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.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Laura, particularly those in coastal Louisiana and Texas. For many of us throughout the region, this week's weather has been PTSD-inducing, as Hurricane Laura made landfall almost exactly 15 years after Hurricane Katrina devastated coastal Mississippi and south Louisiana. I rode out the winds of Katrina at my mom's house in southern Mississippi and witnessed the affects of flooding in New Orleans firsthand. My heart goes out to everyone in the path of Laura. 

For startups across the South, there's a bit of good news, however. The latest edition of the Southeast Capital Landscape report has been released, and it shows that the Southeast experienced nearly 20% growth in new angel network and venture firm creation in the past year. 2020 is the second year of the annual survey produced by Embarc Collective in collaboration with Build In SE and the #BuildinSE Alliance (made up of Atlanta Tech Village, Co.Lab, Raleigh Founded, Start.Co and Embarc Collective).
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
Southern Startup News: August 11-26, 2020

New Orleans, LA - Gulf South-based angel investor firm Airfoil Angels announced that it is actively searching for entrepreneurs and ventures that need seed, startup and growth capital. The Idea Village has opened applications for its 10-week online pre-accelerator program, IDEAinstitute; early-stage founders should apply by September 9. Nonprofit Fund 17 is partnering with local impact consulting firm trepwise to launch a round of the Be the Boss Accelerator; the deadline to apply for the 12-week program is Friday, August 28. Tia Madison Page, a 14-year old entrepreneur originally from New Orleans, has invented the 'Basket Buddy' device to keep you germ-free while you shop. The 41st annual Tulane Business Forum will take place virtually on September 17, focusing on the topic “Waves of Change: Reimagining Business Growth Through a Crisis.” The Urban League of Louisiana has announced the virtual activation of its 2020 Women in Business Challenge: Scale Up!; on September 25, four finalists will pitch for a chance to win $10,000 in funding support.

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta-based privacy startup OneTrust snagged the #1 spot on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list, while American Express announced plans to acquire Atlanta fintech unicorn Kabbage for an undisclosed amount. PadSplit, which uses a model similar to Airbnb to tackle the country’s affordable housing crisis, has raised a $10M Series A round and plans to expand to Houston. Atlanta based Endavo made headlines recently as the official platform that powered the live streaming of the Democratic National Convention, while two Atlanta-based companies, Stratix Corporation and Bark Technologies, are joining forces to make distance learning accessible and safer for more students. A new public-private partnership hopes to make Georgia the tech capital of the East Coast, while Morehouse College was recently awarded $9M for STEM innovations. Emory’s Goizueta Business School is now seeking applications from in-revenue startups based in the Southeast seeking funding between $500K and $5M for their RAISE Forum; applications close on September 25. Startup Atlanta has been busy, adding 5 new members to its executive board and publishing the latest edition of its Atlanta Startup Ecosystem Guide. Serial entrepreneur Jibril Sulaiman continues to make headlines with his startup Incluzion, the first-ever online platform connecting companies to Black and Latinx talent for freelance work.

Austin, TX - Austin-based accelerator DivInc has unveiled the 8 innovative social justice companies that will be joining their fall cohort; half of the companies are based in the South, including Lone Star Justice Alliance and Break The Box (Austin, TX), Vngle (Atlanta, GA), and Melanoid Exchange (Houston, TX). The nonprofit Women@Austin has launched Beam Angel Network, a new angel network in Austin focused specifically on women-led startups. A few Austin startups have landed significant funding rounds in recent weeks, including package delivery service startup Fetch, 3-D printed home builder ICON, and cybersecurity startup SpyCloud. The University of Texas has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to lead the NSF AI Institute for Foundations of Machine Learning; UT will receive $20 million in funding for the project, which focus on developing advanced algorithms for artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

Birmingham, AL - This week at the Reignite Alabama Pitch Finale, 14 startups will compete for a combined total of $150K in funding divided between four sectors: Lifestyle, Healthcare, Education & Industry; learn more about the finalists here and here. Birmingham-based babysitting startup Wyndy is expanding to help families impacted by COVID-19, while Birmingham’s game developer community is small but active. A national report recently ranked Birmingham as #2 in the nation among large metros with the most successful women entrepreneurs. The new Bronze Valley Accelerator is accepting applications from early-stage companies founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs until September 11. 

