We Believe in You!

At the NO/LA Angel Network, we believe in the promise of the idea. We know that success isn’t accidental, it’s cultivated. We’re fully aware of the risks in our field. But the entrepreneurial spirit has always been at the heart of our city’s and state’s identities and we’re proud to continue that tradition.

Mission

To bring together as members a group of active early stage investors;  to provide educational opportunities to its members such that they make wise and well-considered investment decisions; to identify and vet promising early stage companies in which its members can invest; to support and foster economic development and job creation in New Orleans and in Louisiana through the aggregated investment capital of its members; to become a substantive member of the early stage eco-system by supporting the entrepreneurial explosion occurring in New Orleans and in Louisiana

Investment Philosophy

Members are industry agnostic, but prefer to invest in companies that complement the regional economy – all forms of Energy-Related Opportunities, Analytics and Big Data, Biotech, Digital Media, Education/Educational Technology, Food and Beverage, Healthcare, Hospitality, Internet/SaaS/Cloud Solutions, Logistics, Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Water Management.

Along with their financial capital, members also bring to the companies in which they invest a high level of human capital that translates into mentoring and operational assistance to help grow sustainable and successful businesses.

Core Values

We believe in fair deals and good mentoring. Our goal is to bring angel investing in NO/LA into more informed and sophisticated territory with legitimate due diligence and research. Improving the investment landscape isn’t just an exercise in civic-minded philanthropy, it’s good business.

Our region is bustling with startups, ventures, and initiatives. But without proper nurturing, the NO/LA entrepreneurial boom could wither. Our network connects entrepreneurs and investors by aggregating our resources, our experience, and our contacts. Our goal is to be a crossroads where intuition meets expertise and where ingenuity meets investment.

Meet the team

Mike Eckert

Mike Eckert

Chairman
Jack Carrere

Jack Carrere

Sponsorship
Mark Graffagnini

Mark Graffagnini

Education
Dann Schwartz

Dann Schwartz

Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Revenue Chair
G. F. Gay Le Breton

G. F. Gay Le Breton

Scott Whittaker

Scott Whittaker

Outreach
Marion Rapier

Marion Rapier

Byron LeBlanc

Byron LeBlanc

David Beahm

David Beahm

Morris Mintz

Morris Mintz

Jeff Wray

Jeff Wray

Mike Eckert

Mike Eckert

Mike Eckert

Chairman

Originally from Chicago where he began his professional career in media and media technology. His career brought him to New York City and Atlanta. Mike was on the launch team of The Weather Channel and served as its President and CEO. He also served as Chairman and CEO of Pathfire, a technology start-up that became a leading provider of digital media and asset management capabilities to large media companies. In the summer of 2013 Mike moved to New Orleans to be closer to family.He has been, an active angel investor, angel group leader and LP in venture capital funds since the late 1990s. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the national Angel Capital Association, serving as Chair of its Public Policy Committee and of its Strategic Planning Activities; is Chairman of the NO/LA Angel Network, and is a member of the Investment Committee of the New Orleans Start-Up Fund. Prior to moving to New Orleans Mike was Chairman of the Atlanta Technology Angels, a top ten angel investment group nationally.

Jack Carrere

Jack Carrere

Jack Carrere

Sponsorship

New Orleans native who has recently moved home after spending 11 years on the East and West Coast. In Boston, he was part of the team at GreenerU that grew the company from 6 to 20+ employees over a two year span. There he contributed to the execution of the Series A capital raise, designed and implemented the marketing strategy, and developed new financing and technology products to increase customer acquisition rates. In Portland, he helped create Angel Oregon’s Year Round angel investing program and was a mentor for the Cleantech Open. He began his career at a boutique management consulting firm and has an engineering degree from Brown University.

Recently Jack founded Carrere Consulting to provide financing and growth strategies to early stage companies. He serves on the board of iSeatz and the Energy Wise Alliance, a non-profit promoting energy efficiency awareness and education.

