New Orleans

A melting pot of different cultures and traditions, New Orleans lies at the intersection of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, where it has been one of the country’s most significant port cities since its foundation 300 years ago. The city prides itself as one of collaborators and doers, and New Orleanians have had to make their way in nontraditional ways. As a result, entrepreneurial activity in the city is exceptionally high, evidenced by city’s unique food, music, and even holidays. Although the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city has shown signs of recovery, evidenced by the recent population growth. Local organizations such as The Idea Village, Propeller, and Launch Pad have been instrumental fueling the ecosystem. Mardi Gras may be the first event that comes to mind when mentioning New Orleans, but the New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week has been gathering steam lately, with over 10,000 participants in 2015. Despite the city being a magnet for foodies and musicians, New Orleans still has trouble attracting anchor companies that the ecosystem can benefit from. Additionally, the ecosystem has strong need for angel education.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.


  • New Orleans is located between the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast, and the Port of New Orleans is responsible for 62 million short tons of cargo annually, making it among the most important ports in the country.
  • The entrepreneurial activity in the city is exceptionally high, evidenced by city’s unique food, music, and holidays that were invented there. The community is more concerned with collaboration than it is with competition. Entrepreneurs are more interested in helping one another succeed so the entire city moves forward.
  • The state's aggressive state tax incentive programs, including a 25% tax credit for qualified digital media expenditures and a 35% tax credit for qualified angel investments, makes the city affordable from a hiring perspective.
  • New Orleans is famous for its elaborate celebrations and festivals. This attracts creatives from all over the country who want to be a part of the lively atmosphere that the city has to offer.
  • Interesting verticals that have tremendous potential include music, food, energy, and gaming. Startups that focus on these industries will have a competitive edge due to the city's expertise in these industries.

Risk Factors

  • The city lacks a major anchor company that the ecosystem can benefit from. After Hurricane Katrina, major corporations began moving to other large cities in the area, namely Houston.
  • There are wealthy individuals who have the potential to become angel investors, but because they have made money in traditional industries are in need of angel education.
  • Due to a lack of a notable exit, investors in New Orleans are more risk-averse than investors in more developed ecosystems.
  • Although the city is a music and tourism hub, the ecosystem currently does not have an accelerator/incubator that focuses on these verticals. The introduction of an accelerator/incubator focusing on these verticals will enable the city to become a hub for startups focusing on these fields.

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