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, and Club Discovery, a co-working space for innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists in the heart of New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood.
AOL co-founder Steve Case (who will be the keynote speaker at the Accelerate Conference in Jackson, MS next week) recently launched the second Rise of the Rest seed fund. The new $150 million fund is backed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, and hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio, among others. According to Forbes, "Three states—California, New York and Massachusetts—represented more than 85% of venture dollars under management in 2018." Rise of the Rest seeks to change that, with plans to invest in more startups based in smaller cities across the United States.

Planning to head to Austin, TX next March for SXSW? I'll be speaking at #SXSW2020, so let me know if you'll be around!
~ 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:
October 25 - November 4, 2019

New Orleans, LA - The owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, Gayle Benson, announced her plans for a new $50M venture capital fund to invest in New Orleans and Gulf Coast startups. The New Orleans Business Alliance announced the 13 local entrepreneurs that will be part of its inaugural cohort of the InvestNOLA program, which is designed to grow small businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color into enterprises with $10 million in annual revenue. Waitr founder Chris Meaux is coming on board as a senior advisor to Relief Telemed, an on-demand healthcare platform headquartered inside the Louisiana Technology Park. Verizon and UnidosUS recently announced grant funding that aims to improve digital literacy among New Orleans’ Latino community. University of New Orleans students Ashley Bayer and Veronica Spicer are the recipients of the 2019 Women in Computer Science scholarship founded by University of New Orleans alumna Sabrina Farmer, who is VP of engineering site reliability at Google. 

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta-based venture capital firm BIP Capital has closed its newest fund at $101 million. The fund will be used to fund Series A and Series B rounds for B2B SaaS startups and tech-enabled services companies throughout the Southeastern region as well as the Midwest. A new accelerator program focused on innovation in the retail and e-commerce space, Silicon Road, is accepting applications for its first U.S. cohort, while the Metro Atlanta Chamber has announced the startups that will be part of the 3rd cohort for its Backed by ATL program: CulturaLink, NOW Corp, Revenue Analytics, Trella Health, and The Gathering Spot. Sales engagement platform provider SalesLoft is acquiring sales management company Costello, while supply chain technology company Blue Ridge has acquired price optimization and analytics startup Prolific Virtue.

Austin, TX - As the end of the year approaches, Austin's startup community is already surpassing its funding totals from last year. A report released in early October showed that Austin companies had raised $1.1 billion in the first three quarters of the year, not even counting some of the massive rounds that happened last month, including RigUp’s $300M round and SparkCognition’s $100M round. ATX-based startup Spot recently launched its health insurance product, which provides supplemental coverage for injuries (not illnesses) up to $20,000 for $20 a month. Revel, a New York-based shared electric moped startup, has launched in Austin with 1,000 vehicles. The scooters are different than many of the e-scooter startups popular across the country: think electric Vespas rather than the dockless scooters that you stand on. I've actually ridden them in Queens, NY and they're a lot of fun and very convenient. 

Charleston, SC - Local software company Benefitfocus is starting a new 15-week accelerator program called InnovationPlace, taking aim at the $50 billion wellness market. The new program will kick off in December, with Benefitfocus serving as a mentor to startups that are offering wellness solutions.

Charlotte, NC - Fintech startup PrecisionLender was recently acquired in a cash transaction worth about $510 million. The company, an enterprise SaaS provider of data-driven sales enablement, pricing and portfolio management solutions for financial institutions, was acquired by Q2, a secure, cloud-based digital transformation solutions company headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Fort Lauderdale, FL - Bob Fitts, founder and producer of SUP-X: The StartUp Expo, recently announced that the event, which started in 2014, is coming to a close. ImmunSYS, a Fort Lauderdale-based biotech company that is developing cancer-fighting technology, took home the $10,000 top prize at the 2019 BioFlorida annual conference's BioPitch competition. New York-based tech training company General Assembly recently announced its regional expansion into South Florida

Houston, TX - Startup incubator and co-working space The Cannon Houston is partnering with Houston-based Amegy Bank to create a new 17,000-square-foot innovation space in downtown Houston that is slated to open in spring 2020. This comes on the heels of The Cannon opening its new 120,000-square-foot flagship location in West Houston and announcing a new CEO: Jon Lambert. Technology and management consultancy Capco recently acquired Houston-based IT consultancy Atom Solutions

Jackson, MS - Next week, November 12-13, Innovate Mississippi hosts Accelerate: The 20th Annual Conference on Technology Innovation. The conference will feature Steve Case (AOL co-founder and chairman and CEO of Revolution and Rise of the Rest) as keynote speaker, along with a fireside chat with Steve and Jim Barksdale, past President and CEO of Netscape. Mississippi Cold Drip Coffee and Tea Company, which expanded late last year into regional Whole Foods locations, has recently expanded its retail distribution further into 3 more Mississippi cities and six new locations in Memphis, TN. The William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, which recently moved its headquarters to downtown Jackson, has received a $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to foster community dialogue, encourage youth leadership and stimulate smart policy discussions across the state of Mississippi. Among the organizations programs are Rethink Mississippi™, a policy and civic engagement platform for focusing leaders and their constituents on data-driven discussions about a future based on equity.

Memphis, TN - At the recent 7th Annual Startup of the Year Summit, a company which uses reclaimed plastic pellets or flakes for 3D printing took home the top prize. As the 2019 winner, re:3D earned up to $100,000 in potential investments, along with other perks including a year of free co-working space from Launch Pad and a ticket to Alice’s annual Circular Summit. Rounding out the top 5 were Immertec (2nd place; Tampa, FL), SecondKeys (3rd place; Memphis, TN), Fruutfull (Tampa, FL) and Route (Chicago, IL).

