AOL pioneer Steve Case leads off Tulane/LCMC Health mini-summit at Entrepreneur Week

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), a celebration of startups, small businesses, investing and great ideas, takes place March 27 through April 1 at locations around New Orleans.

AOL co-founder and tech pioneer Steve Case will be one of the featured speakers ahead of the Tulane/LCMC Health biotech mini-summit at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Case will be in a conversation with Walter Isaacson, the Leonard Lauder Professor of American History and Values at the School of Liberal Arts on Thursday, March 30, at 12:30 p.m. in Gallier Hall. The mini-summit is sponsored by the Tulane Innovation Institute and LCMC Health.

Isaacson and Case’s conversation is titled Rise of the Rest: New Orleans and Beyond, a reference to Case’s 2022 book The Rise of the Rest: How Entrepreneurs in Surprising Places Are Building the New American Dream. In the book, Case looks at cities that are being transformed by startups. Tulane’s president, Michael A. Fitts, will give the introductory remarks.

Case co-founded AOL — America Online — in 1985 and led it as it became one of the first internet companies to gain widespread popularity and profit. For years, Case set industry standards with his leadership. His book The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future predicts that the newest generation of entrepreneurs will engender significant progress as they address “real world” challenges like health, education and transportation.

The conversation with Case and Isaacson is the start of an afternoon of discussions on how biotech advances — and Tulane’s role in developing some of them — will enhance life in the Gulf South.

“Tulane is proud to be a participant in the 2023 New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. Creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation are at the core of who we are as a university and as a city,” Fitts said. “Stepping up our involvement with NOEW is a natural progression for Tulane as we leverage our strengths in medicine, science and engineering, and public health to support the biotech revolution. From launching the Innovation Institute to redeveloping Charity Hospital, we are helping to set the city and the region on a path to prominence as a center of lifesaving and life-improving advances and breakthroughs.”

Following the Case conversation, presentations by investigators and entrepreneurs from or affiliated with the Tulane Innovation Institute and LCMC Health, among others, will continue through the afternoon, covering translational research, local startup culture and more.

“I am excited to be a part of the New Orleans community and to experience NOEW for the first time. Partnering with LCMC Health at the inaugural biotech mini-summit is the perfect backdrop to showcase to the world Tulane’s research and startup capabilities,” said Kimberly Gramm, the David and Marion Mussafer Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer at the Tulane Innovation Institute. “We are an important driver of innovation, and NOEW provides a vehicle for the community to gather and celebrate creativity, innovation, achievement and opportunity.”

Tulane alumnus Jon Atkinson, CEO of The Idea Village, said that the existence of the Tulane Innovation Institute will turn innovation into actual companies by helping build channels for them to “prove their product in the local market, and then scale those products nationally,” which makes biotech in New Orleans and Louisiana look all the more promising.

“I think we definitely punch above our weight class,” Atkinson added. “We have had over $2.5 billion in ‘exits’ in the last two years. That’s a direct result of the 20-plus years of effort that have gone into building a startup community here. And I think it’s also a watershed moment in terms of what comes next.”

Click on the New Orleans Entrepreneur Week ticket site to get free passes or to purchase Fest Access or VIP Access passes. Viewers can also watch the livestream of the mini-summit at the NOEW website.