Dallas, TX - The 6th annual Dallas Startup Week kicks off August 30 through September 3, featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin and Dallas Cowboys alum Darren Woodson as the keynote speakers on the event's virtual stage. There will also be a full day dedicated to the subject of how startups and corporations can work together; the Corporate Startup Innovation summit will feature Hesam Hosseini, CEO of Match and Match Affinity, and Jewel Burks Solomon, head of Google for Startups as keynote speakers. The 5-day completely virtual event is free to attend and features 100 sessions across 16 tracks; register here. Friday, August 28 is also the deadline to nominate an outstanding Dallas entrepreneur for the 2020 State of Entrepreneurship Awards. More than 15,000 women gathered virtually recently at The Black Girl Magic Summit, hosted by Boss Women Media; at the event's pitch competition, Elite Kids won the $25K grand prize with ShearShare and Snag My Wedding taking home $15K and $10K, respectively. AccelerateHER, a new incubator program for women-owned startups, has launched in the Dallas suburb of Denton. Dallas-based biotech CerSci Therapeutics has been acquired in a $52.5 million deal.

Jackson, MS - Two Mississippi-based companies presented virtually to accredited investors this week as part of the Mississippi Angel Network “Roadshow”. Compete Running, which creates software to make accurate and competitive “virtual races” possible, and Jano Technologies, makes software that improves courts and courtrooms’ efficiency, were the two startups seeking "angel" rounds of investment to move their business plans forward. Influencer management platform Rocketing Systems, founded by three Mississippi State University business students, has also secured $336,000 in seed funding so far this year. 

Miami, FL - A 13 year-old co-founder is gaining traction for his startup YTeach, which helps schools support peer-to-peer tutoring via a mobile app platform, while startup GovLia aims to make government contracting more inclusive. Monday, August 31 is the deadline to apply for TheVentureCity's Product-Led Growth Week, which will teach founders the product-centered growth strategy used by by successful startups like Slack, Dropbox, Zoom and many others. The nonprofit Code for South Florida recently teamed up with journalist Danny Rivero to launch Badge Watch, a website that tracks use-of-force incidents and citizen complaints against City of Miami police officers.

Nashville, TN - Nashville-based behavioral health startup Synchronous Health has received an investment and entered a strategic partnership with Adventist Health, with the aim of reducing caregiver burnout. Nashville-based independent healthcare technology company Change Healthcare has acquired, which develops cloud-native imaging and workflow technology.

Orlando, FL - LIDAR startup Luminar, which is headquartered in Orlando, is going public via a “reverse merger” with a special acquisition company, or SPAC. Earlier this year, Volvo announced that they  will begin using Luminar technology to power autonomous driving in its cars beginning in 2022.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - The NC IDEA foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Prospera, an economic development, nonprofit organization that helps start, sustain and grow Hispanic-owned businesses to achieve community prosperity. NC IDEA has also just announced today the formation of the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship CouncilRIoT launches its sixth cohort of the RIoT Accelerator Program next month; learn more about the 8 startups selected for the program. Boston-based biotech firm Beam Therapeutics announced plans to build a $83M manufacturing facility in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park which will create hundreds of jobs. Drone startup PrecisionHawk has been in the news twice in recent weeks: first for securing two patents for collision avoidance technology and later for being sued for ‘breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices’.

Tampa, FL - Florida has more early-stage investment firms than any other state in the southeast United States, according to the 2020 Southeast Capital Landscape report recently released by Embarc Collective and Build In SE. Tampa cybersecurity firm ReliaQuest has raised $300 million in growth funding, while blockchain technology development studio BlockSpaces has raised a fresh $75K. The State College of Florida is launching a new program, Veterans Business Incubator, to help boost veteran-owned startups in the Tampa Bay region.

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - Artis Technologies - $1.5M Seed

Atlanta, GA - Buckle - $31M Series A

Atlanta, GA - Ironscales - $8M

Atlanta, GA - iVision - undisclosed

Atlanta, GA - PadSplit - $10M Series A

Austin, TX - ClearCam - $2.6M Seed Series 2

Austin, TX - Fetch - $18M Series B

Austin, TX - ICON - $35M Series A

Austin, TX - LitLingo - $2M

Austin, TX - SpyCloud - $30M Series C

Austin, TX - Virtual Arts - $2M Seed

Birmingham, AL - Help Lightning - $8M Series A

Boca Raton, FL - springbig - $11.5M Series B

Charlotte, NC - Cloosiv - $12M Series A

Charlotte, NC - EasyKnock - $5M

Charlotte, NC - ThreatSwitch - $1.6M

Dallas, TX - K2View - $28M

Durham, NC - LoanWell - $715K

Durham, NC - ServiceTrade - $49M

Durham, NC - VADE - $500K

Greenville, NC - RFPI - $2M

Nashville, TN - Bridge Connector - $25.5M Series B

Orlando, FL - Hoverfly Technologies - $10.7M

Tampa, FL - BlockSpaces - $75K

Tampa, FL - ReliaQuest - $300M

Wilmington, NC - LifeGait - $200K

Winston-Salem, NC - Javara - $4.6M
Upcoming Deadlines
August 28 - New Orleans, LA - Fund 17's Be the Boss Accelerator Program Application Deadline

