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Monday, April 25, 2016

CYBERREEF SOLUTIONS SET FOR NATIONAL EXPANSION

Shreveport company ensures Verizon Wireless users’ privacy, safety

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Shreveport company ensures Verizon Wireless users’ privacy, safety

When CyberReef Solutions needed operating capital, the 53 accredited investors that make up New Louisiana Angel Fund 1 signed on. NLAF1 worked with the 120-member New Orleans Angel Network, a group of investors that firm for Verizon Wireless that moved from Alabama to Shreveport late last year.

“George Baldwin and I met as board members of Louisiana Tech’s Engineering and Science Foundation. George was one of our initial Angel Investors and chairman they saw in CyberReef, an Internet security George has been our biggest supporter financially and through his personal commitment of time and effort to CyberReef,” said CyberReef Chief Executive Officer Hilton Nicholson.

CyberReef Solutions, a C-Corp incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Shreveport, opened an office at One Texas Centre downtown in November 2015. The company was the first recipient of the Do Business Downtown grant by the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation, with support from the NW Louisiana Community Foundation. The grant pays 20 percent of CyberReef’s rent for six months.

“George connected us with David Smith and Kiley Grant with the Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program, and we agreed to move to the area as part of our agreement with the EAP. Without NLAF1 and the Biomedical Research Foundation/EAP, there is no way we could have raised this money,” said Nicholson.

“We are anticipating hiring about 30-40 technical staff at our Shreveport office by the end of 2017. Most of these employees will have engineering computer science backgrounds,” said Nicholson. It now has 10 employees and two interns from Bossier Parish Community College working to secure an Internet cell phone environment that grows more treacherous every day.

The investors bring more than money to newly formed businesses hoping to find their niche in the crowded marketplace. They offer advice and support in the heady days of a startup to keep it moving forward in the right direction to achieve the long term goal of having a worthy product to assure it will be around years later.

The $1.3 million infusion the investor groups are providing will allow expansion into the national mobile security arena. This is the eighth company the investors in NLAF1 have supported in the past year – both expanding their network and creating around 40 new jobs, and keeping them “on an equal footing with larger markets like Dallas and Austin,” said NLAF1 investor John Beaird of Beaird Properties and Beaird Operating Companies, LLC.

Louisiana startups are getting attention on a national scale. EAP companies are receiving investment dollars from California startup mecca Silicon Valley. “It is natural for this to occur – we have quality companies being started here in Louisiana, where a dollar will go much farther than California. These local investors are seeing value in this cost differential and getting better deals on their investments,” Beaird said.

“The city of Shreveport has been wonderful.

From Mayor Tyler’s office to the chamber of both Shreveport and Bossier City, all have been very welcoming. We feel at home here and blessed to be part of this wonderful community,” Nicholson said.

To learn more about CyberReef Solutions, the EAP and the New Orleans Angel Network, visit Cyberreefsolutions.com, EAPLA.com, and Nolaangelnetwork.org.

- Kathleen Ward

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