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What is The Catalyst Fund?

The Catalyst Fund is a non-profit Louisiana corporation that was was established by Louisiana entrepreneurs, business and civic leaders, and philanthropists. Its objective is to strengthen the state entrepreneurial ecosystem by making convertible-debt investments in high-potential early stage companies. We also provide action-oriented insights and connections to put ideas on the path to success.

Why was The Catalyst Fund founded?

While Louisiana’s seams are bursting with creative ideas, we have traditionally lacked the financial means to support them. That’s where The Catalyst Fund comes in. We believe in high-impact entrepreneurship and its ability to transform economies and drive meaningful social change, thereby creating jobs, wealth, and hope.

Why should I build my business in Louisiana?

In the words of one observer: “Economic development leaders say generous tax incentives, a well-trained work force, relatively low operating costs, and a robust transportation infrastructure – that includes world-class ports, six interstate highways, and access to all six Class 1 railroads – make Louisiana a great place to locate.”1

Add to this a growing network of entrepreneurial hubs across the state and a 25 percent tax credit for digital media expenditures…well, you get the idea.

1. AreaDevelopment Online, “Louisiana: Climbing the Economic and Business Climate Charts,” Craig Guillot, Fall 2013

Who runs The Catalyst Fund?

Whoa! Did you see our Change Agents page?

What’s the difference between The Catalyst Fund and a traditional venture fund?

Both are interested in ROI. But The Catalyst Fund recycles its returns in order to build an ever-growing Louisiana-based entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Where does The Catalyst Fund get its money?

The Catalyst Fund receives state and federal government grants, as well as charitable contributions from foundations, corporations and civic-minded business and professional leaders.

Who can apply for funding?

Any Louisiana-based seed or early stage high-tech company that has a proof-of-concept and can demonstrate a scalable business model.

How much can The Catalyst Fund invest?

Typical investments will range up to $250,000 in the form of convertible debt. The Catalyst Fund will syndicate with other capital sources as deemed desirable and appropriate.

Is The Catalyst Fund limited to certain business sectors?

No, all Louisiana-based high-tech early stage companies are welcome to apply.

What’s a high-growth company?

That would be a company that can reach at least $20 million in annual revenues in five years, with upside growth beyond that.

What kind of business assistance does The Catalyst Fund offer?

During the initial review of your application form and presentation, we evaluate nine key areas – founder background and experience, product, market size, go-to-market strategy, competition, barriers to entry, ability to scale, use of proceeds and total cash need. If we find glitches, we plug you in to our network of professionals who can help you fill the gaps. While this may put the application on hold, it ends up making it a whole lot stronger.

A member of The Catalyst Fund Board, Investment Advisory Board, or staff will mentor you through the early post-investment months. This can range from offering advice on strategy and direction, to helping you plan and acquire resources, to providing introductions to prospective investors, partners, and customers.

How does a company apply?

Apply online.

What is the review process?

  1. Apply and upload any documents you think will help us in reviewing your application.
  2. During the initial review of your application, we will evaluate nine key areas – founder background and experience, product, market size, go-to-market strategy, competition, barriers to entry, ability to scale, use of proceeds and total cash need. If we find glitches, we plug you in to our network of professionals who can help you fill the gaps. While this may put the application on hold, it ends up making it a whole lot stronger.
  3. Pitch and Discuss. Assuming we’re interested, our people meet your people, offer candid advice about the opportunity and give you more information about The Catalyst Fund process.
  4. We perform our initial due diligence. This will tell us—and you—what you need to address in the formal review.
  5. This is where you make your pitch to The Catalyst Fund Sourcing Team and Investment Advisory Committee. Score here, and you move right along.
  6. We put together the deal and work through the terms with you. Formal due diligence begins as soon as we all have a green light.
  7. You make your final pitch to the Board of Directors for final approval.
  8. Upon approval, we will work with company attorneys to prepare the documents needed to close the investment (applause, applause)!

At any point in the process, if an applicant is not selected to continue toward an investment, a member of The Catalyst Fund will provide feedback on the areas of concern and refer the applicant to community partner entities that may provide the necessary technical assistance to help move the company forward.

What happens post investment?

Our team will mentor you through the early post-investment months. This can range from offering advice on strategy and direction, to helping you plan and acquire resources, to providing introductions to prospective investors, partners, and customers.

Normally, our investment comes with a right to appoint a board member. We are actively engaged with the operational aspects of our companies and make sure that board meetings are one of the ways where we can stay involved.

Can a company try again if its application is rejected?

Absolutely. A company can significantly amend its application and submit it for reconsideration.

How do I support entrepreneurship through The Catalyst Fund?

To donate, press here.

Did we miss something? No problem. Just visit our Contact page to send your question, and we will get right back to you.