New Orleans Philanthropist to Launch $50 Million Startup Fund

New Orleans-based billionaire and philanthropist Gayle Benson is planning a $50 million venture capital fund focused on early-stage companies throughout the Gulf South. 

Benson is a New Orleans native with an interest in seeing the New Orleans area prosper through the new Benson Capital Fund. 

According to, the fund will invest in energy, healthcare, logistics, tourism, and other industries. 

The publication also revealed Benson’s potential partners for the fund: Tim Williamson, former CEO of The Idea Village and former President of NOLA Media Group, and Mike Katz, a venture capitalist and current adjunct professor at Tulane University. 

Jon Atkinson, current CEO of The Idea Village, shared, “The ability of companies to raise over $1 million locally from professional investors would open up things a lot. The non-local investors then can follow a local lead.”