The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) has announced the five startups that have made it to the final round in the JEDCO Challenge. The Challenge was created to identify, engage with, and assist the up-and-coming innovators.
With the goal of showcasing the brightest entrepreneurs living and working in Jefferson Parish, the JEDCO Challenge gives each finalist the chance to pitch at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) on March 14 at Southport Hall. Registration is now available here.
The 4th annual pitch competition received upwards of 30 applications from entrepreneurs with ties to area, and all of them went through a rigorous review process review by a selection committee of business leaders.
The JEDCO Challenge has become a premier event for the entrepreneurial community in Jefferson Parish and it is due in large part to the caliber of the companies that participate in this competition each year,” says JEDCO Executive Director, Jerry Bologna. “The entrepreneurs behind these five diverse startups represent the talent, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence that we value in the Jefferson Parish business community. We believe their entrance into the Challenge this year is indicative of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and offerings for startup companies in our community. JEDCO looks forward to watching all of these companies grow and find success locally.”
Meet the finalists below:
Entrepreneurs: J. Lowry Curley, PhD; Michael J. Moore, PhD
AxoSim’s mission is to leverage its nerve-on-a-chip technology to revolutionize drug development. Pioneered by J. Lowry Curley, PhD and Michael J. Moore, PhD, AxoSim was founded out of Tulane University to tackle critical problems in pharmaceutical development by offering the industry’s most advanced, clinically-relevant models of neural tissue. The company developed a 3D cell-based platform that looks and acts like a real nerve, serving as an alternative to costly animal testing and ineffective 2D models. Currently, the Company is working on a screening tool for pharmaceutical companies developing next-generation therapies for Multiple Sclerosis, adding to its growing portfolio of services. AxoSim’s platform technology will advance the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutics, while helping manage the costs of bringing critical drugs to market, ultimately accelerating medical breakthroughs and improving people’s health.
Entrepreneurs: Arpit Bhopalkar; Shreyas Oak; Tushar Khosla
FreshCane was founded to make people aware of the benefits of natural, unprocessed Cane Water. The company’s aim is to serve people with a functional beverage which is healthy, raw, un-altered, and uncompromised on its taste. In its natural form, Cane Water has many essential nutrients, such as abundance of potassium and fibers, and a low glycemic index. As a natural hydrant, Cane Water provides a sustained source of energy. With an investment in domestic and sustainable economy, FreshCane is a minimal waste business, which recycles cane waste, called “Bagasse,” via compost facilities.
Entrepreneur: Aaron Rubens
Kudoboard is an online service to replace the greeting card that gets passed around a group and signed. The way it works is simple: start an online board for a recipient, add text/photos/videos, and then invite other contributors to do the same. Once everyone contributes and the board is ready, it is delivered to the recipient online and can also be printed. Based in New Orleans and launched in July of 2015, Kudoboard has had thousands of users send messages of appreciation using the service. If you want to gather a group and send some love on a birthday, holiday, or any day, check out Kudoboard!
Entrepreneur: Todd Mashburn
The newest game that is revolutionizing the industry calls Jefferson Parish home. MashBall, the ultimate beach, tailgate, anywhere game, combines the best features of the most popular toss games such as Cornhole, Washer Toss, Horseshoes, and others, while eliminating the flaws. What started out as a simple idea meant solely for the enjoyment of 22-year-old founder, Todd Mashburn, and his closest friends, has evolved into a floatable, wind resistant, portable, and family friendly product that offers six fun games in one compact box. MashBall’s unique design offers excellent versatility. The game can be played indoors, outdoors, and even in the swimming pool. The company promotes a fun, healthy, and worry-free lifestyle to be enjoyed with family and friends during life’s finest moments.
Entrepreneurs: Charles Carriere; Cole Wiley
Scandy is the first app of its kind. With the proliferation of virtual reality and 360° video, the demand for printing and displaying the 360° content is greater than ever. The team behind Scandy recognized this trend. Founded in Jefferson Parish in late 2014, Scandy developed an app that allows users to easily create 360° 3D content and then, order full-color 3D prints simply and efficiently. Scandy 0.1 launched for the iPad in March 2015. It allows users to scan objects in 3D with an iPad and attached Occipital Sensor. Scandy 1.0 will be released in early 2016 allowing users to capture spherical panoramic pictures with a smartphone and order full-color 3D-printed Scandy Spheres. When Scandy 2.0 releases in Spring 2016, users of the Scandy App will be able to scan both objects and their environment and order 3D prints from their smartphones without any additional hardware. Scandy is proud to call Jefferson Parish home and is energized by the culture of innovation in the Greater New Orleans region.
This year’s Silicon Bayou 100 is made possible by sponsors 365 Connect, a leading provider of award-winning marketing, leasing and resident technology platforms for the multifamily housing industry, and LookFar, a software development studio. Beer from our beverage sponsor, the startup brewery Cajun Fire, will also be provided.