igeraire, a tech startup at LSU Innovation Park, recently announced that General Catalyst, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm behind Venmo, Stripe, Airbnb and TikTok, has signed as their lead investor. This makes Tigeraire the first company in the history of the state of Louisiana to attract seed funding from a global top 50 venture capital firm, according to Preqin and Crunchbase.
The technology behind Tigeraire’s first product, the Cyclone, was developed in collaboration with the LSU Tigers football team. It consists of dual blowers designed to fit between the padding inside a football helmet to provide a cooler, more comfortable playing environment. Tigeraire’s portfolio of products is set to grow over the next year into other sports as well as industrial hard hats and ballistic helmets.
“We’re honored to be the first tech startup in the history of Louisiana to secure seed funding from a global top 50 venture capital firm,” Tigeraire founder and CEO Jack Karavich said. “There’s a rich entrepreneurial spirit and wealth of talent in our state, so we couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds as we expand and create more jobs in partnership with the state of Louisiana.”
Tigeraire’s success is a great example of how research universities that invest in small business support and local partnerships, such as LSU, can lead to the discovery and development of new technologies to leverage new startups and entire industries, said Andrew Maas, who is the associate vice president leading the newly revamped LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development.
“We are excited to be a part of the growth journey for Tigeraire by licensing LSU technology and supporting the startup through lease space at LSU Innovation Park,” Maas said.
One of the main goals of Tigeraire’s helmet technologies is to help battle extreme heat and humidity—a hallmark of south Louisiana. By improving airflow, “cooler heads can prevail,” the company argues, including through increased sweat evaporation and decreased visor fog.