Blog

  1. Register for Launch Fest. What happens next will change the way you view the world.

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    It doesn’t have to be smooth it just has to be awesome!

    That’s been our mantra for Launch Fest and this year is definitely going to be the best year yet.  We’ve focused on making it awesome, so let me share why I think it’ll blow your mind (Upworthy style).

    Launch Fest is May 1st at the New Orleans Museum of Art. 

    We’ve got an amazing speaker lineup - here’s who you need to know and why they are going to rock!

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    • Mike McDerment - CEO of Freshbooks - Mike’s a great speaker who tells it like it is. Freshbooks’ success is an inspiration to companies being built outside the valley and by bootstrapping. 
    • Robert Stephens - Founder of Geeksquad, Former CTO of Best Buy - One of my favorite quotes by Robert is “Marketing is a tax for being unremarkable.”
    • JT Nesbitt - Bienville Studios & Jim Jacoby - ADMCi - JT and Jim will tell the story of how they came together through a new model of funding innovation to build a million dollar motorcycle right here in New Orleans called the Bienville Legacy.  Launch Fest will feature the final preview of the actual motorcycle before the public unveiling and attempt to break the motorcycle land world speed record at the Bonneville salt flats. 
    • James Yockey - President of Oseberg Analytics - James is building a big data focused energy company right here in New Orleans and will talk about the bright future for EnergyTech startups in this city. 
    • Jen Medberry - CEO of Kickboard - Jen Medberry is the elder statesworman of New Orleans’ EdTech scene and is going to share the growth of Kickboard and New Orleans’ emerging EdTech sector.
    • DJW & Curry of MiDEA - DJW & Curry will host #FailFest, and audience participation event with prizes for the biggest busts!

    As always, the conference is a two-fer, inspirational and educational talks in the morning, followed by pitches in the afternoon.  This years pitches are part of the New Orleans Startup Showcases, which takes companies that have emerged from New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and gives them a platform to pitch at Launch Fest and then in New York and San Francisco.  Come out and meet NOLA’s hottest startups. 

    I’m thrilled to have a truly mind-blowing lineup again this year, and excited to invite you to join us at Launch Fest 2014!

    Tickets are going fast, so grab your ticket below.

  2. Launch Fest 2014

    Check out our lineup of speakers and get your tickets HERE!

  3. Launch Fest 2013

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    I’m getting pumped up for Launch Fest. It’s a very special time of year to me personally, and I wanted to share why I’m getting so excited. So, here are the top 10 reasons I’m pumped about Launch Fest!

    10) Launch Fest time is Jazz Fest time. Jazz Fest is why I moved to New Orleans.

    9) I’m psyched about our 2013 logo again. Its a weird quirk of mine, but I geek out on the logo design and enjoy changing it up every year. This year took dozens of iterations & help from lots of folks, but I dig where we ended up. What do you think?

    8) The alignment in the NOLA ecosystem is really meaningful. There was a time not too long ago when there was overlap and conflicting messages in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and it feels like we’ve gotten it sorted out. We are glad to lead from the “entrepreneurial season” into the “post season” with support from Idea Village, New Orleans Startup Fund and many more.

    7) We have an awesome team at Launch Pad and Launch Fest brings out the best in everyone, the community, our volunteers, and all involved.

    6) I’m proud that Launch Fest is associated with Sync Up, the great conference that Scott Aiges puts on with the Jazz & Heritage Foundation. He works tirelessly to produce the event every year and kicks-ass doing it.

    5) Our network - the mentors, investors & community who all come out for Launch Fest and do everything that can to support founders in New Orleans. We all want the same thing… these guys and gals to succeed wildly.

    4) The pre/post Launch Fest events, the crawfish boil, drinkup & BarreFest are always fun.

    3) The amazing speakers that come in and always deliver valuable, actionable content to the audience. We program Launch Fest hoping to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, and every year, someone who was sitting in the audience last year is on stage pitching this year.

    2) New Orleans. Launch Fest is a conference that could only happen here. We weave #nolalove into the event every way we can.

    1) Our 2013 founders. Everything we do is in support of them, and they are doing the hard work… launching real companies, building product, selling customers, raising capital. They stay the latest at night and are in the earliest in the morning. They are the ones who won’t be at Jazz Fest this weekend because they are practicing their pitches and closing customers. They are the ones that fight the good fight every day and we get to witness the beautiful struggle of building a real, meaningful, successful company. 

    What’s the reason your excited for Launch Fest?

    -Chris Schultz

  4. Apply to pitch at Launch Fest 2013

    Ready to be a part of the 2013 class at Launch Pad and hit the stage during Launch Fest We’re looking for the best companies in New Orleans and beyond.

    Companies that pitch during NOEW can effectively secure a nomination to pitch at Launch Fest by getting a commitment to their open round by a local angel investor.  We’ll be tapping our network of investors, mentors & founders to get companies into our radar.

    Here’s how to get into the pipeline to pitch at Launch Fest 2013.

    1. If you’re in process to pitch at NOEW in the Idea Pitch or Power Pitch, you’re already in the pipeline for Launch Fest. Get a capital commitment at NOEW and you’re nominated.
    2. Apply on AngelList

    More information about the 2013 class is included in the deck below.

