Two years ago, Amith Nagarajan and his wife, Bridget, were planning to move their family from Nashville to New Orleans to be nearer to her native Ponchatoula. Nagarajan founded and still runs Aptify, a management software company, but he is also an active entrepreneur, and he and Bridget were both looking to invest in promising young start-up companies. He expected to base himself in New Orleans and spend a lot of time on airplanes looking elsewhere for investment opportunities.
It hasn’t turned out that way. So far their investment company, Abstraction Ventures, has invested in 13 young companies — 11 of them in or around New Orleans. Typical investments range from $25,000 to $100,000.
“I’ve pretty much focused all our energy here because there’s so much opportunity,” Nagarajan said recently. “As far as I’m concerned, as an investor, there’s no reason to go anywhere else.”
This is new. In the past 18 months, early-stage investors like Nagarajan, and others like South Coast Angel Fund, have noted New Orleans’ growing reputation for birthing young companies in fields like biotechnology, education technology and digital technology.
Some investors, like Nagarajan, have set up shop in New Orleans. And their presence represents an important structural change in the local economy, providing young companies with early access to capital.
“We’re fuel. We’re the liquid you squirt on the fire,” said Clayton White, who heads South Coast Angel Fund, a consortium of about 45 investors looking to buy into promising new Gulf Coast companies, mostly around New Orleans. South Coast typically invests $250,000 to $1 million in a company it likes.>>> READ MORE at: