The NO/LA Angel Network (NO/LAAN) is one of the fastest growing angel networks of all time, and was founded just under one year ago. The 90 member group only invests in companies based in Louisiana or that have a Louisiana nexus. The Network hopes to drive economic development and create jobs throughout the state.
Founder Mike Eckert said, “The fact that this network could start from scratch with 40 members and quickly grow to nearly 100 is astounding, as the average size of an American angel network is 50 members.”
NO/LAAN recently invested $1 million in three local startups:
- Servato Corporation – provides a Platform-as-a-Service solution for remote DC power management in industrial settings.
- MicroBiome Therapeutics – a biotechnology company developing medical food and pharmaceutical products that aim to improve health status by interacting with the human microbiome in specific ways.
- SmartPak – designs packaging for the beverage industry
Members make their investments on a deal-by-deal basis, explains NO/LAAN director of operations Jack Carrere. “The rapid growth of the network is a wonderful testament not only to the entrepreneurial explosion in New Orleans, but also the pent up demand by early stage investors to support entrepreneurs in our city What these investors were seeking was a sophisticated structure to help them find investable companies, to steward the investment process, to educate them about the fine points of angel investing and to provide flexibility in making investment decisions.”
In 2015, the network will primarily focus on technologies that complement the region’s core competencies and technology trends, including energy, water management, healthcare, biotech digital media, and Internet/SaaS/cloud enterprise solutions.