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Risingstars Boot Camp Presented by Techstars Brings Top Entrepreneurs and Investors to New Orleans to Mentor Minority Entrepreneurs as Part of PowerMoves.NOLA July 3-5

Participating Boot Camp Entrepreneurs Will Also Be in the Running for a $50,000 PowerMoves.NOLA Fellowship, a $25,000 Cash Award, and Up to Five May Be Selected for Risingstars Mentorship Program

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/12/14 -- Some of America's leading entrepreneurs and investors will mentor 20 early-stage minority entrepreneurs participating in the Risingstars Boot Camp presented by Techstars, an intensive, two-day session that serves as one component of the new, multi-faceted PowerMoves.NOLA initiative to be held July 3-5 in New Orleans. PowerMoves.NOLA was created to provide access to capital, mentors and advisers for high-growth minority entrepreneurs. The goal of the Risingstars Boot Camp presented by Techstars is to extend startup opportunities to demographic groups that are currently under-represented in the technology startup community.

Mentors participating in the Risingstars Boot Camp will include:

David Drach, Vice President of Business Development, Techstars. Drach is responsible for corporate relationships at Techstars and helped build the powered by Techstars programs. Previously Drach was Managing Director of the Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, focusing on startup and venture engagement across XBOX, Windows, Office and Bing. Drach helped create and grow the Microsoft BizSpark, BizSpark + and BizSpark One startup offerings from Microsoft. Dave helped build Great Plains Software which exited to Microsoft for $1.2B.

Fred Hutson, Founder and CEO of Pigeonly. Fred used his time behind bars for trafficking marijuana to plan and develop a business idea that would affect the lives of people no one else was paying attention to -- inmates. He founded Pigeonly, a platform that identifies and organizes data on the nations's incarcerated. Pigeonly has raised $2 million dollars in venture capital funding and currently employs 12 people and is growing. Fred is an alum of the Techstars Risingstars Program.

Jerry Johnson, Managing Director of RLJ Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on generating long-term capital appreciation by investing in profitable and growing businesses founded in 2006 by Robert L. Johnson and The Carlyle Group. He joined RLJ Equity Partners from American Capital, a publicly traded alternative asset management company with more than $20 billion of assets under management. Previously, Johnson was with Bank of America and also served as a White House Fellow and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Shaun Johnson, Co-Founder of the Startup Institute. Shaun Johnson is a technologist, early adopter and helper of people. He is the co-founder of Startup Institute, an edtech company equipping individuals with the skills, access and mindset needed to make an immediate and positive impact on the startup venture they join. Startup Institute has locations in the US and in Europe. Shaun also serves as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgetown University's Entrepreneurship Initiative.

Tuan Pham, Director of Techstars in Boston - Pham enjoys meeting and helping founders, and leveraging Techstars to build a more vibrant entrepreneurial Boston community. Prior to working with Techstars in Boston, Pham led Silicon Valley Bank's early stage practice in New York and Boston.

K.J. Singh, Director of Techstars in New York - Singh is currently the Director of Techstars, NYC. In his current role, he sits on the selection committee for Techstars NYC and advises companies on product/market fit, fundraising strategies and other strategic issues. Prior to Techstars, KJ was a management consultant with Booz & Company. Previously, he was an investment-banker with Redwood Capital Group and started his career at JPMorgan. He holds a BBA from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

One Boot Camp entrepreneur will be selected as a PowerMoves.NOLA fellow, and will receive a $50,000 investment, office space, technical assistance. One entrepreneur will also receive a $25,000 cash prize from PowerMoves.NOLA. In addition, up to five entrepreneurs will be selected to join the Risingstars mentorship program.

Boot Camp participants will receive intensive hands-on guidance and coaching on their business models directly from the mentors. Mentors will focus on all aspects of an individual participant's business model, including developing a strong business value proposition, selecting effective customer development strategies, achieving product/market fit, identifying early adopters and establishing sustainable revenue streams while controlling costs. The Boot Camp will culminate with a Demo Day presentation to potential investors. The event is provided to the entrepreneurs at no charge.

"With their collective knowledge of startups, and successful track records, this amazing group of mentors put together by Risingstars Founder Tom Chikoore will ensure that all participants walk away from the weekend as winners, with information and advice they can put into practice immediately," said Leslie Jacobs, CEO of the New Orleans Startup Fund. "At PowerMoves.NOLA, we are focused on supporting early-stage, high-growth, minority-led companies. Providing these tech entrepreneurs with high quality mentors to guide them is a great way to keep us moving toward that goal."

"Through Risingstars we are creating opportunities for those who are underrepresented in the tech startup community," said Risingstars Founder and Director, Tom Chikoore. "We're fortunate to have a highly qualified group of mentors -- and partners like PowerMoves.NOLA -- who are equally committed to supporting entrepreneurs."

About PowerMoves.NOLA
PowerMoves.NOLA is a national initiative designed to increase the number of America's venture-backed minority businesses by leveraging the entrepreneurial ecosystem, resources and culture of New Orleans. This year, PMN will offer an intense two day Risingstars boot camp presented by Techstars for twenty early stage tech entrepreneurs of color and three pitch events for twenty high growth, minority-founded startups. Over the weekend, these forty entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas, expand their networks, and foster connections and relationships that will help them grow their businesses. And in providing this forum, PMN will showcase the innovation a diverse entrepreneurial community can provide America.

Headquartered in New Orleans, PowerMoves.NOLA's mission is to address the generational challenges of wealth and economic development with innovative ideas, fresh approaches, and an overall commitment to equity and diversity as a growth strategy.

About Techstars
Techstars is the #1 startup accelerator in the world. Once a year in each location, Techstars funds about 10 companies and surrounds them with about 100 of the best and brightest web entrepreneurs and investors in the world. So far, about 80% of the companies that have been through Techstars have subsequently raised a total of about $500M in angel or venture capital, and 24 of them have already been acquired.

The Techstars Risingstars program extends technology company startup opportunities to demographic groups that are currently underrepresented in the technology startup community.

Contact:
Lynn McReynolds
410-268-0275
McReynolds Elek Communications
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