Collision: Tech Conference crashes Jazz Fest

Editor’s Note: The following series New Orleanial Tech Entrepreneurship is a week-long series curated by Mary Pwint as part of the Digital Research Internship Program in partnership with ViaNolaVie. The DRI Program is a Newcomb Institute technology initiative for undergraduate students combining technology skillsets, feminist leadership, and the digital humanities.

As technology advances and New Orleans joins the movement to innovate for a better future, let us appreciate the tech entrepreneurial spirit and energy that New Orleanians share. This grouping of articles explores and appreciates tech entrepreneurship in New Orleans as it relates to tech celebrations, gatherings, startups, and inspiration. The topic for Day 1 of our “New Orleanial Tech Entrepreneurship” is Collision in New Orleans. It had been held in New Orleans annually until 2019 when it found its new home in Toronto. This article is about Collision 2018 and the “collision” of tech and art, was originally published on Apr 27, 2018.

Launch Pad is one of the hosts for many events during Collision Tech Conference (art and photo by: Lionel Milton)

This year marks New Orleans’ third year hosting Collision, “North America’s fastest growing tech conference,”  according to Forbes. Cleverly scheduled in-between the two Jazz Fest weekends, Collision will draw over 25,000 people from around the globe, and they are known for having more recognizable guest speakers like former Vice President Al Gore and musician and producer Wyclef Jean. In spite of the uncertainty of where the conference will be held in 2019, local companies like Revelry Labs, a digital innovation provider brand, and Launchpad, a co-working space for entrepreneurs, are curating events throughout the week that integrate the unique culture of New Orleans. Gerard Ramos, co-founder of Revelry, and Chris Schultz, co-founder of Launch Pad, are making a strong case as to why Collision and New Orleans go together like red beans and rice.

Local Digital Innovation Lab and one of the original co-hosts of Collision Conference, Revelry is temporarily moving their headquarters from Canal Street to the The Mazant in New Orleans’ Bywater arts district. Dubbing it “The Revelry House,” the historic plantation-style home will be the backdrop to what Revelry’s Marketing and Communications Director, Ann Diab, describes as a week of, “… opportunities for makers and problem solvers to collaborate with leaders and folks in a position to enable those solutions.”

Only a short ride from the conference, the Bywater can easily feel a world away from the industrial setting of the Convention Center. Nestled in the quaint neighborhood is an abundance of inspiration from the brightly colored shotgun homes and the tropical vegetation to the cities’ mystic and controversial history and its present-day strive for social equality. Among all that is also a strong push to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit. Facilitating intimate fireside chats, Revelry is helping to eliminate the intimidation of submitting a speaker proposal and encouraging attendees to join them in leading important discussions. For more information on Revelry’s events and how to sign up to lead or participate in one of their fireside chats visit:

(Art and photo by: Lionel Milton, artist unveiling permanent installation at Launch Pad during Collision) 

Revelry is also offering the press a New Orleans welcoming. The Revelry House will be available for the press to escape to for some quiet time to get work done and schedule interviews. Water, snacks and WIFI will all be provided. They are inviting the press to attend their additional programming as well, and who doesn’t want their office to be an exquisite home that dates back to the 1880’s! If you’re interested in joining, sign up here  so Revelry can be prepared for you.  

And is it too early to start thinking ahead to the 2020 presidential election? Andrew Yang, Founder of Venture For America and 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate doesn’t think so. He will hold a meet-and-greet at The Revelry House for a crawfish boil fundraiser with live music and drinks. Local entrepreneurs and civic-minded people will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the candidate and listen to his argument for Universal Basic Income. This event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased here:

“Earth without art is just eh.” ~Anonymous

A New Orleans event wouldn’t be a New Orleans event without a party, so along with his role as co-host of Collision, Chris Schultz, CEO of Launch Pad, has recently collaborated with local artist Lionel Milton, and they are throwing a party at Launch Pad for all who want to attend. Tech and art will merge on Wednesday, May 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for the unveiling of Milton’s permanent installation at Launch Pad. This will be the exclusive first public exhibit of his new series.

DJ Maxmillion will be on the turntables spinning old school records while attendees sip, shop, and network. This event is open to the public and will be an excellent opportunity for anyone who missed out on a Collision ticket to get in on the action with fellow entrepreneurs and investors that have come to the city for the conference.

Relationships run deep in New Orleans and as Chris Schultz explains on social media, “Lionel was one of the very first people I met in 2001 when I moved to New Orleans. I headed out to Magazine Street on a Friday night to his gallery and the place was hopping—such a great vibe.” Chris describes Lionel’s new works as, “Deeply personal, his series is an exploration of inspirational artists…extraordinary, a brand new look.” This is a free event but space is limited so make sure to RSVP here.  Launch Pad will be hosting events while Collision is in town, and you can find a full list of events here.

With a combination of art, music, food, and architecture—New Orleans is undoubtedly unforgettable.

Collision runs from April 30 through May 3. For more information on Collision visit:



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