📬 Southern Startup Report: May 10 — May 29, 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.

Last time I was putting together the SSR, we were smack-dab in the middle of the Rise of the Rest tour. I’m happy to congratulate FreightWaves (a data analytics service and financial futures market for the freight industry) for taking home the prize in Chattanooga and medical device company Inscope Medical Solutions for winning in Louisville!

I’m also super excited for our team here at LookFar. Our Lead QA Engineer Eric Skinner recently put together a fantastic blog post about how our strategic software development process helps save founders time and money, and our Lead Software Developer Michael Arnold recently demoed his own startup, App Pile, at Collision.

I’ve had numerous recent conversations with people who are committed to seeing startups across the South grow and flourish. As Hypepotamus editor-in-chief Holly Beilin recently put it, the one thing that can make or break that growth is public policy. It’s a good time to #StartupYall.

~ Mallory Whitfield, LookFar Director of Marketing

P.S. If you find the Southern Startup Report useful, can you do me a favor and share this with 1 person who might also enjoy it?

New Orleans, LA — While not technically in New Orleans, the big news out of south Louisiana is the recent acquisition of Waitr for $308 million by Tilman Fertitta’s blank-check company Landcadia Holdings. The food delivery startup is based in Lake Charles, but since founder Chris Meaux was kind enough to join me for our Red States, Blue Oceans panel at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March, I’ll just count him as an honorary New Orleanian. At Propeller’s recent PitchNOLA: Living Well competition, an anonymous donation came in during the final moments of the event, doubling the cash prize and allowing four winners — Okra Abbey, RePurpose Food Co., Gienetix, and Saul’s Light Foundation — to take home $5K each. New Orleans-based digital media company Gas Pump TV recently signed a deal which will make it the second largest media company in the state of Louisiana, while Boeing has pledged $1.5 million to support STEM education programs at the National World War II Museum.

Atlanta, GA — Things are heating up for Atlanta companies, as payments processor EVO Payments had a wildly successful IPO last week that put the company’s market valuation at $1.54 billion. Speaking of billions, Florida-based Roper Technologies Inc is buying Atlanta-based software company PowerPlan in a $1.1 billion all-cash deal. The influx of innovation centers to ATL continues as Georgia-Pacific announced plans to build a huge innovation center in Tech Square which will explore robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning and autonomous vehicles, while Prototype Prime will become the new home for the Advanced Vehicle Technology Accelerator, which will test autonomous car technology amongst other things. Startups LeaseQuery and BitPay were recently accepted into the selective Endeavor global network for entrepreneurs, and the state-funded investment program Invest Georgia has allocated an additional $10M to support Georgia’s venture funds.

Austin, TX — A healthy deal flow forecast appears to be on the horizon, as one of Austin’s top firms, Silverton Partners, closed a $108 million fund, and Austin- and San Francisco-based software investor Vista Equity Partners is seeking to raise $12 billion for its newest fund. Austin-based event application and marketing intelligence platform Vuevent was recently acquired by TrellisSoft, a private software company based in San Jose, CA, while the city of Austin is piloting a new blockchain platform to improve identity services for its homeless population. The city was one of 35 to be awarded pilot grants from Bloomberg Philanthropies. (Thanks to Hearing the Homeless, a startup I met at Collision a few weeks ago, for this tip!)

Birmingham, AL — As TechBirmingham gears up for Sloss Tech 2018, they’ve announced they’ll be bringing Uber’s Chief Brand Officer and former Apple Music Marketing Executive, Bozoma Saint John, to town as their featured speaker on July 13. Three local entrepreneurs have been named 2018 finalists in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards for the Southeast region, including Dave Gray, the founder of tech firm Daxko. Late development-stage pharmaceutical startup Bridge Therapeutics also announced plans to move their headquarters to the city this summer.

Columbia, SC — Representatives from Google recently made a stop in Columbia as part of their multi-city “Grow with Google” tour. During the event, they announced a $100K investment meant to spur digital skills training for women-owned startups. The funds will go towards the newly-created Women’s Business Center of South Carolina at Columbia College.

Dallas, TX — Healthcare startup Insight Optics recently beat out 10 other startups at the Health Wildcatter’s pitch competition to win $14K for their service which helps doctors detect the early signs of avoidable blindness. Dallas-based SmartBlock Capital is currently raising a $100 million hedge fund earmarked for investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Jackson, MS — Online charitable giving platform GiveCherry took home top prize at the recent Jackson Startup Weekend, while second place went to Sole Child, which simplifies the process of buying children’s shoes. C Spire’s inaugural MVMT conference also took place in Jackson earlier this month. The event, which featured a track for cyber security professionals and a technology fair for students, teachers and the general public, included an interview with Randi Zuckerberg as well as showcases of up-and-coming startups like WisprSystems, which has been making recent news for their drone technology that helps boost rural internet access.

Miami, FL — Edtech startup Caribu was recently chosen by AT&T as one of eight companies that will receive a $100K AT&T Aspire investment and an additional $25K to cover costs associated with the program. (Another Southern startup, Weird Enough Productions from Lithonia, GA was also picked.) Caribu’s founder Maxeme Tuchman was also recently featured on an episode of the popular podcast The Pitch. In nearby Boca Raton, seven startups have received $15K checks and the opportunity to take part in Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway 2018 Launch Competition. The companies include Contiguity Spatial Solutions, Deal Coach Pro, Extreme Comms Lab, Interchecks Technologies, Nesvio, Rooster, and Zimit.

