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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.
As we're all now well aware, it's a whole new world. Experts say that a global recession has likely already begun, and layoffs and furloughs are hitting the workforce. You'll see plenty of Recent Rounds listed below, though some VCs are warning that coronavirus will impact fundraising for the next 2 quarters.

But tough times often spur innovation, and we're already seeing startups and entrepreneurs coming up with plenty of creative ways to help. For example, Durham Distillery in Durham, NC, Gulf Coast Distillers in Houston, TX, and Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company in Kiln, MS are among the many distilleries who have started manufacturing hand sanitizers in recent weeks. And people in Italy are using 3D printers to make extra respirator valves for hospitals.

A few events have already announced new in-person event dates for this summer and fall, including DIG SOUTH Tech Summit (July 22-24), Dallas Startup Week (August 30–September 4), and Frontier Conference (September 14-16). But many events are taking advantage of tech resources and going virtual. (Need help taking your event virtual? Check out: A Comprehensive List of Tips, Tools, and Examples for Event Organizers During the Coronavirus Outbreak)

The 5th annual Ada Lovelace Awards ceremony has been postponed, but nearly 100 women in tech from across the Gulf South have been nominated. The nominees in six award categories have now been announced: Software Engineer, Tech Founder, Digital Marketer, STEM Educator, Product Manager, or UI/UX Designer.

Until further notice, our "Upcoming Events" section below will feature only virtual events. To let us know about an upcoming virtual event, or a rescheduled in-person event, please email mwhitfield@lookfar.com. (Please note: we only send the Southern Startup Report twice a month. The next edition will be sent in early April.)
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
P.S. I am personally hosting quite a few virtual events - I hosted my first #TowardsTogether Virtual Happy Hour last Friday, and I will be hosting another one this evening. Check out all of my upcoming virtual events here: https://mallorywhitfield.com/events
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Southern Startup News: March 4 - March 18, 2020

New Orleans, LA - The New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) has set up a dedicated relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers (including rideshare drivers, musicians, arena workers, and festival production staff) who have been directly affected by loss of income. GNO, Inc. has put together a COVID-19 resources page with links and information for businesses in Southeast Louisiana. Krewe de Nieux and The Idea Village have launched their Pay It Forward fund, and The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) has activated its Disaster Response and Restoration Fund in response to the new pandemic. Gayle Benson has also partnered with GNOF and donated $1 million to help address the coronavirus crisis. While New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW) has been cancelled, and the JEDCO Challenge pitch contest has been postponed indefinitely, three New Orleanians have launched a virtual music festivalSofa King Fest, and Culturalyst has created a new platform to livestream artists’ performances and to tip them. Louisiana-based barter network Moxey also has plans to help small businesses in need. New York-based financial technology firm Raistone Capital recently announced plans to expand to the Crescent City, and New Orleans-based EdNavigator was recently named one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Innovative Companies of 2020INNO is hosting their next Open Innovation Salon Series virtually on March 24; the online event will feature office hours, networking, roundtables, and a $1000 pitch competition.

Atlanta, GA - A number of Atlanta startups are stepping up to help, with Rimidi launching a new app to accelerate patient screenings for COVID-19, ExamMed offering its telemedicine platform services for free to healthcare providers for 3 months, and Physician 360 (led by Emory emergency room physician Dr. Angela Fusaro) offering on-demand video consults with doctors. Jigsaw Interactive is giving its intelligent virtual classroom software to schools, and Kabbage has launched an effort to help any small business register to sell e-gift certificates. Early stage VC firm Valor Ventures is launching a 3-week virtual Pitchfest, which kicks off this Friday, March 20. Meanwhile, ZeeZor, an Atlanta-based real-time analytics and staff engagement platform for salon and spa businesses has been acquired by Mindbody, and Riskonnect has acquired UK-based Xactium.

Austin, TX - A couple days after sending our last Southern Startup Report, SXSW was cancelled, which led to one third of the organization’s full-time staff (58 people) being laid off. The Stand with Austin Community Fund and other resources to help local artists and businesses were launched shortly thereafter. Hatch Pitch, a SXSW staple for many years, hosted a Hatch Pitch Digital Summit Live Stream on March 16, the day their SXSW pitch competition was originally supposed to take place. DivInc recently announced its sixth accelerator cohort of 11 promising companies led by underrepresented founders. Austin-based on-demand delivery service Favor announced they would waive all commission fees for locally owned restaurant partners throughout Texas until the end of the month. Austin-based startup Outdoorsy was recently named one of top 500 startups in America on Forbes inaugural list of Best Startup Employers. A dozen Austin-based companies made the list, including SchooX, Iris Telehealth, Jungle Scout, RigUp, TrustRadius, and more.

