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.
This week the Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition was announced. Revolution, the venture capital firm backed by Steve Case, has teamed up with Opportunity Hub (OHUB) led by Rodney Sampson, 100 Black Angels & Allies, and Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab for what will be a three-day event this December culminating in a $2M virtual pitch event for Black-founded companies. Like always with Rise of the Rest events, the participating startups must be based anywhere in the United States except for the startup meccas of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston. Startups can apply to pitch by October 25.

Accenture also recently launched a new initiative that will invest in and support Black technology startup founders and entrepreneurs. As part of the new program, Accenture Ventures is establishing the Black Founders Development Fund, which will invest in early-stage, Black-founded software startups. 

This week LinkedIn published their 4th annual Top Startups list, featuring the 50 United States-based startups attracting the most talent, investment and attention. Four startups from our region were counted among the top 50: Austin's A Cloud Guru and Sana Benefits made the list as did Atlanta's FullStory and Trella Health.
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
Southern Startup News: September 11-25, 2020

New Orleans, LA - The big news out of New Orleans is the big funding round for on-demand healthcare service Ready; it will use the new $54 million in funding to expand operations. The New Orleans BioInnovation Center has also landed some big money in the form of a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration; the incubator anticipates creating or retaining 650 jobs and attracting $75 million in private capital. Resilia made this year’s Forbes Cloud 100 list, as part of the 20 Rising Stars category, and they were also featured on The Tech Tribune's list of the 2021 Best Tech Startups in New Orleans which also includes Ready, Lucid, Servato, AxoSim, Align, Scandy, Fluence Analytics, Pine Biotech and Locally

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta has a new unicorn, as Greenlight Financial Technology's latest $215M Series C round brings their valuation to $1.2 billionVenture Atlanta has announced the 103 companies that will present and be showcased at this year's fully virtual event, to be held October 21-22; the number of selected companies is the largest ever. Four Atlanta-based startups have been selected for Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange: ScrapSports, Optimal Solar, Film Connx and Knac. Former Atlanta Technology Angels president Joe Beverly is launching The Cranium Incubator which will focus on concept-stage underrepresented founders; the deadline to apply is September 28. Gradschoolmatch, which brings prospective grad students and programs together, is being acquired by ETS, the company behind the GRE and TOEFL exams. Georgia Tech is launching a new cutting-edge cybersecurity and privacy school, calling it a first-of-its-kind program; Georgia Tech has already been ranked the top cybersecurity undergraduate program in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

Austin, TX - Austin jewelry mogul Kendra Scott is joining the cast of Shark Tank as a guest shark, while the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business is teaming up with local hologram technology startup Recourse to beam a professor into the classroom virtually. Capital Factory's Joshua Baer is looking for startup community organizers across Texas to create programming in their local communities as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16-22. Austin-based Army Futures Command recently announced that Austin Community College will be the home base for its new Software Factory education and development program. Peer-to-peer RV rental platform Outdoorsy recently announced that female executives now comprise 40% of the startup's management team

Birmingham, AL - The upcoming BIO Alabama Virtual Annual Conference will devote six different sessions to the topic of funding strategies for early-stage bioscience companies; registration is open for the conference, which runs October 5-9. The National Institute on Aging awarded $1.6 million to researchers from the University of Alabama and Florida International University to design touch-screen technology to improve communication between dementia patients and their caregivers.

Dallas, TX - The Dallas-Fort Worth area continues to emerge as a hub for autonomous trucking, with Waymo and Embark being the latest driverless truck companies to set up shop in the region. HR tech platform OutMatch recently acquired London-based recruitment platform LaunchPad, while Fort Worth biotech company Eyevance Pharmaceuticals is being acquired in a deal worth $225M. Dallas stock trading and social media platform BlackBoxStocks is seeing sustained growth amid the pandemic, and rewardStyle is expanding its billion-dollar app with video shopping. Dallas-based Impact Ventures, an accelerator focused on creating more diverse and inclusive ecosystems, has opened applications for its Fall 2020 program; the deadline to apply is October 17. Dallas has a new VC firm with a vision of “bringing the Silicon Valley spirit to Dallas”; Dallas Venture Partners will focus on investing in new, emerging technology. Dallas-based seed accelerator Health Wildcatters has announced the 9 startups joining their 2020 accelerator cohort. 

Houston, TX - Houston-based startup ClimaGuard is helping car owners prepare for flash flooding and hurricane season and their product is now available at Ace Hardware in the Langham Creek area of Houston. Cleantech startup incubator Greentown Labs has selected a site on the south side of Midtown for its new 40,000 square foot startup hub. Co-working space Headquarters plans to donate office space to 2 startups affected by COVID-19; applications are being accepted until October 2. The Rice Alliance is launching a clean energy accelerator next year at The Ion; applications for startups will open in early 2021.

