📬 Southern Startup Report: August 30 — September 12

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.

First off, our thoughts and hearts are with everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence. The local tech news source, WRAL TechWire, offers some advice on must-have apps for staying connected during the storm and how to protect your data in a hurricane. Stay safe, y’all.

Secondly, congrats go out to the teams chosen for the 2018 Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange program for Black Founders, which includes quite a few Southern startups. MedHaul (Memphis, TN), Watch the Yard (LA/Atlanta), Optimal Solar (Durham, NC), Spa Utopia (Durham, NC), Possip (Nashville, TN), Coworks (Raleigh, NC), and Panoptic Project Solutions, LLC (Mobile, AL) all made the cut.

Lastly, Backstage Capital, which focuses on investing in startups led by women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ founders, recently announced their new Backstage Accelerator. Their first four cohorts will launch in Spring 2019 in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, and a fourth city to be announced soon. Voting is currently underway for which city it will be, so cast your vote for your favorite Southern locale or apply to be part of one of the inaugural cohorts by October 15.

~ Mallory Whitfield, Director of Marketing at LookFar, a New Orleans-based software development studio.

New Orleans, LA — Local startup Vizzit won the recent Louisiana Startup Prize competition in Shreveport, taking home $69K in cash and in-kind services. Lyft is stepping up their local footprint, announcing new partnerships with LSU Athletics and the non-profit Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). Entergy is granting $2M for Southern University’s engineering program, citing the fact that the university is a “national leader” in educating minority and female engineers. Tulane University recently won a national diversity award for their K-12 STEM Education Program, while the upcoming Tulane Business Forum will focus on the topic of “Digital Transformation: Strategy to Execution.”

Atlanta, GA — Alpharetta-based venture capital firm 11–11 Ventures announced their commitment to raising a $1 million capital vehicle to invest exclusively in companies presenting at the Venture Atlanta conference next month. GreyOrange, which bills itself as “the world’s largest supply chain robotics company,” is opening a U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, while the local fintech industry is getting a boost, as the Georgia FinTech Academy will soon have a physical presence at Georgia State University. Meanwhile, RapidFire Tools, an Atlanta-based provider of cybersecurity tools and compliance products, is being acquired by Kaseya for an undisclosed amount. ATL medtech startup Hera Health Solutions won $2,500 at the recent Get Started Medical pitch contest, held in Lafayette, LA.

Austin, TX — Austin real estate startup Opcity is being acquired for $210 million by the operator of realtor.com. Early stage accelerator Quake Capital has launched its inaugural Austin cohort, featuring 15 companies which each received an investment of $150K. Facebook will be soon leasing an entire, 17-floor office tower in North Austin, while grocery chain H-E-B announced plans to open a “world-class” tech facility in East Austin next year that will employ several hundred people.

Birmingham, AL — The local Alabama Futures Fund closed a $25M early-stage venture capital fund, which will focus on companies with the potential for high growth that are headquartered in, or willing to relocate to, Alabama. Tech startup MotionMobs is one of three candidates in the running for a national award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Jackson, MS — Recent news shines a spotlight on efforts to get the state government more involved in Mississippi’s startup scene. Innovate Mississippi is trying to boost investments in the Mississippi Angel Fund by inviting the State of Mississippi to support the funds through tax credits and other means.

Nashville, TN — The inaugural class of Bunker Labs’ and WeWork’s Veterans in Residence Program kicked off recently, with 10 veteran-owned businesses in the first cohort, while CDW, a Fortune 500 technology-services firm, opened its first Nashville-area office. Nashville-based app Milk, which is backed by Google’s CODE2040 initiative, launched a few weeks ago and had 3,000 downloads in its first month on the market. Two Tennessee-based startups, Pass It Down and Mixtroz, are among the top 50 finalists of the 6th Annual “Startup of the Year” global competition.

Raleigh, NC — There have been plenty of sales and acquisitions in recent weeks, as software firm InspectionXpert was sold for $7 million to a UK-based company, while commercial drone technology platform PrecisionHawk acquired two companies to further expand their footprint in the energy sector, and Raleigh-based educational content provider VitalSource Technologies acquired Acrobatiq. One Better Ventures has raised $5.1 million in a fund that aims to invest in, and develop, consumer brands that generate a positive impact on the world.

Tampa, FL — A new offering of Tampa Bay Wave is shifting their focus to later-stage startups. Their Post-Accelerator Program will focus specifically on companies that have launched a product or service, have significant market traction, have reached a minimum revenue or investment threshold, or other otherwise meet criteria that designate them as companies focused on growth. The deadline to apply is September 15.

“When you start a business, you think about the limitless opportunities of the connected world in 2018. We went too wide early on and our message did not resonate with anyone. We thought every business could be our customer.

I wish we would have niched down until it hurt. One product, to one target customer, in one vertical market, until we gained enough traction to add on. No regrets but that is how we will do it next time.”

~ Matt Vaadi, CEO of ERG Payroll & HR, Columbia, SC

ERG Payroll & HR is a turnkey HR department for small businesses.

