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.
Companies often cite the cost of living as one of the main reasons for expanding or moving their headquarters outside of Silicon Valley. Now, a Silicon Valley startup is offering qualified applicants a $10,000 incentive to leave the Bay Area. The goal of the San Jose-based company, MainStreet, is to connect workers with full-time remote jobs in suburban and rural communities across America. 

It's nice to see more folks in Silicon Valley getting wise to something we Southerners already knew - that there is still plenty of opportunity to be had outside of the biggest and most obvious startup hubs.
~ 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:
November 5 - November 18, 2019

New Orleans, LA - Three local biotech firms – AxoSim, Cadex Genomics and Obatala Sciences – recently announced that they will be expanding, a move which will collectively create 135 new direct jobs at the University of New Orleans and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, the biotech incubator where the companies launched their local startup operations. London-based company Testronic will soon be launching a new 150-job testing facility for digital games in New Orleans. Local technology company is also growing, with an office expansion at its University of New Orleans Research and Technology Park headquarters that mirrors the company's annual double-digit revenue growth. INNO has been hosting monthly events leading up to their April 2020 conference, and at a recent event Tulane student and Mind CEO Joel Hochman took home the $1K prize at their first ever Open INNOvation pitch event. The next monthly event will take place on Thursday December 5. New Orleans Entrepreneur Week also recently announced the dates for their annual conference: March 23-27, 2020.

Atlanta, GA - Kennesaw-based fintech company LendingPoint landed the No. 9 spot on Deloitte's annual Fast 500 ranking. LendingPoint was the fastest growing Southern company on the list, surging with 8,813% revenue growth. The Metro Atlanta Chamber recently hosted their Export Pitch Day Challenge, where woman-owned engineering startup Compass Technology Group took home the $20K grand prize. Vital4, a cloud software company that offers a globally accessible due diligence data search, won the $10K second place prize and esports production company Skillshot Media won the third place $5K prize. Did you miss the 12th annual Venture Atlanta conference last month? One attendee remarked that it was, “One of the best venture conferences I’ve attended as an investor or entrepreneur.” Here's a recap

Austin, TX - One of the main investors of Austin-based dating and networking app Bumble is selling his entire stake in the business. According to TechCrunch, "The deal values Bumble and the wider business — which is profitable — at $3 billion." With the move, Bumble's founder Whitney Wolfe Herd will also become CEO of the whole company. New reports show that Austin tech salaries climbed 6% last year, to an average of $125,000 per year, making it the 5th highest average tech salaried spot in the nation. Sixteen Texas companies, including four from Austin, have made it onto Deloitte’s 2019 North America Technology Fast 500 list. Last month, Capital Factory hosted the Latinx in Tech Summit, where over 100 founders, investors, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs gathered to discuss, "What does it mean to be Latinx in Tech today?

Birmingham, AL - Birmingham-based Magic City Woodworks recently took the $50K second place prize at an event held by BBVA Momentum, a five-month accelerator program for social entrepreneurs. Alabama space logistics startup Aevum recently went from winning a $50,000 study grant to landing a $4.9 million U.S. Air Force launch contract in the span of three weeks. Representatives from several Alabama universities recently came together to discuss tackling the state’s economic growth challenges. Some of the obstacles mentioned included the need for more software developers in Alabama and access to funding for viable startups. 

Conway, AR - Entrepreneurs and small business owners in central Arkansas will now have access to free business coaching, with the rollout of The Conductor's new Office Hours program. The Conductor is a public-private partnership between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie. Like many entrepreneurial organizations around the Southeast and beyond, The Conductor is also hosting Global Entrepreneurship Week programming this week, November 18-24. A full list of the events and links to register can be found here.

Miami, FL - Augmented reality behemoth Magic Leap is once again raising money. The company has already raised $2.6 billion to date, and will be raising a Series E round. The company's growth could be good news for the University of Miami, as it may become the nation’s first campus to adopt 5G+ millimeter wave and Multi-access Edge Computing technology, which could speed up computing time and power Magic Leap’s campus hub. A new pitch competition for female founders was recently announced: Ford Motor Company Fund and 1863 Ventures will be hosting the inaugural HI-HERImpact Miami Pitch Competition on March 11, 2020 at The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. Three winners will be selected, sharing a $50K cash prize pool.

