The Southern Startup Report is a twice-monthly, curated newsletter covering the latest tech startup happenings in the American Southeast. It is produced by LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
SXSW wrapped up their PanelPicker voting last week (I pitched to speak in Austin next March - fingers crossed!), but there are still plenty of ways for startups and tech-savvy folks to get involved in one of our region's biggest events.
The early deadline for SXSW Pitch is quickly approaching, on September 6. The final deadline to apply to pitch before a panel of industry experts, high-profile media professionals, venture capital investors, and angel investors is November 15.
Opportunity Hub is also accepting applications from college students to participate in their 5th annual HBCU@SXSW event, which is the largest diversity, equity & inclusion strategic initiative that takes place across the interactive and film days of the festival.
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Director of Marketing at LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
P.S. If you find our report useful, please consider sharing it with a friend or colleague who may not already know about it.
Southern Startup News:
August 8 - August 25
New Orleans, LA - NOLA-based startup Zap Maid was one of the top 5 finalists for the 2019 Louisiana Startup Prize, while other local apps including RentCheck, Drinker’s Edition, DOCPACE, and Scandy received some recent press. Tulane University’s new digital design program reported a record-setting, award-winning first year. Cox Business is encouraging Louisiana entrepreneurs to apply for its Get Started Medical pitch contest by September 22. Up to eight finalists will be chosen to pitch in November for a $20,000 cash prize. Propeller has announced the 30 businesses participating in their 2019 Impact Accelerator. The startups are tackling disparities in community economic development, education, food, health and water. Lake Charles based Waitr has appointed a new CEO, launched an updated app and reported increased revenue after going public late last year.
Atlanta, GA - A recently launched venture capital firm in Atlanta aims to invest $5 million in women of color entrepreneurs seeking pre-seed, seed level or Series A financing. Fearless Fund was founded by Arian Simone and Keshia Knight Pulliam, and they've brought on advisors including Opportunity Hub founder Rodney Sampson and Tracy Gray, founder and Managing Partner of VC firm The 22 Fund. The Technology Association of Georgia and Accenture recently hosted the inaugural Converge, a half-day event focused on how diversity and inclusion should drive innovation within the technology industry. Dr. Kamau Bobb of Google and Georgia Tech moderated an industry panel of local tech leaders, challenging Atlanta’s tech community to rise to the occasion and disrupt the pattern in the tech industry.
Austin, TX - The second annual Austin Mosaic Awards were held last week, recognizing the companies and people with the most impactful diversity and inclusion initiatives in Austin. Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton spoke at the event, which honored the following winners: DivInc (Accelerators), Latinitas (Nonprofits), The Riveter (Startups), Impact Hub (Small Business), WP Engine (Mid-Sized Business), Dell Technologies (Large Business), Elisa Sepulveda (On The Rise Award), and Colette Pierce Burnette (Legacy Award). Austin startup accelerator Sputnik ATX has announced its newest cohort. The six chosen startups - Datum, Elite Sweets, OpenTeams, Signum City, Tradiies, and Uconnect Esports - are all led by women or minority founders.
Charleston, SC - The Lowcountry entrepreneurial community is getting more support than ever before, as EO Charleston and The Harbor Entrepreneur Center recently announced a formal partnership. "We now have a path for the startup business all the way to the $1 million-plus business and that’s pretty cool," said The Harbor Center’s co-founder Patrick Bryant.
Houston, TX - In the latest Inc. 5000 report, Houston was named one of the 'hottest startup cities', and the title seems fitting. Global robotics process automation company UiPath has doubled the size of its Houston office in recent months as it continues to grow its United States presence. Houston-based blockchain-enabled investment platform iownit.us recently received regulatory approval, after closing a $4.5 million seed round earlier this summer.
