Pass It Down, a technology startup that relocated to Baton Rouge last year, raised $860,000 from a group of investors for its expansion efforts.

VentureSouth, an angel investment group in South Carolina where accredited individual investors chip in money to invest in startups, led the fundraising round for the company.  

Founded in 2015, Pass It Down builds software templates for museums and businesses to create virtual storytelling timelines, galleries, story maps and other digital storytelling tools. The goal is for those organizations to increase engagement with customers. The startup previously won $100,000 during the Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week pitch competition in November 2019. It had raised $500,000 before then. The startup plans to prepare for what's known as a Series A round in the next two years, which could be much more money, and support future jobs. 

Pass It Down, which was founded in Tennessee and had its headquarters in Austin, Texas, relocated to the Louisiana Technology Park on Florida Boulevard to grow the business. Offices in Chattanooga and Austin remain open.

Chris Cummings is the CEO of Pass It Down and he holds both a law and undergraduate degree from LSU. 

The startup has five employees, but also contracts with independent freelancers for work across the country. It expects to hire four employees in the coming months in Baton Rouge — a senior user interface and user experience designer, two sales account managers and one customer service representative.  

Pass It Down participated in Techstars, an accelerator program in Austin last year. Techstars offers startups mentorship and some capital in exchange for equity in the startup. It has worked with clients such as Porsche, the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission but also universities, libraries and sports teams. Those organizations had millions of visitors scrolling through exhibits created by the company, some of them at trade shows for marketing purposes. 

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, there was interest by museums and libraries to bring works online and drive donations for the collections, Cummings said. 

"When COVID-19 hit, every library and museum had to shut their doors," Cummings said. "The demand for digital exhibits and digital experiences for their visitors and community skyrocketed."

Pass It Down expects to build new templates for clients and anticipates supporting three-dimensional objects for launch in 2021.

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