New & Notables: Louisa Smith

Managing Director, NO/LA Angel Network

Since 2014, NO/LA Angel Network’s more than 100 accredited investors throughout Louisiana have invested nearly $10 million in 23 companies and created more than 100 jobs. On January 1 of this year, Louisa Smith was named the network’s managing director.

The position was created specifically for Smith, who also serves as manager of the new Pelican Angel Fund, and was tailor-made for her skills.

“It’s an incredible experience and I’m honored to be tapped for this newly formed role,” she said. “We are making a measurable difference and it’s fascinating to be at the intersection between community impact and private equity markets.”

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A graduate of Tulane’s AB Freeman School of Business with a concentration in finance, Smith had previously worked as the network’s director of operations.

“I’ve taken on a much larger role within the organization and am heavily involved in not only operations, but also strategic growth and the entire deal flow and negotiation process,” she said. “It’s a very steep learning curve, but I’m lucky to work with an incredibly supportive board of directors and a network of investors. The entire New Orleans early stage community is just a wonderful family to be a part of, and I’m glad I can help to play a role in its vibrant growth.”

Smith said she is looking forward to taking on the unique challenges NO/LAAN will face as part of the COVID-19 recovery phases.

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“From an investor perspective, we want to continue to be able to provide meaningful investments in companies at a time when some investors might consider avoiding such a risky asset class,” she said. “From an entrepreneur’s point of view, we want to encourage them to keep pursuing the promise of their ideas. While the COVID landscape is unprecedented, we are able to provide a unique perspective to management teams as they consider pivots. Some of the most brilliant ideas are born out of the most chaotic moments.”

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