Louisiana is small, NOLA Angel Network Chairman Mike Eckert assured the audience at the New Louisiana Angel Fund 1 (NLAF1) investor meeting Thursday night, August 27, in Shreveport, LA. In addition to hosting Michael Eckert from NOLA, Ron McGinley, Managing Director of Angels of Southwest Louisiana, also attended.
Startup accelerators, incubators and angel investor groups are starting to grow in the state’s major cities, meaning great opportunities for all Louisiana entrepreneurs. It also means a chance for entrepreneurial facilitators throughout the state to partner with one another on making deals happen.
The Petroleum Club in downtown Shreveport stood as a venue for that partnership, as angel investors gathered to hear pitches from four entrepreneurs seeking to grow their enterprises in Louisiana. This was the seventh meeting of the NLAF1, and the first angel meeting where members of the Shreveport/Bossier, New Orleans and Lake Charles angel groups participated in a collaborative meeting to syndicate funding of startup companies. At previous meetings, NLAF1 angels voted to fund seven startup companies, investing $1,045,000 in local companies. These seven companies have raised capital investments of $10.8 million from other sources.
Check out the potential investees that presented on Thursday night. These startups could boost Louisiana’s reputation as an ideal entrepreneurial habitat.
- EndoPro Solutions: Many people classified as morbidly obese struggle to control their weight through healthy eating and exercise alone. Weight loss procedures usually help control weight, but are too costly or invasive. There are a number of health risks associated with obesity, including hypertension and diabetes.
Six percent of the United States population is morbidly obese. With these statistics growing, the bariatric market is projected to be worth $23 billion by 2018.
EndoPro Solutions has a proprietary non-surgical product that could potentially solve many problems associated with bariatric surgery and obesity.
- Fleur de Créme: Customers today don’t want run-of-the-mill food products. They care about what’s in it and who made it. Shreveport ice cream maker Fleur de Créme caters to customers who support fresh, local and fairly made eats.
The company attributes part of its appeal to a lack of quality ice cream made locally. It also capitalizes on the farm-to-table movement, using a local creamery and other local vendors for the ingredients of its ice cream.
So far, it’s worked. Since the company’s opening one year ago, the ice cream is served in five local grocery stores and three local restaurants. Since more stores have requested to serve Fleur De Crème Ice Cream, however, FDC cannot meet customer demand. Therefore, FDC seeks to expand its operations. Once it kicks off with more equipment and space, the company plans to offer its frozen treats to larger grocery stores.
- Mobile Qubes: Smartphones are not just for talking anymore. They basically run our lives, a statement to which millions of Americans can attest. The more we use them, the faster our batteries drain. Despite the millions of smartphones companies add to the market every year, battery life only increases by an annual 1 percent.
Mobile Qubes aims to increase access to battery chargers via kiosks in high traffic areas and venues where customers spend considerable time, but are limited in access to chargers or power sources.
Customers can rent or purchase batteries and return them to any kiosk after the device is charged.
In a 10-day test, the batteries proved their popularity among consumers bearing power-hungry phones. The kiosks at casinos, hotels and sports arenas were successful.
Mobile Qubes is slated to put kiosks in Chicago’s Union Station, filling a need where more than 3.3 million people pass through each year.
- Red River Brewing Company: Louisiana is ranked second to last in the United States for beer breweries per capita. The founders of Red River Brewing Company are on a mission to be part of the charge to increase the number of breweries in Louisiana.
After starting two years ago in a garage, the company began to take advantage of the untapped local market. Now, the company offers its three brews (Hay Ryed, River Monster, and Session 18) across north Louisiana. Red River Brewing plans to expand by offering its beer throughout Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex while opening a local taproom in the Shreveport area.
Craft beer makes up 11 percent of the American beer market, and its share is growing. Millennials are making an impact on the products companies make and the way they market them. The upcoming generations care about the quality of the products they consume, including beer.
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