📬 Southern Startup Report: April 26 — May 9, 2018

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. Subscribe here to get the SSR delivered to your inbox.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Southern startups. Last week I attended Collision Conference here in New Orleans, and had the opportunity to meet many incredible startup founders and people working to create a more vibrant startup community in our region. I even had the pleasure of briefly chatting with Arlan Hamilton and her mom (I may have fangirled a bit!) just a few days before the announcement of her new $36 million fund that will invest in black female founders.

A recent report from the Angel Resource Institute showed a sizable increase in deals for firms with female founders, as well as increased deal activity beyond Silicon Valley. It sounds like other investors are catching on to the Rise of the Rest approach, which is making its way across the South this week. Chattanooga is hosting them today, followed by Louisville tomorrow, but 3 winners have already been crowned: Nickson (which helps millennials avoid the hassles of furnishing apartments) won in Dallas, Soundways (which helps professionals in the music industry collect unpaid royalties) won in Memphis, and Mixtroz (which helps attendees break the ice at networking events) won in Birmingham last night. Congrats to all of the winners! I can’t wait to see who takes home the prize in Chattanooga and Louisville!

~ Mallory Whitfield, LookFar Director of Marketing

New Orleans, LA — While Collision Conference made it official that they’re moving from New Orleans to Toronto next year, locals stepped up to announce that they’d be creating a new conference, Innoconf, to take its place. Local tech company Computrols recently celebrated the grand opening of their new, 43,000 square foot tech center, while two local women-owned STEM companies — Technology & Learning Center and Model Content — were recently recognized as some of the best small businesses in America by SCORE.

Atlanta, GA — There’s plenty of news out of ATL to report, as the city’s most valuable fintech company, GreenSky, filed for IPO recently and Kabbage announced plans to acquire Orchard. A new report shows that the state’s fintech scene is booming, with at least 120 fintech firms and more than 38K fintech specialists based in Georgia. The city is also rich with opportunities for underrepresented founders, as Golden Seeds, one of the country’s most active female-focused angel investor networks, opened a new office in Atlanta (their first in the South). Women and minority-led startups have also taken home the prizes at a number of recent pitch competitions: Reciprocare won the $10K Startup Runway prize, Qoins won the $50K Fintech Innovation Award Challenge, and OssPolice won $100K at TechSquare Labs’ Atlanta Startup Battle. TechSquare Labs also announced plans to invest in 2 of the other competitors: Eletype and Cove.Tool.

Austin, TX — Bat City has big money headed its way, as Trust Ventures, a new Koch Brothers-backed venture capital firm announced plans to raise up to $50 million for its initial fund. Sacramento-based early-stage VC firm Moneta Ventures has opened an Austin office and plans to invest about $20 million into Texas-based tech startups, while The University of Texas in Austin has already generated more than $1 million in contributions for The Genesis Fund, a crowdfunding campaign meant to support student startups. Charles Schwab also picked Austin as home to one of their new Digital Accelerator hubs, which promises new tech jobs. In notable acquisition news, RetailMeNot announced plans to acquire Salt Lake City-based LowestMed, which will help them market discounted prescription drugs to their existing customer base. Mark Cuban-backed Austin startup Meta SaaS has also been acquired by Illinois-based software company Flexera.

Baton Rouge, LA — Portland-based cybersecurity solution provider Twistlock recently announced plans to open a global solutions engineering center in Baton Rouge. The company already has offices in New York, London, and Herzliya, Israel, but this will be the first time they’ve set up shop in the Southern region.

Birmingham, AL — As one of 5 Southern cities picked for the Rise of the Rest tour, The Magic City has a lot to offer to startups. In a recent post, Amy Nelson explained why Birmingham is Venture for America’s fasted growing market and why she’s so excited about what the city has to offer startups. Innovate Birmingham recently released the latest in their series of reports on the tech ecosystem there, focusing in on how both local and national investors view the startup scene in the city and how local startup investment stacks up against that of Nashville.

Charlotte, NC — Entrepreneurial training program City Startup Labs received a $125K grant from the Kauffman Foundation’s Inclusion Initiative for a new pilot program that will teach computer literacy and other entrepreneurial skills to formerly incarcerated citizens. Thirteen of the city’s best early-stage startups recently took the stage to pitch at the 17th annual Charlotte Venture Challenge. The “People’s Choice” Award went to Notable, which helps job applicants get useful feedback to improve their applications for future roles, while Genubot won the student category. Meanwhile, privately held tech company SentryOne announced their acquisition of Jacksonville, FL-based Pragmatic Works Software.

Houston, TX — I had the pleasure of meeting GotSpot founder Reda Hicks at Collision last week. While she didn’t win the Collision PITCH competition (that honor went to Silicon Valley startup Torch), she did share a recent win with me. GotSpot took home the $5K grand prize at the recent Pitch Distilled competition, hosted by Jack Daniel’s and WIRED. Her startup story was also recently featured by fellow Houston startup Alice, which connects entrepreneurs & small business owners with resources they need to succeed.

Miami, FL — Global entrepreneurship organization TiE continues to expand its foothold throughout the southeast. Fresh off the heels of launching a new angel group with their Atlanta chapter earlier this year, the organization recently announced the launch of TiE Miami. President & Charter Member Seema Chaturvedi spoke highly of the growing startup scene in Miami, a sentiment which was echoed by Curbed in a recent piece about the city’s tech scene. The article pointed to tech communities like Refresh Miami, events such as Black Tech Week, and the recent move by Silicon Valley-based accelerator 500 Startups to open a new office in downtown Miami earlier this year as signs of positive growth.

