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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.
Atlanta-based VC firm Valor Ventures recently released a new report on seed-stage underfunding in the Southeast. They will be hosting a webinar tomorrow, May 7 where they'll discuss their findings, along with an open Q&A. Here's a snapshot of some of their findings:
  1. The potential seed funding gap in the Southeast is approximately $1.8 billion per year. 
  2. Since 2008, less than 30% of startups in the Southeast successfully raised seed funding. This is half the funding rate founders find in the traditional innovation hubs.
  3. This lost opportunity equates to approximately 7,600 tech jobs per year due to underfunding, not including more potentially created by further rounds of funding.
  4. Closing this gap would have a significant impact on entrepreneurship and the economy in the region.
The Pivot Fund is a new competitive $25K grant aiming to help Southern female founders continue forward with their growth goals. Applications are due May 18, 2020. Learn more.

Pax Momentum is a new (mostly virtual) startup accelerator that is now accepting applications for their Fall 2020 Cohort. Pax invests $50,000 in each company, and early-stage companies from any industry across the Southeast are invited to apply. 3 out of 10 spots in each cohort are reserved for CleanTech companies. Applications are due June 1st.
~ Mallory Whitfield,
Editor of the Southern Startup Report for LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.
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Southern Startup News: April 23 - May 6, 2020

New Orleans, LA - Local organizations NexusLA, The Idea Village, Opportunity Machine, and Silicon Bayou News have teamed up under the umbrella "The Silicon Bayou Collaborative" to produce a new weekly micro-conference series dubbed The Resiliency Series — an online panel-based series featuring entrepreneurs who have weathered significant crises, like hurricanes or past economic downturns. The event series kicks off this Friday, May 8. If you missed the recent INNO virtual conference, replays of the event's workshops are available hereWaitr is expanding its food delivery services into same day grocery delivery in New Orleans, while Gilded announced that its digital currency payments solution “on autopilot” has been deployed by crypto data provider CoinMarketCap. Rob Lalka, executive director of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Tulane University, offered lessons from our local history of innovation with New Orleans City Business earlier this week. GNO Inc. released a plan for reopening businesses and restarting the local economy; view their "Best Practices for Business Reopening" plan here. The state of Louisiana has also launched an online portal with rules for how businesses should reopen. Propeller has opened applications for their 2020 Impact Accelerator; the deadline to apply is May 31. Last week GE announced they will be closing their New Orleans tech center and laying off 100 employees amid coronavirus cuts. Meanwhile, Venture For America is aiming to place recent college graduates with New Orleans startups.

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta-based marketing platform Terminus has acquired another local company, Ramble. The acquisition will allow Terminus to integrate real-time account-based chat conversations into its product. ATL startup ArtzyBella is launching a new art subscription box as a form of therapy, and  $1 from every subscription goes to efforts to end sex trafficking in Atlanta. Local startup BELLA is utilizing nature-inspired video content to help patients and healthcare providers cope with the mental health effects of COVID-19. Around Atlanta, health-tech companies such as telehealth startup Physician360 have seen rapid adoption of their services due to the pandemic. Food deal app GettaBite is offering restaurants free use of their service, while startup Drum is waiving its fees in order to support more small businesses. The Atlanta area, like everywhere else, continues to see a number of layoffs and furloughs including among local tech companies and startups.

Austin, TX - Early-stage investment firm Silverton Partners recently closed $144M in capital, its sixth and largest fund to date. The new fund will be invested primarily in Texas startups. A new report shows that Austin ranks fourth in the nation when it comes to the impact its tech sector has as a percent of the overall local economy. Austin-based transcription tech company Rev is offering free live closed captions to educators who are using Zoom for video conferences, while startup PenPal Schools has seen a spike in enrollment in its online platform that connects students around the world. Austin startups are launching new services to support local businesses: Sandbox Commerce is running a pilot program to help local retailers easily offer curbside pickup; ATX KIT has launched to introduce local CPG brands to customers; and Catalyst Games is launching virtual trivia to help support local food banks. 

