Top Five Reasons Why I’m Excited for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

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Alex Rawitz, manager of accelerators at The Idea Village has been working closely with entrepreneurs in New Orleans all season long.

NOEW Idea VillageAnd now, with NOEW just a few days away, he will be watching those entrepreneurs take the stage for their big moments. In the midst of all the preparation, he took some time out to share his thoughts with #IDEAinsider on why he’s more excited than ever for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Enter Alex…

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) is around the corner. The Mardi Gras of Entrepreneurship kicks off this Friday, March 20th at 8:00 p.m. with an opening party at Fulton Alley in downtown New Orleans. As the manager of accelerator programs at The Idea Village, I’ve been working with an incredible team to prepare forty startups to present their ventures throughout the week. Dozens more will present before the week is over. I joined The Idea Village as a Venture for America fellow almost years ago, and this will be my second year being a part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. This year, I am more excited than ever. Here are five reasons why you should be too:

1. Fundraising Growth

What better way to measure the year-on-year growth of startups in the New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem than to highlight the growth in the capital being raised. Last year, participating companies were in the process of raising approximately $14 million in VC. This year, that number stands above $45 million and potentially more. This is partially a result of expanding the pool of companies raising capital, but it’s also the result of success and scale. Companies are not just surviving, they’re growing.NOEW is a platform to showcase that growth and to prime companies for future growth.

2. Breadth and Strength of Industry

New Orleans is now a hub for enterprise software companies aspiring to reinvent their industries. These disruptive technologies fall into a few categories that are reshaping marketplaces, automating esoteric processes, and building complex platforms that will redefine industry standards. For example,Audiosocket, FederatedSample, Haptech, PlantBid, Servato, and zlien are changing music licensing, market research, consumer electronics, education, the landscaping industry, industrial efficiency, and the construction industry, respectively. Better Day Health, BonTriage, Community Health TV andGetHealthy are four startups in an emerging cluster that seeks to revolutionize the way healthcare is practiced in the United States.

3. Tangible Products and Services

New Orleans’ startups are not just about B2B marketplaces and processes. There are technologies that exist that could change the way you get your protein Protein (Be Well Nutrition), hire workers (GoToInterview), shop (, charge your phone (MobileQubes), walk your dog (Pupular), attend weddings (Wedocracy), buy art (Where Y’Art), learn about colleges (Welcome to College), eat healthy (Your Nutrition Delivered), and indulge (Dinner Lab). These are just a handful of the startups born in New Orleans that now have a footprint in the Gulf region, or in some instances, across the country.

4. Over 90 investors are attending NOEW

The Idea Village coordinates a series of investor-only events for select companies sourced through its ecosystem partners. 30 Venture Capitalists from more than 20 firms will be in the audience at these events and they will be complemented by more than 60 local Angel Investors. Few (if any) startups will walk away from NOEW with a check in hand, but these events are an unprecedented opportunity to pitch so much capital at one time in New Orleans.

5. A New Group of Companies is Trying Its Hand

Over 110 companies will present in some format at NOEW and many more entrepreneurs will be in the audience at events throughout the week. The growing energy around entrepreneurship in New Orleans is remarkable. The constant renewal of entrepreneurs in the ecosystem is promising for futureNOEW’s. I recently came across this quote (twice in one day) and it has resonated with me. The internet is fascinated with psychoanalyzing entrepreneurs, but this quote reminded me that all of the psychoanalysis is overshadowed by the actions of those who choose to do, instead of talk. It should serve as inspiration to any of the entrepreneurs presenting, or attending New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Regardless of the trials and tribulations of an entrepreneur’s experience, all of these founders will have taken a risk and committed their time and energy to something special. Risk and reward is the bedrock of entrepreneurship, and it will be an honor to help those individuals embarking on their paths as entrepreneurs.