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
Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Membership
Scott Whittaker

Scott Whittaker

Outreach
Rick Babb

Rick Babb

Jane Cooper

Jane Cooper

Alison Hartman

Alison Hartman

Ted Jones

Ted Jones

Byron LeBlanc

Byron LeBlanc

G. F. Gay LeBreton

G. F. Gay LeBreton

Vyoone Lewis

Vyoone Lewis

Jeff O’Hara

Jeff O’Hara

Marion Rapier

Marion Rapier

Dann Schwartz

Dann Schwartz

Mike Eckert

Mike Eckert

Mike Eckert

Chairman

Mike is the founder and Chairman of the NO/LA Angel Network, a group of 112 high net worth individuals who work together to evaluate, fund and nurture early-stage companies. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Mike was part of the team that launched The Weather Channel and Weather.com, for which he served as CEO for 14 years, served as Chairman of The Atlanta Technology Angels and as a Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Venture Lab. Mike also served as Chairman and CEO of Pathfire, which grew into a leading digital asset management and distribution provider to media companies. Mike currently is actively engaged in various facets of the early stage business and investing eco-system: in addition to serving as Chairman of the NO/LA Angel Network, as Chairman of the Investment Committee of The Pelican Angel Fund, a member of the Investment Committee of the New Orleans Start-Up Fund, and a member of the Limited Partner Advisory Council of the Louisiana VC Fund.

Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Daryl Schloz

Membership

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.

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.

Rick Babb

Rick Babb

Rick Babb

Mr. Babb is a Managing Director of Louisiana Funds, two Early Stage Venture Capital Funds since 2004.

Mr. Babb served as CFO for Medical Science Partners three venture capital funds. He was the CFO and Chief Compliance Officer for Apeiron Partners a boutique investment bank in the Life Sciences sector. He established the NASD broker dealer and obtained Series 7, NASD General Securities Representative Examination, Series 24, NASD General Securities Principal Examination, Series 28, NASD Financial Operations Principal Examination, Series 63, NASD Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination.

Mr. Babb has a diverse business and accounting background, having been a Manger with Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services Group handling various venture capital clients and their portfolio companies. His general business acumen developed having owned and operated his own business for 13 years.

Mr. Babb earned a BS in Business Administration from American International College and is a Certified Public Accountant. 

Jane Cooper

Jane Cooper

Jane Cooper

Jane Cooper was the founder, President and CEO of Patient Care, the nation’s leading advocacy company, started in New Orleans, LA. The company began operations in August, 2001 and launched its transparency division in 2005, providing services for over 500 employers and1.6 million members across the country. Ms. Cooper sold the company to DirectPath Health in January, 2017.

Subsequent to the sale of Patient Care, Ms. Cooper started JLC Company, a national healthcare consulting business. She and her husband also own Grande Krewe, a fine wine and spirits store in New Orleans.

Ms. Cooper has over 35 years experience in the health care industry, serving in management positions for 29 years. As a serial entrepreneur, she has started and led five healthcare companies since the early 1980s. As President and CEO of Advantage Health Plan in New Orleans, Louisiana, she developed the fastest growing HMO in the state in the late 1990s. She speaks nationally on health care issues and publishes articles on the industry on a regular basis.

Ms. Cooper has a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts from Augustana College in Illinois and a Master’s of Art from Western Illinois University, with a major in speech and communication. She currently teaches Entrepreneurship at Tulane University and also serves on the Board of Directors of the NO/LA Angel Network.

Alison Hartman

Alison Hartman

Alison Hartman

Alison is principal of The Hartman Group, a management consulting practice focused on organization effectiveness. She has a unique combination of cross-functional expertise in business, human resources, and information technology.

