NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Idea Village, the New Orleans-based nonprofit startup accelerator and producer of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, announces today that nine startups completed its industry-leading VILLAGEx accelerator program. These founders have raised over $9.5 million in capital while generating over $2.5 million in annual revenue and enabling the creation of more than 80 active jobs. Looking toward the future, The Idea Village is also excited to announce that the nonprofit has completed a $1.8 million campaign supported by local and national philanthropists to fund the VILLAGEx program for three years.
Continuing its mission of propelling economic growth in the local community, VILLAGEx is a 16-week cohort-based accelerator program for high-growth startups with innovative, technology-focused business models that are building scalable new enterprises in New Orleans and its surrounding regions.
“This crucial funding will allow the accelerator to continue to support high-growth technology startups as they scale, create jobs, and support our region’s economic development for years ahead,” said Cathy Isaacson, Vice Chair of the Board of The Idea Village. “It wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our local investors and entrepreneurs, who believe in investing right back into the communities that they call home. We’re proud to have a role in nurturing these startups and setting them up for long-term success here in Louisiana.”
The mentor-driven accelerator program concluded with over 325 hours of mentorship provided by a network of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders. Additionally, ventures in the VILLAGEx program raised capital from angel investors, seed funds and venture capital funds, which will continue to drive growth for the Louisiana-based ventures. The companies will use the funding to continue scaling in New Orleans and beyond, as well as to create and retain valuable tech jobs in the region.
“The founders from these nine companies are true representations of the possibilities within our region, as we’ve seen them grow tremendously over such a short period of time and raise the kind of capital that is often overlooked in the Gulf South,” said Soumitra Sengupta, Lead Entrepreneur-in-Residence for VILLAGEx 2021. “Our 2021 cohort achieved the kind of success that this program was founded in belief of.”
]The participating founders, which include five female founders, have created scalable startups in South Louisiana that exemplify resiliency in the wake of an unprecedented, challenging year for businesses and people alike and now join the alumni network of The Idea Village, who have collectively raised over $360 million in capital funding to-date.
The cohort included startups tackling significant problems with highly scalable business models, including Bloks, a no-code software for building app-based marketplaces, Something Borrowed Blooms, a rent-and-return online floral shop specializing in silk wedding flowers, Skilltype, a talent management software for library professionals, and hampr, an app-based marketplace for on-demand laundry. It also included startups in industries close to home in the Gulf South like Kinemagic, which decreases costs for heavy industrial projects through virtual reality environments, El Guapo Bitters, which creates cocktail bitters, syrups, and mixers, BypassLines, an on-site mobile ordering platform for food, hospitality and retail, HookM Solutions, a fishing charter booking and management app, and Spot2Night, a platform for finding and booking an RV camping spot.
On May 12, VILLAGEx 2021 culminated with its annual Demo Day event that featured pitches from eight of the startup founders selected for the program. An event open to the public, Demo Day 2021 celebrated and showcased to the community some of the incredible companies being built in the region. A video of the Demo Day pitches can be watched here.
“We are so proud of what our amazing founders and our organization have been able to accomplish over the past year,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village. “Our founder’s success directly translates to momentum for our community, and it is amazing to see the community come together to support what they are building.”
More information on The Idea Village and its VILLAGEx program is available online at www.ideaville.org.