Mark Graffagnini

Mark Graffagnini

Mark Graffagnini

Education

New Orleans native, whose passion for law and business brought him to Silicon Valley, where he practiced corporate and securities law at Wilson Sonsini, and eventually back to New Orleans. Mark founded Graffagnini, A Law Corporation, a small business focused law firm, four years ago when he returned to New Orleans. Mark represents public and private companies in M&A transactions, joint ventures, strategic partnerships, equity and debt securities offerings, venture capital transactions, and corporate governance matters. He is an active member of the Louisiana Economic Development Department’s Working Group on Capital Availability and the founder of the Louisiana Venture and Angel Capital Report. Mark is a member of the Advisory Board of the LSBA’s Justice Entrepreneur’s Program, mentor for the Transactional Boot Camp program at Tulane Law School, and a 2014 “Rising Star” Super Lawyer in the field of Corporate/Securities Law. Mark is also a mentor of Law Without Walls (A University of Miami Law School Virtual Law Training program). Following law school, Mark served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Dann Schwartz

Dann Schwartz

Dann Schwartz

Board Member

Dann is a successful, serial entrepreneur. He has started and grown companies into successful enterprises for 20+ years. These companies include medical devices, e-commerce, manufacturing and distributorships. In the medical device field with RaintreeEssix, he invented technologies for orthodontic retainers and tooth move appliances without using orthodontic brackets. In May 2005, RaintreeEssix was acquired by DENTSPLY (Nasdaq: XRAY). Since 2005, Dann does consulting utilizing his knowledge in manufacturing, distribution, patents/trademarks, medical devices and quality management standards such as ISO 13485 & CE. Dann is a Senior Advisor with Kidron Corporate Advisors (www.kidronllc.com), a full service boutique investment bank.

Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Revenue Chair

Daryl grew up in Iowa and is an Engineering graduate from Iowa State. Daryl retired from John Deere after enjoying 38 years in a wide variety of responsibilities at 7 Deere factories as well as at Corporate. His experiences have been in Engineering, Manufacturing, HR, Reliability and General Management and have taken him to over 40 countries around the world. His last Deere assignment was General Manager for Deere’s Worldwide Sugarcane Harvesting Equipment business, which brought him to Louisiana in 2002. Since retiring from Deere, Daryl has done a significant amount of business and management consulting. In 2014, Daryl and several others started up a custom metal fabrication company, Fabricari, LLC, for which Daryl is the President.

G. F. Gay Le Breton

G. F. Gay Le Breton

G. F. Gay Le Breton

Ms. Le Breton heads the Mergers & Acquisitions group for Chaffe & Associates, Inc., with emphasis in services to privately held companies. She has extensive experience in the structuring and negotiation of transactions, the valuation of companies, and the development and execution of competitive processes for the sale or purchase of businesses. Ms. Le Breton also has experience in the areas of capital planning for corporate expansion and private placements of debt and equity.

Ms. Le Breton began her career at Bankers Trust Company in New York. She returned to New Orleans in 1980 to join First National Bank of Commerce in commercial lending, and was then involved in the negotiation of several bank acquisitions. She joined Chaffe in 1987. Ms. Le Breton is qualified as an expert witness in U.S. District Court on matters relating to bank and corporate valuation and merger and acquisition process, and has appeared as a speaker on these subjects. She is active in community affairs and serves on a number of civic boards, including GNO, Inc. and the Advisory Council of the A.B. Freeman School.

Ms. Le Breton holds a B.A. from Newcomb College and an M.B.A. from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. She is licensed with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as a registered representative and general securities principal.