  5. Launch Pad 2013: “The Post Season”

    The NFL Post Season is in full swing and the Super Bowl is happening in New Orleans next month.  Unfortunately, the Saints ain’t gonna be in it, but we’re hosting our own “Post Season” that you can get in on.

    We’ve worked hard to align the startup ecosystem in New Orleans and regionally in Louisiana.  Idea Village is in full swing with their accelerator, and they have a great group of companies this year that will be showcasing at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.  We’re going to pick up at NOEW at the end of the "entrepreneurial season" and take the companies that are best poised to raise angel & VC funding through the "post-season" to prepare them to pitch at Launch Fest on May 2.

    Join us on Tuesday, Jan 15th for the Launch Pad 2013 information session, where we’ll share the program requirements and how you can participate.

    The Saints may not be in “The Post Season” this year but your startup can be! See you Tuesday.

  6. Friday, December 14th, 6-9 PM 
Join us for our Holiday Party/Nerd Prom and the 4th Annual Launchie Awards!
Snacks, Punch, Beer, Wine, Dancing and a Few Surprises!
RSVP on our Facebook Event Page

    Friday, December 14th, 6-9 PM 

    Join us for our Holiday Party/Nerd Prom and the 4th Annual Launchie Awards!

    Snacks, Punch, Beer, Wine, Dancing and a Few Surprises!

    RSVP on our Facebook Event Page

  7. Giving Thanks, Giving Back

    One of the best thing about being a member of the Launch Pad community is that there are so many opportunities on a daily basis to help out and give. Whether it’s donating blood or dropping off supplies for Hurricane Sandy victims, or just asking your co-working neighbor if he or she needs anything from the coffee shop, Launch Padders are always sharing, collaborating and giving back to those around them.

    On Friday, November 30th, we’re organizing a BIG give back by volunteering with the St. Bernard Project to help rebuild homes. This will be a fun day to get out of the office, get your hands dirty, work with your fellow Launch Padder’s and experience real teamwork that will give a local New Orleanian something back that we take for granted most of the time - a HOME.

    We welcome and encourage ANY of YOU to join us, the more the merrier, and the more we can give back!

    You can sign up here and Katy will email you back with details like location, carpooling opportunities, etc.

    If you need further encouragement to sign up, check out pics from our last Day of Service and see how much fun it was!

  8. Next steps for our community: Identity, Talent, Ambition

    I gave a talk on the state of the New Orleans tech community at TribeCon on Thursday Oct 25, 2012.  This post is a transcript of the talk. 

    Identity, Talent, Ambition

    Since we’re gathered here at the Tribal Council of geeks, I want to talk about the three things I believe are important at this moment in our journey as a tech community: Identity, Talent, Ambition. 

    Before we start, let’s define where we are.  Brad Feld wrote the book on entrepreneurial ecosystems says it takes a 20-year commitment to build an ecosystem.  Today marks the 4th TribeCon, I mark the early days of Net2NO and the SXSW road trip bonds that formed our Tribe so we’re about 5 years into the journey.  

    The early days were about identifying the community, figuring who was doing what, getting to know each other. The next stage is about establishing our identity as a community. 

    IDENTITY 

    We all know that New Orleans has the necessary ingredients to be a tech hub, those are the reasons we all live here.  But who should be here?  What types of companies should we be building?

    Identity is all about celebrating our beliefs, the core values we share as a community.    We need to identify what makes us unique, which leads to focus, and then we win because we find our “unfair advantage” - what types of products should be built here because of New Orleans’ natural advantages. 

    We know what New Orleans identity is: Music, food, architecture, art, and maybe add the port, energy, even education reform…but mostly soul

    We’re a place that has such an identity, we’re iconic. And in this identity we have the raw ingredients of our tech communities identity.

    Layer in the fact that technology is in the fabric of all pursuits now. 

    It’s already happening.  Since TribeCon last year, Peter and I have set our sights on product development. 

    Peter is building BarNotes, an social app dedicated to the art of the cocktail.  And it launched in New Orleans, the city that invented the cocktail.  Peter has an unfair advantage launching BarNotes here… access to people passionate and expert in the art of the cocktail.  He launched with an influencer strategy at Tales of the Cocktail with early adopters who are adept at social media and who know a good cocktail - New Orleans can be very powerful influencer.

    Neighborland was at TribeCon last year and chose to launch in New Orleans because of the civic engagement of the community. I believe New Orleans as a platform to launch a product because of the our natural ingredients of our community will prove to be a model that is used again. 

    Establishing our identity as a tech community will be an organic process and it is a journey, I believe as we look back 15 years from now, our identity as a tech community will be closely tied to the culture ingredients we are already rich in. 

    TALENT 

    Thanks to Michael Hecht for opening up today’s event and to GNO Inc for believing in TribeCon and underwriting the even this year.

    One of the things GNO Inc does is meet with “site selectors” who represent companies considering moving operations to New Orleans.  I imagine these meetings take place at Gallotires and and after the third martini when the cigars are lit, they get down to brass tacks.  Michael says, “OK, so what is your greatest hesitation with moving to New Orleans?”