Birmingham, AL - Local startups such as Viper Imaging and Deft Dynamics are adapting their manufacturing processes and software development skills to create new tools and apps to help out during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator program has been moved from July to September, and Alabama Launchpad is sharing more details about how it will use the $580K it was recently awarded from the State. 

Dallas, TX - Dallas has a new unicorn, after business planning AI platform o9 Solutions announced receiving a $100 million minority equity investment. A new report ranks Dallas as 7th in the nation in net tech employment overall. Private equity firm Bootstrap Ventures, based in Dallas and Irvine, California, announced its launch last week. The firm will specialize in water rights. Canadian medical device startup Perimeter Medical Imaging recently announced they'll be moving their headquarters to Dallas, while Plano-based medical device startup Belluscura is donating face masks to those at-risk.

Greenville, SC - Early-stage investment group VentureSouth announced earlier today that it recently invested in two Raleigh, NC early-stage companies: MemberHub and Reveal Mobile. VentureSouth completed its investment in MemberHub last week, as the company finalized its Series A investment round of over $3.3 million. VentureSouth structured and originally led the round, investing over $500,000 in the company, and was joined by co-lead AIM Group and others. VentureSouth’s investment in Reveal Mobile, which was also over $500,000, was announced by the company last week. A number of other companies in VentureSouth's portfolio are also contributing to the fight against COVID-19.

Houston, TX - Houston innovation hub The Ion has announced its second cleantech cohort. The six startups selected for the The Ion Smart and Resilient Cities Accelerator are Eigen Control, Annapurna Solutions, S2G Energy, re:3D, LifePod Corps, and Water Lens. Houston startup Grant Source is working with telemedicine companies and medical providers to help them secure grant funding, while plenty of local startups, including GotSpot, SocialMama, and Accel Lifestyle, are pivoting to provide COVID-19-related services.

Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville-based fintech company FIS has launched a $150M corporate venture investment division. FIS Ventures will invest globally in early to growth-stage fintech startups, focusing on emerging technologies including AI and machine learning, automation, data and analytics, security and privacy, blockchain, and financial inclusion.

Miami, FL - Augmented-reality startup Magic Leap recently announced a significant layoff: approximately 1,000 people or about half of their global workforce. South Florida angel network Miami Angels has closed its first investment of the year (in Tampa-based edtech company Knack) and it has another deal in due diligence now. Last year Miami Angels began investing in medical device companies, which seems like a smart move in retrospect. Miami-based startup PTO Genius recently took home $10K in cash and $10K in services as the SuperConf 2020 launch competition grand prize winner.

Raleigh-Durham, NC - Sixteen early-stage North Carolina startups have each been awarded $10K grants as part of the fourth NC IDEA MICRO grant cycle. NC IDEA Foundation CEO Thom Ruhe is also urging local investors and organizations to rethink economic development priorities. Two Raleigh-based agtech startups, TerMir and TreeCo, are finalists in the $100K Alexandria LaunchLabs pitch competition, while two Raleigh teenagers have a hit on their hands with their new neckware-mask startup CopperSAFEEight energy startups will be joining the NC Cleantech Corridor program, and Charlotte-based growth equity studio CreativeCo recently announced its first two investments: Atlanta-based SingleOps and Charlotte-based RentReadyA new lawncare startup, Rakemates, is designed to employ workers displaced by COVID-19, while a number of Charlotte-based startups are still hiring

Tampa, FL - A report from the University of Tampa shows that 2019 was a banner year for startup investment in South Florida. Synapse Florida has announced a new all digital, three day, interactive conference: Synapse Converge will take place June 9-11. Tampa-born Pitch Madness is breaking into the e-sports world with its new Sports Startup Digital Debate Competition, which kicked off on May 5 and spans multiple weeks. Florida Funders recently shared insights about the companies in its investment pipeline and how they will benefit from ‘the new normal’. Tampa startups are pivoting to help during the pandemic, as RentItems aims to make renting items easier, Presence helps colleges and universities better engage their students, and Callyo helps police maintain social distance. Local hospitals have partnered with Tampa-based analytical software company SME Solutions Group Inc. to share their coronavirus data via a digital dashboard.

