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.
Howdy! We've had a number of new subscribers join the Southern Startup Report (SSR) in recent weeks, and I've also had a few folks reach out with questions about how to submit news for a future SSR, so I figured I'd share some details in this edition.
I've been curating the Southern Startup Report for 3 years now, a role which I took over from the SSR's creator, Alec Cole. Twice a month, I comb through news from across the southeastern United States to pull out the most regionally significant headlines related to tech startups, as well as funding rounds and events. As I'm sure you can imagine, it is a tremendous effort to curate 2 week's worth of news from across such a large region of the U.S., and I do occasionally miss certain news.
If you ever hear of any noteworthy tech startup related news out of your area of the Southeast, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to include it. If your news is time-sensitive (like an event) keep in mind that we only publish the SSR twice a month (about every 2 weeks, give or take), so send me any event listings well in advance.
The SSR is made possible as a free resource thanks to LookFar and Club Discovery. You can learn more about our New Orleans co-working space in this recent article from Biz New Orleans magazine.
Thanks for your support of the SSR! If you find our report useful, please consider sharing it with a colleague who may not already know about it.
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
P.S. Ever wondered what I do when I'm not curating this report? I recently started teaching classes on digital marketing as an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University's School of Professional Advancement. I also recently launched a new series of video interviews on YouTube called Curious Conversations #TowardsTogether.
Southern Startup News: August 27 - September 10, 2020
New Orleans, LA - Louisiana leads the nation in new business applications, with the number of new businesses in the state up by 239% compared to last summer. New Orleans-based IT management company Bellwether Technology recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, and the Lower Garden District has a new co-working space, Urban HUB. The team behind the dating app for dog lovers, Dig Dates, is launching a new dating app for the cat community: Tabby. Another local dog-related startup, MaryMac's Doggie Retreat, was chosen as one of 15 companies from around the globe to participate in the second annual Leap Venture Academy Bootcamp. Former New Orleans Saints player turned entrepreneur Marques Colston is joining the faculty at the University of New Orleans, where he is teaching a course in the honors program called “Leadership and Entrepreneurship.”
Atlanta, GA - Atlanta-based Gatherly is creating a new alternative to virtual conferences that combats the Zoom fatigue we've all grown accustomed to. Atlanta-based moving logistics company MyPorter is expanding into Tampa, while ATL is getting a new SaaS company import from South Africa: Skynamo helps sales teams who are traveling. Atlanta startup StudentBridge is bringing college tours into the digital realm, while SocialHound has a new “social network for your pup” in the works. Valor Ventures Fund 2, which has already made four investments into Physician360, Vital4 Technologies, LeaseQuery and Capway, is attracting The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), The Georgia Tech Foundation and other sophisticated institutional investors through its commitment to premium venture capital returns paired with a commitment to racial and gender inclusion. Entrepreneur & investor Justin McLeod recently announced that he'll be joining venture capital firm Outlander Labs "as a Partner investing in BIG ideas in the Southeast!"
Austin, TX - Austin-based dating app Bumble may be headed toward an IPO valued between $6-8 billion. Six venture capital firms - Wild Basin Investments, Next Coast Ventures, Notley Ventures, Golden Section Venture Capital, Moonshots Capital and Ecliptic Capital - are teaming up with DivInc to improve access to funding for entrepreneurs of color. Diversity-focused investment firm TXV Partners, which has offices in Austin, Dallas & San Francisco, is teaming up with local communications agency LERMA on a new venture aimed at finding, mentoring and investing in Black- and Hispanic-founded startups. While some Austin area co-working spaces have closed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a co-working comeback may be on the horizon.
Baton Rouge, LA - A new virtual event series aimed at creating action-oriented conversations about equity in entrepreneurship kicked off yesterday; learn more about NexusLA's new RESOLVE series, which continues September 22-24. Networking app Mintor is launching a new tool to facilitate intimate conversation and connection among entrepreneurs: Lounge. The next Lounge event will be in partnership with Startup Grind Baton Rouge on September 15 with a round table discussion focused on "Fearless Self-Branding." LSU has partnered with a sports technology startup to develop new helmet cooling technologies designed to help protect players from coronavirus.