Jackson, MS - Mississippi's state capital has a new Black tech hub on the way thanks to Nashlie Sephus, Ph.D., who was a 2019 Ada Lovelace Awards winner for her work as leader of Amazon's Visual Search & AR team in Atlanta, CTO of Partpic (which was acquired by Amazon in 2016), and founder of the non-profit The Bean Path. Dr. Sephus recently purchased 12 acres and 7 buildings in downtown Jackson to create "a very high tech center, a live-work-play mixed-use development." When announcing what she went through to bring this project to her hometown, she shared, “Today was the culmination of over 18 months, 12 acres, seven buildings, two downtown districts, three unwilling to do a loan banks, a committed team, a lot of dollars, a solid group of lawyers, and a lot of patience and grit to invest in my hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, bringing technology access for all. Excited for the journey that’s about to come!“

Miami, FLSix clean energy startups were recently inducted into Florida Power & Light Company’s inaugural incubator & innovation program, 35 Mules. Rob Delman, a managing director at angel investment firm Golden Seeds recently told Refresh Miami, "The deal flow is becoming more sophisticated out of South Florida." Embarc Collective is taking responses for the 2020 Florida Entrepreneur Community Survey and seeking more participation from startups in Miami. 

Nashville, TN - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center has teamed up with Mitsubishi Motors North America to create a first-of-its-kind Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network; the year-long program will provide local entrepreneurs access and exposure to global business experts and will kick off with pitch competition on October 23. Nashville Entrepreneur Center recently hosted their latest “Pitch for Good” competition; Hafta Have and Velos Labs each won $2,000. Nashville-based meal planning app Menūd recently completed a merger with fitness app Plankk; the company is now pursuing a Seed capital raise that currently targets $1.75M in capital.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - North Carolina is once again offering matching funds for federal grant winning bioscience startups. A number of startups from North Carolina were selected for the 5th annual Google for Startups Black Founders Exchange: SpokeHub, CourtRoom5, LoanWell, Coworks, Freeman Capital, KWHCoin and Genesis Block. Raleigh agtech startup AgEye Technologies is providing solutions for indoor farming through artificial intelligence. Wilmington startup opiAID has landed a $276,000 federal grant to support its machine learning technology to fight substance abuse. Charlotte fintech unicorn AvidXchange is worth even more money after raising another $66 million, while Charlotte accelerator RevTech Labs is moving its program to an all-virtual formatFirst Flight Venture Center was recently awarded $1.3 million as North Carolina’s only grant recipient of the EDA’s Venture Challenge program; the award will expand First Flight’s program, Hangar6, an advanced prototyping center.

Tampa, FL - The co-founder of ConnectWise, Arnie Bellini and his wife, Lauren, are launching an investment firm as part of their $70M plan to grow Tampa Bay’s tech scene by creating 70,000 jobs in seven years. KnowBe4, the billion-dollar Clearwater cybersecurity company, is reportedly getting ready to file an IPOTampa Bay Wave has announced a new cybersecurity accelerator to grow the region's reputation for cybersecurity and generate new jobs; applications for the new CyberTech|X Accelerator are being accepted now through November 30. Canadian coding bootcamp CodeBoxx is planning to set up a headquarters site in the Tampa area soon, and Tampa analytics firm Lumina Analytics has landed a partnership with IBM. St. Petersburg behavioral therapy startup TAO Connect is adding an AI chatbot to its online platform to help manage mental health online. 

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - Greenlight Financial Technology - $215M Series C

Austin, TX - Babson Diagnostics - $13.7M Series A

Austin, TX - - $26M

Austin, TX - Decent - $10M Series A

Austin, TX - Episode Six - $7M

Austin, TX - QuickStart - $10M

Austin, TX - SigmaSense - $22M Series A

Austin, TX - Trashbots - $100K+ Seed

Carrboro, NC - Inhalon Biopharma - $912K

Charlotte, NC - AvidXchange - $66M

Houston, TX - Data Gumbo - $4M Series B

Houston, TX - GoExpedi - $25M Series C

Houston, TX - vChain - $4M

Miami, FL - Marco Financial - $26M

Miami, FL - MDLIVE - $50M

Miami, FL - Papa - $18M Series B

Morrisville, NC - JupiterOne - $19M Series A

Morrisville, NC - Metabolon - $72M

New Orleans, LA - Ready - $54M

Orlando, FL - ThreatLocker - $4.4M

Raleigh, NC - ArenaCX - $2M Seed

Raleigh, NC - Rediscovery Life Sciences - $4.5M Series B

Research Triangle Park, NC - Basking Biosciences - $1.9M

Upcoming Deadlines
September 25 - Atlanta, GA - RAISE Forum Call for Southern Startups Seeking Funding between $500 Thousand and $5 Million Application Deadline

September 28 - Atlanta, GA - The Cranium Incubator Application Deadline

September 30 - Miami, FL - HI-HERImpact Miami Virtual Pitch Competition Application Deadline

October 1 - Nashville, TN - Life Science Tennessee's Venture Forum Application Deadline

October 4 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition Application Deadline

October 9 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM Grant Application Deadline

October 11 - Nashville, TN - Small Batch - Big Ideas Pitch Competition Application Deadline

October 15 - Birmingham, AL - Innovation Depot 2021 Velocity Accelerator Cohort Application Deadline

