📬 Southern Startup Report: June 28 — July 11, 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.

Business Insider recently released a map of the best funded startups in each state, with three Southern startups making the top 10: Florida’s Magic Leap, Georgia’s GreenSky, and North Carolina’s AvidXChange. There’s still work to be done throughout our region, however, as Mississippi was one of only three states in the country (along with Alaska and Wyoming) that had no companies that met the full criteria.

Innovate Birmingham’s recent final report on the state of their local startup ecosystem shed light on issues that affect many of our Southern cities: they found that “entrepreneurs are building solutions that are not clearly solving for needs of resident industries in Birmingham.” Sure, it may sound sexy to build the next Uber or TaskRabbit, but solving regionally significant problems is what is urgently needed for Southern startup ecosystems to thrive.

What are your thoughts? How can we strengthen our regional tech communities and create an environment in which startups can grow and thrive?

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

New Orleans, LA — The big local news is something I couldn’t be more excited to share: Sevetri Wilson, one of the winners of the 2017 Ada Lovelace Awards, has become the first black woman from Louisiana to raise over $2M in venture capital, for her company ExemptMeNow. There’s also plenty of great news about the future of STEM education in our state: Governor John Bel Edwards selected STEM NOLA founder Dr. Calvin Mackie to represent Louisiana at a recent White House STEM event, while the Louisiana Biomedical Research Network has partnered with Pine Biotech for the Summer Bioinformatics Training Program, which kicked off last month with 70 participants. Tulane University is also offering students more options in cybersecurity training.

Atlanta, GA — There have been acquisitions aplenty in ATL recently, with Insightpool getting snatched up by Austin-based TrendKite, while event management software startup Gather has been acquired by Chicago-based EVENTup. Bomgar, a global private cybersecurity firm headquartered in Atlanta, recently acquired U.K.-based endpoint security company Avecto. The city is also attracting more startups, as Twilio announced plans to open an Atlanta office, and HiddenLevers announced they’ll be moving their headquarters from New York City to Decatur, GA. Atlanta Tech Village also recently celebrated the graduation of their inaugural Pre-Accelerator Cohort, which was focused specifically on startups led by women and people of color. During the 6 month co-hort, participating founders received $200K in investments, landed $85K in sales, earned 4 pilots, and received 2 accelerator offers.

Birmingham, AL — The city is in the midst of Birmingham Innovation Week, with plenty of exciting news to report. Southern Research is opening a new STEM lab, while SimpleShowing, a 2018 graduate of Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator, now has a license to operate in Alabama, and four Alabama startups (GirlSpring, College Prep U, DuBois Institute, and Edmundite Missions Enterprises) have been selected to participate in the BBVA Compass accelerator program. Atlanta-based DC BLOX also announced they’ll be developing a new data center facility in Birmingham, which has the potential to be a $785 million investment over the next 10 years.

Dallas, TX — A new collaborative research study about the state of North Texas’ innovation economy shows that it will take a community-wide effort to ensure that the startup ecosystem there thrives. The report suggested 10 priorities for improving the local innovation economy, centered around startup education and further developing the tech talent pool, as well as getting more buy-in from city government and improving the public perception of DFW as innovative, rather than antiquated. A Dallas-based literacy app for adult learners, People ForWords, is one of the startups helping to shift public perception, as they took home $100K and became one of five finalists in the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE competition.

Miami, FL — In an announcement earlier this week, Magic Leap made news once again when AT&T said it will be the “exclusive” wireless distributor of upcoming products from the virtual and augmented reality startup. Dania Beach-based online pet supplies retailer Chewy.com is expanding by launching Chewy Pharmacy, taking aim at a $9 billion market.

Orlando, FL — The U.S. Army is bringing big money to tech firms in Orlando, as 3 local firms won a shared $2.4 billion contract for training support. One of those firms, Engineering & Computer Simulations Inc., has announced they’ll be hiring at least 30 more employees this year as a result of the contract. Geeks & Nerds, an engineering firm at the University of Central Florida’s business incubator, also snagged a big Army contract recently, to the tune of $13.6 million.

Raleigh, NC — A recent survey ranked Raleigh as the №1 place tech industry workers would want to live, and it’s no wonder why when the local startup scene is booming. Biopharma and nanotechnology company Liquidia Technologies Inc. recently filed for IPO, seeking to raise $57.5M, while Asheville-based DIYtiny Inc. became the first state crowdfunding issuer to use Local Public Offering (LPO) rules to offer securities in North Carolina. The LPO option offers North Carolina businesses raising less than $250K greater flexibility to advertise securities.

