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New Orleans Startup Fund

Project Info

Client New Orleans Startup Fund
Skills Growth Strategy, Strategic Finance

Project Description

EMH developed and then executed an implementation and launch strategy for a new seed-stage source of capital focused on the New Orleans region, and successfully oversaw operations of the new fund for two years.

Project Scope

The New Orleans Startup Fund (NOSF) was a concept developed by local business and civic leaders interested in injecting much-needed capital into the local entrepreneurial scene. EMH was approached by NOSF in its nascent stages with the goal of creating an operating plan to guide how the fund would first raise and then deploy both capital and ancillary services, such as technical assistance and matchmaking with local angel investors.

The scope of work then grew from this initial objective to include EMH running all day-to-day operations of the fund, sourcing and vetting deals, and preparing the best of these deals for investment. After gaining a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the company, EMH took a holistic approach in examining the best practices of similar funds nationally, and effectively created a new organization from scratch.

EMH Approach

EMH consultants began this project by employing a methodological approach marked by intense collaboration with the client, resulting in a thorough understanding of all goals of the founders of NOSF. This understanding gave EMH the ability to design and build the entire organization from the ground up, and unhindered by existing practices, we were able to inject best-in-class elements from day one.

Among the most pressing of the issues NOSF faced was educating potential partners and investment targets about the unique aspects of the non-profit Startup Fund. To overcome this hurdle, EMH took a hands-on approach and had conversations with interested parties, stakeholders and civic and business leaders, taking advantage our extensive personal and professional networks, in order to spread the word about NOSF and enhance its brand equity.

EMH was also able to work with individual entrepreneurial ventures, preparing them for investment in order to maximize the chance of a successful capital raise. In many cases, EMH developed advanced financial models for NOSF applicants, identified new markets for entry and the strategies necessary for action, and identified the pros/cons of pursuing high-growth strategies, which often meant taking on greater outside capital, versus continuing to bootstrap.

Impact

EMH developed the Fund’s growth and go-to-market strategies, and implemented those strategies alongside Fund leadership. EMH oversaw more than 200 potential deals and deeply vetted 10 potential investments. During our tenure, NOSF invested in four promising, high-growth ventures. EMH also worked closely with entrepreneurs to prepare them for investment, and coordinated capital structuring efforts with outside investors in order to maintain a balance between risk and reward. Throughout the course of the project, EMH provided the Startup Fund with the strategic guidance and technical assistance necessary to ultimately invest in three high-growth potential businesses.