📬 Southern Startup Report: March 16 — March 29, 2018

While we’re fresh off the heels of our New Orleans Entrepreneur Week panel discussion, Red States Blue Ocean, we’re not the only ones pondering the current Southern startup ecosystem.

In recent weeks, Crunchbase has featured numerous writeups dedicated to our region. They pinpointed 5 early-stage startups (StreetShares, Greenlight Financial Technology, Vitruvias Therapeutics, Peerfit and Zlien) which have kicked off 2018 with significant funding rounds. They’ve also analyzed the top states and cities for startups in the South, plus which investors are most active in the South. One caveat? They used the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of what it means to be “Southern” so their rankings include places as far north as Washington, D.C. and Delaware.

How do you define “Southern”? I’d love to know your thoughts.

~ Mallory Whitfield, LookFar Director of Marketing

New Orleans, LA — Last week was a busy one for the local startup scene, as a flurry of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week pitch competitions and events took place all over town. The big winner was “nerve on a chip” biotech startup AxoSim, who closed out the week by winning the $100K Coulter IDEAPitch. Melbourne, Florida based Alertgy won $36K at the inaugural New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge Diabetes Pitch Competition for their wearable, noninvasive, real-time blood glucose monitoring and alert system. Other notable winners include Vizzit and Tulane University, who won the IDEAcorps Consulting Competition, Haberdashe, winner of the Downtown New Orleans Arts-Based Business Pitch, and Water Block, who took home $10K from Propeller’s Water Challenge. And of course, the local entrepreneurial community won big when JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a $700K investment which emphasizes supporting women- and minority-owned businesses.

Atlanta, GA — While the city of Atlanta continues to grapple with one of the biggest cyberattacks to hit an American city yet, a number of local companies are working to put innovation at the forefront in ATL. Honeywell and Georgia Tech announced a new software engineering and computing training program for the city’s middle and high school teachers, and the re:imagine/ATL Alliance launched to teach digital media to local teens. Mercedes-Benz picked Atlanta as the location of their fourth global incubator. The first such innovation center in the U.S., Lab1886 will focus on four mobility “megatrends”: connectivity, sharing, autonomous and electric driving.

Austin, TX — While Oracle announced plans for a new corporate campus in Austin that promises to eventually employ 10,000 people, two Austin-based companies made significant acquisitions. Upland Software bought Ireland-based InterFAX Communications for more than $37M in cash, and Accruent acquired California-based healthcare software maker Connectiv. The MassChallenge Texas accelerator, which kicks off next month, has named 84 startups to its first cohort. Picked from 520 applicants, the chosen entrepreneurs (one third of which are women) come from 11 countries and 12 U.S. states. (Shoutout to New Orleans startup Instapath for making the cut!)

Birmingham, AL — At the recent Alabama Launchpad pitch competition finale, two Birmingham startups took home prizes totaling $150K. O3 Solution (a project management tool for industrial construction) won the $100K seed stage prize, while Pointz (an app that incentivizes customers to shop at locally owned businesses) won the $50K concept track prize. In other news, Bill Smith, founder and CEO of Shipt, was named one of the Aspen Institutes2018 Class of Henry Crown Fellows. The fellowship trains entrepreneurs aged 30–45 “to tackle the world’s most intractable problems.”

Conway, AR — A new accelerator designed to scale Arkansas’ high-growth tech and tech-enabled ventures has announced its first cohort. The 10x Cyber Accelerator will guide 13 Arkansas-based, growth-oriented firms with revenues from $100K to $10M through 20 weeks of curriculum focused on developing resilient software platforms and strengthening scalable technologies.

Miami, FL — Miami-based edtech startup Caribu recently beat out 19 other startups from around the world, winning the $100K investment prize from Revolution at the 1776 Challenge Cup competition in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, Fort Lauderdale based Las Olas Venture Capital closed their inaugural early stage investment fund at $28.5M. They are looking to invest in Seed and Series A-stage B2B startups solving problems that have been traditionally underserved by technology.

Nashville, TN — Last week Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill that legally recognizes blockchain data and smart contracts under state law. The Tennessee law is one of the first of its kind in the nation.

Tampa, FL — Much of the major startup news out of Tampa over the past few months seems to revolve around real estate investor and Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. He’s made headlines once again, by joining Dreamit Ventures as a Partner and member of the Board of Directors, as well as injecting a new $12M investment into the early stage fund and accelerator.

“Life is too precious to waste it on a profession you’re not passionate about. Take an adventure. Learn something different. Push the status quo within yourself first. You are the solution people have been waiting for — no matter what the naysayers say — the innovation that will change the world. Nothing can stop your combined purpose, passion and perseverance.”