Scott Whittaker

Scott Whittaker

Scott Whittaker

Outreach

New Orleans native and Chairman of the Business Section of the Stone Pigman law firm. A 30 year veteran corporate lawyer, he has handled hundreds of M&A and corporate finance transactions, including representing many companies from start-up through capital raising, expansion and exit. He has offices in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and is a member of the Southeast Super-Region Committee, the Committee formed by GNO, Inc. and BRAC to promote cooperative economic development for GNO, GBR, Houma-Thibodaux super-region. Current board member and former President of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), Louisiana Chapter. Active in leadership of the Mergers and Acquisitions Committee of the American Bar Association. Author and frequent speaker about many aspects of M&A law and practice. Named by Best Lawyers® as New Orleans Lawyer of the Year for 2013 in the field of mergers and acquisitions, and for 2014 in the field of venture capital law. Chairman of the Board of St. Mary’s Dominican High School. He has also personally invested in several startups.

Marion Rapier

Marion Rapier

Marion Rapier

Marion H. Rapier is a Certified Public Accountant with 20 years of experience. Born and raised in New Orleans, LA she attended Brenau Women’s College in Gainesville, GA and earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Over the last 20 years she has worked in industry and public accounting in various roles from staff accountant at Ernst & Young LLP to CFO at Holy Cross School. In addition, she has served on the board of directors for Oil and Gas and Investment related family entities.

Over the years she has worked closely with the board of directors for the companies she worked with as well as participated in business plan development, debt and equity fundraising and restructuring and related due diligence. Marion has recently launched her own company that will provide outsourced controller services.

Byron LeBlanc

Byron LeBlanc

Byron LeBlanc

Byron has served as president of LeBlanc & Schuster Public Relations, Inc., a highly respected, full service public relations and marketing firm handling a wide variety of regional and local accounts since 1976. In addition to his business accomplishments, Mr. LeBlanc is very active in civic and community affairs. He was a charter member of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce and served as Chairman in 2014. He has also chaired and served on numerous charitable boards. At Tulane University, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is a fellow of the Loyola Institute of Politics. A native of Abbeville, Byron lives in Metairie with his wife Pat. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

David Beahm

David Beahm

David Beahm

Mr. Beahm is the Chief Executive Officer and serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Blanchard and Company, Inc., the largest precious metals and rare coin firm in the United States. His focus is on strategy, leadership, innovation and client relationships, as well as, remaining active in the firm’s day-to-day management. He is also responsible for all aspects of the company’s brand and reputation. He is also part of the team which manages Blanchard’s strategic investments generating additional revenue from non-core assets.

An established and respected resource for the financial media, David also provides business, economic and investment insight to many esteemed news organizations. His expertise on the precious metals and financial markets has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and SmartMoney magazine, to name a few.

Prior to joining Blanchard as Director of Marketing and Client Information, David began his career with the Whitney National Bank (now Whitney Bank) in New Orleans. He is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and holds an M.B.A. from Ellis College in New York.

Morris Mintz

Morris Mintz

Morris Mintz

Morris F. Mintz is a principal owner and Managing Director of Strauss Interests, a Family Office, based in Monroe, Louisiana, that includes several companies engaged in the development and management of commercial properties, as well as investments in private equity, traditional publicly traded securities and various alternative funds and venture investments.

Mr. Mintz is co-founder, Chairman and CEO of PacTec, Inc., a niche manufacturer of flexible/soft-sided, bulk packaging and related products for the radioactive, hazardous waste, and other heavy industries. He also serves on the board and as secretary for Monroe based Progressive Bancorp and as board member for Baton Rouge based Louisiana Companies, Inc., a regional insurance agency.

Mr. Mintz currently serves on the board of Honest Reporting.com, board member and former board chair of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), member of the National Council of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee and as a member of the Louisiana Committee of 100 for Economic Development. He is a past director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, as well as past board chairs of: Temple B’nai Israel in Monroe, United Way of Northeast Louisiana, Louisiana Association of United Ways, Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana and the Louisiana Economic Development Corporation (LEDC). Mr. Mintz was recipient of the 2011 Rambin-Silverstein Award, presented annually by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce for outstanding leadership and community service.

Jeff Wray

Jeff Wray

Jeff Wray

Managing Director

Bio coming soon!