Nashville, TN — There’s plenty of news out of Music City, as Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock announced plans to step down from his role this fall, while the state government enacted new legislation meant to advance entrepreneurship. Nashville based fintech firm I3 Verticals filed for an $85 million IPO, and after a big win at Nashville Entrepreneur Week’s “Catfish Tank” pitch competition, Please Assist Me is working hard to raise a $500K seed round this summer. WeWork has also announced the first Nashville Creator Awards. More than $600K in funding will be available in three categories: performing arts, non-profit and business venture. Nominations are open until July 20.

Raleigh-Durham, NC — Local startups are being acquired left and right, as Raleigh-baed fintech firm Sageworks was acquired by a Silicon Valley private equity firm and Durham-based Noteninja has been acquired by SalesLoft for an undisclosed amount. Noteninja had previously received a $50K grant from the NC IDEA Foundation to scale the company; NC IDEA recently announced their seven newest SEED grant recipients: Cardinal Workshop, Elite HRV, Freeman Capital, Glean, myBeeHyve, SalesSync, and VitalFlo.

Tampa, FL — Even though Tampa startup iTrekkers is shutting down, things are looking up for the local startup scene. A new report from research organization Startup Genome placed a value of $2.3 billion on Tampa Bay’s startup community. Florida based Tomahawk Robotics and Gridics both won $25K each at Space Florida’s recent Accelerating Innovation Award, which was presented at the 2018 Florida Early Stage Angel Capital Conference earlier this month. Plus, just today it was announced that Tampa Bay Wave has been awarded an InBIA IMPACT Award in Technology for their work with startups, including the launch of the new TechDiversity Accelerator program. Ten early-stage tech companies led by a diverse group of women, minorities, veterans and LGBT executives make up the inaugural cohort, which kicked off recently. 9 of the 10 startups, which were hand-picked from over 100 applicants, are based in the South, including Articulate Labs, eTeki, GuestBox, Immersed Games, Little Global Citizens, ProjectMQ, Resility Health, Super Auth, and SynsorMed.

“I am naturally a planner but failed to appreciate the process of customer discovery to see if my product was actually needed. When starting Panoptic-PM, I was already an expert in my field. I had a vision to impact the world by making planning more social and less stressful, but I didn’t take the time to develop a plan to execute the business side of things. Approach a business like starting a project — duh. I wish I would’ve adopted the lean startup approach to create and develop a great product based on feedback from potential customers rather than relying on my own expertise to build a MVP.

Being an entrepreneur is empowering but I should’ve been learning how to be one simultaneously to developing a great product. I would go back and quickly discover my personal weaknesses and deliberately practice getting better at them while continuing to master things I was already good at doing. Create metrics, put it on a schedule and hold yourself accountable if you don’t deliver.

~ Thkisha “DeDe” Sanogo, Founder & CEO of Panoptic Project Solutions, Mobile, AL

Panoptic-PM eliminates the barriers of managing successful DIY projects at home, work, and in the community — no experience required.

Atlanta, GA — Famacash — $1M

Atlanta, GA — LendingPoint — up to $600M credit facility

Atlanta, GA — Rubicon Global — $65M

Austin, TX — HelloGbye — $1.6M

Austin, TX — Localeur — $879K

Austin, TX — NarrativeDx — $1.1M

Austin, TX — OJO Labs — $20.5M Series B

Austin, TX — Pensa Systems — $2.2M Seed

Austin, TX — QuickStart — $2M Series A

Austin, TX — Student Loan Genius — $3.5M Seed

Austin, TX — Virtuix — $1.3M

Charlotte, NC — Freshlist — $50K

Charlotte, NC — ThreatSwitch — $478K

Chattanooga, TN — Used Equipment Guide — $10M+ Seed

Dallas, TX — Bestow Inc. — $15M Series A

Dallas, TX — Krew — $25K Seed

Durham, NC — First.io — $5M Series A

Houston, TX — OspreyData — $5M Series A

Houston, TX — Saranas — $2.8M Series C

Miami, FL — YellowPepper — $12.5M Series D

Nashville, TN — Porter Road — $3.7M Seed

San Antonio, TX — Plus One Robotics — undisclosed

Weston, FL — ERP Maestro — $12M

Winston-Salem, NC — Clinical Ink — undisclosed

Winston-Salem, NC — Threat Sketch — undisclosed

May 31 — Austin, TX — Tarmac TX 2018 Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator Deadline

May 31 — Miami, FL — Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab Accelerator Deadline

May 31 — anywhere — Startup of the Year Application Deadline

June 1 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Launch Now Accelerator 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 4 — anywhere — EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Nominations and Application Deadline

June 8 — Nashville, TN — Project Healthcare Portfolio

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

June 15 — Fort Worth, TX — Fort Worth Business Plan Competition Deadline

June 20 — anywhere — Dreamit HealthTech and UrbanTech Accelerator Deadlines

June 30 — Atlanta, GA — TiE Atlanta Top Entrepreneurs Awards Nominations

June 30 — anywhere — 2019 Global Good Fund Fellowship Application 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

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

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

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

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

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

June 5–7 — Little Rock, AR — Little Rock Tech Tour

June 6–8 — Charleston, SC — Syntax Developer Conference

June 7 — Baton Rouge, LA — Pitch BR

June 7 — Atlanta, GA — InnoVenture Awards

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

June 8–9 — Atlanta, GA — ProtoHack Innovation Challenge

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

July 12 — Birmingham, AL — imerge 2018 Innovation Conference

July 12 — Birmingham, AL — Sloss Tech

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

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.