SchoolMint acquires Denver tech company

SchoolMint has completed its acquisition of Schoolrunner, a Denver-based tech company that specializes in K-12 education.

The acquisition by the Lafayette-based company brings in a respected, impactful data platform that uses data analytics, advanced features and an educator-first design. Schoolrunner, which got its start in New Orleans, is a small company that is expected to double or triple its size by adding another 20-30 jobs in Louisiana, possibly in Lafayette, CEO Bryan MacDonald said.

It’s the latest move for SchoolMint after acquiring New Orleans-based Whetstone Education and Indianapolis-based Bright Minds Marketing. It now employs over 200, including 59 in Lafayette and 26 in New Orleans, and has openings for 10 positions in Lafayette and five in New Orleans.

“Adding Schoolrunner to the SchoolMint family accelerates our mission to help customers attract, enroll and retain students and teachers,” MacDonald said. “Schoolrunner brings educators, students and families together in meaningful data dialogue. These insights are so valuable in helping every stakeholder make informed decisions.”

SchoolMint will enhance the Schoolrunner platform while also building out new capabilities related to Strategic Enrollment Management.

SchoolMint provides strategic enrollment management solutions for more than 11 million students in 16,000 schools nationwide.

Lafayette VC firm invests in YellowBird 

Acadiana Capital Ventures, a Lafayette-based venture capital firm, is investing in YellowBird, a nationwide gig economy marketplace that matches vetted risk and environmental, health and safety professionals with businesses on demand.

The company, which seeks out startup companies in communities often overlooked by venture capital and provides seed money and mentorship, joined other companies as investors in YellowBird’s seed funding round, Managing Director Kyle “Skip” Boudreaux said.

YellowBird’s platform simplifies the process for companies by connecting individuals and organizations to fill short- and long-term roles while streamlining scheduling, communication, billing and payment. The investment will support its growth, including developing a fully automated matching platform, hiring developer talent and increasing the number of companies and professionals on the platform.

“We’re happy to announce that we over-subscribed, raising $1.7 million in seed financing from top-tier investors who are equally passionate about our ambitious mission,” YellowBird CEO Michael Zalle said. “Acadian Capital’s leadership, staff and support team are thoughtful, diligent and seek to understand the opportunity and market dynamics. YellowBird has been able to help thousands in risk and safety to date, and we’re only getting started.”

Accelerate Evangeline registration open

The Louisiana Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's Moody College of Business is partnering with the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce to host a six-week business program.

Accelerate Evangeline, a startup and small business program, will begin this month and include six weekly sessions that will focus on people and their dreams, ideas and business interests, said Geoff Stewart, LEED Center director and UL marketing professor.

Classes are open to anyone in Evangeline Parish who has an idea for a business, wants to turn a side job into a full-time business or has an existing business.

Weekly classes will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 10 to Aug. 14 at The Hatchery, 5592 Vidrine Road, in Vidrine. Registration is $450, and waivers up to $425 are available.

To register, contact Jonathan Shirley at jshirley@louisiana.edu or (337) 456-1810. 

Angelle: Central Gulf ideal for drilling

The United States can be "big, big winners in the Gulf of Mexico" while keeping carbon emissions lows, said Scott Angelle, former director of the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. 

Speaking with Jan Swift, of the Discover Lafayette podcast, Angelle talked about the science of offshore drilling and the carbon intensity of oil that comes out of the Gulf, particularly the central part, has a rating so low it's only exceeded by oil from Saudi Arabia. 

When that oil is burned, Angelle noted, it releases lower amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, reducing the effects of climate change on the planet. 

“Gulf of Mexico oil is good for our economy and the environment," Angelle said. "We can improve our environment by replacing foreign oil with Gulf oil and create jobs locally.”

Angelle cited a 2016 Obama/Biden report that concluded “if we don’t have regularly schedule resale of leases in the Gulf of Mexico, it will force greenhouse gas emissions to go up in America because we will have to procure our oil from higher carbon intensity provinces.”

Angelle, who grew up in a large family in St. Martin Parish, also referenced the Rigs to Reef program, which he said has been good for fishermen in creating what he called the "honey hole of fishing" in the Gulf. 

He and Swift spoke on June 18, which was National Fishing Day. 

"We are not an either/or state," he said. "We can produce one out of six barrels of oil for the country. We can also provide one of the most amazing fishing hatcheries in the country."

Zea Rotisserie using 2 Sisters Salsa

Avoyelles Parish-based 2 Sisters Salsa has partnered with Zea Rotisserie & Bar to carry the salsa in its locations in Louisiana and Mississippi.

The salsas will be served as a side to chicken quesadillas, 2 Sisters Salsa announced. The company will look for more ways to expand and partner with other restaurants and chains throughout the country, Denise Ramon said.

Zea Rotisserie & Bar, known for its polished, casual dining experience, has 10 locations, including one in Lafayette at 235 Doucet Road.

The company 2 Sisters’ Salsa now manufactures and distributes five premium restaurant-style salsas after it first opened its doors five years ago. The salsa is distributed to a host of independent warehouses and large chain distribution centers, has independent distributors both in the U.S. and internationally and is available for purchase online.