BATON ROUGE, La., December 12, 2023 — The Venture Capital Apprentice Program (“VCAP”) was formed by Nexus Louisiana (NexusLA), Innovation Catalyst and the Red Stick Angel Network in collaboration with the E. J. Ourso College of Business (“LSU”), LSU’s Innovation Park and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.
“VCAP was designed to provide participating LSU students with real-world finance and business-related experience, along with networking and employment opportunities,” states Bill Ellison, CEO of Innovation Catalyst and the Red Stick Angels. “It also provides high-growth Louisiana based companies, who require finance, accounting and market research support services, with a team of smart and motivated students.”
In the 7 VCAP cohorts, 202 students have worked on 52 separate projects/deliverables.
The team projects involved completing a wide variety of relevant tasks for their respective companies, including the analysis of a company’s funding needs, equity crowdfunding comparative market analysis, competitor and market analysis, an analysis of industry regulations and private equity firms and a financial proforma. “The variety, scope and complexity of the VCAP projects that are related to VC fundraising, M&A, business planning and strategy provide a unique learning opportunity for our students,” says Dr. Rajesh Narayanan, Chair of the LSU Department of Finance. “They were able to work closely with the management teams of local companies as opposed to working on a theoretical academic exercise. This type of practical, real-world application of the LSU finance curriculum is an incredibly valuable and unique experience for our students.”
In the fall of 2023, 32 students from The LSU Department of Finance’s Venture Capital course taught by Michael Kirby, retired co-founder of private equity firm Stonehenge Capital, participated in the VCAP’s 7thcohort. The students formed eight teams and worked with the following local companies: DAWn Audio, Bright Enterprises, Care Connection, Suds, Triple N Oyster Farm, Giant Rocketship, MCA Engineering, and NextCoat.
“It was an honor to participate in this year’s VCAP,” said Chris Spalatin, Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s senior manager of small business and entrepreneurship. “Supporting and growing programs such as VCAP is critical to the Capital Region as it not only provides learning opportunities for our young talent, but also sets up our small businesses for economic success – two things we hope to accelerate in our community! We congratulate Innovation Catalyst and LSU on another successful year of the program, and look forward to its continued impact in the future.”
“LSU students receive real world experience by interacting with entrepreneurs, and delivering research and analysis that help Louisiana business owners make key discussions to grow their companies. The program is a win-win for all involved,” says Jason Boudreaux, Associate Director of Entrepreneurial Service at LSU Innovation Park.
According to Jake Hoffpauir, a Senior Finance major, “The Venture Capital Apprenticeship Program (VCAP) provided an invaluable learning experience, offering insights into venture capital and the opportunity to collaborate with founders and peers to drive strategic growth for local Baton Rouge companies.”
Nexus Louisiana is a Baton Rouge based 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides high-potential, technology-enabled companies the coaching, capital, and connections they need to accelerate their growth.
Innovation Catalyst is a nonprofit venture development organization, formed by community leaders to strengthen and broaden Louisiana’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and drive new high-tech company formation through coaching, connections, and capital.
The Red Stick Angel Network is a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovation Catalyst, whose members are accredited investors or "Angels" located in the greater Baton Rouge area. Its mission is to organize the Baton Rouge Angels as a network to identify, evaluate, and then aggregate investment capital of its members to invest in early-stage companies in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana. In addition to capital, its members provide coaching and connections to support and grow its portfolio companies, thereby fostering economic development and job creation in Baton Rouge and throughout the state.
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has served as the flagship business college of Louisiana, playing an essential role in uplifting the economy of the state and the well-being of its citizens. Each year, the college graduates more than 1,000 exceptional men and women who are the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.
LSU Innovation Park is a part of the LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development and provides entrepreneurs, small businesses, and companies with facilities and services necessary to launch and grow a successful organization. LSU Innovation Park offers amenities, access to experienced business consultants, services, and resources in the Capital region and throughout the state. Innovation Park also supports and manages the Small Business Development Center Network across the state. As the state’s flagship university, research is the cornerstone of LSU. LSU Innovation Park is located just five miles south of the main campus and is the focal point for technological innovation and startup ventures in the Baton Rouge region as a dedicated complex for research commercialization that benefits Baton Rouge and the state of Louisiana. Visit our website https://www.lsu.edu/innovationpark/index.php or call us at 225-578-4842 to discuss your business needs.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) is an aggressively ambitious regional economic development organization with a bias for action. BRAC seeks to push Baton Rouge beyond the status quo, unleash its potential, and support a vibrant business community that believes the finish line does not exist. BRAC seeks to accelerate economic opportunity in the Baton Rouge Area, for everyone, through BRING IT! Baton Rouge, its five-year, regional strategic plan. Learn more about BRAC at brac.org.
DAWn Audio facilitates creative freedom through its network of tools and music artists. 130M+ music artists globally are stuck emailing audio files when collaborating due to an incompatibility in the software they use. DAWn's middleware solution bridges compatibility between these different music creation software, allowing artists to collaborate live from wherever they are most comfortable, while continuing to use the tools they prefer.
Bright is a healthcare system. A system supporting a vision for a collective standard in community mental health. Using real-time technology to guide, track and deliver healthcare outcomes, Bright is more than a mental health brand; it is a lifestyle. For all customers and all stakeholders. We have developed and operationalized our own training, our own workforce solution, our own treatment model, and our own technology. We are solution-focused, people-driven, and technology-supported.
About: Care Connection
The Care Connexion is the premier healthcare staffing marketplace for home health agencies to find and work with qualified freelance healthcare professionals. Our platform leverages the latest technologies to create a better home health experience for freelance clinicians, agencies, and their patients.
Founded in Baton Rouge in 2018, Suds Laundry Services is an on-demand app-based company that provides, both, wash & fold and dry cleaning services via pickup and delivery. By simply downloading the app and creating an account, users could have their laundry picked up, processed, and delivered back to them within 24 hours. Aside from servicing the everyday consumer, Suds also provides commercial laundry services to small-to-large businesses and organizations. Visit the App Store of Google Play, download Suds, and NEVER DO LAUNDRY.
NextCoat’s capabilities include abrasive blasting, robotic surface preparation and industry leading coatings application. With over 70+ combined years of experience in the industrial and commercial markets, our team has the knowledge and experience to partner with you on any protective coatings project and achieve operational excellence.
MCA Engineering is a minority-owned engineering firm specializing in providing innovative and cost-effective solutions for a wide range of clients in the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions. Our team consists of experienced engineers, project managers, and technical specialists who are dedicated to delivering high-quality services to our clients. MCA engineering is an ensured firm whose supervising professional is licensed by the engineering boards in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, and Alabama.
Our oyster farm is located just north of Grand Isle, LA. Specially bred oysters start their lives on the farm as 2 mm seed oysters. They are raised in floating bags that are designed to give the oysters optimal oxygen and algal concentrations to reach market size within 6 months. The constant rocking action of the waves generates a clean oyster with a deep cup. Our oysters remain fat all year long, allowing our customers to enjoy them even in months that do not end with the letter “R.)
Giant Rocketship completely automates ticket lifecycle management in Autotask, from tech assignment, to scheduling work, to escalations — no more staring at calendars and workload reports — let our AI do it for you. Free your tech to focus exclusively on solving client issues.
Innovation Catalyst Inc.
Red Stick Angels, Inc.
Innovation Catalyst Inc.
Red Stick Angels, Inc.