Idea Village Names 2024 IDEApitch Participants

NEW ORLEANS — The Idea Village has announced the four startup companies that will participate in its IDEApitch event at 3 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at Tulane University. 

During New Orleans Entrepreneur Week, startups will present their companies to investors, fellow entrepreneurs and the public. IDEApitch is designed to be a launchpad for local companies capable of raising $1,000,000 or more in venture capital investment. All four of the companies selected to present at this year’s IDEApitch will be eligible for a $100,000 investment from the Idea Village’s newly created Momentum Fund.

The 2024 IDEApitch startup companies are OS Benefits, 3D Media, Hilight and Falaya.

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OS Benefits provides employee benefits for independent restaurants and businesses. 3D Media develops augmented reality/virtual reality simulators for maintenance, operations and training. Hilight is a software platform that schools and education systems can use to increase employee retention by providing an open forum for staff and teachers to recognize colleagues’ good work and engage in dialogue about effective strategies. Falaya allows real estate buyers and sellers to execute their own transactions.

“As our opportunity to showcase and rally the community around leading local startups during NOEW, IDEApitch has served as a substantial launchpad and has included companies that went on to achieve $1 billion valuations,” said Jon Atkinson, CEO of the Idea Village.

“IDEApitch companies represent the next generation of startups and the increasing momentum of our local startup community.”

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In 2023, the Idea Village established a new affiliated venture capital fund called the “Momentum Fund” and launched it with $7 million in committed capital. Momentum Fund will invest in breakout Idea Village alumni through IDEApitch and facilitate structured investment into additional accelerator alumni, starting with the 2024 VILLAGEx cohort currently in progress.

“Momentum Fund represents a fundamental change to the way we view our accelerator programs and IDEApitch,” said Atkinson. “Having a fund means that the Idea Village can now have real stake in the companies and founders we put forth, and it allows us to apply more of an investment mindset to our entire pipeline development.”

Capital for the Momentum Fund comes from 24 individual investors and family offices. This private capital is complemented by state investment through Louisiana Economic Development’s State Small Business Credit Initiative. To receive investment, all companies will have to meet the fund’s criteria for investment, including raising 2x the allocation of the fund from outside sources and receiving approval from the Momentum Fund’s investment board.   

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“The most valuable thing about participating in IDEApitch was the platform it gave me to rally the local community around what was then a seed of an idea for what would become a $1.1 billion business,” said Patrick Comer, founder of local technology company Lucid, past IDEApitch participant and lead investor in Momentum Fund. “Momentum Fund allows us to do that, but also to put real money to work at a larger scale and at the stage it is needed the most. My investment is about paying it forward and making sure that the next great company that chooses to call this region home will have the resources to do so.”

IDEApitch will start promptly at the A.B. Freeman School of Business on Tulane’s Uptown campus.

View the full New Orleans Entrepreneur Week schedule here:  

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