Propeller introduces its 2015-2016 Impact Accelerator startups

Close to 30 ventures join Propeller’s four Startup Impact Accelerators in Food, Water, Health, and Education. The expanded program will allow Propeller to bring more industry-relevant resources and expertise to twice as many startups.

17 August 2015

Propeller, the New Orleans-based incubator and accelerator focused on launching solutions to the city’s biggest challenges, has announced its newest cohort of close to 30 entrepreneurial ventures.

Selected from Propeller’s most competitive applicant pool to date, the ventures will join Propeller’s four Startup Impact Accelerators in Propeller’s core issue areas of Food, Water, Health, and Education.

Over the course of three months, September to December, ventures receive hands-on mentorship, access to high-level networks, pro bono technical support, and free office space to turn their early-stage ideas into viable business models. The program culminates in a Demo Day on December 15th. The most promising ideas will then be invited into Propeller’s Growth Accelerator that runs from February to June and assists the ventures to scale.

Internationally successful sector experts will lead entrepreneurs in individualized, industry-specific programming. Lead Coaches include: Janet Davas (Food Security), Founder of Liberty’s Kitchen and Hatch LLC; Mike Eckert (Water Management), former CEO of the Weather Channel; Neil Gibbons (Healthcare), Co-Founder & COO of Better Digestive Health LLC; and, Rayne Martin (Educational Equity), Leadership Coach with UPD Consulting and Former Executive Director of Stand for Children-Louisiana.

This year’s program marks a strategic shift from Propeller’s past Accelerator model, which served 15 entrepreneurs over the course of one yearlong program. This new structure will allow Propeller to launch twice as many entrepreneurs, while providing them with more industry-relevant resources and expertise.

“We are excited to launch this year’s expanded Accelerator program, which will connect even more entrepreneurs with resources specifically tailored to their industry and needs,” said Propeller Executive Director, Andrea Chen. “This cohort shows tremendous promise to address the challenges our city faces in food, water, health, and education.  Combined, their success will make New Orleans a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable city.”

These startups will build on the success of Propeller Alumni, many of whom have earned citywide recognition for their significant contributions to New Orleans’ growth and resilience since Katrina. Where Y’Art recently appeared in Mayor Landrieu’s Cultural Economy Snapshot and Broadmoor’s Arts & Wellness Center celebrated their ribbon cutting on August 1st.

Propeller’s 60 Alumni Ventures have collectively generated $24 million in revenue and financing and created over 120 jobs for New Orleanians.

Introducing Propeller’s 2015 Startup Accelerator ventures:

Food Security

  • 9th Ward Market (Burnell Cotlon), a grocery store, barber, beauty salon and sweet shop dedicated to serving the community of the Lower 9th Ward.
  • Capstone (David Young), operating 30 previously vacant non-productive lots in the Lower 9th Ward, which it transformed into productive gardens, orchards, and apiaries to distribute food to those who need it at free or reduced cost.
  • Dishroom Heroes (Jeff Gulotta & John Steger), a non-profit organization helping at-risk, underemployed adults find jobs as skilled custodial and dish room personnel, sharpen life skills, and pursue a sustainable and rewarding lifestyle beyond entry level employment.
  • Farm2School Database (Katie Mularz), improving health outcomes for students and creating economic opportunities for farmers by increasing the capacity of farm to school activities
  • Gator & Crane, Inc. (Emily Gaddis & Darrell Greiwe), a grocer nourishing coastal cities by making healthy, sustainable products and zero-waste recycling services affordable and accessible.
  • Local Foods, Local Places (Sophie Harris & Nellie Catzen), an initiative by Friends of Lafitte Corridor, advocating for and creating sustainable community gardens along the Lafitte Greenway to improve health outcomes of local residents, strengthen neighborhood bonds, support environmental stewardship education, and foster economic growth in the Lafitte Corridor.
  • Top Box Foods (Sam Heyman & Connor Deloach), a non-profit organization offering delicious, nutritious, high-quality foods at affordable prices, particularly to people living in areas with limited access to healthy eating options.

Water Management

  • Bayou Woman Adventure (Wendy Billiot), educating participants about coastal land loss in Louisiana and the value of these wetlands to the nation through immersion trips.
  • Coastal Engineering Solutions (Brent Duet), solving complex engineering and planning issues associated with coastal land loss and flood risk reduction.
  • Coastal Rewards (Amory Walker), creating a revenue source from credit card rewards that will contribute to funding coastal restoration projects and research in Louisiana
  • Connected Earth Sciences (Christopher Spring), better wetland management through vessel-based data collection and near real-time distribution
  • New Orleans Mosquito Control Board (Claudia Riegel), creating a livable environment and protecting the health and safety of the public from vectors and urban pests.
  • Name TBD (Christina Quijano), strengthening workforce development by certifying high school students with skilled jobs in the water sector.


  • 504HealthLearn (Jahangeer Khan & Susan Todd), a program of 504HealthNet, enhancing training methods available to primary care providers and clinic support staff serving the Greater New Orleans Area in order to improve the delivery of care for underserved patients.
  • Bausey Medical Solutions (Nathaniel Dorsey), using telemedicine to lower the cost and increase the reach of healthcare.
  • Harmony Health Care (David Kulick, Joanna Jao & Kurt Fiore) Providing the highest quality, most comprehensive, and accessible healthcare at an affordable cost to our patients.
  • High Level Hearing Technology (Lana Joseph), providing increased access to hearing health care services
  • mySickle Health (Rishikesh Chavan & Marshneil Chavan), ensuring optimal health and improved quality of life for every patient with sickle cell disease by using a mobile phone app to provide access to health care and foster patient compliance.
  • The Resilient Teacher (Stephanie Choy), supporting and empowering new teachers to thrive in high needs, urban schools by providing them access to high quality mental health and counseling services.
  • Youth Run NOLA: WeRunNOLA Maps (Denali Lander), developing lifelong healthy habits amongst youth and their family members through developing regional or neighborhood-based running routes.

Educational Equity

  • Adinkra (Elizabeth Fletcher), utilizing Unschooling methods and home study networking as a way to develop life-long learners who value community, education, and culture.
  • Beautiful Foundation, Incorporated (Lauren Perry), providing a safe environment for the leadership development of young, underserved young women by focusing on self-esteem, entrepreneurial thinking, and their emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
  • Youth Smartcard (New Orleans Kids Partnership), increasing access to more affordable transportation and connecting youth to a coordinated system of services ranging from the New Orleans Public library, to recreation centers, to afterschool programs.
  • Hope Stone New Orleans (Dana Reed & Pamela Marquis), providing “Arts for All” to the New Orleans community.
  • #LaGIVE5 (Maria Montoya & Teresa Falgoust), a campaign of Agenda for Children, giving businesses the opportunity to transform their tax liability into an investment in early care and education in Louisiana.
  • RisingFoundations (Kelly Orians & Calvin Duncan), stopping the cycle of incarceration through homeownership, gainful self-employment, and financial services.
  • UnCommon Construction (Aaron Frumin), using apprenticeship and construction to highlight learning opportunities and empower hardworking high school students.
  • Young Creative Agency (Alberta Wright), providing youth across socio-economic boundaries with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the creative economy.