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.
In case you can't get your fill of Southern tech startup news, Ventured South recently released Issue #1 of their newsletter. The promise, from founder Charlton Cunningham:
"Each month, you’ll dive in with us into a trend or topic that we think is shaping the startup ecosystems of the Southeast in a notable way. We’ll strive to provide you with evidence and new perspective, and hopefully inspire some debate."
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next!
Southern Startup News: January 6 - 22, 2020
New Orleans, LA - Local entrepreneurs are encouraged to complete the 2nd annual GNO Startup Report survey by February 7. “This research will help Greater New Orleans better understand its early-stage economic landscape and supply tools to affect policy, attract investment, apply for grants, implement relevant programs and measure success.” New Orleans-based startup TrayAway recently announced that their system (which helps pick up room service trays faster and more efficiently) is now being used by more than 100 hotels worldwide. New Orleans-based rasa.io announced the launch of its free, self-service artificial intelligence newsletter platform available for businesses of all sizes, while 2019 Ada Lovelace Award winner Laurel Hess recently launched hampr, an app that allows users to schedule wash-and-fold laundry services. This weekend the 48 Hour Launch returns to New Orleans; over the course of the weekend, teams will form and work together to take an idea and turn it into a viable business. Tonight, you'll have your choice between attending 2 free events: the Silicon Bayou 100 Release Party or Developed: The App Economy Tour.
Atlanta, GA - A recent report from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association shows that while Atlanta startups had a record year, with over $1.8 billion in venture funding in 2019, deals in the 4th quarter of last year declined by 71% compared to the previous year. Sig Mosley, one of Atlanta’s most well-known and successful angel investors, has joined Zane Venture Fund, a $10 million fund created to support tech-enabled startups led by women and people of color, as a venture partner. Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech, a global accelerator for sports technology startups, is launching in Atlanta this year. They are currently hiring for new roles for the sports tech team and accepting applications for the first accelerator class, which kicks off in August. Atlanta tech entrepreneur Jewel Burks Solomon (whose own startup, Partpic, was acquired by Amazon in 2016) has been named head of Google for Startups for the U.S., a newly created position at Google.
Austin, TX - A new report from PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor shows that Austin startups landed $2.2 billion across 263 venture deals in 2019. Austin recently hosted The Future of Real Estate Summit, and attendees discussed how the city has become a hotbed for the real estate tech industry. The 50 interactive technology companies chosen to compete in the SXSW Pitch in March have been announced, and Austin has a strong showing, with 5 companies spread across 5 categories.
Baton Rouge, LA - I'm headed to Baton Rouge next month, as the featured speaker at Startup Grind Baton Rouge's monthly networking event. Join me on February 18. Baton Rouge-based King Crow Studios, a digital media company, has been selected for a $1 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for training and simulation applications, the Louisiana Technology Park recently announced. Another Louisiana Technology Park member company, Bascom Hunter (which provides technical solutions for the aerospace and defense market) has acquired supplier Xcelaero. IBM is hiring more tech workers and holding a career fair on February 1 to fill 35 positions at its Client Innovation Center in Baton Rouge, and biotech spin-out company Chosen Diagnostics has received a $299,641 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer award.
Birmingham, AL - A new Birmingham chapter of Black Girl Ventures has launched, with the aim of creating a more inclusive local economy and providing access to social and financial capital for Black and Brown women founders. There are also chapters in Houston, Miami, Durham, and Philadelphia. Alabama Futures Fund recently invested in Linq, which seeks to disrupt the traditional B2B networking platforms currently on the market. A recent writeup in Entrepreneur magazine sheds light on how startups are helping Birmingham bounce back.
Greenville, SC - South Carolina-based investment firm VentureSouth announced another year of record-setting investment activity. They invested $12.7 million in 28 Southeastern early stage companies in 2019, up from $7 million the previous year, representing an 82% increase in capital deployed.
Little Rock, AR - The Conductor, a public-private partnership between the University of Central Arkansas and Startup Junkie, will continue its free office hours across central Arkansas communities in spring of 2020. Career Connections, a new Facebook initiative that connects emerging talent to training opportunities, local internships, and a network of professional mentors, is set to launch in Arkansas this spring. The application deadline for students and businesses is Friday, February 14.
Nashville, TN - I had the recent pleasure of speaking at the 2nd Annual Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference, where student-led startups Shore Safe and Phuture Doctors won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at the event's pitch competition. Nashville-based Hytch has announced the launch of the nation’s largest carbon offset program for commuters. The program is free to any commuter who wants to reduce their carbon footprint.
