Second fund on the horizon

North Louisiana based angel fund New Louisiana Angel Fund 1 closed 2016 with 10 companies funded and three follow-on investments.

The fund, at $2.6 million, is expected to be fully committed by the middle of 2017, said BRF CEO and President John F. George Jr., M.D.

Sidecar investments, which are investments made by the fund’s investors outside of NLAF 1, total an additional $1.2 million at the close of 2016.

BRF spearheaded the formation of NLAF 1 in 2014 to fill the gap resulting from a regional lack of organized investment resources for high-growth startups.

According to the Angel Capital Association, startups account for nearly all net new job creation in the United States. NLAF 1 is the first North Louisiana angel investor group and meets monthly to evaluate startups for funding.

The fund’s portfolio spans industries from biomedical to entertainment, and to technology, with applications in sports, business, medicine and oil and gas.

As NLAF 1 closes, BRF is working to launch NLAF 2, which will include several of NLAF 1’s 53 accredited investors as well as new accredited investors.

The group, which meets in Shreveport, has funded only companies that are resident in North Louisiana.

The companies funded have generated 66 jobs, and have brought $32.9 million in investment from outside of North Louisiana through grants, syndication with other angel funds or networks and other investments.

Reported successes in 2016 for funded companies include an $11 million grant to Embera NeuroTherapeutics from the National Institutes of Health to advance its research involving drugs to fight addiction.

Other companies have received notoriety as finalists and winners of Louisiana pitch and startup competitions.

“Our young startups here in North Louisiana are in various stages of fundraising. We anticipate seeing some great growth among these companies in the coming year. NLAF 1 is a founder friendly group that has been eager to be involved in the early stages. NLAF 2 will continue this effort and will begin evaluating more startups this year,” said George.

NLAF 1 companies

Embera NeuroThereaputics – Clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on smoking cessation, cocaine dependence and other addictions

Swaybox Studios – Film and TV media technology studio that specializes in puppetry

Lagniappe Labs – Research company with system to determine the value of privately held companies

Mainspree – An E-commerce platform for small retailers using social media

Innolyzer – Science technology company offering a “lab on a chip” concept that measures hydrogen sulfide

Highly Favored Creations – Pet product company specializing in pet health and longevity

CyberReef – Technology company that makes machine-to-machine communication more secure

EndoPro Solutions – Medical technology company fighting obesity

SkyCoach – Software company aiding coaches in capturing and analyzing plays

Segue Therapeutics – Pharmaceutical company focused on cancer drug development