August 28 - Atlanta, GA - Venture Atlanta Virtual Showcase Application Deadline

August 28 - Chattanooga, TN - CO.STARTERS Fall Cohort Application Deadline

August 28 - Dallas, TX - 2020 State of Entrepreneurship Awards Nomination Deadline

August 31 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA MICRO Grant Application Deadline

August 31 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA SEED Grant Application Deadline

August 31 - Miami, FL - TheVentureCity's Product-Led Growth Week Application Deadline

September 1 - Florida - "Financial Literacy for Kids" Synapse Challenge Application Deadline

September 1 - Deadline to Apply to Speak at Tech Inclusion

September 2 - Little Rock, AR - Spark! Pre-Accelerator Program Application Deadline

September 7 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA LABS After Hours Application Deadline

September 9 - New Orleans, LA - The Idea Village Fall 2020 IDEAinstitute Pre-Accelerator Application Deadline

September 10 - Research Triangle Park, NC - GRO by CED 9-week Incubator Program Application Deadline

September 11 - Birmingham, AL - Fall 2020 Bronze Valley Accelerator Application Deadline

September 15 - Dallas, TX - Venture Dallas 2020 Startup Applications

September 15 - Little Rock, AR - ICBA ThinkTECH FinTech Accelerator Program Application Deadline

September 17 - Florida - Florida Venture Forum Early Stage Capital Conference Presenter Application Deadline

September 18 - Dallas, TX - The Innovation Awards Nomination Deadline

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

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

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
August 27 - Alabama Launchpad (Birmingham, AL) - Reignite Alabama Pitch Finale

August 27-28 - Black Girl Ventures x SEED SPOT 2-Day Virtual Launch Camp for Black and Brown Women-Identifying Founders

August 28 - The Venture Center (Little Rock, AR) - #VCLunchNLearn: Making of An Entrepreneur With The 2020 FIS Accelerator Cohort

August 30-September 3 - Dallas, TX - Dallas Startup Week 2020

August 31 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Urban Capital Network: Angel Investing Fireside Chat

September 1 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Pitch Deck 101

September 1 - Synapse (Tampa, FL) - Libate and Learn: How To Successfully Shift Career Paths

September 2 - Innovate MS (Jackson, MS) - Webinar: Procuring Technology for Your Business

September 2 - UNC’s Entrepreneurship Center (Chapel Hill, NC) - Failing Fast: How To Talk To Potential Customers Early To Save Time & Money

September 3 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - CONNECT: Networking for Entrepreneurs

September 3 - Startup Summit (Wake Forest, NC) - Making Q3 & Q4 2020 A Great Success! Thriving in a pandemic economy

September 4 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Design Thinking for Tech and Innovation Workshop: Identifying Problems

September 8 - Southeast Life Sciences (Atlanta, GA) - Medtech Women Conference

September 8 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Latinx in Tech Summit

September 9 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Startup Runway's 9th Showcase

September 9 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Closing more Efficiently and Effectively WITHOUT Being Sales-ey!

September 10 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Intro to Fundraising & Ask Me Anything

September 12-13 - Knoxville, TN - The Maker City Summit

September 14 - First Flight Venture Center (Research Triangle Park, NC) - 2020 SBIR Week in the Southeast: North Carolina

September 15 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Intro to the Healthcare Startup Scene & Ask Me Anything with Hubert Zajicek

September 15 - Synapse (Tampa, FL) - Libate and Learn: Thought Leadership Takes More Than Experience

September 15-17 - NEXT Venture Pitch (Greenville, SC) - NEXT Venture Pitch 2020 Conference

September 15-October 18 - Dallas, TX - Venture Dallas 2020

September 16 - Atlanta, GA - Virtual Atlanta Startup Convos

September 16 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Everything You Need to Know About Trademarks

September 17 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Capital Factory Community Showcase

September 17 - Tulane Association of Business Alumni (New Orleans, LA) - 41st Annual Tulane Business Forum: Waves of Change: Reimagining Business Growth Through a Crisis

September 17 - Atlanta BlokTech (Atlanta, GA) - BlockSec Blockchain Cybersecurity Conference 

September 21 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - What You Need to Know About Tech as a Non-Technical Founder

September 22 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Pitch for Good: Data / Analytics / AI Edition

September 23 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Privacy Basics for Startup Companies

September 25 - Urban League of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA) - 2020 Women in Business Challenge: Scale Up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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