October 15 - Nashville, TN - Nashville Entrepreneur Center InFlight 2020 Application Deadline

October 17 - Dallas, TX - Impact Ventures IV Accelerator Application Deadline

October 25 - Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition Application Deadline

October 30 - Austin, TX - SKU Consumer Products Accelerator Application Deadline

November 9 - United States - MIT Solve Reimagining Pathways to Employment in the US Challenge Deadline

November 30 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave CyberTech|X Accelerator Application Deadline

open deadline - Atlanta, GA - Startup Runway Applications

open deadline - Atlanta, GA - Apply to the Silicon Road Retail Accelerator

open deadline - United States - Lightship Capital Twitch Pitch Virtual Pitch Contest Applications

open deadline - Dallas, TX - The DEC Network Fast Start Mentoring Program Application for Mentors and Mentees
Upcoming VIRTUAL Events
Until further notice, all events listed below will take place virtually. Below you'll find the date, host organization & their location, and a link for more information. To let us know about an upcoming virtual event, or a rescheduled in-person event, please email
September 25 - Urban League of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA) - 2020 Women in Business Challenge: Scale Up!

September 25 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Design Thinking for Tech and Innovation Workshop | Idea Generation

September 28 - Tampa Bay Wave (Tampa, FL) - Exploring Tampa Bay's Startup History - Windfalls & Wipeouts

September 29 - Synapse (Tampa, FL) - Libate and Learn: Building an Inclusive Workforce

September 29 - Innov865 Alliance (Knoxville, TN) - Knoxville Startup Day

September 30 - NexusLA & Louisiana Technology Park (Baton Rouge, LA) - Tech Park Academy: How to Create Effective DIY Videos for Your Company

September 30 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - The Ion Startup Demo Day

September 30 - Tampa Bay Innovation Center (Tampa, FL) - B2B Accelerator Innovation Showcase

October 1 - Council for Entrepreneurial Development (Raleigh, NC) - Virtual Workshop: A How-to for Entrepreneur-Friendly Performance Feedback Systems

October 1 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - CONNECT: Networking for Entrepreneurs

October 5 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Women in Tech Summit

October 5-9 - Atlanta, GA - Fintech South 2020 Virtual Summit

October 5-9 - Austin, TX - Austin Startup Week 

October 5-9 - Birmingham, AL - BIO Alabama Virtual Conference

October 5-9 - Tampa, FL - Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay

October 5-10 - Wilmington, NC - Virtual Cape Fear Region Minority Enterprise Development Week

October 6 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Pitch Deck 101

October 6 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Scalable and Cost-Effective Growth Marketing Strategies for Startups

October 6 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - InFlight [Virtual] Showcase

October 7 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Learnings from 100 VC Financings in the Southeast

October 8 - Startup Summit (Charlotte, NC) - Charlotte All Day Conference

October 9-10 - Sociallyin (Birmingham, AL) - Southern Social Summit 2020

October 13 - Technology Executives Roundtable (Atlanta, GA) - Accelerating Black Entrepreneurship in Atlanta; How to Increase Diversity in Your Tech Company

October 13 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Streamlined Financials for Startups

October 13-15 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Founders Academy Essentials

October 13-15 - Tech Inclusion 2020

October 14-15 - Florida Venture Forum (Tampa, FL) - 2020 Early Stage Capital Conference

October 16 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Design Thinking for Tech and Innovation Workshop | Prototypes + User Testing

October 19-20 (Raleigh, NC) - All Things Open 2020

October 19-23 - Chattanooga, TN - Startup Week Chattanooga Goes Virtual

October 20 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - Tech In The Southeast United States

October 21-22 - Venture Atlanta (Atlanta, GA) - Venture Atlanta Live Online

October 21-November 2 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Founders Only: Scaling Startups In The Southeast

October 22 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Battle 8.0

October 22 - Synapse (Tampa, FL) - IN AWE: Investing In, Nurturing and Accelerating Women Entrepreneurs

October 23-25 - Black Men Talk Tech (Miami, FL) - Black Men Talk Tech Unicorn Ambition Conference

October 23-25 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - Code for Good Hackathon

October 27 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - 6 Startup Metrics to Raise a Seed Round

October 27-28 - Life Science Tennessee (Nashville, TN) - LSTCON 2020

October 28 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - The Ion Startup Demo Day Semi-Final

October 28-30 - Lafayette, LA - Innovate South

October 29 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition

November 10 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Pitch Deck 101

November 10-11 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - Accelerate: The Annual Conference on Technology Innovation

November 12 - Grow Florida (Orlando, FL) - 2020 GrowFL Florida Companies to Watch Awards

November 13 - Emory University’s Goizueta Business School (Atlanta, GA) - RAISE (Retention and Advanced Investment for the Southeast at Emory) Forum

November 16-17 - NC IDEA (Durham, NC) - 2020 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit

November 16-19 - Synapse (Tampa, FL) - Synapse Converge: Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Edition

November 18 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - The Ion Startup Demo Day Final

November 19 - Alabama Launchpad (Birmingham, AL) - Alabama Launchpad Pitch Finale

LookFar: strategic software development for startups.

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