Tampa, FL — Health care IT company CareSync Inc. abruptly closed recently, leaving nearly 300 employees scrambling for new jobs and raising questions about what happened to $7.25 million in public funds from Hardee County that was poured into the company’s development. There’s also the issue of what will happen to the sensitive health data the company stored. At least one Tampa area organization is focused on security, as Jeff Vinik-backed startup accelerator DreamIt announced the launch of SecureTech, which plans to invest in 15 to 20 cyber security companies per year. Meanwhile, in nearby Sarasota, Roper Technologies Inc. agreed to sell a business unit that makes instruments and software for electron microscopes to Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. for $925 million in cash.

“I wish I knew then… how important mentors are to your growth.

Mentorship is important because that person can help you see the forest for the trees. One thing I value more and more as I grow older is clarity. As I move forward in the challenges that I come across — both positive and negative — I learn that it’s important to have a genuine guide who’s been there before because they will help you focus and leverage your gift.”

~ Tye Caldwell, Co-Founder and CEO of ShearShare, Dallas, TX

ShearShare, co-winner of Google Demo Day 2018 and Tech Co’s 2016 Startup of the Year, is the first global marketplace that allows salon and barbershop owners to rent their excess suites and booths to licensed cosmetologists and barbers on demand.

Atlanta, GA — Ataia Medical — $300K Seed

Atlanta, GA — Rimidi, Inc. — $6.575M Series A

Austin, TX — Blink Identity — $1.5M Seed

Austin, TX — Cerebri AI — $5M Series A

Austin, TX — Cosential — $34M

Austin, TX — CrowdOut Capital — $33M

Austin, TX — Key Travel Concierge — $3M

Dallas, TX — Collbox — $25K

Dallas, TX — RefineRE — $50K

Dallas, TX — Viziv Technologies — $576K

Charlotte, NC — Netsanity — $690K

Charlotte, NC — Rent Ready — $1.5M

Charlotte, NC — Threatswitch — $1.2M

Houston, TX — Salamander Solutions — $7M Series A

New Orleans — ExemptMeNow — $2M

New Orleans, LA — RDnote — $250K

July 13 — Austin, TX — $100,000 Smart Cities Challenge Application Deadline

July 13 — Knoxville, TN — Innov865 Week Pitch Competition Application Deadline

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

July 15 — Gainesville, FL — 2018 Annual Cade Prize Application Deadline

July 19 — Nashville, TN — NEXT Awards Application Deadline

July 20 — Austin, TX — SXSW 2019 Panel Application Deadline

July 20 — Nashville, TN — WeWork Nashville Creator Awards Nomination Deadline

July 22 — New Orleans, LA — Propeller’s Startup Accelerator Deadline

July 23 — Charlotte, NC — Queen City Fintech Class 9 Application Deadline

July 23 — Durham, NC — Innovate Durham Application Deadline

July 25 — Durham, NC — NC IDEA ECOSYSTEM Grant Program

July 26 — Birmingham, AL — Alabama Launchpad 2018 Startup Competition Cycle 3 Deadline

July 30 — Clarksdale, MS — Delta Creative Business Challenge Application Deadline

July 31 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Awards

July 31 — Atlanta, GA — Apply to Present at Southeast BIO’s Investor & Partnering Forum

August 1 — Atlanta, GA — A3C Music Tech Startup Spotlight Application Deadline

August 1 — Chattanooga, TN — Dynamo Founders Camp Application Deadline

August 3 — Atlanta, GA — Venture Atlanta Call for Presenting and Showcase Companies

August 7 — Austin, TX — Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator Application Deadline

August 15 — Atlanta, GA — Flashpoint Cohort 9 Application Deadline

August 15 — anywhere — Girls in Tech’s AMPLIFY! Women’s Pitch Competition Deadline

now-July 13 — Birmingham, AL — Birmingham Innovation Week

July 12 — Birmingham, AL — imerge 2018 Innovation Conference

July 13 — Birmingham, AL — Sloss Tech

July 13 — New Orleans, LA — Shark Tank Casting Call for Diverse Entrepreneurs

July 13–15 — Choctaw, MS — Hack the Future Hackaton

July 14–15 — Austin, TX — AngelHack Austin Hackathon 2018

July 18 — Little Rock, AR — VC FinTech Demo Day

July 20–22 — Austin, TX — Global Roundup Conference

July 20–22 — Tampa, FL — Startup Weekend Tampa Bay

July 23–25 — Alpharetta, GA — AgTech Conference of the South

July 24 — Conway, AR — 10x Growth Accelerator Graduation & Presentation Day

July 26 — Fort Lauderdale, FL — Sup-X: The Startup Expo

August 29–30 — Nashville, TN — 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival

September 12–13 — Raleigh NC — CED Tech Conference

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

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — TiECON

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

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.