📬 Southern Startup Report: October 11 — October 30, 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.

Happy Halloween! If you’re looking for a few last minute costume ideas, Atlanta Inno put together a list of 24 tech-inspired Halloween costume ideas, or my friend Lelia Gowland shared some fun and easy work-appropriate costume ideas in her Forbes column.

Here at LookFar, we’re already looking towards 2019, with our recent announcement about our Ada Lovelace Awards moving to March 2019, to coincide with Women’s History Month and New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.

As we head towards the end of the year, we’d also love your feedback about the Southern Startup Report. Is what we send out every couple of weeks useful to you? How can we make it better? Click here and let us know.

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

New Orleans, LA — The New Orleans Startup Fund has added three new companies to its portfolio (Freshcane, Mymee, and Pet Krewe) and provided follow-on investments to two more startups (Don’t Get Mad Get Paid and Vizzit). New Orleans-based marketing and automation technology and marketing services provider eMerge has been acquired by Greensboro, NC-based Elm Street Technology. The New Orleans Business Alliance announced that they will partner once again with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System to launch the 2nd annual New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge, which will kick off on November 9 and culminate with a pitch competition at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week in March 2019. The New Orleans Business Alliance also recently partnered with the Aspen Institute to explore the impact of New Orleans’ development as a new technology hub. The state is putting more emphasis on STEM education, as a new program is offering Louisiana teachers state grants to cover tuition for STEM certifications, and new diploma endorsements may be coming soon for high school students who complete specified STEM courses. Multiple local universities, including LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane, and Southern University, will be participating in a new healthcare tech transfer accelerator hub, the Southeast Xlerator Network.

Atlanta, GA — At the 2nd annual Atlanta Startup Awards earlier this month, it was clear that the city’s startup scene is thriving. Event management platform Gather Technologies took home the Best Growth Stage Startup prize, while startups Big Team, Sifted, 2ULaundry, Gimme, and Goodr were also winners in other categories. New programs are popping up across the city to support entrepreneurs, as Launchpad2X recently announced a new partnership with Atlanta Tech Village to help female entrepreneurs, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta is backing the new ATL + Women’s Accelerator. Marietta-based startup incubator IgniteHQ is also opening several new “innovation labs” including one focused on blockchain and one focused on social impact startups.

Austin, TX — The big news out of ATX is the $4.8 billion valuation of SolarWinds, an IT management software company, following their IPO earlier this month. Fresh off the heels of their recent Women in Tech Summit, Capital Factory announced a new collaboration with Bose Corporation to support innovation development for Bose AR, the world’s first audio augmented reality platform for wearable devices. Tech giant Oracle recently named the six startups that will be joining its new Global Startup Ecosystem program in Austin: data.world, Eventador, Pilosa, ROIKOI, Senseye, and Transmute.

Birmingham, AL — A $500K innovation fund has been established by The University of Alabama, with a mission to support the development of early-stage discoveries and promising new university startups. Six companies have been announced as finalists who will pitch at the Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition on November 14. The finalists for the concept stage are AerBetic, Jeri, and LEVELD, while CigarClub, Domestique, and TriAltus Bioscience will face off in the seed stage category.

Chattanooga, TN — The “Silicon Valley of Trucking” (as Steve Case once referred to Chattanooga) continues to strengthen its foothold as a transportation innovation hub. FreightWaves announced plans to invest $3.9 million and create 260 new jobs in the Chattanooga area, expanding its transportation and logistics data operations. GMST Transportation, a transportation startup that carries veterans, low-income and disabled individuals to medical appointments, won the “Will This Float?” pitch competition during Chattanooga’s recent Startup Week. As the local tech scene booms, city leaders are working to make inclusion and digital equity a pillar of the local development strategy.

Dallas, TX — Local universities are taking the lead in promoting entrepreneurship, as Texas Christian University announced their new Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, while the University of North Texas recently announced that their Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be partnering with the new Denton Angel Investment Group to support local early-stage ventures. RealPage, a Richardson, Texas-based provider of software and data analytics to the real estate industry, is acquiring San Francisco-based SaaS company Rentlytics for approximately $57M in cash.