Orlando, FL - Orlando-based provider of workforce management software and services, Workforce Logiq, recently acquired Engage Talent, a Charleston, SC-based predictive analytics and AI software company. Canadian utility companies have poured millions into Space Coast startup Joi Scientific, but the company recently told shareholders that its technology, which is supposed to make hydrogen from seawater to generate electricity, doesn’t work as they had originally described.

Raleigh, NC - A total of $150,00 is being awarded to fifteen young startups from across North Carolina. This is the third round of such grants from the NC IDEA MICRO fund. Later this month, November 18-19, the NC IDEA Foundation will be hosting its first-ever Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit, which aims to highlight North Carolina’s progress in becoming a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation. While many startups in the region are seeing success, the leader of the local Bunker Labs chapter warns that veteran entrepreneurship rates in the area are plunging and offers advice on how to do better.

Tampa, FL - A one-year-old Tampa company that allows women to personalize their bra size, Fruutfull, has advanced as one of four regional finalists at the SoGal Global Pitch Competition and accepted invitations to join Embarc Collective and the Tampa Bay Wave. The other companies joining the latest Tampa Bay Wave cohort are Ecover Global Inc., Exiom, Medzoomer, Nickelytics, OmPay, Rentit, Reptrics, and SoleVenture. The Tampa-based software provider that was recently acquired in a $1+ billion deal, ConnectWise, has acquired a new company of its own: Boston-based Continuum. Tampa software company CoLabs, which recently raised $6.2 million has cited new federal rules on opportunity zones as a primary reason for its recent funding.

Wilmington, NC - On the heels of closing $80 million in new investment capital last month, Wilmington-based unicorn nCino is taking its cloud computing-based financial system to Japan, forming a subsidiary with Tokyo-based Japan Cloud.

Recent Rounds
Austin, TX - LoudCrowd - $515K

Charlotte, NC - Ribbon - $330M

Dallas, TX - Lone Star Analysis - undisclosed

Houston, TX - Mainline - $6.8M Series A

Murfreesboro, TN - Virtue Technologies - undisclosed

Raleigh, NC - Silbo - $1.1M

Research Triangle Park, NC - T3D Therapeutics - $15M

Roswell, GA - MooveGuru - $1.9M Series A

Upcoming Deadlines
November 15 - Austin, TX - SXSW Pitch 2020 Application Deadline

November 15 - Little Rock, AR - The Venture Center's 2019 Pitch 'N Pint Pitch Competition Application Deadline

November 19 - New Orleans, LA - INNO 2020 Call for Speakers

November 22 - Dallas, TX - Impact Ventures’ Minority-Focused Technology Accelerator Application Deadline

December 15 - Tennessee - LaunchTN Virtual Entrepreneurship Program Registration Deadline

December 15 - Female Founders Competition Application Deadline

December 31 - Dallas, TX - Apply to Speak at Dallas Startup Week 2020

January 14 - MIT Solve Rethink Plastics Challenge Deadline

open deadline - Atlanta, GA - Apply to the Silicon Road Retail Accelerator 
Upcoming Events
November 5-7 - Austin, TX - DeveloperWeek Austin

November 6 - Atlanta, GA - Tech For All Policy Conference

November 6-7 - Miami, FL - Southeastern BIO Investor & Partnering Forum

November 7 - New Orleans, LA - Sip and Solder! Electric Girls Fundraiser

November 7 - Miami, FL - Aminta Ventures x TheVentureCity Pitch Competition 2019

November 7 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Tech and Beer

November 12 - New Orleans, LA - Next NOLA Breakfast Lighting Panel

November 12 - Atlanta, GA - Tiny Spec Atlanta, Slack Developer Networking Event

November 12 - Austin, TX - Veterans in Tech Summit

November 12 - Birmingham, AL - Pathways to Careers in Tech Panel

November 12 - Charleston, SC - Charleston Venture Conference

November 12-13 - Jackson, MS - Accelerate: Conference on Technology Innovation

November 12-15 - Baton Rouge, LA - Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week 

November 13 - Austin, TX -
DivInc Demo Day 2019

November 13-14 - Plano, TX - Venturetech

November 13-15 - Lafayette, LA - Innovate South

November 14 - Austin, TX - Designing Austin's EdTech Scene for Impact through Diversity

November 14 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition

November 14 - Tampa, FL - State of the Tampa Bay Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

November 14 - West Palm Beach, FL - Palm Beach Entrepreneur Luncheon

November 15 - Baton Rouge, LA - NexusLA High-Stakes Pitch Competition

November 18-19 - Raleigh, NC - North Carolina Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit

November 19 - New Orleans, LA - Opportunity Zone Ready: A Community Workshop

November 20 - Houston, TX - Digital Fight Club

November 20 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Inno's 50 on Fire Awards

November 20 - Tampa, FL - 7th Annual Building Entrepreneurship Around TampaBay (BEAT)

November 20-21 - Houston, TX - SPACECOM 2019 America's Commercial Space Conference and Exposition

November 21 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Awards

November 21-22 - Raleigh, NC - Rural Assembly

November 21-22 - Charlotte, NC - Venture135 FinTech Conference

November 22-24 - Orlando, FL - Startup Weekend Orlando

November 23 - Birmingham, AL - The Big Pitch

December 4 - Greenville, SC - VentureSouth Summit, 2019 Venture Carolina Education Conference 

December 5 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - ITPalooza 2019

December 5 - Miami, FL - SaaStr + 500 Startups Miami at Art Basel

December 5 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave End of Year Event

December 10 - Little Rock, AR - The Venture Center's 2019 Pitch 'N Pint Pitch Competition

LookFar: strategic software development for startups.

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