Jackson, MS - Mississippi startups are garnering recognition, as fintech startup Bidmoni shared more details about their recent $500K angel round and startup EasyKale Labs beat out thousands of entries to make it to the final round of Pepperdine Graziadio Business School’s “Most Fundable Companies” competition. More MS entrepreneurs may soon follow close on their heels, as the deadline to apply for the 11th Annual Mississippi New Venture Challenge Pitch Competition is this Friday, August 30.
Little Rock, AR - The fintech accelerator programs from The Venture Center are receiving some much-deserved global recognition, being named one of only six finalists for the Best Fintech Accelerator/Incubator award at world’s premier fintech conference, Finovate. The accelerator program from Conway-based Conductor has received one of the Kauffman Foundation’s 2019 Inclusion Open Grants, which will enable the Conductor to bring its growth program to rural Arkansans and hire Program Officers to implement the initiative in underserved areas of the state. HealthTech Arkansas has named six startups for its second cohort, along with raising $815K which will be invested in companies participating in the program.
Memphis, TN - The Memphis entrepreneurial ecosystem recently scored $1.5 million as two local organizations, AgLaunch and Epicenter, received significant grants from the Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Innovation Strategies program. Start Co., Epicenter and ZeroTo510 recently hosted the 4th annual Memphis Demo Day, with seven startups pitching to investors and hundreds of attendees from across the United States.
Nashville, TN - Fast-growing unicorn SmileDirectClub recently filed to go public on the Nasdaq. They've quickly become one of Nashville's largest employers, growing from 60 employees in 2016 to more than 5,000 today (and plans for 2,000 more in the near future). SmileDirectClub founder Alex Fenkell and other execs from the company will offer insights on entrepreneurial success at this week's 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival, Nashville's biggest startup event of the year.
Raleigh, NC - A Silicon Valley software firm, Egnyte, has announced an expansion and its plans to bring 120 jobs to Raleigh. Tech startup CloudJumper recently won gold and bronze awards at the annual IT World Company of the Year Awards. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 22 grants and loans totaling more than $2 million to universities, bioscience companies and other organizations throughout the area in Q2 2019.
Wilmington, NC - Two Wilmington entrepreneurs scored some major national recognition in recent weeks, as Karl Ricanek Jr., a computer science professor and co-founder of Lapetus Solutions and the Face Aging Group Research Lab at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, was quoted in an article by The New York Times. Along with his team, he's developed the world's best face recognition technology for children. Local app Chorez, which helps parents manage their kids' household chores, was recently mentioned by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.
Asheville, NC - Auxbus - $220K
Atlanta, GA - Kobiton - $5.2M Series A
Austin, TX - Alegion - $12M Series A
Austin, TX - Joust - $2.6M Seed
Austin, TX - Molecula - $6M Seed
Austin, TX - ScaleFactor - $60M Series C
Charlotte, NC - Automation Intellect - $2M
Fort Lauderdale, FL - ChronWell - $2.8M
Greenville, SC - ChartSpan - undisclosed
Houston, TX - Syzygy Plasmonics - $5.8M Series A
Houston, TX - Voyager - $1.5M Seed
Irving, TX - Aspire Marketing Services - undisclosed
Miami, FL - Boatsetter - $10M Series A
Nashville, TN - XOi Technologies - $11M Series C
Plano, TX - Systum - $10.7M
Raleigh, NC - insightsoftware - undisclosed
Raleigh, NC - marGo - $1.5M
Tampa, FL - Lumina Analytics - $1.47M
August 28 - New Orleans, LA - Fall 2019 IDEAinstitute Application Deadline
August 30 - Austin, TX - ATX Startup Crawl Sponsor Table Sign Up Deadline
August 30 - Ridgeland, MS - Mississippi New Venture Challenge Application Deadline
September 6 - Austin, TX - SXSW Pitch 2020 Early Deadline
September 9 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Deadline
