Press Releases

Meet the 2016 JEDCO Challenge finalists

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) and First NBC Bank are pleased to introduce the five companies scheduled to compete in the fourth annual Jefferson Parish-based pitch competition during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) presented by IBERIABANK, which is produced by The Idea Village.

JEDCO received nearly 30 applications for the JEDCO Challenge powered by First NBC Bank from entrepreneurs with ties to Jefferson Parish. Through a rigorous review process, a selection committee of business leaders chose five companies to participate in the live pitch event at Southport Hall. The JEDCO Challenge features a diverse group of startup companies with backgrounds in a variety of industries tied to Jefferson Parish.

AxoSim Technologies: J. Lowry Curley, PhD; Michael J. Moore, PhD
AxoSim’s mission is to leverage its nerve-on-a-chip technology to revolutionize drug development. Pioneered by J. Lowry Curley, PhD and Michael J. Moore, PhD, AxoSim was founded out of Tulane University to tackle critical problems in pharmaceutical development by offering the industry’s most advanced, clinically-relevant models of neural tissue. The company developed a 3D cell-based platform that looks and acts like a real nerve, serving as an alternative to costly animal testing and ineffective 2D models. Currently, the Company is working on a screening tool for pharmaceutical companies developing next-generation therapies for Multiple Sclerosis, adding to its growing portfolio of services. AxoSim’s platform technology will advance the safety and efficacy of novel therapeutics, while helping manage the costs of bringing critical drugs to market, ultimately accelerating medical breakthroughs and improving people’s health.

Twitter: @axosim

FreshCane: Arpit Bhopalkar; Shreyas Oak; Tushar Khosla
FreshCane was founded to make people aware of the benefits of natural, unprocessed Cane Water. The company’s aim is to serve people with a functional beverage which is healthy, raw, un-altered, and uncompromised on its taste. In its natural form, Cane Water has many essential nutrients, such as abundance of potassium and fibers, and a low glycemic index. As a natural hydrant, Cane Water provides a sustained source of energy. With an investment in domestic and sustainable economy, FreshCane is a minimal waste business, which recycles cane waste, called “Bagasse,” via compost facilities.


Kudoboard: Aaron Rubens
Kudoboard is an online service to replace the greeting card that gets passed around a group and signed. The way it works is simple: start an online board for a recipient, add text/photos/videos, and then invite other contributors to do the same.  Once everyone contributes and the board is ready, it is delivered to the recipient online and can also be printed.  Based in New Orleans and launched in July of 2015, Kudoboard has had thousands of users send messages of appreciation using the service.  If you want to gather a group and send some love on a birthday, holiday, or any day, check out Kudoboard!

Twitter:  @kudoboard

MashBall, LLC: Todd Mashburn
The newest game that is revolutionizing the industry calls Jefferson Parish home.  MashBall, the ultimate beach, tailgate, anywhere game, combines the best features of the most popular toss games such as Cornhole, Washer Toss, Horseshoes, and others, while eliminating the flaws. What started out as a simple idea meant solely for the enjoyment of 22-year-old founder, Todd Mashburn, and his closest friends, has evolved into a floatable, wind resistant, portable, and family friendly product that offers six fun games in one compact box. MashBall’s unique design offers excellent versatility. The game can be played indoors, outdoors, and even in the swimming pool. The company promotes a fun, healthy, and worry-free lifestyle to be enjoyed with family and friends during life’s finest moments.

Twitter: @MashBall_Game

Scandy: Charles Carriere; Cole Wiley
Scandy is the first app of its kind. With the proliferation of virtual reality and 360° video, the demand for printing and displaying the 360° content is greater than ever. The team behind Scandy recognized this trend. Founded in Jefferson Parish in late 2014, Scandy developed an app that allows users to easily create 360° 3D content and then, order full-color 3D prints simply and efficiently.  Scandy 0.1 launched for the iPad in March 2015. It allows users to scan objects in 3D with an iPad and attached Occipital Sensor. Scandy 1.0 will be released in early 2016 allowing users to capture spherical panoramic pictures with a smartphone and order full-color 3D-printed Scandy Spheres. When Scandy 2.0 releases in Spring 2016, users of the Scandy App will be able to scan both objects and their environment and order 3D prints from their smartphones without any additional hardware. Scandy is proud to call Jefferson Parish home and is energized by the culture of innovation in the Greater New Orleans region.

Twitter: @ScandyCo

The finalists will compete during NOEW on Monday, March 14th at Southport Hall. The event starts at 2:00 p.m. Register for the event here.

“The JEDCO Challenge has become a premier event for the entrepreneurial community in Jefferson Parish and it is due in large part to the caliber of the companies that participate in this competition each year,” says JEDCO Executive Director, Jerry Bologna. “The entrepreneurs behind these five diverse startups represent the talent, ingenuity, and dedication to excellence that we value in the Jefferson Parish business community. We believe their entrance into the Challenge this year is indicative of the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and offerings for startup companies in our community. JEDCO looks forward to watching all of these companies grow and find success locally.”

Each company will have just seven minutes to present a live pitch in front of a panel of Jefferson Parish business leaders.  Entrepreneurs will be scored based upon the live pitch, a condensed business plan submitted in advance of the competition, and a crowd vote. JEDCO will give every person in the crowd an opportunity to choose their favorite startup after all five have pitched. A small number of points will be awarded to the crowd favorite and added to that company’s overall score. The entrepreneur with the winning pitch will receive $20,000 in direct capital and additional in-kind services such as marketing, accounting, and legal assistance.

JEDCO created the Challenge in 2013 to identify, engage with, and assist our up-and-coming innovators. The goal of the competition is to elevate opportunities for local entrepreneurs in the area through direct capital, business services, increased visibility and mentorship. Previous winners include Be Well Nutrition (ICONIC), PortaVision Medical, and InnoGenomics Technologies.

This event would not be possible without assistance from Jefferson Parish businesses and organizations. JEDCO would like to thank the following for their sponsorship and support of the JEDCO Challenge:  First NBC Bank, 365 Connect, Ardyn Thriffily and Associates, ARPR, Business Innovation Center at Churchill, Carver, Darden, Koretzsky, Tessier, Finn, Blossman & Areaux, LLC, Cox Communications, Gambel Communications, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, and Sandler Training.

JEDCO Challenge Supporting Partners:  Jefferson Parish, The Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, The Idea Village, Elmwood Business Association, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Greater New Orleans, Inc., New Orleans BioInnovation Center, Propeller & 504ward.


About First NBC Bank: First NBC Bank received a charter to begin operation from the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions in May 2006. Through overwhelming support from the local community, the Bank’s initial capital footings exceeded $60 million, which set a record for the largest initial capital raised by a Louisiana chartered institution. There are 31 banking offices on the South and North Shores of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area. First NBC Bank has been selected as one of the Best Places to Work six times in a row by New Orleans CityBusiness.

The bank’s mission is to deliver world-class service through developing long-term relationships with clients while providing a great place to work for its employees and demonstrating outstanding corporate citizenship within its communities, resulting in exceptional returns for its shareholders.

About New Orleans Entrepreneur Week: New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by IBERIABANK, is the annual business festival celebrating entrepreneurship, innovation, and advanced thinking in New Orleans. Produced by The Idea Village, NOEW engages a dynamic global community to support growing companies and elevate entrepreneurial successes through eight days of discussion, debate, education, competition, and celebration. This year, NOEW 2016 will take place March 11-18, 2016..