-founder of Startup Institute, an edtech company equipping individuals with the skills, access and mindset needed to make an immediate and positive impact on the startup venture they join. Startup Institute has locations in the US and in Europe. Shaun also serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgetown University’s Entrepreneurship Initiative.
Tuan Pham, Director of Techstars in Boston – Pham enjoys meeting and helping founders, and leveraging Techstars to build a more vibrant entrepreneurial Boston community. Prior to working with Techstars in Boston, Pham led Silicon Valley Bank’s early stage practice in New York and Boston.
K.J. Singh, Director of Techstars in New York – Singh is currently the Director of Techstars, NYC. In his current role, he sits on the selection committee for Techstars NYC and advises companies on product/market fit, fundraising strategies and other strategic issues. Prior to Techstars, KJ was a management consultant with Booz & Company. Previously, he was an investment-banker with Redwood Capital Group and started his career at JPMorgan. He holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
“With their collective knowledge of startups, and successful track records, this amazing group of mentors put together by Risingstars Founder Tom Chikoore will ensure that all participants walk away from the weekend as winners, with information and advice they can put into practice immediately,” said Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund. “At PowerMoves.NOLA, we are focused on supporting early-stage, high-growth, minority-led companies. Providing these tech entrepreneurs with high quality mentors to guide them is a great way to keep us moving toward that goal.”