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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.
According to a recent report by LinkedIn’s Workforce Confidence Index, professionals in the Southeast region are currently the most optimistic in the nation, and that confidence has been trending up week-over-week.

Based on the latest news in this Southern Startup Report, there are quite a few things for Southerners to be optimistic about. Our region's startups are continuing to pivot and respond to the needs and challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, and plenty of Southern startups are still scoring funding, including New Orleans' own Resilia. Founder Sevetri Wilson is making history with Resilia's recent $8 million Series A round, as it's one of the largest investment rounds to date raised by a woman of color in the South. I'll cheers to that!
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
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Southern Startup News: May 7-20, 2020

New Orleans, LA - The big New Orleans tech news is Resilia's recent $8 million Series A funding round, which is Louisiana's highest venture capital raise by a female-founded tech company to date. Resilia founder Sevetri Wilson won the Ada Lovelace Award for Tech Founder in 2017. The Resiliency micro-conference series, presented by the Silicon Bayou Collaborative (NexusLA, Opportunity Machine, The Idea Village), returns this Friday, May 22 for its final event with multiple panels and workshops, including tips for creating quality DIY videos for your company, creating resilience in your marketing channels, and staying safe and productive while working virtually. A new food delivery app, ZappEats, has launched with the goal of keeping more profits in the hands of local restaurants. NOLAVATE Black has announced they are moving forward with Black Tech NOLA 2020 as a free virtual event, to be held June 29 -July 1; a call for speakers is currently open until May 25.

Atlanta, GA - Tech giant Microsoft announced plans to open a new facility in Atlanta next summer, creating more than 1,500 new tech jobs in the process. On the heels of a recent $133M Series B round, bioplastics startup RWDC Industries is planning a $260M facility in Athens, while Illuminarium Experiences is moving forward with the development of a $2 million virtual reality venue. A new micro venture capital fund, Johnson Venture Partners, is also opening in Atlanta. One of Atlanta’s biggest startup events, Venture Atlanta, is taking its conference virtual, October 21-22. TiE Atlanta has launched a new entrepreneurship program called ACCESS, and the first place winner will get a $50,000 angel investment. The deadline to apply is Friday, May 22.

Austin, TX - Austin-based Everlywell has been approved by the FDA as the first authorized COVID-19 at-home testing kit. Tesla is reportedly looking at sites around Austin for a new factory to produce their Cybertruck and Model Y vehicles. German robotics company KUKA has closed down their R&D office in Austin, claiming that the closure and subsequent layoffs were not pandemic-related. Invoiced, a bootstrapped startup based in Austin has struck a partnership with American Express to provide small and mid-sized businesses with a 40% discount on their software for two years, a deal which is expected to play a key role in how Invoiced scales its business. Swivel has released a new SaaS-based interactive, online leasing tool to help commercial real estate leasing teams pivot during the pandemic. DivInc recently released their accelerator's annual impact report, while Sputnik ATX has announced how their accelerator program is changing in response to COVID-19, including a new interview process and more follow-on funding for selected startups. Austin-based RV-rental marketplace Outdoorsy has launched a program to gift free road trips to healthcare heroes throughout North America so they can recuperate, once the peak of the pandemic is behind us. 

Baton Rouge, LA - In response to COVID-19, SellSwipe, a local tech startup focused on connecting shoppers with locally-owned retailers, announced the launch of its new service, SellSwipe Express. This platform allows locally-owned Louisiana retailers to showcase their products and offer online ordering for curbside or in-store pickup without costly setup.

Charlotte, NC - Charlotte-based energy startup Atom Power was recently recognized during Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards. Plenty of other local startups are innovating and pivoting during the pandemic, as Charlotte startup Bustld has introduced an all-new platform designed to support a 100% virtual wedding celebration, and Nufabrx has pivoted production to create a reusable, washable, copper-infused medical mask. On-demand cleaning startup Whystle has pivoted from residential to commercial cleaning services, while Show Pros, one of North Carolina's largest event staffing agencies, will soon begin using a new health status app, Evident Health Status, to help its employees return to work safely.

Dallas, TX - Fort Worth-based eRx Network, which provides payment solutions for the pharmaceutical industry, has been acquired in a $212.9 million deal. The Dallas area has seen a flurry of acquisitions in recent weeks, as Richardson-based VertexOne acquired WaterSmart Software, Fort Worth-based ECI Software Solutions acquired construction management platform BuildTools, and Dallas-based Omnitracs bought compliance solutions provider VisTracks. At the recent MedVentures virtual conference and pitch competition, Dallas medical device startup Ataia Medical took home top prize. Dallas-based healthcare AI startup DocSynk has rebranded as FelixHealthcare.AI. A new Dallas company, Hepius Equipment, has developed a technology to decontaminate and disinfect PPE using UV light, while SpotSee is releasing a hands-free forehead thermometer device to help essential businesses reopen. 

