12 Startups Selected for Idea Village Accelerator Program
NEW ORLEANS—Entrepreneurial nonprofit The Idea Village announced that 12 local startups have been selected to participate in its 2020 VILLAGEx accelerator cohort. VILLAGEx is a 16-week, intensive acceleration program for a group of startup companies with innovative, technology-focused business models. The program aims to help emerging companies build the foundation of a successful, high-growth company.
Idea Village said companies that participated the 2019 VILLAGEx (formerly IDEAx) accelerator program have now raised more than $8 million dollars in funding and created more than 40 jobs in the Gulf South region. Meanwhile, Levelset, an alumnus of the Idea Village program, recently raised $30 million in funding, while Gayle Benson announced a $50 million venture capital fund to invest in local and Gulf Coast-based companies.
“Our accelerator program is at the core of why The Idea Village exists,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of the Idea Village. “The mission of the program is to help businesses that have already proven some success take that success 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 Idea Village selected this year’s cohort from an application pool of for-profit ventures that met the following criteria. The business must:
- Be a new or unproven business model with the potential to revolutionize how business is conducted in a particular industry
- Leverage new technology to improve a business process or bring a new product to market, or
- Serve a new or niche market in an innovative way
The 2020 VILLAGEx Accelerator companies are:
- Addiguru – provides monitoring solutions for metal additive manufacturing
- Block Lawncare – a tech company for the landscaping industry, providing solo-operators with tools to earn more and their customers with a simple app to manage their lawn care service
- Blockpad – offers a new kind of spreadsheet software to make engineering calculations faster and easier to check
- Culturalyst – a network of local cultural directories; the goal is to create a common interface to discover and support within and between local cultural ecosystems in order to increase exposure, access, inclusion, and equity for all artists
- DOCPACE – patients receive real-time appointment status updates via text message so they no longer have to wait in the waiting room
- Gilded – simplifies the accounting process for businesses that use digital assets
- Oh Shoot – a service-based scheduling platform that enables a gig-economy
- PeakSeason – a talent marketplace for resort areas and seasonal hiring
- Rx Interactive – uses game mechanics to make patient education engaging with the goal of helping patients with chronic disease increase their adherence to medical plans
- SafePush – biomedical device company that promotes patient safety throughout the world
- Unlock’d – 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
- Youni Company – attractive, absorbent underwear for men and women experiencing incontinence and other leaks
The 12 companies selected for VILLAGEx will be mentored throughout the four-month program by three entrepreneurs in residence who have extensive experience in starting companies and finding the resources necessary to scale. Head EIR Soumitra Sengupta has more than 25 years of experience working in the tech industry, including leading teams at Microsoft, and has since founded and sold multiple companies. David Dart, a lead mentor last year, will also serve as an EIR this year. David’s background is in engineering and finance, and spans Fortune 500 companies to startups when he launched a SaaS multi-level marketing company at Lighthouse Labs RVA. Kevin Edwards, a new EIR for the Idea Village this year, is a former VP and SVP at Procter & Gamble and Novartis. He is an expert management consultant, specifically in the areas of go-to market, strategy, innovation, pricing and promotion, customer and portfolio development, and organization capability.