|By Marketwired .||
|July 8, 2014 01:50 PM EDT||
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/08/14 -- PowerMoves.NOLA, the new national initiative focused on providing access to capital, connections and guidance to increase the number of America's venture-backed minority entrepreneurs, has announced the results of its three $25,000 pitch competitions that were held July 4-5 in New Orleans. The initiative's organizers also announced the results of the July 5 Risingstars Demo Day competitions, which included a $50,000 PowerMoves.NOLA fellowship, and a $25,000 cash award to a second company.
PowerMoves.NOLA launched in media partnership with the 2014 ESSENCE Festival Presented by Coca-Cola® July 3-5, with a weekend chock full of events, including three Power Pitch competitions, during which 20 minority entrepreneurs in various stages of business development participated. The weekend also included a two-day Risingstars Boot Camp Presented by Techstars, in which early stage entrepreneurs received intense training and mentorship, culminating in a Demo Day presentation to a distinguished group of judges/investors. PowerMoves.NOLA's presenting sponsor is Chevron, one of the world's leading integrated energy companies.
The winners of the Power Pitch competitions, the fellowship recipient and the Demo Day prize winner are (all awards are $25,000 unless otherwise noted):
Chevron Power Moves Power Pitch at ESSENCE Festival
Olubunmi 'Boomie' Odumade, Co-Founder & VP of Engineering - Nexercise, Silver Spring, MD - a free app making healthy living a winnable game. Nexercise's founders created the business based on the premise that exercise doesn't have to be boring, and that people don't have to drastically change their lifestyles to be healthy. Nexercise offers a new way to stay motivated, lose weight, and stay in shape by allowing consumers to play with friends, earn rewards, defeat challenges, and track their progress on the largest fitness mobile interactive game of its kind.
$5,000 ESSENCE Festival Audience Favorite - In addition to formally judged competition, the Chevron Power Moves Power Pitch also included a $5,000 prize to the audience favorite. This prize went to Delali Kpodzo, Co-Founder of We Are Onyx, the all-in-one online beauty platform dedicated to Black women.
Liberty Bank "Angel" Power Pitch
Candace Mitchell, Founder/CEO - Techturized Inc., Atlanta, was founded by hair enthusiasts who want to transform the hair care industry for women of color through science and technology. Their first solution is a mobile app called Myavana, a female social network which allows collaboration on hair care and styling issues through photo sharing, hair products, and profiles of stylists. www.myavana.com
Entergy "Series A" Power Pitch
Kellee James, Founder/CEO - Mercaris, Washington, DC, addresses the lack of basic market data available to participants in the $7 billion organic and non-GMO agricultural sector. Its trading platform provides up-to-date, accurate information on commodity market conditions, and allows buyers and sellers to meet on-line and trade. www.mercaris.com
PowerMoves.NOLA $50,000 Fellowship Recipient
Luke Cooper, Founder - Asurvest, Baltimore - a technology enabled Insurance & Financial Services Company, focused on average incomers. The company manages risk through insightful, data driven technology that meets consumers at key decision points. They integrate their product line with other funding and e-commerce sites through a single user interface. Cooper, who grew up in poverty and whose father was incarcerated for most of his life, ultimately used entrepreneurship as a tool for overcoming life's biggest challenges. http://asurvest.com
The PowerMoves.NOLA fellowship includes a $50,000 investment, technical assistance (marketing, legal, business strategy, etc.), assistance in closing an angel round, free or subsidized office space, and a roster of available high impact advisory board members and mentors. The fellowship also requires that 25% or more of their FTE employees live in the New Orleans region for at least a year, including a C-level executive.
PowerMoves.NOLA Risingstars Demo Day $25,000 Award
Bea Arthur, Founder - Prettypaddedroom, Brooklyn - transforms traditional therapy into a streamlined, HIPAA-complaint experience that is affordable and anonymous. Using the Digital Diary -- an interactive journal that facilitates written consultations with a potential client's therapist of choice -- clients can connect with an all-female team of licensed therapists anytime and anywhere. www.prettypaddedroom.com,
Separately, Entergy and PowerMoves.NOLA announced the winners of Entergy's Facebook-based consumer challenge in which Entergy awarded $5,000 prizes to two participating PowerMoves.NOLA startups who garnered the most consumer votes in the corporation's Facebook-based challenge. One $5,000 award for a New Orleans-based business went to web-based employment business gotointerview.com, and the second $5,000 award for a business participating in the Entergy "Series A" Power Pitch went to Chicago-based Converse Point, which organizes and reduces clutter in electronic messaging systems.
"This weekend was everything we hoped it would be for the entrepreneurs and for the potential investors who participated in our programs," said PowerMoves.NOLA Founder Leslie Jacobs. "Now it is incumbent upon us to continue to support these companies, and spread the word about PowerMoves.NOLA, so we can grow the future pool of participants, and make a tangible impact on the number of minority-founded companies in the startup space."
"The entrepreneurs who graduated from our inaugural boot camp, participated in our pitch competitions and won our pitch competitions demonstrate there is abundant untapped talent among minorities in the startup space," said PowerMoves.NOLA President Earl Robinson. "The PowerMovesNOLA team and the New Orleans Startup Fund congratulate all participants and winners."
"Chevron is pleased to be the lead and founding sponsor of the PowerMoves.NOLA program and congratulates all the pitch winners," said Chevron Gulf of Mexico General Manager of Public Affairs Sakari Morrison. "Together we can enable the economic inclusion of those who have been historically underserved and underrepresented. It is Chevron's hope that our partnership will bring us one step closer to the goal of equal access to economic opportunity."
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.
Headquartered in New Orleans, PowerMoves.NOLA's mission is to deploy innovative ideas, fresh approaches, and an overall commitment to equity and diversity as a growth strategy to address the generational obstacles that prevent minority entrepreneurship. PowerMoves.NOLA can be found online and in social media at www.powermovesnola.org, @powermovesnola, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Chevron is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies. Based in Covington, LA, Chevron's Gulf of Mexico business unit has approximately 1,800 employees and approximately 2,000 contractors daily. Chevron is one of the largest producers and second largest leaseholder on the Gulf of Mexico shelf; and one of the top leaseholders in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.