This post by Dan Pierson, co-founder of SlingShot, originally appeared on the Launch Pad blog.
There’s always a perfect moment to jump on a bandwagon. Too early, and you’ll put all of your energy into pushing the cart over a rutted road. Too late to join? Well, you might find the wagon’s full.
This Tulane grad is here to tell you: NOW is the optimal time to join the NOLA entrepreneurial bandwagon. The hard lifting has been done by an exceptional cast of characters; and if you wait too long, you‘ll be standing in the aisle, too scared to ask the cool kids for a seat.
A bit about me: I worked briefly in New York VC at the Collaborative Fund, joined ridesharing company Lyft as one of the first members of its growth team, and began my startup journey at Getable, an A16z / Max Levchin / SV Angel backed, early days Collaborative Consumption play.
Thus, I’ve done the NYC / SF thing (so over it, but I’ll save that for another post), and now that I’m building my new company SlingShot, I am committed to bringing some portion of our company to New Orleans.
Here’s why, leaving out the obvious points (low cost of living, beignets, etc):
New Orleans is blowing up. If you’re here this week for Collision Conf, the energy is palpable. Organizations including Launch Pad, GNO Inc, Idea Village, etc. are working day and night to promote this great city, and the effects are obvious. It is truly an exciting time.
SlingShot is 100% remote, a la Buffer. My cofounder is based in NYC (though moving to Nashville). I don’t have a home base — we are a travel company committed to helping others see new places, and I keep that ethos baked into our DNA by staying on the road myself. This gives us tremendous flexibility when it comes to hiring and opening satellite offices. And that gives us an advantage: with the fresh comp sci grads coming out of my alma mater Tulane and dev shops like Revelry blowing up, you‘re starting to see a super solid base of technical talent. We are in a great place to hire those folks.
The state of Louisiana has worked hard to create various tax credits for the digital industry. I am by no means a CPA, but as I understand it, if you hire a developer here, you will get 30% of your $ back — regardless of whether you operate in the red or the black, you will save .30 cents on your software development dollar.
The sex appeal of New Orleans
Heavy hitters want to come to New Orleans Jazz Fest. I have sat down to dinner with NYC and SF investors I’d never have had the chance to meet on the coast — because they come to New Orleans to kick back and enjoy the Crescent City. A few key city leaders have done a phenomenal job of blazing these transit routes, and if you are a cool, driven, interesting founder, you will find yourself in the room with some folks you’d otherwise only get to follow on Twitter.
SlingShot is young, but we are growing. With the above benefits in mind, it is a no-brainer; I am committed to bringing some portion of my business to this city that I love. They say “Be a New Orleanian, Wherever You Are”; I am proud to say my company will abide by that same edict. Whether we’re sitting down on Sand Hill in Palo Alto or a conference room on Broadway in Manhattan, we’ll take these values with us.
If you are similarly invested in pushing forward the New Orleans startup ecosystem, I’d be thrilled to hear from you. Let’s create opportunities in this city that we love: email@example.com.