Group of investors gives life to local start-up companies

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 8:21 PM

Mike Hoss / Eyewitness News
Email: mhoss@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhosswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- One local group of investors is working to make sure good ideas have the money needed to turn those ideas into companies and jobs.

The start-up company Crescent Unmanned Systems builds aerial drones at the Michoud facility. The remote controlled unit can carry a camera or air testing equipment for Hazmat disasters. It has commercial applications, as well as military and police.

The Bravo 300 is a production model. It’s not even on the market yet, yet it exists today because of an angel. That angel is the South Coast Angel Fund.

Clayton White is the CEO of the South Coast Angel Fund, a group of 50 business owners who invest money into Louisiana or Gulf Coast start-up companies.

They'll bank roll anywhere from $250,000 to a million dollars on a single project. They are beyond the idea on a napkin stage.

“It’s got to be more than a good idea. Does this person have the talent to run a company? It’s a whole different type of skill set, so we're looking at the entrepreneurial skill set. Their background, what the idea is, what the potential is?” White said.

Crescent Unmanned CEO Charles Easterling said that kind of funding is crucial in taking a company to the next level.

“Capital is always a task for people who are trying to achieve their dreams,” Easterling said. “If they have an idea, a lot of times it’s really difficult to get to a production stage due to lack of funding.”

For its investment South Coast provides unlimited business expertise and takes an ownership position in the company, becoming a true partner in the project.

“South Coast is embedded with us. They are now part of who we are. They have a significant interest in seeing us succeed,” Easterling said.

South Coast wants to foster Louisiana start ups and lure other companies here as well.

“We'll look at them with the hopes of bringing them into town, bringing that technology company or whatever it is,” White said.

 

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