Raleigh-Durham, NC - On-demand car care startup Get Spiffy is branching out into the tire business, with an eco-friendly approach to de-manufacturing used tires. Raleigh drone tech firm PrecisionHawk has named a new CEO, and the NC IDEA Foundation will host quarterly gatherings to grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem within North Carolina. The Alexandria LaunchLabs accelerator is offering a $100,000 prize to an agtech startup; deadline to apply is January 31. Co-working space HQ Raleigh reported a 45% increase in membership last year, while Durham-based entrepreneurial hub American Underground reported the largest fundraising year-end haul to date – with companies headquartered there raising around $79.2 million last year alone. The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) has announced the tech and life science companies that have been selected to present at Venture Connect Summit 2020, to be held March 17-19 in Raleigh, NC.
Tampa, FL - The full agenda for Synapse Summit 2020 has been announced. The event takes place February 11-12 and features keynote speakers Sara Blakely, Founder and CEO of SPANX, Jeff Hoffman, Global Entrepreneur from Priceline and uBid, and University of South Florida President Steven Currall. After recently participating in Tampa Bay Wave’s TechDiversity accelerator, artificial intelligence startup TheIncLab has established an office in Ybor City. Four companies headquartered in St. Petersburg or Tampa are among the 15 startups that will be in the spotlight at the 2020 Florida Venture Capital Conference, to be held January 30-31 in Orlando. Tampa-based Florida Funders had a banner year, ranking as the top VC fund for the Sunshine State.
Wilmington, NC - Wilmington-based Canapi Ventures has unveiled a new $545M investment fund that will provide growth capital to entrepreneurs building enterprise solutions for the financial services industry of the future.
Atlanta, GA - Curricula - $3M Growth
Atlanta, GA - Lemongrass Consulting - $10M Series C
Atlanta, GA - OncoLens - $2.5M Pre-Series A
Atlanta, GA - OnPay - $6M Series A
Atlanta, GA - Raxis - undisclosed
Austin, TX - ePayPolicy - undisclosed
Austin, TX - FlashParking - $60M
Austin, TX - Locale - $11M Series A
Austin, TX - Riskpulse - $22.7M
Austin, TX - TeleVet - $2M Seed
Austin, TX - The Guild - $25M
Austin, TX - Vapor IO - $90M Series C
Charlotte, NC - Airwavz - $10M
Charlotte, NC - AvidXchange - $260M Equity
Cornelius, NC - MyWorkChoice - $3M
Dallas, TX - Boodskapper - undisclosed seed round
Dallas, TX - DataBank - $185M Equity
Dallas, TX - Dottid - $3.85M Seed
Dallas, TX - Spotio - $4.5M Series A
Dallas, TX - TestFit - $2M Seed
Durham, NC - BioSkryb - $11.5M Seed
Gainesville, FL - Feathr - $11M Series B
Greensboro, NC - Proficient Health - $2.6M
Houston, TX - HighRadius - $125M Series B
Houston, TX - Hitched - $5.5M Series A
Houston, TX - M1neral - $1.6M Pre-Seed
Houston, TX - vChain - $7M Series A
Plano, TX - DoctorLogic - $7M Series A
Raleigh, NC - Contego Medical - $22.3M
Roxboro, NC - Open Book Extracts (OBX) - $6M
St. Petersburg, FL - InformedDNA - undisclosed
St. Petersburg, FL - Spatial Networks - $42.5M Series A
Tampa, FL - Abacode - $4.85M Series A
Tampa, FL - Oracle Health - $107K
Tampa, FL - Peerfit - $10M
January 24 - Memphis, TN - Propel Minority Business Accelerator Application Deadline
January 27 - Houston, TX - 2020 Rice Business Plan Competition Application Deadline
January 31 - Research Triangle, NC - Alexandria Launch Labs AgTech Innovation Prize Application Deadline
January - Charleston, SC - DIG SOUTH Wild Pitch Application Deadline
February 3 - Knoxville, TN - What’s the Big Idea 48 Hour Launch Application Deadline
February 7 - New Orleans, LA - GNO Startup Report Survey Deadline
February 12 - Charlotte, NC - Chloe Capital Invest In Women Tour Application Deadline
February 14 - Little Rock, AR - Facebook Career Connections Application Deadline
February 21 - Atlanta, GA - Atlanta Inno Tech Madness Nomination Deadline
February 21 - Austin, TX - Austin Inno Tech Madness Nomination Deadline
February 21 - Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Inno Tech Madness Nomination Deadline