Greenville, SC - Educational nonprofit Venture Carolina, whose mission is to support entrepreneurs in the Carolinas, is making its SharpenFOUNDER mental health app available for free to all entrepreneurs in South Carolina. To access the app directly, please visit the app download page. In response to university and student feedback around the COVID-19 pandemic, Sharpen Health is also offering its Sharpen Colleges app for free until the 2020 fall semester to students directly and through universities.

Houston, TX - Houston-based startup NCrowd is launching this month with the goal of improving networking at professional events, whether they happen virtually or in-person. Cyber-risk management startup SecurityGate has shifted to help workplaces stay healthy as employees return to their offices via a new COVID-19 wellness screening tool and mobile app.

Miami, FL - Twenty companies will be presenting and pitching for a total of $100K in cash prizes at the upcoming Aerospace Innovation & Tech Forum on May 22 and May 29. The Zoom webinar series, hosted by the Florida Venture Forum in partnership with Space Florida, is free to attend, and three winning companies will be announced on June 5. Miami Herald has announced the winners of its 2020 Startup Pitch CompetitionSeedfunders has expanded once again, launching Seedfunders Miami, its third partner location in three years.

Nashville, TN - Nashville-based venture capital firm Fintop Capital recently closed FINTOP Fund II at $126 million. Fintop Capital focuses on investing in B2B service-enabled SaaS and software companies in the FinTech space. 

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Six North Carolina startups have each been awarded $50,000 SEED grants from NC IDEA, while Venture Asheville has raised $25,000 to help launch 5 early stage startups. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center awarded 13 grants and loans totaling $1.8 million to universities and bioscience startups in the first quarter of this year. UNC-Chapel Hill has been selected to be one of the hosts of the next VC University LIVE program in spring 2021, while Launch Chapel Hill recently hosted a pitch event to celebrate the conclusion of its 13th cohort. Durham-based social impact group ReCity Network recently unveiled its new online platform, ReCity Connects. A North Carolina ticketing startup, SimpleTix, now integrates directly with Zoom to host for-profit virtual events, while on-demand car care startup Get Spiffy is pivoting to offer disinfection services for “virus-free” vehicles and facilities.

Tampa, FL - A team of St. Pete developers have created the BlueTrace mobile app, which promises to help public health officials to track exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus, while St. Pete’s GoZone WiFi is creating a contactless ordering experience for restaurants. Local organizations High Tech Connect and Computer Coach are teaming up to create HireUp Florida, a new kind of virtual job fair, while software engineering firm NIX-United has launched StPeteTogether.com, an online portal linking volunteers and resources with people in need. Tampa startup The Natural Nipple is launching a campaign to bring expectant mothers free telehealth services during the pandemic.

Wilmington, NC - The winners of the inaugural NC BIONEER Venture Challenge have been announced, and Isosceles Pharmaceuticals, a Wilmington company developing non-opioid solutions for pain relief, took home the $20K top prize. 

Recent Rounds
Athens, GA - RWDC Industries - $133M Series B

Atlanta, GA - Featurespace - $37.4M

Atlanta, GA - Vennfi - $1.1M Pre-Seed

Austin, TX - Altr - $15M

Austin, TX - ConverseNow - $3.25M Seed

Austin, TX - Homeward - $105M

Austin, TX - Kronologic - $3.5M Seed

Charlotte, NC - ProctorFree - undisclosed

Durham, NC - Kriya Therapuetics - $80M

Durham, NC - Polaris Quantum Biotech - $235K

Fort Lauderdale, FL - Adfone - $7.5M Seed

Greenville, NC - Kerdea Technologies - $150K

Houston, TX - Altoida - undisclosed

Houston, TX - Liongard - $17M Series B

Houston, TX - ThoughtTrace - $10M

Lake Mary, FL - BlackCloak - $1.9M Seed

Miami, FL - Aprende Institute - $1.6M Seed

Nashville, TN -  Cloud Range Cyber - $650K

Nashville, TN - Monogram Health - $7M Series A-1

New Orleans, LA - Resilia - $8M Series A

Orlando, FL - Fortress Information Security - $4.5M

Raleigh, NC - MemberHub - $3.3M Series A

San Antonio, TX - Transect - undisclosed

Tampa, FL - Omnivore Technologies - $3.6M

Winston-Salem, NC - Wellnecity - $1.3M
Upcoming Deadlines
May 21 - Arkansas - The BIG Pitch: A Virtual Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs of Color Application Deadline

May 22 - Southeast - TiE Atlanta’s ACCESS Program Application Deadline

May 22 - Chattanooga, TN - CO.LAB HealthTech Accelerator Application Deadline

May 22 - Nashville, TN - Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s Project Healthcare Program Application Deadline

