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.
Synapse is bringing back Converge, a digital conference, November 16th through the 19th, 2020. In partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week, Synapse Converge: GEW Edition is specifically designed for entrepreneurs, investors, and late-stage companies to learn from and connect with each other.
Hey y'all! My name is Joel and I am guest editing this edition of the Southern Startup Report. I am so grateful for all of the work Mallory has done on the newsletter to date. I have big shoes to fill, even temporarily. Without further ado...

Austin, TX has been on a roll. When I reviewed the news of the prior two weeks, I was surprised by the amount of capital flowing in to the city. The funding is across all industries from payments technology (AppBrilliance) to lifestyle services (Spruce). The capital of Texas is proving itself to be a popular place to start, and fund, new companies. Here is a nice Austin overview from CNBC.

What else? Oh, we have a new president! Check out this take, by Rhonda Abrams on how Joe Biden's presidency could affect entrepreneurship and small businesses.
~ Joel Hochman,
Guest Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
Southern Startup News: Oct 27 - Nov 16

New Orleans, LA - The Idea Village is seeking emerging, technology-enabled startups that are ready to scale for its flagship accelerator program, VILLAGEx; applications for the 2021 cohort close on November 20. CultureConnect, a solutions designer for businesses in the cultural sector, was acquired by Axiell. Although it is now based out of NYC, the company traces its founding to NOLA. Benson Capital Partners, the $50 million fund formed by the owner of the Saints just announced its first investmentAxoSim, the developer of the Nerve-on-a-Chip, is the recipient of an undisclosed amount of funding from the new fund. Loyola University announced two new bootcamps for Cybersecurity and Digital Marketing. JPMorgan Chase announced a $5 million grant to support New Orleans' long-term economic recovery from the pandemic. Agencies that will benefit from this cash include the NOLA Business Alliance, Good Work Network and Propeller. Exciting expansion news is coming from the digital marketing company Online Optimism. Founded in 2012, this agency is launching its first new office in, *drumroll please*, Atlanta!

Atlanta, GA - Some big funding rounds are coming out of ATL. Notably, Flock Safety, a public safety-as-a-service company, raised $47 million for their Series C round. In case you missed it, Techstars just hosted a successful virtual startup week. It was a great week full of learning and community. Fantasy sports operator PrizePicks is partnering up with the Atlanta esports franchise Ghost Gaming. The agreement is wide-ranging and covers a variety of work.  The Women in Technology held their Annual Awards on November 12. The WIT Woman of the Year in Technology is Venessa Harrison, President of AT&T Georgia.

Austin, TX - As I wrote earlier, there are a ton of funding rounds happening in Austin. There is a lot of acquisition activity as well. Francisco Partners is buying cybersecurity provider Forcepoint from Raytheon Technologies for an undisclosed amount. TPG and TA Associates are acquiring portfolio management tool screator Planview from Thoma Bravo for $1.6 billion. The Gigafactory isn't the only activity Elon Musks's companies have going on Austin. The Boring Company has put up some job postings, potentially signaling an intent to build projects in the Texas capitol. Trashless, a delivery company for local goods is eyeing an expansion to Dallas. This is promising growth for the company building a sustainable model for groceries and other household items.

Baton Rouge, LA - Louisiana Economic Development just announced PAVE, Pathway to Assist Veteran Entrepreneurs. Following a one-day virtual bootcamp, veterans will have access to resources that will help them grow their businesses. Digital exhibit builder Pass it Down just raised an $860k seed round to support their vision for more "Smithsonian-quality" exhibits.

Birmingham, AL - Really cool things are going down in BHam. An aviation-focused public charter school is opening in the fall of 2022. Alabama Aerospace and Aviation High School will have a hands-on approach to teaching and will help students earn hours that will count towards their eventual pilot's licenses. I don't know about you, but that's the coolest thing I've heard this week. Fleetio, a developer of fleet management software just announced $21 million in funding from Elephant, a Northeast venture capital firm. Alabama Launchpad has announced the seven finalists for Virtual Finale. On November 19th, these startups will be competing for $150k.

Dallas, TX - United Way's Social Innovation Accelerator hosted a pitch competition. The five finalists were: Better Block Foundation, Trey Athletes, EdCor, Carson's Village, and The Home Visit Project. Fort Worth-based Sortera Alloys is opening its manufacturing operations in the Midwest. The company uses AI to eventually recycle 100% of the metals in old metallurgic products. There's also been some acquisition activity going on as well. Zix, the cloud email security provider, acquired Israel-based CloudAlly in order to expand its market and offerings.