Birmingham, AL - Four startups with innovative solutions to challenges presented by COVID-19 each took home $37,500 at the recent Reignite Alabama pitch competition; Motion Mobs has developed a mobile-based anonymous notifications app for COVID-19 exposure, OBEX Health is developing 3D-printed, comfortable and reusable N95 face masks, Safe Cops Stops is educating motorists on traffic stop safety, and Seamly is giving individuals the ability to design & create their own clothing. Bronze Valley Accelerator has named a new director, Haley Medved Kendrick, and today, September 11, is the deadline to apply for their inaugural fall 2020 cohort. Mixtroz founders Kerry Schrader & Ashlee Ammons have joined the new All Rise Visionary Voices Speakers Bureau, whose aim is to increase diverse representation at events and in media overage. Techstars Alabama EnergyTech recently announced its inaugural class of startups; participating companies based in the South include Ashipa Electric, Con.doit, Resilient Power Systems, TruSpin, and ShipShape AI.
Dallas, TX - During the recent Dallas Startup Week, founders, investors and experts discussed topics like the future of retail and how Dallas is becoming a hub for autonomous transportation, while the Disrupt Dallas summit focused on addressing the needs of underrepresented entrepreneurs and a panel at the 2nd Annual Women of Innovation Summit discussed how to measure success. Venture Dallas is gearing up for their upcoming month-long virtual experience that will connect Texas founders with active investors. Grata, a social media platform focused on frontline service workers is launching in Dallas, while streaming startup AfroLandTV has been selected to join the newest cohort of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator. Latinx-focused dating app Chispa is launching a get-out-the-vote initiative and SKU DFW, the “nation’s first consumer products accelerator,” has chosen the 5 startups that will join its inaugural cohort.
Greenville, SC - Early-stage investment firm VentureSouth recently announced a major milestone, as they have now invested more than $50 million in early-stage companies in the Southeast. Investments in new and existing portfolio companies this summer, including investments in Threatswitch and Altis Biosystems, tipped the VC firm over the $50M mark.
Houston, TX - Houston was recently named among the top U.S. cities for female entrepreneurs, and among the world's top cities of the future for global business investment. Houston entrepreneur Brittany Barreto is bringing attention to startups focused on women's health and wellness with FemTech Focus; her new podcast has garnered 5,000 subscribers since launching in April and she plans to launch a 12-week virtual accelerator program and venture fund next year to focus on femtech companies. In the meantime, she's partnering with GUILD Academy Femtech Edition for an 8-week accelerator this fall; applications are open online and close September 18. Houston coworking company The Cannon has launched Cannon Connect, a new online platform for its members, while Houston has a new all-women coworking space coming soon: SheSpace. Chevron Technology Ventures has become the first official tenant of The Ion, an innovation hub that's set to open in Spring 2021, and energy experts are calling for Houston to become the 'energy transition capital of the world' with a shift to green energy alternatives. Win-Win startup founder and former NFL player Mike T. Brown was recently featured by CNBC's Make It series on building a company in Silicon Valley and then bringing it home to Houston.
Jackson, MS - The “Emerging Solutions” project, funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and managed by Innovate Mississippi is seeking ideas from Mississippians about how technology or other new products or services could push Mississippi toward the best possible response to the COVID-19 crisis. Submit your ideas via innovate.ms/solutions.
Miami, FL - Fintech startup Wemlo has been acquired by RE/MAX Holdings, the parent company of RE/MAX and Motto Mortgage. The Black Men Talk Tech Unicorn Ambition Conference is set to return to Miami for its second year; learn more about the virtual conference, set for October 23-25. General Assembly and Black Valley Digital are partnering with Broward County Library on a new program to expand tech and digital skills for underserved small business owners in southern Florida.
Nashville, TN - At the recent 36|86 Festival LaunchTN Pitch Competition, two Tennessee-based startups took home first prize; property management platform SecondKeys won top prize and cybersecurity startup ARMS Cyber won the Student Edition. Launch Tennessee recently selected Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and TennSMART to manage new mentor network programs for startups in the agricultural and automotive industries. Launch Tennessee has also launched Season 3 of their podcast, Disrupt the Continuum, which shares entrepreneurship stories from across the state. Tennessee's Governor Bill Lee recently announced that the state will invest $61M in broadband expansion. Nashville-based healthtech company Change Healthcare recently acquired healthcare platform Prometheus Analytics.
Raleigh-Durham, NC - Raleigh’s tele-coaching startup SoleLife has been picked to join the Techstars Iowa Accelerator class of 2020, while Internet of Things development group RIoT is expanding their programming and services to Virginia and Colorado. Raleigh artificial intelligence firm Persistence AI says it’s hiring hundreds while AI startup Tanjo is leveraging its technology platform to help business and community leaders navigate with North Carolina’s COVID-19 reopening. Raleigh tech startup MuukLabs has landed a $256,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program; they also recently graduated from the TechStars Kansas City Accelerator. Venture capital investment firm TrueBridge Capital Partners is getting acquired by an affiliate of Dallas-based P10 Holdings.