Baton Rouge, LA - High school student Thomas O’Connor recently took home $5,000 in seed funding for his company FaceTutor, an on-demand video tutoring service, and he will represent the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge at a national pitch competition. O’Connor was among 26 students representing 21 businesses at a recent pitch competition. $25,000 in funding was distributed among the student-led businesses. Applications for next school year are now open for business-minded students in grades 8-12 in the greater Baton Rouge area.

Dallas, TX - Dallas startups are pitching in to provide solutions to the current crisis, as Vivify Health, a remote patient monitoring startup, is making a new COVID-19 mobile screening available at no cost. VitalTech, a connected care platform for seniors and remote patients is offering free telehealth access to providers nationwide for the next 60 days, through its VitalCare platform. Fort Worth-based biotech startup Exact Diagnostics, which develops and manufactures products to ensure test result validity, is helping laboratories keep up with the increasing demand for COVID-19 testing. Woman-owned startup AdaptivApps, which aims to remove barriers for those who deal with visual, hearing, or physical impairments, recently launched with its first major client.

Houston, TX - Three Houston companies made Forbes magazine's new list of the country's 500 best startup employers: 2nd.MD, Code Ninjas, and Onit. Houston-based fitness startup Kanthaka has seen a spike in sales of their on-demand fitness training sessions, and they are gearing up to launch virtual sessions with personal trainers next week. Idera, the Houston-based parent company of global B2B software productivity brands, acquired FusionCharts, a provider of JavaScript charting components and tools.

Miami, FL - South Florida-based marine-tech startup Boatyard has been acquired by MarineMax, the nation’s largest recreational boat and yacht retailer. Mindhak founder Jalen Gildersleeve is spearheading Miami's first DevCon, focused in bridging the gap between AI, Blockchain, Reality, Smart Cities & Impact. The event, to be held April 16-17, will be a hybrid conference with both virtual and physical attendance options. Tech conference eMerge Americas (originally scheduled for March 30-31) has been rescheduled for November 4-5, 2020.

Nashville, TN - Startups and organizations in Nashville are dealing with the one-two punch of the tornado earlier this month in addition to COVID-19. LaunchTN recently reported that Tennessee startups and entrepreneurs are focusing on adaptability and resilience, and they've put together a resource page for businesses re: COVID-19. Early bird ticket sales for the annual entrepreneur event 36|86 Festival (August 25-27) have begun; they've made it clear that if the event has to be postponed all registrants will be able to transfer or refund their ticket purchase. Southern/alpha founder Kelley Griggs is looking for Nashville business professionals to feature for Zoom-call style sessions on the StartupNash Slack channel. Two Nashville-based health tech companies made acquisitions recently: naviHealth acquired Innovative Healthcare Delivery, while HealthStream acquired NurseGrid.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - France-based biotech firm bioMerieux, which has an HQ in Durham, is currently working on 3 coronavirus tests, while Polaris Quantum Biotech is coming out of stealth mode to launch a new drug discovery platform that could help speed up the global effort to find a vaccine. Raleigh-based K4Connect, which creates technology to help older adults and individuals with disabilities, has been ramping up efforts to help senior communities deal with the coronavirus threat. Durham software startup All Elements is offering a free trial of its new platform to help teams go remote. Here's a roundup of how COVID-19 is affecting the NC Triangle tech sector. Raleigh-based Pendo announced the launch of Pendo for Startups, which is targeted at companies with a web or mobile application that is currently live, who have gone through a Series A funding round. TeraRecon, a Durham-based advanced visualization and AI solution provider for medical imaging, was acquiredThreat Sketch was the $7,500 prize winner at Launch Greensboro's recent Capital Connects pitch competition.

Tampa, FL - The coronavirus outbreak has demonstrated the need for a strong biotech sector, and some Florida companies are stepping up to the challenge. DocClocker is making its app, which lets doctors communicate about wait times with their patients, free during the pandemic, while St. Petersburg tech company Synzi is helping home health agencies communicate with their customers. Tampa-based Immertec has already been gaining traction, including a $6 million last fall, but their VR medical training tools are now more important than ever. Tampa edtech company Knack is working with universities and colleges to help move their classes online, while edtech startup Cohesion Education recently saw more growth over two days in the last week than it did the first two months of the year. At a recent pitch event hosted by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Stantec, the winner was a wearable air purifier for your face, inspired by coronavirus concerns.

