PowerMoves.NOLA is the new national initiative designed to provide access to capital, connections and guidance to increase the number of venture-based minority entrepreneurs. Things kicked off last weekend over the 4th of July in conjunction with Essence Festival in New Orleans.
Over the course of the weekend, three pitch competitions and a demo day took place, awarding cash and even a fellowship to the winners.
“This weekend was everything we hoped it would be for the entrepreneurs and for the potential investors who participated in our programs,” said PowerMoves.NOLA Founder Leslie Jacobs. “Now it is incumbent upon us to continue to support these companies, and spread the word about PowerMoves.NOLA, so we can grow the future pool of participants, and make a tangible impact on the number of minority-founded companies in the startup space.”
Details about PowerMoves.NOLA, sent from the organization itself, are below (all awards are $25,000 unless otherwise noted):
Chevron Power Moves Power Pitch at ESSENCE Festival™
Olubunmi ‘Boomie’ Odumade, Co-Founder & VP of Engineering – Nexercise, Silver Spring, MD – a free app making healthy living a winnable game. Nexercise’s founders created the business based on the premise that exercise doesn’t have to be boring, and that people don’t have to drastically change their lifestyles to be healthy. Nexercise offers a new way to stay motivated, lose weight, and stay in shape by allowing consumers to play with friends, earn rewards, defeat challenges, and track their progress on the largest fitness mobile interactive game of its kind.
$5000 ESSENCE Festival Audience Favorite – In addition to formally judged competition, the Chevron Power Moves Power Pitch also included a $5,000 prize to the audience favorite. This prize went to Delali Kpodzo, Co-Founder of We Are Onyx, the all-in-one online beauty platform dedicated to Black women.
Liberty Bank “Angel” Power Pitch
Candace Mitchell, Founder/CEO – Techturized Inc., Atlanta, was founded by hair enthusiasts who want to transform the hair care industry for women of color through science and technology. Their first solution is a mobile app called Myavana, a female social network which allows collaboration on hair care and styling issues through photo sharing, hair products, and profiles of stylists. www.myavana.com
Entergy “Series A” Power Pitch
Kellee James, Founder/CEO – Mercaris, Washington, DC, addresses the lack of basic market data available to participants in the $7 billion organic and non-GMO agricultural sector.Its trading platform provides up-to-date, accurate information on commodity market conditions, and allows buyers and sellers to meet on-line and trade. www.mercaris.com
PowerMoves.NOLA $50,000 Fellowship Recipient
Luke Cooper, Founder – Asurvest, Baltimore – a technology enabled Insurance & Financial Services Company, focused on average incomers. The company manages risk through insightful, data driven technology that meets consumers at key decision points. They integrate their product line with other funding and e-commerce sites through a single user interface. Cooper, who grew up in poverty and whose father was incarcerated for most of his life, ultimately used entrepreneurship as a tool for overcoming life’s biggest challenges. http://asurvest.com
The PowerMoves.NOLA fellowship includes a $50,000 investment, technical assistance (marketing, legal, business strategy, etc.), assistance in closing an angel round, free or subsidized office space, and a roster of available high impact advisory board members and mentors. The fellowship also requires that 25% or more of their FTE employees live in the New Orleans region for at least a year, including a C-level executive.
PowerMoves.NOLA Risingstars Demo Day $25,000 Award
Bea Arthur, Founder – Prettypaddedroom, Brooklyn – transforms traditional therapy into a streamlined, HIPAA-complaint experience that is affordable and anonymous. Using the Digital Diary™—an interactive journal that facilitates written consultations with a potential client’s therapist of choice—clients can connect with an all-female team of licensed therapists anytime and anywhere. www.prettypaddedroom.com,
Separately, Entergy and PowerMoves.NOLA announced the winners of Entergy’s Facebook-based consumer challenge in which Entergy awarded $5,000 prizes to two participating PowerMoves.NOLA startups who garnered the most consumer votes in the corporation’s Facebook-based challenge. One $5,000 award for a New Orleans-based business went to web-based employment business gotointerview.com, and the second $5,000 award for a business participating in the Entergy “Series A” Power Pitch went to Chicago-based Converse Point, which organizes and reduces clutter in electronic messaging systems.