Ruston, LA — North Louisiana is seeking to spur innovation, as the New Louisiana Angel Fund 2, a $3 million angel investment fund, announced new partnerships with six regional university foundations, including the College of Business at Louisiana Tech University, LSU Shreveport, Centenary College, University of Louisiana at Monroe, Grambling State University and Northwestern State University. The first New Louisiana Angel Fund was launched in 2015 with $2.6 million and has funded 13 North Louisiana-based high-growth startups.

Tampa, FL — The Tampa-based investment organization Florida Funders has exceeded their original funding goal, and they’ve currently raised $11.75 million to back early-stage technology companies. There are plenty of local companies of possible interest to them, as 20 Florida startups, including 5 from Tampa, were recently selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants to present at the Florida Venture Forum’s Early Stage Angel Capital Conference later this month, while four companies — Say, GlobeKeeper, Intervyo and WiseShelf — are headed from Israel to Tampa as part of the Florida-Israel Business Accelerator’s initiative to attract growing startups to set up shop in Tampa.

“My first start-up was with an Internet company in the 1990s. I was able to raise $1 million in angel funding, mostly with my contacts. I wished I would have walked away from our first investor — we had to give up control of our company as part of the deal and earn back our shares based on milestones. We were uncertain how to raise venture capital and thought we needed help. We met all of our milestones ahead of schedule, but they were not able to meet any of their funding milestones.

You learn the most from your mistakes. I had a similar offer on Alertgy in the beginning of 2017 from an angel organization, and I this time I walked away. We did the seed round on our terms and have great traction moving forward. So trust in yourself and move boldly, as ‘fortune favors the bold’ as Virgil once said.”

~ Marc Rippen, CEO of Alertgy, Daytona Beach, FL

Alertgy is working to improve the lives of diabetics through technical innovation. The startup and its wearable nonintrusive glucose monitoring device recently won $36,000 at the inaugural NOLA Health Innovators Challenge during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

Atlanta, GA — SmartPM Technologies — $1.1M Seed

Austin, TX — Dosh — $44M Series A

Austin, TX — inKind Cards — $5.2M

Austin, TX — Preschool2me — undisclosed seed stage funding

Birmingham, AL — University Fancards — $2.5M

Boca Raton, FL — Washé — $3.5M Seed

Dallas, TX — IOOGO — $250K Equity

Dallas, TX — ShearShare — $1.1M Seed

Fort Lauderdale, FL — DirectTIPS — $1.5M Series A

Hollywood, FL — ClassWallet — $2.3M

Memphis, TN — Entac Medical, Inc. — undisclosed Series A2

Miami, FL — DadeSystems — undisclosed

Miami, FL — MyPark — $2.1M Seed

Nashville, TN — JumpCrew — $5.4M Series A

Nashville, TN — VisuWell — undisclosed

Raleigh, NC — Constellation Digital Partners — $3M

Tampa, FL — Morphogenesis — $16M Series A

May 11 — Houston, TX — TMCx Medical Device Accelerator Program Application Deadline

May 14 — Durham, NC — NC IDEA SEED Micro-Grant Pilot Program

May 20 — Charlotte, NC — Ventureprise Launch NC IDEA Program Summer Cohort

May 28 — Nashville, TN — 36|86 Student Edition Pitch Competition

May 31 — anywhere — Startup of the Year Application Deadline

June 1 — anywhere — SOCAP18 Scholarship Application for Social Entrepreneurs

June 3 — Winston-Salem, NC — Creative Startups Accelerator Deadline

June 4 — Austin, TX — Quake Capital’s Summer 2018 Accelerator Deadline

June 8 — Nashville, TN — Project Healthcare Portfolio

June 10 — anywhere — Women Founders Network Fast Pitch Competition Deadline

July 1— anywhere — MIT Solve Challenges: Coastal Communities, Teachers & Educators, Frontlines of Health, Work of the Future

July 15 — Lafayette, LA — Accelerate South Healthcare Accelerator Deadline

May 11 — Louisville, KY — Rise of the Rest Tour Pitch Competition

May 12 — Dallas, TX — Next Up Female Founders Pitch Competition

May 15 — Houston, TX — Startup Grind Celebrates Texas Female Entrepreneurs

May 15–18 — Nashville, TN — Nashville Entrepreneur Week

May 16 — New Orleans, LA — Angel Investing 101

May 18 — Tampa, FL — Florida Venture Forum’s Early Stage Angel Capital Conference

May 18–20 — Atlanta, GA — Techstars Startup Weekend

May 19–20 — Houston, TX — Houston Hackathon

May 22 — Memphis, TN — Startup Grind Memphis Hosts TJ Jefferson

May 23 — New Orleans, LA — PitchNOLA: Living Well Pitch Competition

May 23 — Tampa, FL — PoweredUp Tech Festival

May 24 — Atlanta, GA — Simply SaaS Forum

May 24 — New Orleans, LA — Adobe Creative Jam

May 29-June 15 — New Orleans, LA — NOLA CODE Summer Camps

May 30-June 1 — New Orleans, LA — Inc. GrowCo Conference

June 1 — Atlanta, GA — The Farm Atlanta’s Demo Day

June 7 — Baton Rouge, LA — Pitch BR

June 7 — Atlanta, GA — InnoVenture Awards

June 7 — Houston, TX — TMCx Digital Health 2018 Demo Day

June 8–10 — Gainesville, FL — Techstars Startup Weekend

June 13 — Charlotte, NC — Fintech South

June 13 — Tampa, FL — IGNITE Tampa Bay

June 15–16 — Raleigh, NC — Cryptolina Blockchain Conference

June 15–17 — Atlanta, GA — TERMINUS Conference + Festival

July 5–6 — New Orleans, LA — BlackTech Weekend NOLA

July 6–13 — Birmingham, AL — Birmingham Innovation Week

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. Subscribe here to get the SSR delivered to your inbox.

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