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Local startup accelerator program ignites second year launch

Posted by | 18 January, 2012 | Business models, Startups

Original post by Adriana Lopez  via nola.com

For those who think that our entrepreneurial community lags behind bigger markets like Silicon Valley or New York City, think again. The movement is spreading like wild fire in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Some might even say it has ignited a new era of potential for the growth and advancement of our city.

New Orleans has opened up many opportunities for emerging companies. One notable success is Launch Pad Ignition.

The program was founded by Chris Schultz, Barre Tanguis, Will Donaldson, and Peter Bodenheimer and is the offspring of downtown’s collaborative workspace, Launch Pad.  The accelerator program gives six companies the opportunity to build strong networks of mentors and investors from around the nation within the program’s accelerated platform.

Only in its second year, the program has big changes and news with its impending launch on February 13. Its first entrepreneur class brought successes and lessons, and those  experiences have been leveraged to bring in new advances, partnerships, and changes for this year’s class.

One major addition is new partner Abstraction Ventures, a local family fund that has been actively involved in the early-stage funding of many innovative concepts in New Orleans, including Schedulist and Drop the Chalk. The new partner will be providing seed funding to select companies who are accepted into the program, thus leveraging their credibility and traction within the New Orleans entrepreneurial community. Abstraction Ventures’ funding decisions will be based on their own discretion; however, company co-founder Amith Nagarajan will be joining the Launch Pad Ignition advisory board.

The program has expanded from seven to 12 weeks, and it will be culminating at Launch Fest during the second weekend of Jazz Fest. This season will also take a stage-agnostic approach, giving several startups an opportunity to participate regardless of what stage of development they are in —  accommodating bootstrapped, pre-funding, or angel funded companies.

“Launch Pad Ignition is focused on accelerating early stage startups and so are we,” said Nagarajan. “This partnership combines an excellent accelerator program with access to our seed-stage fund. The combination offers tremendous benefits for both organizations and most importantly for the entrepreneurs with whom we work.

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