Recent Rounds
Atlanta, GA - MEDcraze - $3M Seed

Atlanta, GA - SingleOps - $6M

Austin, TX - Datum Tech - $950K Seed

Austin, TX - First Dollar - $5M Seed

Austin, TX - Flueid Software - undisclosed

Austin, TX - Medici - $24M Series B

Austin, TX - Ontic Technologies - $12M Series A

Dallas, TX - Bestow - $50M Series B

Dallas, TX - o9 Solutions - $100M

Dallas, TX - Taysha Gene Therapies - $30M Seed

Durham, NC - CureMint - $1.25M

Durham, NC - Veritas Collaborative - $2.3M

Matthews, NC - Ethix360 - $1M

Melbourne, FL - SwiftPaws - $500K Seed

Morrisville, NC - Windlift - $160K


Orlando, FL - Violet Defense - $5.25M Series A

Raleigh, NC - MemberHub - $3.3M Series A

Raleigh, NC - Reveal Mobile - $2M Series A


Tampa, FL - Venuetize - $2.2M

Wilmington, NC - LifeGait - $170K
Upcoming Deadlines
May 10 - Arkansas - 10X Growth Accelerator Program Application Deadline

May 15 - Chattanooga, TN - CO.LAB’s HealthTech Accelerator Application Deadline

May 18 - Southern region - The Pivot Fund $25K Grant Application Deadline

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

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

June 1 - Southeast - PAX Momentum Fall 2020 Cohort 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

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 5-15 - Pitch Madness (Tampa, FL) - Sports Startup Digital Debate Competition

May 7 - The Idea Village (New Orleans, LA) - How to Build a Team Virtually: Hiring in the Face of Uncertainty

May 7 - Health Tech Austin (Austin, TX) - The Coronavirus Summit

May 7 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - CONNECT Networking for Entrepreneurs 

May 7 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - The Southeast: America's Secret Innovation Superhighway?

May 7 - The Venture Center (Little Rock, AR) - #VCPopUp | The Future of Fintech

May 8 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Lunch & Learn: Startup Funding Rounds

May 8 - Silicon Bayou Collaborative (New Orleans, LA) - The Resiliency Series

May 8 -  Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs (Austin, TX) - Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition

May 8 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

May 8 - RIoT (Atlanta, GA) - Virtual Lunch & Learn - Intellectual Property: Why IP Strategy Matters

May 11 - Launch Greensboro (Greensboro, NC) - Spring Demo Day - LaunchLab Growth

May 12 - Atlanta Tech Village (Atlanta, GA) - Virtual Workshop: Social Media for Startups: Converting Followers Into Clients

May 12 - Atlanta Tech Village (Atlanta, GA) - Online Golden Seeds Office Hours

May 12 - Atlanta Tech Village (Atlanta, GA) - Online Product Hunt

May 12 - Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville, TN) - Pitch for Good: Pandemic Edition

May 12-14 - Angel Capital Association Virtual Summit

May 13 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Virtual Meetup Organizer Salon

May 13 - Innovate Mississippi (Jackson, MS) - Finding Top Tech Talent for Your Startup: Webinar featuring Dr. Nashlie Sephus

May 13 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

May 14 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Intro to Funding Alternatives & Ask Me Anything

May 14 - Network Under 40 (Atlanta, GA) - Lunch and a Lead Virtual Networking

May 15 - Atlanta Tech Village (Atlanta, GA) - Online Pitch Practice

May 15 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

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

May 18 - Palm Beach Tech (Palm Beach, FL) - South Florida Tech Talk: 'Value Communication'

May 19 - The Ion (Houston, TX) - Urban Capital Network: Sourcing Angel Investment Opportunities

May 20 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Startup Runway 8th Cohort Showcase

May 20 - Valor Ventures (Atlanta, GA) - Pitchfest: Pitch A VC Via Zoom

May 21 - Capital Factory (Austin, TX) - Capital Factory Community Showcase

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

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

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

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

LookFar: strategic software development for startups.

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