LookFar Ventures16 June 2016

Why Tech Transplants Come to New Orleans – and Why They Stay – PART 2

We’ll never again have to “know what it means to miss New Orleans”…because we decided to never leave. LookFar is interviewing transplants in tech and entrepreneurship on why they chose to call the Crescent City home. Share your story by emailing jillianf@lookfar.com

Welcome to part 1 of this 3 (and counting) part series! Follow the links to read our first and third installments, each featuring new founders and techies. 

Courtney Williams

Founder & CEO, Torsh

Hometown: Jamaica

“I was born in Jamaica and grew up in New York. After spending a number of years living in Miami and NYC, I was looking for a new hometown that mirrored the energy of a big city, but was a bit more family-friendly. After connecting with local movers and shakers such as Leslie Jacobs, the New Orleans Business Alliance, the New Orleans Startup Fund, and PowerMoves NOLA, I was convinced to give New Orleans a go. I moved my family here just last year.

There are obviously financial incentives for tech companies to move to New Orleans. But another incentive for me was the chance to be part of this city’s revitalization, and its burgeoning tech scene.

This was the right choice for both my company and my family. I have a two year old son and in March, my wife and I welcomed twins (who are New Orleans natives, by the way). We are putting down roots and hope to stay for years to come.”

Julia Ballard

Editor, Silicon Bayou News

Hometown: Cambridge, Massachusetts

“After visiting friends in New Orleans several times over the course of a couple years, I decided to move here for the year following my graduation from college in California. It’s now been nearly five years, and I’m still here. I was initially attracted to the city’s energy and quickly became immersed in the startup ecosystem that has kept me here year after year.”

Barrett Conrad

CEO, CotingaSoft

Hometown: Jonesboro, Arkansas

“I stayed in New Orleans after graduating college here. The technology industry was extremely limited then, but I felt a strong draw to the city as I was considering moving.

I always knew I would be an entrepreneur, so I decided where I lived was a choice I could make.

There’s no place like New Orleans, and I felt that uniqueness would be an inspirational setting for my goals. In the end I couldn’t have asked for a better place to build a life and career.”

Lindsay Fox

VP of Sales & Marketing, LookFar

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA & Potomac, MD

It’s going to sound really cheesy, but it was kismet. I have an uncle who married a woman from here, and I visited in high school and college and just loved the energy, the culture, and the fact that music flows through the streets. 

Immediately after graduating from college, I made a documentary called Swing Low: Hope and Music Helping New Orleans Rise about New Orleans musicians‘ fearless loyalty to this historic city through the lens of rebuilding post-Katrina. Shortly after I finished the documentary, I met my now husband, Harry Boileau, who had just moved from New Orleans to Los Angeles. Our shared love of this magical city is what brought us together, and then six years later, we decided that it was time to stop talking about moving to New Orleans one day and just do it! 

Aside from our love of everything that has traditionally drawn people to the Crescent City, we chose to move here because of the burgeoning tech and startup community. It is such an incredible time to be a contributor to making this city a hub of innovation for today’s tech startup industry.

There are three primary aspects of the tech startup community here that are unique: 1- it’s a tremendously supportive community, rather than competitive; 2- it’s a welcoming & accessible community, rather than exclusive & restricted; 3- it’s a community of entrepreneurs who are not only focused on fame & fortune but also on solving problems and improving this special place. 

There is a palpable feeling that something powerful is brewing here, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it!”


Harry Boileau

Founder & CEO, Pupular

Hometown: Lowell, Massachusetts

“I came to New Orleans the first time to attend college and felt completely at home. I moved away for a job opportunity but always wanted to come back. I jumped at the chance to return and have been so impressed by the support and surrounding resources available to help the city’s entrepreneurs. For me, the sense of community and connectedness I’ve experienced in New Orleans is stronger than anywhere else I’ve been, and I see it both in business and in my neighborhood.”

Keith Wiseman

Director of Consulting, Arria

Hometown: Salt Lake City

“I moved to New Orleans from Salt Lake City in 2003 to implement Digital Signature and Encryption technology for the US Navy. My move was strictly for the job opportunity and not at all related to New Orleans, and in fact I had only been here once before for a Halloween weekend and one of the first Voodoo music festivals. At the time New Orleans didn’t actually seem to me like someplace real people lived and worked, and I expected my stay here would be temporary and only a few years long at best.

What I discovered was a city with much more to offer than Bourbon Street and swamp tours.

I found myself in the middle of a historically significant, architecturally interesting, and culturally fascinating environment. New Orleans had a strong young professional community and I found it remarkably easy to make friends and integrate into the city. Over time I was turning down job opportunities because they would have moved me away, and I’ve put a lot of effort into making a career here.”


Dalton Dean

CEO, Mainspree

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

“When we developed Mainspree in a smaller market, we quickly reached a fork in the road. To maximize our opportunity we would need to find a support system that a larger market could provide.

What ultimately made New Orleans the correct move was its drive and its unique entrepreneurial spirit. It was also apparent that the culture for art, music, and food embraced the startup ecosystem with open arms. New Orleans’ approach to community quickly made us feel like we were one of their own.”


Michael Underwood

CEO, Scenehound

Hometown: New Jersey, Texas & Baton Rouge

“I came to New Orleans on an Idea Tour in November of 2015. These tours are sponsored by GNO, Inc. and NOLA Business Alliance to give you a taste of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the time I was weighing both Austin and New Orleans as potential launching points, and New Orleans was just a better fit. The market is so easy to enter, and there’s much less saturation. It is also such a small, tight-knit community.

Everybody knows each other. That makes it really easy to connect to anyone. And people are true to their word.

People legitimately care and want to see you succeed. That’s a very unique attribute of this city. While we’re planning on expanding to other markets, we’re keeping our headquarters in New Orleans.”

Written by

Jillian Kossman

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