The Idea Village, a New Orleans-based entrepreneurial nonprofit dedicated to help emerging tech companies grow and succeed, recently announced the selection of 12 local startups to its 2020 VILLAGEx (formerly known as IDEAx) accelerator cohort.
The nonprofit also announced that five additional startups focusing on energy, coastal construction and water management would participate in its 2020 ENERGYx program.
The Idea Village selected this year’s cohort from an application pool of for-profit ventures that met three main criteria. Each business selected must have a new or unproven business model that could revolutionize or disrupt a particular industry. It must also be able to leverage new technology to improve a business process, and it must bring a new product to market, or serve a new or niche market in innovative ways.
However, each company selected for the cohort stands out in one particular way, says Idea Village chief operating officer Brenna Kane.
“The main thing we were looking for was scalability,” says Kane. “There are big market opportunities to come here and build jobs here in New Orleans. We’re all about attracting and retaining entrepreneurial talent here [and] we’re really looking to improve the economy of New Orleans.”
“Our accelerator program is at the core of why The Idea Village exists,” said Idea Village CEO Jon Atkinson, in a statement. “The mission of the program is to help businesses that have already reached a certain level of success get to the next level, benefitting not only the founders and their employees, but also the New Orleans economy and job market as a whole.”
The selected VILLAGEx companies include:
- Block Lawncare: Based in Baton Rouge, Block Lawncare provides tech solutions for landscapers, providing a simple app designed to manage lawn care service for solo operators and their customers.
- Blockpad: New Orleans-based Blockpad offers spreadsheet software that makes engineering calculations faster and easier to check.
- Culturalyst: Based in New Orleans, Culturalyst is a network of local cultural directories designed to create a common interface between local cultural ecosystems in order to increase exposure, access, inclusion, and equity for all artists.
- DOCPACE: Based in Metairie, DOCPACE allows patients to receive real-time appointment status updates via text messaging so they no longer have to sit in waiting rooms.
- Gilded: New Orleans-based Gilded simplifies the accounting process for businesses that use digital assets.
- Oh Shoot: With offices in New Orleans and Chicago, Oh Shoot provides a service-based scheduling platform for workers in the gig economy.
- Unlock’d: Baton Rouge-based Unlock’d is a peer-to-peer platform for the real estate industry that arms sellers and buyers with all the tools needed to complete a transaction on their own.
The selected EnergyX companies include:
- Crescent City Clean Technologies: New Orleans-based Crescent City Clean Technologies develops and commercializes energy and sustainable technologies.
- Geaux Water: Based in Baton Rouge, Geaux Water provides industrial-scale clean water and coastal restoration technologies.
- Natrx: Based in Raleigh, NC, Natrx combines nature with digital manufacturing to protect coastal assets.
The selected companies will receive mentoring throughout the 16-week program from Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) who have extensive experience in starting companies and finding the resources necessary to scale. They also share The Idea Village’s core belief in the transformative power of entrepreneurship.
“We’re really big on the founders that we work with,” says Kane. “Everyone that we work with, from our general staff to the mentors we bring in, all represent the values we hold dear. They’re willing to put their egos aside and accept help, and get the kind of knowledge base and special something that they truly need to be successful.”
Since its founding in 2000, The Idea Village has provided nearly 9,000 entrepreneurs more than $27 million in resources, including more than 98,000 consulting hours and more than $3 million in seed capital. The 254 companies that The Idea Village has selected to participate in its accelerator has generated more than 3,200 jobs, more than $225 million in private capital, and $208 million in annual revenue.
Today, more than three-quarters of those selected companies are still in operation, creating $253 million each year in economic impact for the regional economy. In fact, recent Idea Village alumnus Levelset announced a $30 million Series C funding round earlier this month, while fellow alum Lucid has created nearly 500 jobs in New Orleans since its founding.
In a testimonial on The Idea Village’s website, Levelset CEO and founder Scott Wolfe said his company’s stint in the accelerator back in 2013 left Levelset “unrecognizable to its former self.”
“The program helped us lay out goals and compose a tactical plan to achieve them. We’re a mature business post-program, with a clear understanding of our vision, mission and values.”