Originally from New York City, Alison earned a B.S. from Rutgers University and moved to New Orleans in 1979 to pursue graduate studies at Tulane University. After receiving a Ph.D. in psychology, Alison worked as Tulane’s director of academic information technology before joining Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). In 1996, she was recruited by Freeport-McMoRan, a global resources company, where she held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility both domestically and overseas. In 2007, Alison formed The Hartman Group, which advises startups and established enterprises.

Alison serves on the volunteer boards of FirstLine Schools, New Pathways New Orleans, The Data Center, New Orleans Ballet Theater, and HeartGift New Orleans.

Ted Jones

Ted Jones

Ted Jones

Ted Jones is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group and chairs the private equity steering committee of the mergers and acquisitions and private equity team. He counsels companies, pooled investment vehicles and other funds, investment banks and underwriters, and individual and institutional investors on a range of securities transactions and regulatory matters. Ted advises public and private companies, private equity and venture capital funds, investment banks and underwriters, and individual and other institutional investors in connection with securities offerings, other financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, restructurings and recapitalizations, corporate governance, and public finance matters. Ted also advises private fund managers, other investment advisors, investment bankers, and other broker-dealers with respect to compliance under federal and state securities laws and regulations.

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.

G. F. Gay LeBreton

G. F. Gay LeBreton

G. F. Gay LeBreton

Ms. LeBreton 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. LeBreton also has experience in the areas of capital planning for corporate expansion and private placements of debt and equity.

Ms. LeBreton 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. LeBreton 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. LeBreton 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.

Vyoone Lewis

Vyoone Lewis

Vyoone Lewis

Vyoone is principal of Professional Network Consulting Services, LLC which provides management consulting to small startup biotech companies. Her expertise is in FDA regulatory , medical information systems, funding and management. She is also co owner of Vyoone’s Restaurant . Vyoone is a fourth generation New Orleanian, born to a French Canadian father and African American and Choctow Indian mother. She is a Pediatric Geneticists and trained at Tulane University where she earned a Masters in Public Health , Epidemiology and Health Economics, and a PhD in Medical Genetics. Vyoone is a classical musician (clarinet and contrabass) who trained with Pete Fountain at New Orleans Center of Creative Arts. She has strong ties to the community and the city of New Orleans. Dr. Lewis has been awarded several times as a civic leader from New Orleans City Business Power Generation and YWCA Mentoring and Role Model program for “outstanding service and sacrifices to inspire younger women of our society and the larger community of New Orleans”. Her board memberships include: NOLA Angel Network, Women in Genetics and Cardiology, New Orleans Health Corporation, Sickle Cell Foundation and Women in Science and Medicine. Vyoone is a “diehard’ member of the “Who Dat Nation” and enjoys all things Saints with her family and friends

Jeff O’Hara

Jeff O’Hara

Jeff O’Hara

Jeff O’Hara began his hospitality career in 1985, working part time while a student at Florida State University. His career has taken him to every corner of the hospitality industry – he has worked in luxury boutique hotels and 1,000 plus room “supertankers.” He has managed small restaurants and developed B&B’s. Jeff moved to New Orleans in 1992, and has made it his home ever since. Since leaving a corporate career, he has started 10 companies in hospitality and real estate. He is the owner of PRA Business Events New Orleans, a company that provides services to the Corporate Meeting and Incentive Travel sectors. His company has been named three times to the Inc.5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and twice to the Seminole 100 list of fastest growing companies owned by Florida State University alumni.

He has backed numerous start ups as an Angel Investor, including firms in the fields of technology, biotech, hospitality, medical devices, consumer staples and alternative energy. He is an active member of the NOLA Angel Network and Lagniappe Angels, and has also backed start ups through the Rockies Venture Club.

Jeff’s book “Have Fun, Fight Back and Keep the Party Going: Lessons from a New Orleans Entrepreneur’s Journey to the Inc. 5000” was released under Inc. magazine’s “An Inc. Original” label in December 2018.

A native of Kingston, NY, he received a BS in Hospitality Administration from Florida State University and an MBA from Tulane University.

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.

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.