More companies getting angel investor tax credits

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A new report shows that the number of companies receiving angel investor state tax credits went up from 2011 to 2012, an indication that an increasing number of wealthy individuals are playing a role in helping develop Louisiana businesses.

The number of companies that received the tax credits went from 13 in 2010 to 21 in 2012, according to the Louisiana Venture and Angel Capital Report released Friday by Graffagnini + Associates, a New Orleans law firm.

Graffagnini + Associates said it represented either the investors or the businesses in 47 percent of the venture capital and angel financings reported from Louisiana last year to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mark Graffagnini, who founded the law firm, said more investors are shifting toward startup companies instead of brick-and-mortar investments because of the unique businesses that have been formed in Louisiana in recent years. “There are real possibilities with some of these tech-focused businesses,” he said. “They’re starting to attract national attention.”

Graffagnini specifically mentioned the Receivables Exchange, a New Orleans company that trades accounts receivable; Yellow Jacket, a Baton Rouge company that makes stun gun iPhone cases; and Audiosocket, a New Orleans music licensing and technology company, as companies that have received money and attention from investors.

Friday’s report was released to mark the end of the Fifth annual New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. New Orleans has been a center for startup activity. Twelve companies received angel investor tax credits in 2012, up from five the year before. In Baton Rouge, the number actually dropped from 2011 to 2012, going from six to five.

The angel tax credit provides a 35 percent return on investments for accredited investors who put money into companies certified by the state Department of Economic Development as a Louisiana Entrepreneurial Businesses.

The Graffagnini report found that emerging Louisiana companies reported to the LED that they were seeking nearly $25 million in 2011, but that number went up to $50.5 million in 2012. Companies closed on $12.5 million in investment during 2012, up from $10.6 million a year earlier.