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - Bakkt - $300M Series B

Atlanta, GA - Lume - $4.3M

Atlanta, GA - WorkN - Series A, undisclosed

Atlanta, GA - WorldWatch Plus - $2.9M Series A

Austin, TX - Overhaul - $17.5M

Birmingham, AL - Case Status - $1.5M Series Seed II

Dallas, TX - EnergyBot - Series B, undisclosed

Dallas, TX - OutMatch - undisclosed

Dallas, TX - StackPath - Series B, undisclosed

Dallas, TX - Zabo - $2.5M

Greensville, SC - Mailprotector - $5M Series A

McAllen, TX - GrainChain - $8.2M

Memphis, TN - HaloScrips - $480K

Miami, FL - BandPay - $2M Angel

Miami, FL - Bolt Mobility - $30M Series A

Miami, FL - Exuma Biotech - $19M Series B

Nashville, TN - emids - undisclosed

Nashville, TN - HeroWear - $965K Seed

Nashville, TN - Shearwater Health - undisclosed

Pawleys Island, SC - TFLiving - $4.8M Seed

Raleigh, NC - Corevist - $2.8M Series A

Raleigh, NC - Gryppers - $215K

Tampa, FL - Professional Credentials Exchange - $3.5M Seed

Winston-Salem, NC - Fluree - Seed Funding Extension Round, undisclosed

 
Upcoming Deadlines
March 20 - Austin, TX - $100,000 Investment Challenge at Black in Tech Summit Application Deadline

March 20 - Boca Raton, FL - FAU Tech Runway Launch Competition Application Deadline 

March 23 - Memphis, TN - Sparkgap Logistics Accelerator Application Deadline

March 23 - Memphis, TN - Sky High: Smart City Accelerator Application Deadline

March 23 - Houston, TX - 2020 Ion Smart Cities Accelerator Cohort 2 Application Deadline

March 27 - Conway, AR - Health Sciences Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Application Deadline

March 31 - Atlanta, GA - 2nd Annual “Siggie” Awards Nomination Deadline

March 31 - Baton Rouge, LA - Louisiana Economic Development CEO Roundtables Application Deadline

March 31 - Atlanta, GA - Startup Atlanta Board Member Nominations Deadline

March 31 - Atlanta, GA - Backstage Tour 2020 Application Deadline

March 31 - Dallas, TX - Backstage Tour 2020 Application Deadline

March 31 - Miami, FL - Backstage Tour 2020 Application Deadline

March 31 - Nashville, TN - Jumpstart Foundry Healthcare Startup Spring Investment Application Deadline

March 31 - Winston-Salem, NC - New Ventures 2020 Accelerator Application Deadline

April 3 - Miami, FL - Endeavor Miami ScaleUp Program Application Deadline

April 5 - Birmingham, AL - Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator Application Deadline

April 10 - Houston, TX - gBETA Accelerator Program Application Deadline

April 12 - Tampa, FL - Tampa Bay Wave's TechDiversity Accelerator Application Deadline

April 15 - Atlanta, GA - Comcast NBCUniversal SportsTech Accelerator Application Deadline

April 15 - Durham, NC - NC IDEA LABS Application Deadline

April 15 - Raleigh, NC - Impact Partner Grant Proposal Deadline

April 17 - United States - Launch With Goldman Sachs Black and Latinx Entrepreneur Cohort

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

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

open deadline - Atlanta, GA - Apply to the Silicon Road Retail Accelerator
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
March 1-March 31 - EnrichHER (Atlanta, GA) - Women Who Lead: Live Digital Conference

March 19 - The Conductor (Conway, AR) - Live Streamed: Game Changers with Christina Lecuyer

March 19 - The Venture Center (Little Rock, AR) - Rising to the Challenge: Leading at Your Best in Uncertain Times

March 19 - The Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Webinar: How High Growth Businesses Can Work during the CoronaVirus

March 19 - Venture Cafe (Winston-Salem, NC) - #VirtualVentureCafe Digital Thursday Gathering

March 20 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Virtual Pitchfest

March 20 - RIoT (Raleigh, NC) - How Technology & Data Combat Pandemics

March 23 - Startup Grind Baton Rouge (Baton Rouge, LA) - Live Webinar fireside chat with Chris Jordan, CEO & Co-founder of Omnidek

March 24 - Advent Coworking (Charlotte, NC) - TechTalks on Telemedicine

March 24 - INNO (New Orleans, LA) - INNO Open Innovation Salon Series

March 26 - LaunchBio (Durham, NC) - Larger Than Life Science: Thinking Ahead

March 26 - NC IDEA (Durham, NC) - NC IDEA LABS Info Session via Webinar

March 26 - Venture Cafe (Winston-Salem, NC) - #VirtualVentureCafe Digital Thursday Gathering

March 27 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Virtual Pitchfest

March 31 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Virtual Founders Stories Austin

March 31 - SEED20 (Charlotte, NC) - SEED20 OnStage Livestream

April 1 - AlphaLab Gear (Raleigh, NC) - Raleigh Hardware Cup: Virtual Pitch & Networking Event

April 2-July 8 - The Idea Village (New Orleans, LA) - The IDEAinstitute: Launching The Lean Startup 10-week online course

April 3 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Virtual Pitchfest

April 7 - The Conductor (Conway, AR) - Pitch your business like a pro with Jeff Standridge

April 14 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - 2nd Annual Black In Tech Summit

April 16-17 - MagnoliaJS (Jackson, MS) - MagnoliaJS 2020 (REMOTE) 2nd Annual Developer Conference

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