A New Orleans Entrepreneurship Success Story
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Orleans, La. (Sept. 28, 2020) – The New Orleans Startup Fund, The Idea Village, and others in the New Orleans entrepreneurship ecosystem are celebrating CultureConnect’s acquisition by Axiell, the cultural sector’s leading software and services provider serving 11,300 customers in 58 countries. The announcement made earlier this week, marries Axiell’s market-leading data and media management technology with CultureConnect’s best-in-class audience engagement platform to create the first full stack solution for the cultural sector. With roots in New Orleans, CultureConnect has grown into an award-winning technology company that empowers cultural institutions to easily create beautiful and dynamic digital experiences that broaden audience engagement onsite and online.
The company’s ties to New Orleans began in 2013, when its founders matriculated through an accelerator program of 4.0 Schools and then IDEAx, The Idea Village’s 11-week accelerator for high-growth ventures under the leadership of Entrepreneur-In-Residence Mike Eckert. CultureConnect also participated in two pitches at New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week (NOEW) that year, walking away with the grand prize at 4.0 School’s Education Pitch. The New Orleans Startup Fund, a nonprofit evergreen seed fund aimed at helping early-stage startups get venture ready, invested in CultureConnect in early 2014, along with local angel investors.
“This is a New Orleans entrepreneurship success story, and I’d like to congratulate Samantha Diamond, the founder and CEO of CultureConnect,” said Jimmy Roussel, the CEO of the Startup Fund. “CultureConnect’s story demonstrates that when our community provides advice, access to networks, and capital, we can help companies thrive.”
Samantha Diamond, the founder and CEO of CultureConnect
Diamond says the support she received in New Orleans was integral to CultureConnect’s success, listing off the mentors who helped her along the way, including Kenneth Purcell of iSeatz, business executive Mike Eckert, and fellow entrepreneurs from the 4.0 Schools and Idea Village communities. She also thanked some early key customers, like the then-called New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation, and the New Orleans Museum of Art who remains a client today.
“We immediately felt New Orleans’ warm embrace. The city was an ideal place to launch an arts-tech company and provided a robust network of supporters, advisors, and angel investors. We proved our leading-edge technology and approach meets a real need in the market,” said Diamond. “CultureConnect is changing what it means to visit a museum, in part thanks to the start we had in the cultural center that is New Orleans.”
While female founders raised less than three percent of total VC funding in last year, 32% of Startup Fund companies are woman-owned. The 2018 census reported that New Orleans is the number two city for women in technology jobs, and economic development experts are optimistic that the ecosystem will continue growing as an inclusive place.
“The fact that this deal occurred during a pandemic is testament to the innovative company Samantha built and how CultureConnect is able to provide value during this extraordinary time,” Roussel continued. “Already experiencing record growth in part due to COVID-19, CultureConnect will now be able to grow from being a leading solution in North America to operating on a global scale.”
As a non-profit evergreen fund, the Startup Fund reinvests all its returns to expand the number of successful, growing businesses.
“Our region will benefit greatly from CultureConnect’s success, as the Fund is able to re-invest in other viable startups to help them launch and scale,” he said.
The Idea Village CEO Jon Atkinson added, “The Idea Village exists to identify and support potential high-growth entrepreneurs at their earliest stages, and we are excited to have played a role in CultureConnect’s success and look forward to seeing what Samantha does next.”
To read the press release announcing Axiell’s acquisition of CultureConnect, visit: http://www.globenewswire.com/
CultureConnect is an award-winning technology company empowering museums, libraries, attractions, and cultural organizations to deliver engaging digital experiences to audiences online, in-gallery, or on personal devices. Our innovative design, publishing, and content management platform is the first-of-its-kind, driving engagement and learning. It’s an API-ready, scalable solution that solves persistent technology management challenges while propelling cultural organizations digitally forward. Customers using our leading SaaS engagement platform include a wide-range set of institutions from the U.S. House of Representatives, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and the Bell Museum of Natural History to many art museums including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of American Art — as well as a host of universities, libraries, and private collectors. Learn more at: http://www.cultureconnectme.
About the New Orleans Startup Fund
The New Orleans Startup Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) evergreen seed fund established by business and financial leaders in the Greater New Orleans area, and originally incubated by Greater New Orleans, Inc., to accelerate the growth of early-stage, innovative businesses into venture-ready companies. The Startup Fund’s mission is to create jobs and economic prosperity for the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region by providing seed capital and business assistance to early-stage firms that demonstrate significant growth potential.
The Startup Fund’s success is made possible with the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the RosaMary Foundation, and Verizon. More at neworleansstartupfund.org.
About the Idea Village
Founded in 2000, The Idea Village is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as a catalyst for economic development, empowering and equipping job and wealth-creating businesses, and their founders, to be the driving force for a more prosperous New Orleans. To date, The Idea Village has supported over 13,300 entrepreneurs, including over 94,200 mentoring hours. Of these entrepreneurs, 277 have been selected into VILLAGEx (formerly IDEAx), the core accelerator program, which has produced over 3,400 jobs, over $350 million in private capital, and $267 million in annual revenue. Today, 66% of the alumni companies are still in business. The Idea Village produces New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), a yearly event celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of New Orleans, showcasing emerging trends and innovations, and connecting the city’s startup community to the cutting edge of global business. Learn more about The Idea Village at www.ideavillage.org, and NOEW at www.noew.org.