    Now, I’ve been to these meetings… the answer to that question always is: “We’re just not sure that New Orleans has the talent.”

    Has the talent?!?? That statement should get you as hot as Sean Payton watching the Saints on the couch, because I know we’ve got the talent.  I’m looking at it right now.  

    But perception is reality, so let’s dig in. They are talking about the makers, the creators, the builders.   Software engineers, UX/UI designers, iPhone developers. You are the 21st century talent in our industry.

    Do we have talent? Well, we don’t have enough of you, but New Orleans has always been a city teeming with creative talent.  We’re the most creative city in the world and technology is the creative pursuit of our time. 

    We’re the city that created America’s only original art form - Jazz music. People travel from the world over to taste the cuisine of New Orleans and Louisiana. A generation of american writers have been inspired by the FQ and the visual arts cover our city in beautiful art.

    So what is it about our environment that inspires and attracts talent?  What is it that makes this city is a creative muse? Let’s figure out what inspired all that talent, because it’s probably the same thing

    It is a vibrant and historic place.  Its an authentic city with soul. People here care about culture and creative pursuits.  Here your heart is connected to your pursuit.  This is why we all live here, we are the new creative class in New Orleans.  We just need more of us.

    Part of this will happen naturally. We built Launch Pad to be New Orleans tech community’s Ellis Island and I meet people moving to New Orleans every day.  All we have to do is nurture everything that makes this place great.  

    The other part of it is to continue to offer opportunities for the talent we have to become the technology talent we need.  We need to continue offer opportunities for education and training.  The workforce development training at Delgado.  We need to continue to apply pressure on Tulane invest in building a world-class engineering program.  We should be begging CodeAcademy to open up here.  And I will sponsor every Hackathon anyone in this room ever wants to produce. 

    Most importantly, we need to provide those educational opportunities to anyone and everyone in this city.  We all know we’ve got amazing creative talent in New Orleans… they may just not be writing code yet.

    AMBITION 

    The final ingredient is ambition.  It goes hand in hand with identity.  In order to be the best place do build a _______ company, someone has the build the best ________ company.  This is not about New Orleans it’s about you. 

    We’ve got to think bigger than this place. It’s about being the best anywhere. Not the best in New Orleans.   This takes audacity, confidence, fearlessness.  It takes ambition.  

    The first step to being the best anywhere is to go everywhere.  We all love New Orleans and identify with it, but as Steve Blank would say, “its time to get out of the building.” 

    From the very first bus trip that Net2NO organized to SXSW where TribeCon was born, an important part of our community being the best has been to establish a worldwide network.   The best CEO I know, Patrick Comer of Federated Sample once said to me, if you’re CEO, and you sit in Launch Pad all day, you’re not doing it right. 

    Ambition is aspiring to greatness.   Aspiring to be the best is what drove Perry Chen.  He graduated Tulane, was bouncing back and forth between New Orleans and New York and decided he wanted to produce a show at the CAC.  He needed $15,000 to produce the show, but he couldn’t afford to risk his own money.  If only there had been a way a way to pre-sell tickets to that show, he thought.  Inspired by that moment, he decided to start a little company called Kickstarter.  His ambition led him to create a platform that funds more creative projects than the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is part of the New Orleans network and is deeply committed to our tech community.

    One of the most ambitious companies in technology right now is GitHub.  It is the plumbing on which the internet is being written.  GitHub is a virtual organization because all they care about is talent and they want their employees to work where they chose to live.  Well this summer, after John Barnette went to work at GitHub, they opened an office in New Orleans at Launch Pad.  And now they’ve got two employees working in New Orleans, the team vists and hangs out Capdeville and they are proving that the next generation of tech companies will work everywhere. 

    If people and and businesses think big, they don’t have to be “somewhere” to succeed.  In fact, more and more they can and will be “anywhere.”  What’s important here is that New Orleans is a part of the broader ecosystem.  Whether you launch your product here, build your company here, work virtually here it expands the network for all of us when New Orleanians aspire to greatness. 

    So today as we are gathered together as with our tribe of geeks, I leave you with this…. Let’s go get ‘em!

  9. Launch Pad - an open approach to mentorship and network →

    lpignition:

    At Launch Pad, we are passionate about helping entrepreneurs develop as leaders and succeed and we’re proud to announce the continued growth of the mentorship-based programs at Launch Pad. Next year, we will be integrating Launch Pad and Launch Pad Ignition in an expanded approach to work with the…

  10. We celebrated our 3rd Birthday on Wednesday, June 27th with a gathering of our members, friends, fans and encouragers. LP’er  Barrett Conrad of Red Ticket Games hosted a special edition of Expert Trivia, Andrew and Kyle of Fat Happy Media gave us a sneak preview of the newest episode of The Drink Show, Kurt Weigle of the NOLA Downtown Development District spoke and we all enjoyed a champagne toast, birthday cake and of course, a brass band!

    Thanks to everyone for coming out and to Bittersweet Confections for a delicious cake!