Houston, TX - Houston ranks as the #2 emerging life sciences cluster according to a new report by commercial real estate powerhouse CBRE. Interestingly, "Houston's health care and life sciences industries collectively employ 320,500 people - more than the energy sector [emphasis mine]". Read more here. The finalists for the first ever Houston innovation awards, The Listies have been announced. 10 promising life sciences startups have been named by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. Check them out!

Miami, FL - MAJOR RAISE ALERT 🚨🚨🚨REEF Technology has raised $700 million from Softbank's Vision Fund and Mubadala Capital. The company transforms underutilized real estate such as parking lots into neighborhood hubs. Recently, they have been creating ghost kitchens to capitalize on the pandemic driven food delivery craze. In other great news, the Center for Black Innovation has received $2.1 million to enable and support Black tech entrepreneurship in both Miami and the country. Prominent accelerator 500 Startups just hosted Demo Day on November 12. The following startups presented: Birdie, ConciergePad, Licify, Uello, and Uptime Analytics. OfferUp and Ironhack are teaming up to launch a $250k diversity scholarship program.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - It's time for the annual Cleantech Innovation Awards. Check out the nominees here. So many startups got funded this month; see them in the Recent Rounds section below. The massive communications solutions provider Avaya is moving to the Research Triangle, specifically, Durham. Pappas Capital just got a healthy exit; Merck is paying $2.75 billion for their portfolio company VelosBio. In other venture capital news, Oval Park Capital is emerging from stealth with plans to create a $25 million fund. They want to be the first institutional money in a wide range of companies. The North Carolina Biotechnology Center just awarded and loaned $623K to a variety of institutions involved with biosciences to facilitate life science tech commercialization and intellectual exchange. The Research Triangle is proving to be an exciting place for entrepreneurship.

Tampa, FL - Tampa General Hospital is launching a $15 million fund. Officially called TGH InnoVentures, the fund will be led by Rachel Feinman, a local leader who previously was the executive director at the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator. In addition to the investment fund, TGH InnoVentures will be creating both Innovation Lab to support hospital employees and physicians, as well as an accelerator to grow health care companies. Here's the story. Panther, a global payroll startup, just raised $1.7 million from some angel investors. The acquisition of Perch Security by ConnectWise, another Tampa-based firm, just closed recently. Sounds like some pretty good news!

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - Flock Safety - $47M Series C

Atlanta, GA - Grayshift - $47M Series A

Atlanta, GA - Bluefin - $25M

Atlanta, GA - Hermeus - $16M Series A

Austin, TX - AppBrilliance - $3M Seed

Austin, TX - Spruce - $8M Series A

Austin, TX - Yotta Energy - $5M Seed

Austin, TX - Slingshot Aerospace - $8M Series A

Austin, TX - Eagle Eye Networks - $40M Series E

Austin, TX - Steadily - $3.8M Seed

Baton Rouge, LA - Pass It Down - $860K Seed

Birmingham, AL - Fleetio - $21M Series B

McKinney (Dallas), TX - ShearShare - $2.3M Seed

Miami, FL - REEF Technology - $700M Growth Equity

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Diveplane - Undisclosed

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Hip eCommerce - $5M

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Biospatial - $1.8M

Raleigh-Durham - Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies - $5.5M Series A

Raleigh-Durham, NC - CoImmune (formerly Argos Therapeutics) - $45M

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Sense Photonics - $32M 

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Locus Bioscences - $7M 

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Medicom Technologies - $3M 

Raleigh-Durham, NC - MOMI Brands - $1M Seed

Tampa, FL - Panther - $1.7M Pre-Seed
Upcoming Deadlines
November 20 - New Orleans, LA - Idea Village VILLAGEx Accelerator Program Application Deadline

November 20 - United States - Ironhack/OfferUp Tech Career Empowerment Scholarship

November 25 - United States - P&G Ventures Innovation Challenge

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

open deadline - Louisiana - Pathway to Assist Veteran Entrepreneurs (PAVE)

open deadline - United States - Loyola University Digital Skills Bootcamps
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
November 16-17 - NC IDEA (Durham, NC) - 2020 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit

November 16-18 - 2020 Startup of the Year Summit

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

November 16-19 - RevTech Labs (Charlotte, NC) - Venture135 Conference

November 17 - Greater Nashville Technology Council (Nashville, TN) - 2020 Greater Nashville IT Summit

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

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

November 19-20 - New Orleans Business Alliance (New Orleans, LA) - New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge

November 19 - Alabama Launchpad (Alabama) - Virtual Startup Competition

November 20 - Houston Exponential (Houston, TX) - The Listies

December 9 - Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster - 2020 Cleantech Innovation Awards

LookFar: strategic software development for startups.

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