September 9 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA SEED Grant Application Deadline
September 9 - Tampa, FL - University of Tampa Student Accelerator Program Application Deadline
September 14 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Battle $100,000 Pitch Competition Application Deadline
September 15 - Atlanta, GA - Ascend Atlanta Business Accelerator Application Deadline
September 16 - New Orleans, LA - 2020 Camelback Fellowship Application Deadline
September 16 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave Fall 2019 Accelerator Cohort Application Deadline
September 22 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition Application Deadline
October 19 - Plano, TX - VentureTech Fintech Registration Deadline
November 1 - Houston, TX - Project Flourish Social Impact Startup Competition Application Deadline
November 15 - Austin, TX - SXSW Pitch 2020 Application Deadline
August 27 - New Orleans, LA - NO/LA Angel Network Early Stage Valuation Workshop & Lunch
August 27-28 - New Orleans, LA - Aspen Institute Socrates Program: Urban Opportunity, Access, and Economic Inclusion
August 28 - New Orleans, LA - Prosper Jefferson: Online Sales Workshop
August 28 - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Round: SoGal Global Pitch Competition
August 28 - Dallas, TX - Digital Fight Club
August 28-29 - Nashville, TN - 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival
August 29-30 - Raleigh, NC - Data Science Connect
August 30 - Morrisville, NC - RIoT Developer Day 2019
September 5 - Houston, TX - MassChallenge Houston Startup Showcase + Finale
September 6 - Atlanta, GA - Startup Games
September 6 - Winston-Salem, NC - Triad Startup Demo Day
September 7 - Atlanta, GA - UX Hustle Summit
September 7 - Greenville, MS - 4th Annual Money Purpose Success Women's Entrepreneurship Summit
September 10 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave TechDiversity Demo Day
September 10-11 - Miami, FL - Data Science Salon
September 11-12 - Houston, TX - 17th Annual Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum
September 11-13 - Atlanta, GA - Smart City Expo Atlanta
September 17-18 - Atlanta, GA - ATL Cyber FinTech 2019
September 17-18 - Vicksburg, MS - US Army Corps of Engineers Innovation Summit 2019
September 17-19 - Pine Bluff, AR - 2019 RuralRise Summit
September 19-21 - New Orleans, LA - Venture Capital University LIVE South
September 20-28 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Blockchain Week
September 24-26 - Atlanta, GA - Red Hat's AnsibleFest 2019
September 26 - Austin, TX - ATX Startup Crawl at Austin Startup Week
September 26 - Winston-Salem, NC - Velocity Creative Accelerator's Demo Night
October 3 - Pearl, MS - 11th Annual Mississippi New Venture Challenge Pitch Competition
October 5 - New Orleans, LA - DevFest New Orleans
October 5 - Tampa, FL - BarCamp Tampa Bay
October 8 - Atlanta, GA - Startup Runway Fall Showcase 2019
October 8 - New Orleans, LA - LeadingBiotech: South CEO
October 8-13 - Atlanta, GA - A3C Festival & Conference
October 10 - Research Triangle, NC - Startup Summit 2019
October 13-15 - Raleigh, NC - All Things Open Conference
October 14-16 - Memphis, TN - Startup of the Year Summit
October 15 - Atlanta, GA - Techstars Atlanta Demo Day
October 16-17 - Atlanta, GA - Venture Atlanta Conference
October 17 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Battle
October 17 - Houston, TX - 3rd Annual Ignite Healthcare Network Fire Pitch Competition
October 18 - Orlando, FL - Synapse Orlando
October 18-20 - Atlanta, GA - HackATL
November 2 - Boca Raton, FL - Data Science and Analytics Conference
November 6-7 - Miami, FL - Southeastern BIO Investor & Partnering Forum
November 12-13 - Jackson, MS - Accelerate: Conference on Technology Innovation
November 12-15 - Baton Rouge, LA - Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week
November 13-14 - Plano, TX - Venturetech
November 13-15 - Lafayette, LA - Innovate South
November 14 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition
November 18-19 - Raleigh, NC - North Carolina Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit
November 21-22 - Raleigh, NC - Rural Assembly