May 25 - New Orleans, LA - Black Tech NOLA 2020 Speaker Application Deadline

May 29 - Atlanta, GA - Southeast Life Sciences ADVANSE Virtual Pitch Rounds: COVID-19 Application Deadline

May 31 - New Orleans, LA - Propeller 2020 Impact Accelerator Application Deadline

May 31 - Dallas, TX - Health Wildcatters Fall 2020 Accelerator Program Application Deadline

May 31 - anywhere - 30 Second Pitch COVID-19 Related Business Competition Deadline

June 1 - Southeast - PAX Momentum Fall 2020 Cohort Application Deadline

June 1 - 2020 Stacy's Rise Project for Female-Founded Businesses Application Deadline

June 1 - Durham, NC - Duke Law Tech Lab Application Deadline

June 1 - Durham, NC - Duke Design Health Application Deadline

June 1 - Texas - Jaylon Smith Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Showcase Application Deadline

June 7 - Winston-Salem, NC - 2020 Velocity Creative Accelerator Application Deadline

June 15 - Durham, NC - Duke MEDx Pilot Project $50K Grant Application Deadline

June 18 - anywhere - MIT Solve Global Health Security & Pandemics Solve Challenge Deadline To Submit A Solution

July 7 - United States - MIT Solve 2020 Indigenous Communities Fellowship Application Deadline

August 21 - Baton Rouge, LA - Young Entrepreneurs Academy Application Deadline

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

open deadline - Nashville, TN - Caring for 615 Small Business $50K Grant Applications

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

rolling 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 mwhitfield@lookfar.com
May 21 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Capital Factory Community Showcase

May 21 - LITE Memphis (Memphis, TN) - Pitch Night Spring 2020

May 22 - Silicon Bayou Collaborative (New Orleans, LA) - Resiliency Series: Going Virtual and other COVID Hacks to Keep your Business Rolling

May 22 - Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida - The Aerospace Innovation & Tech Forum

May 22 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

May 26 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - E-Commerce Meetup & Panel Discussion with Kim Roxie

May 26 - Flatiron School and BLKTECH CLT (Charlotte, NC) - Science Behind Netflix Recommendations: Intro to Data Science

May 27 - Atlanta Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Atlanta Startup Convos: May Meetup

May 27 - DIG SOUTH (Charleston, SC) - Wild Pitch Wednesday

May 27 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Virtual Fireside Chat with Fredrik Tukk, Maersk Drilling

May 27 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - Raising Capital During a Pandemic

May 27 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

May 28 - Empowering New Orleans and Fund-17 (New Orleans, LA) - Pivot: Innovation for Uncertain Times

May 28 - RIoT (Raleigh, NC) - Tech for Good: Building Community Through the Power of Technology

May 28 - Southeast Life Sciences (Atlanta, GA) - Alternative Funding Models: Thriving or Surviving Through Investment Disruption

May 29 - Florida Venture Forum and Space Florida - The Aerospace Innovation & Tech Forum

May 29 - The Venture Center (Little Rock, AR) - What Tech Startups Need To Know To Access Funding

May 29 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

June 3 - DIG SOUTH (Charleston, SC) - Wild Pitch Wednesday

June 3-4 - Queen City Fintech (Charlotte, NC) - 2020 Fintech Generations Virtual Conference

June 3 - RIoT (Raleigh, NC) - How IoT and Software are Tracking the Spread of Pandemics

June 4 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - CONNECT: Networking for Entrepreneurs

June 4 - Walton Family Foundation (Bentonville, AR) - The BIG Pitch: A Virtual Pitch Competition For Entrepreneurs of Color

June 5 - Startup Junkie and Conductor (Fayetteville, AR) - IdeaFame Virtual Pitch Competition

June 8-12 - TECHTalks TECHTalks Southeast Virtual Conference

June 9-11 - Synapse Florida (Tampa, FL) - Synapse Converge Digital Interactive Conference 

June 10 - DIG SOUTH (Charleston, SC) - Wild Pitch Wednesday

June 10 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - Optimizing your Brand

June 11 - Alabama Launchpad - Cycle 2 Finale Virtual Pitch Event

June 11 - Empowering New Orleans and Fund-17 (New Orleans, LA) - Pivot: Innovation for Uncertain Times

June 12 - Southeast Life Sciences (Atlanta, GA) - Leading During Difficult Times

June 18 - Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - What You Need to Know About Tech as a Non-Technical Founder

June 23-24 - NC Tech Association (Raleigh, NC) - Diversity + Inclusion in Tech Summit Virtual Event

June 24 - RIoT (Raleigh, NC) - Virtual Lunch & Learn - IoT and the Rise of the Solopreneur

June 29 - July 1 - NOLAVATE Black (New Orleans, LA) - Black Tech NOLA 2020 Virtual Conference

July 20-23 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Founders Academy Essentials

LookFar: strategic software development for startups.

Copyright © 2020 LookFar, All rights reserved.


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