Meet the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week Keynotes

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) is the annual festival that celebrates entrepreneurship, innovation, and advanced thinking in the New Orleans area each spring. It is currently taking place through March 18 and is produced by The Idea Village, an entrepreneurial hub.

In addition to the over 100 events scheduled, the NOEW lineup of keynotes and featured speakers is stacked with some of the best and brightest talent around, says The Idea Village.

“From innovators with a reputation for disruption, to business gurus with hands-on advice, they all have one thing in common: they’re locally relevant, globally significant influencers full of forward-thinking content to share.”

Photo courtesy of NOEW.

Photo courtesy of NOEW.

Tuesday, March 15

Prakash Janakiraman – Co-founder and Chief Architect, NextDoor

Prakash Janakiraman is Co-Founder and Chief Architect at Nextdoor, the free and private social network for neighborhoods. Janakiraman began his career as a software engineer at Excite@Home in 1996 before moving into engineering management at and Epinions. Prior to Nextdoor, Janakiraman spent nearly three years at Google, where he managed engineering teams for Google Maps, Google Base, and Froogle. Janakiraman is from Hayward, California, and attended the University of California, Berkeley.

Rich Caccappolo – Chief Operating Office, DailyMail

Richard Caccappolo is currently the Chief Operating Officer of, the most successful online media site in the world.

Prior to, he was the SVP of iVillage and is one of the leading digital media executives in NYC. He has over 20 years of experience in e-commerce, digital monetization, new media and product development.

Mr. Caccappolo served as the Chief Executive Officer of ORCA Digital Services Inc. at oneTXT, Inc., as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of iVillage Inc., as the Chief Technology Officer of Kodak Polychrome Graphics and as Director, Information Systems, Europe at Sun Chemicals.

Wednesday, March 16

Alexis Ohanian – Co-founder and Executive Chairman, reddit

Alexis Ohanian is a startup founder and investor in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from UVA in 2005, Alexis and his co-founder Steve Huffman started reddit, a top 10 US website. In 2014, he returned to a full-time capacity the company he co-founded with Steve Huffman. For the years in between, Alexis focused his time and energy to founding and investing in companies that fit his model of making something people love and making the world suck less. Alexis helped launch hipmunk and ran marketing/pr/community before becoming an advisor and joining the fight against SOPA & PIPA. He invests and advises over one hundred tech startups. Today he’s back at reddit and a part-time partner at Y Combinator. He created & hosted a show on The Verge called Small Empires (2 seasons!) about tech startups & their communities — the founders who create and the people who use these digital platforms. In 2013, he wrote a national bestselling book, Without Their PermissionAlong the way, Alexis spoke at TED, volunteered in Armenia as a Kiva Fellow, and was named on Forbes 30 Under 30 list two years in a row (and then turned 30). He proudly doodled the logos for all three of his startups and loves his cat, Karma.

Steve Case – Co-founder, AOL 

Steve Case is one of America’s best-known and most accomplished entrepreneurs and a pioneer in making the Internet part of everyday life.

He currently serves as Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC, a Washington, D.C.- based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, where he partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build significant “built to last” new businesses. The mission is to establish Revolution as the premier firm outside of Silicon Valley.

Steve’s entrepreneurial career began in 1985 when he co-founded America Online (AOL). Under Steve’s leadership, AOL became the world’s largest and most valuable Internet company, driving the worldwide adoption of a medium that has transformed business and society. AOL was the first Internet company to go public and among the best performing stocks of the 1990s, delivering an 11,616% return to shareholders. Steve also ensured that AOL led the industry on issues such as making the Internet a safe place for children, bridging the “digital divide” and investing in online philanthropy.

At its peak, nearly half of Internet users in the United States used AOL. In 2000, Steve negotiated the largest merger in business history, bringing together AOL and Time Warner in a transaction that gave AOL shareholders a majority stake in the combined company. To facilitate the merger, Steve agreed to step down as CEO when the merger closed.

Steve’s passion for helping entrepreneurs remains his driving force. He was the founding chair of theStartup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. In 2013, the Startup America Partnership joined forces with Startup Weekend to create UP Global, which Steve now chairs. He is also a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and was a member of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness where he chaired the subcommittee on entrepreneurship. Steve is a leading voice in shaping government policy on issues related to entrepreneurship, working across the aisle to advance public policies that expand access to capital and talent.

In 2010, Steve and his wife, Jean Case, joined The Giving Pledge and publicly reaffirmed their commitment to give away the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.

Thursday March 17

Jonathan Greenblatt – National Director, Anti-Defamation League

Jonathan Greenblatt, the fifth National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovative leader with deep experience in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. As chief executive of ADL, Jonathan leads all aspects of this national institution and one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the world, fighting the defamation of the Jewish people and working to securing justice and fair treatment for all.

Prior to heading ADL, Greenblatt served in the White House as Special Assistant to Barack Obama and Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. He also served as CEO of  GOOD Worldwide, and co-founded Ethos Brands, the business that launched Ethos Water.

Wan Kim – CEO, Smoothie King

Wan Kim’s first experience with Smoothie King was while studying at the University of California at Irvine in 2001. Wan was hooked immediately, impressed with the high quality and healthy products, and by Smoothie King’s overall approach to health and wellness. In 2003, after moving back to Seoul, Wan opened the first Smoothie King store outside of the United States. He found that Koreans loved what Smoothie King had to offer as much as he did. Wan proceeded to grow the Smoothie King Brand in South Korea to currently more than 130 locations.

In July of 2012, a company Wan created, with backing from Standard Chartered Private Equity and National Pension service of the Republic of Korea, bought Smoothie King from Steve Kuhnau, who had founded the company in New Orleans 39 years earlier. Steve had wanted to solve his chronic food allergies by creating smoothies full of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and fruit. Steve knew he was passing the company over to someone who shared his passion for the Smoothie King brand. Something that drew Wan to Smoothie King all those years ago was what the company stood for; a healthy alternative to fast food.

Smoothie King has potential for tremendous growth in the United States, Korea, Singapore and other international markets. The company’s plan is focused on expansion – building on the great foundation that the Smoothie King brand has built over all these years both domestically and internationally. Smoothie King is now operating more than 650 stores around the world and is expanding aggressively in the US, Korea and Singapore.

This coverage is brought to you by Callais Capital Management and Susco.