~ Christopher Rivers, CEO of Optimis, Inc., Charlotte, NC

Optimis is a platform delivering unrivaled intelligence and risk management to capital markets. Optimis is part of the Queen City Fintech spring accelerator cohort, which will conclude with the Fintech Generations Conference on June 13th.

Athens, GA — Reservoir — undisclosed seed round

Atlanta, GA — BioIQ — $26.5M

Atlanta, GA — Brrrº — $1M

Atlanta, GA — Landing Lion — $500K founders round

Austin, TX — Elligo Health Research — $16M Series B

Austin, TX — Mythic — $40M Series B

Austin, TX — Phlur — $6M Series A

Austin, TX — SpyCloud — $5M

Austin, TX — Umuse — $5M Seed

Charlotte, NC — Vertigo Media Inc. — $5.8M

Dallas, TX — Door Inc. — $12M Series A

Houston, TX — CloudNine — undisclosed

Irving, TX — Royal Alliances — $?M growth financing

Nashville, TN — Digital Reasoning — $30M

New Orleans, LA — Align — $2.175M Series A

Orlando, FL — Statusphere — $100K

Raleigh, NC — CareNexis — $140K

Raleigh, NC — Constellation Digital Partners — $26M

March 29 — Knoxville, TN — National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Spring Regional

March 30 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle

March 30 — Atlanta, GA — Nominations close for Atlanta Business Chronicle’s InnoVenture Awards

March 31 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Runway’s Spring Cohort

March 31 — Little Rock, AR — Health InnovatAR Accelerator

March 31 — Tampa, FL — TechDiversity Accelerator

March 31 — Winston-Salem NC — New Ventures Startup Accelerator

April 6 — New Orleans, LA — The Frontier Award Pitch Competition

April 6 — Chattanooga, TN — CO.LAB Accelerators: GIGTANK + Consumer Goods

April 6 — Memphis, TN — Epicenter Supply Chain and Logistics Accelerator

April 8 — Atlanta, GA — Techstars Atlanta

April 13 — Lafayette, LA — Accelerate South Healthcare Accelerator

April 20 — Atlanta, GA — Goodie Impact Pre-Accelerator: Hack Cancer + STDs

April 23 — Alabama — Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition

May 1 — Chattanooga, TN — Camp BizSmart

May 4 — Alpharetta, GA — AgTech Conference of the South Pitch Off

May 6 — Little Rock, AR — Delta I-Fund Summer 2018 Program

June 8 — Nashville, TN — Project Healthcare Portfolio

March 31 — Tampa, FL — TiECON Florida 2018

April 5–6 — Atlanta, GA — ACC InVenture Prize Innovation Competition

April 5–6 — Oxford, MS — Rural Entrepreneurship Forum

April 6–7 — Jacksonville, FL — One Spark Innovation Festival

April 11–13 — New Orleans, LA — The Frontier Conference

April 11 — New Orleans, LA — The Future of Aerospace: AIAA Beyond B2B Startup Showcase

April 11–12 — Birmingham, AL — Alabama Cyber Now Conference

April 12 — Atlanta, GA — ATL Tech Gives Back

April 13–15 — Knoxville, TN — What’s the Big Idea 48 Hour Launch

April 13–14 — Lafayette, LA — CajunCodeFest Opiod Healthcare Challenge

April 16 — Biloxi, MS — Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce Inc. 2018 Technology Expo

April 16 — Chattanooga, TN — Small Business Innovation Research Road Tour

April 17 — Huntsville, AL — Small Business Innovation Research Road Tour

April 18 — Little Rock, AR — Small Business Innovation Research Road Tour

April 19 — Jackson, MS — Small Business Innovation Research Road Tour

April 19 — Baton Rouge, LA — PitchBR SBIR Edition

April 20–22 — Jackson, MS — Startup Weekend Jackson

April 25–27 — Charleston, SC — DIG SOUTH Tech Conference

April 26 — Austin, TX — Fund Conference

April 30-May 3 — New Orleans, LA — Collision Conference

May 2 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Runway Spring 2018 Showcase

May 7 — Dallas, TX — Rise of the Rest Tour Pitch Competition

May 8 — Memphis, TN — Rise of the Rest Tour Pitch Competition

May 8 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle

May 8 — Jackson, MS — C Spire MVMT Conference

May 9 — Birmingham, AL — Rise of the Rest Tour Pitch Competition

May 10 — Chattanooga, TN — Rise of the Rest Tour Pitch Competition

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

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

June 7 — Baton Rouge, LA — Pitch BR

June 13 — Charlotte, NC — Fintech South

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

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

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.