NEW ORLEANS STARTUP FUND INVESTMENT, LEVELSET, EXITS FOR $500M
Fund was “first money” into New Orleans construction technology firm
New Orleans, La. – Last week, New Orleans-based startup Levelset signed definitive documents to be acquired by Procore for $500 million, representing the largest exit for a VC-backed company in Louisiana history. Founded by attorney Scott Wolfe, Jr. in 2012, and formerly operating under the name zlien, the software platform was created to simplify, manage, and expedite the payment process for contractors and suppliers.
“Our market has already experienced some of the benefits of Levelset’s rapid growth, as over 20 local companies have benefitted from portions of equity that New Orleans Startup Fund had already sold over the years,” said Jimmy Roussel, CEO of New Orleans Startup Fund. “This deal not only brings immediate investment funding to the table, but the local community is starting to share interest in expanding their investments into the tech and startup sectors. This exit will surely have a transformational impact on our ecosystem.”
Over the years, Levelset grew from a side project into a major force in the industry due to a focused strategy on growth rather than fundraising. As a result, its user base grew from dozens of local early adopters to over 250,000 global users which have used the platform for more than 6.5 million projects. Today, the company employs over 300 individuals, around 160 of which are located in New Orleans. You can see a timeline of the company’s growth here.
“Software is eating the world and disrupting every industry, transforming what it means to work, and creating tons of value for communities,” said Scott Wolfe, Jr., CEO of Levelset. “New Orleans needs to be a part of this. That was the New Orleans Startup Fund’s vision. We’re proof that the vision was right, and this can be just one milestone on a bright future for the city’s tech and startup community.”
Approximately $185 million of this money will end up in the hands of local investors and team members, which will create opportunities for new companies to be created by current employees and new investments to be made possible throughout the Greater New Orleans region due to increased available capital.
New Orleans Startup Fund was one of the earliest backers of Levelset, first making a small investment in January 2012, followed by an increased commitment alongside several other local investors during a seed round six months later. While the fund has sold off portions of its stake in Levelset, it currently maintains equity in the company, which will be liquidated during the acquisition and used to continue investments of this kind in the future. As a nonprofit investment fund, the New Orleans Startup Fund reinvests all profits from sales into future local investments.
“GNO, Inc. helped found the New Orleans Startup Fund with precisely this outcome in mind,” said Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “The Levelset exit has proven the viability of the Greater New Orleans entrepreneurial ecosystem, and will unleash tens of millions of dollars back into the community. We congratulate everyone at both Levelset and the Startup Fund.”
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 and the RosaMary Foundation.
More at neworleansstartupfund.org.