Tampa, FL - The Tampa Bay Wave and Embarc Collective recently revealed 13 Florida-based, women-owned startups that make up their first ever TechWomen Rising Accelerator cohort. With so many successful women-owned startups, it's no surprise that St. Petersburg has been named the 4th best city in the nation for female entrepreneurs. Synapse Florida has announced a new free, four-day virtual event to take place as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week; Synapse Converge will take place November 16-19. Tampa-based IT and cybersecurity recruiting firm HireVergence was recently acquired by Job.com, an Austin, TX-based digital recruitment platform, while St. Petersburg-based tech startup Callyo has been acquired by Motorola Solutions.
Atlanta, GA - Advocate Networks - undisclosed
Atlanta, GA - Oversight - undisclosed
Atlanta, GA - Trust Stamp - $6.5M Crowdfunding
Austin, TX - Fox Robotics - $9M Series A
Austin, TX - Restream - $50M Series A
Austin, TX - Sana Benefits - $20.8M Series A
Austin, TX - Triumvira Immunologics - $55M Series A
Carrboro, NC - Inhalon Biopharma - $2M
Charlotte, NC - Carewell - $5M Seed
Dallas, TX - FireMon - $40M
Durham, NC - InSoma Bio - $50K
Durham, NC - ReViral - $44M Series C
Ft. Lauderdale, FL - Ubicquia - $30M Series C
Hickory, NC - Translational Imaging Innovations - $1.5M
Nashville, TN - backpack - undisclosed Angel Funding
Raleigh, NC - TerMir - $444K
St. Petersburg, FL - SKUxchange - $1M
Tampa, FL - Minimise - $400M
September 11 - Birmingham, AL - Fall 2020 Bronze Valley Accelerator Application Deadline
September 13 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Startup Battle 8.0 Application Deadline
September 14 - Birmingham, AL - Alabama Launchpad Application Deadline
September 14 - Nashville, TN - Pitch For Good: Data/Analytics/AI Edition 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 18 - Guild Academy Femtech Edition Application 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 4 - Lafayette, LA - Get Started Medical Pitch Competition Application Deadline
October 9 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM Grant Application Deadline
October 15 - Nashville, TN - Nashville Entrepreneur Center InFlight 2020 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
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 email@example.com
September 12-13 - Knoxville, TN - The Maker City Summit
September 14 - First Flight Venture Center (Durham, NC) - 2020 SBIR Week in the Southeast: North Carolina
September 14 - First Flight Venture Center (Durham, NC) - Early Stage Capital: Sources & Challenges
September 14 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - TECH TALK: 'Native Content & Optimization' with Mike Conway (Bidtellect)
September 14-18 - General Assembly (Houston, TX) - Shift[ED] Virtual Summit
September 15 - Startup Grind Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge, LA) - Fearless Self-Branding Round Table Discussion
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 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - Data Science, Analytics, and Artificial Intelligence
September 15-17 - Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship (Houston, TX) - 18th Annual Energy Tech Venture Forum
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 18 - StarterStudio (Orlando, FL) - Drive-in Pitch Night
September 19 - Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (Knoxville, TN) - Black EXCELence Summit
September 21 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - What You Need to Know About Tech as a Non-Technical Founder
September 21 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - TECH TALK: 'Tech Startups & Raising Capital' with John Igoe (Lockelord)
September 22 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Pitch for Good: Data / Analytics / AI Edition
September 22 - Houston Angel Network (Houston, TX) - Venture Debt Workshop
September 22-24 - NexusLA (Baton Rouge, LA) - RESOLVE Virtual Event Series on Equity in Entrepreneurship
September 23 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Privacy Basics for Startup Companies
September 23 - Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Houston, TX) - Why Venture Capitalists are Investing in "Software Beyond the Screen"
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 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - The Ion Startup Demo Day
October 1 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - CONNECT: Networking for Entrepreneurs
October 5 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Women in Tech Summit
October 5-9 - Birmingham, AL - BIO Alabama Virtual Conference
October 5-9 - Tampa, FL - Techstars Startup Week Tampa Bay
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 8 - Startup Summit (Charlotte, NC) - Charlotte All Day Conference
October 9-10 - Sociallyin (Birmingham, AL) - Southern Social Summit 2020
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 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 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 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