A dozen information technology-based companies have been picked for the Idea Village’s annual accelerator program, which aims to mentor budding entrepreneurs as they work to secure financing for development.
(TNS) — The Idea Village has picked a dozen companies for its annual accelerator program, an intensive four-month boot camp for budding entrepreneurs that is aimed at mentoring them toward securing finance for their next stage of growth.
The 12 companies picked by the nonprofit business incubator are mostly information technology-based and just getting started, like Bywater-based Culturalyst. The online network for creative types in New Orleans was started last year by young software engineers Sam Bowler, also a former high school arts teacher, and Mykia Smith.
This year's cohort also includes more seasoned entrepreneurs, such as Tereson Dupuy, who founded the FuzziBunz reusable cloth diaper company 20 years ago while she was a single mom working in the Rape Crisis Center in Lafayette. She appeared in 2012 on ABC TV's "Shark Tank," pitching FuzziBunz to a group of celebrity investors. She finally sold the business two years ago.
Dupuy has now founded the Youni Co. with partner Anna Steele, extending the original idea of well-designed, eco-friendly reusable underwear to the adult market, which they expect will be a much larger prospect than the washable-diaper market for infants.
Dupuy and the other entrepreneurs will be guided through the boot camp by one of three mentors: Soumitra Sengupta, a long-time Microsoft director of engineering, who launched many new products for the software giant; David Dart, an experienced tech industry executive with an expertise in finance; and Kevin Edwards, a former Proctor & Gamble executive and marketing expert.
The 12 companies also will compete to be among three finalists for a business pitch competition during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week from March 23 to 27.
The winner last year, RentCheck, developer of an app to smooth the tenant/landlord relationship, got a check for $50,000. It has since added four new employees and evolved from an iOS app to include Android and a full web dashboard for property management.
The other finalists — TrayAway, an online system for big hotels to deal with room service clearance, and SampleChain, a data-filtering system for market-survey companies — have since secured their next round of funding.
Idea Village says among the most successful companies from last year's boot camp were ones that didn't make it to the pitch competition. 3D Media, for example, recently won a $1 million grant from the Small Business Administration's seed funding program to develop augmented reality tools for mechanics and pilots in the U.S. Air Force.
In all, Idea Village says, last year's boot camp graduates have raised a combined $8 million in funding and created more than 40 jobs in the Gulf South region.
The other 2020 accelerator program participants are:
Block Lawncare: An app for landscaping solo-operators.
Blockpad: Spreadsheet software for engineering calculations.
DOCPACE: A real-time doctor appointment status app to cut wait times.
Gilded: Accounting software for businesses that use digital assets.
Oh Shoot: A service-based scheduling platform for gig-economy players.
PeakSeason: App for resort-area hiring, including seasonal hires.
Rx Interactive: App to help chronic disease patients with medical plans.
SafePush: A biomedical device company focused on patient safety.
Unlock’d: A peer-to-peer platform for real estate transactions.
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