Nashville, TN - Planning is underway for the second Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference in Nashville on Friday, January 10. The event is coordinated by MBA students at Vanderbilt's Owen Graduate School of Management; last year's conference was attended by a mix of Vanderbilt graduate/undergraduate students and Nashville community members working in the entrepreneurial space. Nashville’s business community recently gathered for the 2019 NEXT Awards + Entrepreneurs' Hall of Fame Celebration where the award for Technology Startup went to Core10 and XOi Technologies took home the award for Technology Market Mover. LaunchTN, a public-private partnership that fosters entrepreneurship, recently released their annual report detailing startup activity across the state of Tennessee.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Canadian-based small business accounting SaaS FreshBooks is opening its first office in the US with HQ Raleigh serving as its host. Epic Games (the North Carolina-based creator of the wildly popular game Fortnite) announced its acquisition of the Swedish startup Quixel. On-demand car care services startup Spiffy has announced the acquisition of Your Location Lubrication (YLL), a Florida-based company focusing on high-volume rental car preventative maintenance. Durham startup Velocity Clinical Research is doubling in size with its latest acquisitions. Etix, a Morrisville-based ticketing international ticketing solutions provider to more than 2,000 clients in 40 countries, acquired both Michigan-based Star Tickets and Arizona-based TicketForceNC IDEA recently awarded a total of $300,000 to six North Carolina startups: Advanced Hydrogen Technologies Corporation, GoodRoads, Green Stream Technologies, MUUKTEST, Pip & Grow, and Protopia

Tampa, FL - The largest company by revenue in the Tampa-St. Pete area, Tech Data Corp., is being acquired by private equity firm Apollo Global Management in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tampa-based restaurant software company Restaurant Magic was recently acquired for $42 million by New York-based PAR Technology Corp. Clearwater, Florida native and Spanx founder and CEO Sara Blakely will be the featured keynote speaker at Synapse Summit 2020, a two-day conference in February to highlight innovation in Florida and in the Tampa-St. Pete area. One of the largest technology employers in the Tampa-St. Pete area, Nielsen, has announced it will split into two independent, publicly traded companies. Junior Achievement and Embarc Collective are joining forces to create an entrepreneur lab for teens which is slated to be finished by the end of the year. A 7-year-old took home the $5,000 prize at the city of St. Petersburg’s first ever pitch night for his conservation lifestyle brand Kids Saving Oceans. He closed his pitch with a hopeful challenge: “The oceans are rising and so are we.”

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - LeaseQuery - $40M Series A

Atlanta, GA - Popmenu - $4.5M Series A

Atlanta, GA - Transitiv - $1.7M Seed

Austin, TX - BrewBike - $2M Seed

Austin, TX - LawnStarter - $10.5M

Dallas, TX - Kanarys - $1.5M Pre-Seed

Dallas, TX - Mooala - $8.3M Series A

Durham, NC - Spreedly - $75M

Fort Worth, TX - Actuate Therapeutics - $6.5M Series B-3

Fort Worth, TX - Supply - $300K

Houston, TX - BreviTest Technologies - $1.5M Grant

Miami, FL - AquaVault - $1.07M

Miami, FL - DadeSystems - $9M Series D

Miami, FL - - $18M Series B

Orlando, FL - - undisclosed

Raleigh, NC - Global Value Commerce - $1.365M

Research Triangle Park, NC - StrideBio - $90M

San Antonio, TX - Reckon Point - $1.5M Seed

Tampa, FL - Bridge - $917K Seed
Upcoming Deadlines
November 19 - New Orleans, LA - INNO 2020 Call for Speakers

November 22 - Asheville, NC - Nominations for the 2019 Venture Asheville Honors

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

December - Charlotte, NC - Nominations for The Charlotte Area Technology Collaborative’s 2020 Blue Diamond Awards

December 15 - Little Rock, AR - Spring 2020 AR Innovation Fund (I-Fund) 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 18-24 - Houston, TX - The Houston Innovation Summit

November 18-24 - Conway, AR - Global Entrepreneurship Week

November 19 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans & Company presents: Nola Talks Tech

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

November 20 - Dallas, TX - SoGal Foundation's Global Pitch Competition

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 - New Orleans, LA - Tech Ready: Build Your Professional Brand with LinkedIn

November 21 - New Orleans, LA - The Idea Village Community Content Series: Diversity Is A Business Decision

November 21 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Awards

November 21 - Knoxville, TN - Bunker Brews: Starting a Small Business in Tennessee

November 21 - Memphis, TN - Memphis on the Move: The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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 - New Orleans, LA - INNO Open Innovation Monthly Salon

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

December 12 - Birmingham, AL - Innovate Birmingham 2019 Fall Demo Day

January 10 - Nashville, TN - Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference

February 11-12 - Tampa, FL - Synapse Summit

February 20 - Tampa, FL - #Pay Tampa Bay: Banking, Blockchain & Beyond


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