31 students from the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business complete the fourth cohort of the Venture Capital Apprentice Program

Young college students from different countries working together sitting at coworking space at table discussing main issues presenting their knowledge in particular sphere exchanging expreience

Eight local companies participated, providing students with real-world business experience.

BATON ROUGE — 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”). Also participating in the program are business consultants from LSU’s Innovation Park.

“VCAP was designed to provide participating LSU students with real-world finance and business-related experience, along with networking and employment opportunities,” said 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.”

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, and a financial proforma. One group was paired with Nexus Louisiana, a business incubator for high-tech startups to construct a startup Subscription as a Service (SaaS) proforma template, a comparative market analysis document template, and a startup financial due diligence document template to be used as resources for the members of the tech park. “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,” said 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 spring of 2022, 31 students participated in the fourth cohort of VCAP, including students from The LSU Department of Finance’s Venture Capital course taught by Michael Kirby, retired co-founder of private equity firm Stonehenge Capital. The students formed eight teams and worked with the following local companies: Crowd9Mallard BayCuraOSRentCheckSomething Borrowed BloomsFalayaNexusLA/Innovation Catalyst, Inc., and Allsafe Alarms.

“The market research that the VCAP students provided for Mallard Bay has helped us tremendously in narrowing in on our go-to-market strategy. The students helped calculate the addressable market in each state, as well as organized a list of potential leads for our sales team. Having previously participated in the VCAP program as a student, and now as a local entrepreneur, I have truly seen the impact that the program has on the Baton Rouge business community,” said Joel Moreau, co-founder of Mallard Bay Outdoors.

“This is an outstanding win for everyone – LSU students and Louisiana companies. Our students are able to apply and showcase their knowledge, and the company receives a delivered project and the unique opportunity to work with potential new employees,” says Hutch McClendon, Program Manager at LSU Innovation Park.

“The VCAP Project was a great experience for me and other students to establish a basis of understanding of venture capital and solution-based value creation,” said Ryne Weiss, a senior Finance major. “Difficult tasks were asked from each student, but the process of brainstorming and problem solving created a fun and informative learning experience, which ultimately created an impressive solution for each group.”

AboutNexus Louisiana
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. 

About Innovation Catalyst
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.

About the Red Stick Angel Network
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.

About the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business
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.

About LSU Innovation Park:
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.

About Crowd9:
Crowd9 provides guidance and resources to startups and growing businesses seeking to raise capital through campaigns on any crowdfunding platform. The company can serve as a concierge marketing agency that offers customized campaign content and generates awareness for businesses wishing to conduct a reward, donation, debt, or equity crowdfunding campaign. 

About Mallard Bay:
Mallard Bay offers an easy-to-use booking platform for sportsmen looking to book hunting and fishing trips with reputable outfitters and charters across North America.

About CuraOS:
Cura OS is an all-in-one business management software designed to serve Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and Immediate Care Facilities (ICF) providers as a streamlined management solution for client care, human resources, payroll, scheduling, billing, and compliance.

About RentCheck:
RentCheck is a simple property management platform that is designed to save time on performing inspections. RentCheck allows anyone to perform inspections whether it is property owners, property managers, or residents. The application guides the user throughout the inspection process by prompting exactly what to take photos of and rating their condition. Whoever performs the inspection signs off on the final submission to state that they have completed the inspection accurately and honestly at that location. The status of all outstanding inspections and completed inspections are kept in a clear and concise user dashboard that contains all necessary details of each location.

About Something Borrowed Blooms:
Something Borrowed Blooms, an online rent and return service, offers high-quality silk flower wedding arrangements – from bouquets, headpieces and boutonnieres to corsages, aisle markers, centerpieces, garlands and more. This innovative alternative is changing the way couples plan and pay for wedding flowers across the United States & Canada. 

About Falaya:
Falaya is a real estate tech company empowering homeowners to take control of the sales process saving them thousands in realtor commissions. 

About Allsafe Alarms:
Allsafe Alarms has been in the alarm business for over 27 years, providing quality products, reliable service, and a hometown presence. Our team is hardworking and dedicated to providing you with the best solution for your home or office. From basic alarm systems to whole home automation, Allsafe Alarms is the solution you are searching for. We can create a customized bundle to fit your specific wants, all while treating you like family.

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