Greenville, SC — One of the nation’s largest angel investment firms, VentureSouth, announced that they are on a record-breaking pace for investments and returns in 2018. They have had 3 exits so far this year, returning over $6 million to investors this year and generating total returns in excess of 3.5x. The group has also invested over $5.2 million into 15 companies this year, including recent initial investments in Threatswitch, Spiffy, Emergo Therapeutics, and Ecomdash.

Gulfport, MS — Mobile, AL-based DaVinci Research Solutions was selected as the winner of the Gulf Coast Pitch competition held earlier this month in Gulfport. DaVinci is partnering with Phase Up Research to provide a new technology platform that will automate billing and compliance for clinical trials. DaVinci won a $10,000 prize package of cash and in-kind professional services.

Miami, FL — A new online hub for all things tech is now available to Miami’s entrepreneurs. Startup.Miami offers a central resource for all things startup in Miami, including listings of co-working spaces, events and jobs. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which was one of the partners in creating the guide, also recently announced that they will grant Venture Café Miami $1 million over a three-year period to help it expand.

Nashville, TN — San Francisco-based transportation tech company KeepTruckin announced plans to invest $3.6 million and bring approximately 385 jobs to the Nashville area over the next three years. With all those new tech jobs headed to Music City, it’s good news that next month the Nashville Technology Council is launching Apprenti, a new training and apprenticeship program designed to meet Nashville’s growing demand for skilled tech employees.

Raleigh, NC — The big news out of North Carolina this week is also one of the biggest deals in the history of U.S. tech. IBM announced plans to acquire Raleigh-based Red Hat, a major distributor of open-source software and technology, in a deal valued around $34 billion. The billion dollar deals didn’t stop there, though, as Cary, NC-based gaming company Epic Games received a recent investment of approximately $1.25 billion, and Tresata’s recent $50 million growth-capital investment from GCP Capital Partners tipped it over the edge into becoming Charlotte’s third unicorn. Charlotte-based Passport Inc. recently acquired NuPark, a parking management technology company, for an undisclosed amount, and Xchange Post (also based in Charlotte) took home $50K in cash and in-kind services at the recent 2nd annual Charlotte Veteran Startup Showcase.

Tampa, FL — For the first time, the Tampa-St. Pete region has collectively organized a GEW Tampa Bay landing page to highlight the variety of events happening during Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 10–18. Among the events happening during the week are the “unconference” BarCamp, which aims to shift away from the “elevator pitch” startup culture and focus on peer-to-peer conversations about startup failures and successes instead.

“The way people work toward common goals in commerce is changing fast. Leaders must communicate just as fast to an increasingly complex landscape of Boomers, Millennials, Generation X, Y and Z — these branded micro generations make it difficult to manage culture and expectations. Leaders need to drive a common language and flexible processes while also aligning around metrics and vision.

Terms like open office and working from home all put a premium on the value of simplicity. Before I started Hytch, I wish I would have been more relentless about achieving clarity through simplicity in everything we do.

~ Mark Cleveland, CEO of Hytch, Nashville, TN

Hytch is a Nashville-based social impact technology company that rewards people to lower carbon emissions, protect clean air and reduce traffic congestion through logging their shared commutes with the Hytch Rewards platform.

We love sharing stories from a diverse range of founders, investors, CTOs, CMOs, and other movers & shakers from across the Southern tech startup ecosystem. Contribute a quote for a future edition of our “What I Wish I Knew Then” feature.

Asheville, NC — Avadim Health — $60M

Atlanta, GA — AUTIT — $2.7M Seed

Atlanta, GA — CallRail — $15M

Atlanta, GA — LiveSource — $7.4M

Atlanta, GA — Properly — $1.5M Seed

Atlanta, GA — Springbot — $15M

Austin, TX — Icon — $9M Seed

Austin, TX — Rollick — $8.3M Series A

Cary, NC — Epic Games — $1.25 Billion

Charlotte, NC — Stratifyd — $20M

Dallas, TX — Alto — $13M

Dallas, TX — PostItPlayIt — $1.59M

Fayetteville, AR — Engine — $4M

Houston, TX — Ruths.AI — undisclosed

Lakeland, FL — Metrc — $50M

Nashville, TN — SmileDirectClub — $380M

Raleigh, NC — K4Connect — $12M Series B

October 31 — Birmingham, AL — Innovation Depot’s Velocity Accelerator Application Deadline