Atlanta, GA — Apptega — $700K

Atlanta, GA — Flock Safety — $9.59M

Austin, TX — FirstClose — undisclosed

Austin, TX — Pani Systems — $1M Seed

Austin, TX — Vapor IO — undisclosed Series C

Charleston, SC — Palmetto — $6M

Charlotte, NC — Airwavz Solutions, Inc. — $19.4M

Charlotte, NC — RealBlackLove — $15,400

Dallas, TX — Arcade — $1.5M Seed

Dallas, TX — GDS Link — undisclosed

Durham, NC — Deep Blue Medical Advances — $295,000

Plano, TX — Cyber Watch — $2.5M

Raleigh, NC — Castle Information Systems — $355K

Raleigh, NC — Pendo — $50M

Tampa, FL — Peerfit — $8M

September 14 — Austin, TX — Capital Factory $100,000 Women in Tech Challenge Application Deadline

September 15 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Runway Foundation $10K Grant Application Deadline

September 15 — Tampa, FL — Tampa Bay Wave Post-Accelerator Program Application Deadline

September 16 — Houston, TX — startherenow Women’s Startup Weekend Early Bird Deadline

September 17 — New Orleans, LA — 7th Annual BioChallenge Pitch Competition Application Deadline

September 17 — Atlanta, GA — Southeast BIO 2018 SEBIO Awards Nominations Deadline

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — RAISE Forum Application Deadline

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle Application Deadline

September 28 — New Orleans, LA — Silicon Bayou Startup Showcase Application Deadline

September 30 — Jacksonville, FL — PS27 Ventures Leadership Week Application Deadline

October 4 — Austin, TX — SXSW Pitch Application Early Deadline

October 11 — Nashville, TN — Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s InFlight Program Application Deadline

October 12 — anywhere — Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative $750K Challenge on News and Information Quality

October 15 — multiple locations — Backstage Accelerator Spring 2019 Application Deadline

October 31 — United States — Spearhead 2 Angel Investing Fund Application Deadline

rolling deadline — Charleston, SC — DIG SOUTH Speaker Submissions

September 13 — Jackson, MS — Mississippi Innovators Hall of Fame Awards Gala

September 14 — Houston, TX — Tech to Wealth Tour: Houston Edition

September 18 — Birmingham, AL — Tech Tuesday: Digital Transformation Debt

September 20 — Addison, TX — North Texas Investor Pitch Event

September 20 — Atlanta, GA — ATL Tech Gives Back

September 20 — Raleigh-Durham, NC — Bunker Labs’ The Muster RDU

September 21 — Charlotte, NC — Healthcare Innovation Conference

September 21 — New Orleans, LA — Tulane Business Forum “Digital Transformation: Strategy to Execution”

September 21–23 — Atlanta, GA — EthAtlanta Blockchain Hackathon

September 25 — Knoxville, TN — Innov865 Week Pitch Competition

September 26 — New Orleans, LA — Successfully Monetizing Digital Operations: An Introduction to Negotiating Software Development, License & “as-a-Service” Agreements

September 26–28 — Houston, TX — Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

September 26–29 — Durham, NC — Black Wall Street Homecoming

September 27 — Atlanta, GA — Simply SaaS Forum

September 27 — Huntsville, AL — Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Finale

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — TiECON

September 28 — Pensacola Beach, FL — ITEN Wired Career Expo

September 29 — West Palm Beach, FL — STEM Innovation Awards

September 29–30 — Houston, TX — startherenow Women’s Startup Weekend

September 30 — Miami, FL — Startup Palooza

September 30–October 7 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Blockchain Week

October 1 — Austin, TX — Women in Tech Summit

October 1–5 — Austin, TX — Austin Startup Week

October 1–2 — Pensacola Beach, FL — ITEN Wired Conference

October 1–3 — Braselton, GA — Silicon Y’all SaaS & Internet Summit

October 2–3 — Austin, TX — AnsibleFest

October 2–5 — Chattanooga, TN — Humanizing Innovation Summit

October 3 — Boca Raton, FL — Research Park Annual Awards & Celebration Of Entrepreneurship

October 3–5 — Atlanta, GA — A3C Music, Tech & Culture Conference

October 4 — Austin, TX — ATX Startup Crawl

October 4 — Itta Bena, MS — #MoneyPurposeSuccess Women’s Empowerment Summit

October 5–6 — Mobile, AL — Ten65 Tech

October 9 — New Orleans, LA — Silicon Bayou Startup Showcase

October 11–12 — New Orleans, LA — Aspen Institute Socrates New Orleans Salon

October 14 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Awards

October 16–17 — Atlanta, GA — Venture Atlanta

October 17 — Gulfport, MS — Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Consortium Pitch Night

October 18 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle 5.0

October 18 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Corporate Innovation Summit

October 19–21 — Boca Raton, FL — Palm Beach Tech Hackathon

October 22–24 — Atlanta, GA — BuiltTech Week

October 22–26 — Chattanooga, TN — Startup Week Chattanooga

October 25 — Charleston, SC — DIG on the 1/2 Shell

October 26–28 — Little Rock, AR — JOLT Cyber Security Hackathon

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.

Like what you read? Give LookFar a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.