February 21 - Dallas, TX - North Texas Inno Tech Madness Nomination Deadline
February 21 - Miami, FL - HERIMpact Miami Pitch Competition Application Deadline
February 21 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Inno Tech Madness Nomination Deadline
February 23 - Atlanta, GA - WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program Application Deadline
March 2 - MIT Solve Digital Workforce Challenge Deadline
March 27 - Conway, AR - Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Application Deadline
April 5 - Birmingham, AL - Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator Application Deadline
April 15 - Atlanta, GA - Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator Application Deadline
open deadline - Atlanta, GA - Apply to the Silicon Road Retail Accelerator
January 22-23 - Charlotte, NC - Seed the South
January 23 - New Orleans, LA - Silicon Bayou 100 Release Party
January 23 - New Orleans, LA - Developed | The App Economy Tour
January 23 - Atlanta, GA - 3rd Annual Atlanta Startup Awards
January 23 - Atlanta, GA - Healthcare Entrepreneur Meetup
January 23 - Austin, TX - Silicon Hills News 2020 Austin Tech Calendar Party
January 23 - Charlotte, NC - Inno on Fire Awards
January 23 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave Pitch Night
January 24-26 - New Orleans, LA - 48 Hour Launch
January 25 - Austin, TX - Data Day Texas 2020
January 27-29 - New Orleans, LA - CPX 360 Cyber Security Summit And Expo
January 28 - Atlanta, GA - State of Innovation: Startups to Watch 2020
January 28 - Daytona Beach, FL - Upsurge Florida: Intro to Early Stage Tech Investing in Florida
January 30 - Austin, TX - Austin Inno Startups to Watch 2020
January 30 - Baton Rouge, LA - Tech Park Academy: Hack Your Productivity
January 30 - Dallas, TX - North Texas Inno's Startups to Watch 2020
January 30-31 - Orlando, FL - 29th Annual Florida Venture Capital Conference
January 31 - New Orleans, LA - Black Tech Happy Hour
January 31 - Miami, FL - NFL 1st and Future Pitch-Off Competition
January 31-February 1 - Nashville, TN - 5th Annual Social Venture Summit
January 31-February 2 - Davidson, NC - Techstars Startup Weekend Davidson
February 6 - New Orleans, LA - Chloe Capital Invest In Women Tour
February 6 - Charlotte, NC - Panel Discussion: What happens after product-market fit?
February 6 - Jackson, MS - Innovate Mississippi Presents: CONNECT
February 7 - Atlanta, GA - EXLAB Atlanta Open House
February 7-9 - Jacksonville, FL - Techstars Startup Weekend JAX
February 10 - New Orleans, LA - R-Ladies NOLA Launch Party
February 11 - Tampa, FL - Ignite the Night TAMPA Pitch Competition
February 11-12 - Tampa, FL - Synapse Summit
February 11-14 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - ITEXPO
February 18 - Baton Rouge, LA - Startup Grind Baton Rouge (I'm speaking!)
February 19 - Tampa, FL - State of Innovation: Startups to Watch 2020
February 19-21 - Atlanta, GA - DevNexus 2020
February 20 - Tampa, FL - Talents, Rebels & Disruptive Innovation: An Evening with the Fintech Revolution
February 26 - Austin, TX - Blockchain and Digital Transformation in Health 2020 Symposium
March 1 - Knoxville, TN - What’s the Big Idea 48 Hour Launch Finale
March 4 - Austin, TX - Techstars Austin Demo Day
March 4 - Greensboro, NC - 2020 Capital Connects Pitch Competition
March 5 - Atlanta, GA - Tech Talent South: Tech Talks
March 5 - Austin, TX - DivInc 2020 Champions of Change Awards
March 5 - Dallas, TX - Dallas Diversity Innovation Summit
March 11 - Miami, FL - HERImpact Miami Pitch Competition
March 13-22 - Austin, TX - SXSW Conference - (I'm speaking! Learn more.)
March 16 - Austin, TX - Hatch Pitch Summit 2020
March 17-19 - Raleigh, NC - Venture Connect Summit 2020
March 23-27 - New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW)
April 1-3 - Birmingham, AL - The Frontier Industrial Innovation Conference
April 22-24 - Charleston, SC - DIG SOUTH Tech Summit
April 26 - May 1 - Dallas, TX - Dallas Startup Week
April 27-29 - New Orleans, LA - INNO Conference
April 28 - Houston, TX - Cyber Hatch Pitch 2020
April 28-29 - Houston, TX - 4th Annual Houston Cyber Summit
May 19 - Charlotte, NC - Chloe Capital Invest In Women Tour