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

November 2 — New Orleans, LA — ENERGYx Accelerator Program Application Deadline

November 2 — Atlanta, GA — IoT.ATL AgTech Challenge Application Deadline

November 2 — Palm Beach, FL — Palm Beach Tech Pitch Competition Application Deadline

November 8 — New Orleans, LA — IDEAx Accelerator Program Application Deadline

November 8 — Winston-Salem, NC — Pitch, Please! Pitch Competition Application Deadline

November 9 — Bentonville, AR — Fuel Supply Chain Startup Accelerator Application Deadline

November 9 — Chapel Hill, NC — Launch Chapel Hill Business Accelerator Application Deadline

November 15 — Austin, TX — SXSW Pitch Final Application Deadline

November 26 — New Orleans, LA — Camelback Ventures 2019 Fellowship Application Deadline

December 31 — Houston, TX — TMC Biodesign Entrepreneurial Innovation Fellowship Application Deadline

rolling deadline — Charleston, SC — DIG SOUTH Speaker Submissions

October 30-November 1 — Dallas, TX — 20th Annual HHS SBIR/STTR BioTech Conference

October 31 — New Orleans, LA — The Geography of Innovation: The BioMedical District

November 1 — Austin, TX — Inclusive Innovation Summit

November 1 — Charleston, SC — Entrepreneur Studio

November 1–3 — Lafayette, LA — Opportunity Machine’s Innovation Conference

November 2 — Gainesville, FL — Florida Blockchain Conference

November 2–4 — Asheville, NC — Hatch This

November 5–6 — Nashville, TN — Distributed:Health Healthcare and Blockchain Conference

November 5–9 — New Orleans, LA — Louisiana International Trade Week & Jubilee

November 6–8 — Austin, TX — Developer Week

November 7 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Runway Fall 2018 Showcase

November 8 — Dallas, TX — Health Wildcatters Pitch Day 2018

November 8–9 — Houston, TX — Venture Houston

November 9 — Atlanta, GA — The Farm Atlanta Demo Day

November 9 — New Orleans, LA — New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge 2019 Launch

November 9 — Raleigh, NC — Innovate Raleigh Summit

November 10 — Houston, TX — OHC 2018: The Future of Houston’s Entrepreneurship and Startup Ecosystem

November 10 — Houston, TX — iTEC Innovation Technology & Engineering Conference

November 10–18 — Tampa, FL — Global Entrepreneurship Week Tampa

November 12–14 — New Orleans, LA — Innovation Louisiana 2018

November 13 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle Competition 5.0

November 13 — Palm Beach, FL — 2nd Annual Palm Beach Tech Pitch Competition

November 13–14 — Jackson, MS — Accelerate: 19th Annual Conference on Technology Innovation

November 13–14 — Atlanta, GA — Southeast BIO Investor and Partnering Forum

November 13–15 — Baton Rouge, LA — Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week

November 14 — Charleston, SC — Charleston Angel Conference

November 14 — Charlotte, NC — Southeast Fintech Venture Conference

November 14 — Durham, NC — Digital Health Impact + Transformation Summit

November 14 — Fort Payne, AL — Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Finale (Cycle 4)

November 15 — New Orleans, LA — Louisiana IT Symposium

November 15 — Baton Rouge, LA — Get Started Louisiana Pitch Competition

November 15 — Raleigh, NC — NC Tech Awards

November 16–18 — Boca Raton, FL — Startup Weekend Boca Raton

November 16–18 — Winston-Salem, NC — Triad Startup Weekend

November 17 — Raleigh-Durham, NC — Women in Tech Summit

November 29 — Winston-Salem, NC — Pitch, Please! Pitch Competition

December 6 — Tampa, FL — Tech is Our Future — Tampa Bay Wave Year-End Celebration

December 7–8 — Birmingham, AL — Teen Tech Bham 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.