📬 Southern Startup Report: October 31 — November 14, 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.

Amazon passed over all of the Southern cities that were in the running for their new HQ2, instead announcing TWO “second headquarters”: Queens, New York and Arlington, Virginia. The e-commerce behemoth did throw Nashville a bone, however, announcing a new operations center which promises to bring 5,000 full-time jobs to Music City.

As 2018 winds down, we’re looking forward to seeing how the Southern Startup Report can grow and improve in the new year. Two favors? Please let us know how we’re doing, and forward this newsletter to a colleague or friend who would find it useful.

P.S. I’ll be leading 2 personal branding workshops soon, perfect for entrepreneurs who want to stand out from the crowd. Join me in New Orleans on November 27 and in Pensacola, FL on December 4.

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

New Orleans, LA — After being acquired by Landcadia Holdings earlier this year for $308 million, Waitr is planning to go public on NASDAQ by the end of this week, assuming all goes well with getting shareholders’ approval today. A new event series for founders and executives of high-growth startup companies is launching in a few weeks: the first SaaS NOLA event on December 6 will feature serial founder and seasoned early stage Saas executive, advisor, and investor, Peter Kazanjy. Tulane University’s Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is launching a new program to connect student startups with mentors, while the new food truck app NOMAD recently celebrated their own launch with a food truck festival. The New Orleans Health Innovators Challenge kicked off last week, and at yesterday’s Innovation Louisiana Biochallenge pitch competition both $25K prizes went to Gremillion Technologies, for their SimplyBreathe device.

Atlanta, GA — There have been acquisitions aplenty in ATL recently, as Atlanta video technology giant ARRIS is being bought by CommScope for $7.4 billion. Alpharetta’s Liaison Technologies is being acquired by Canadian software company OpenText for $310 million in an all-cash deal, while Atlanta’s Purchasing Power, an employee purchase program offered as a voluntary benefit, recently acquired DoubleNet Pay, an Atlanta-based fintech startup. Former Startup Atlanta Executive Director Charlton Cunningham is shifting his focus to lead a new accelerator and startup studio program, Oust Labs. The program will focus on consumer-facing startups that are at the intersection of culture and commerce — startups will leave the accelerator with a full brand, visual identity, marketing toolkit and more. At the recent Atlanta Startup Battle, two startups walked away with a $100K investmentfrom TechSquare Labs’ early-stage fund: social travel recommendation platform Rayka and social media manager marketplace Socionado.

Austin, TX — Austin may have missed the boat on the Amazon HQ2 announcement, but Bat City still has some major tech companies headed its way. Resideo Technologies Inc., a new “smart home” technology spinoff of the Fortune 100 company Honeywell, is planning to make Austin its headquarters. Microsoft and Walmart also just announced that they will be opening a joint engineering office in Austin as part of their new five-year-strategic cloud partnership.

Miami, FL — “Miami is becoming maybe more strategic than Silicon Valley,” said one startup founder who was in town for the recent Unbound conference. The sentiment is echoed by many South American entrepreneurs. Local Florida startups are also shifting closer to Miami — Deerfield Beach startup ShipMonkrecently raised $10 million and announced plans to move to Fort Lauderdale as well as expand to the New York area in 2019. Miami-based Global Accelerated Ventures recently announced that the startup competition Global FinTech Innovation Challenge will take place February 6–7 in Jacksonville, and Miami, FL-based Chronofy (a valuation subscription service for the secondary watch market) is being acquired by WatchBox, a Swiss based provider of a platform for pre-owned luxury watches.

Nashville, TN — Nashville will soon be home to Amazon’s new operations center, which will bring 5,000 high-paying jobs to downtown. In order to seal the deal, the state of Tennessee and the city have promised Amazon $102 million in combined government incentives. LaunchTN’s new leader Margaret Dolan is aiming to bring a “critical mass” of innovation to the Southeast region through her new role, while Charlie Brock, who she is replacing, has outlined 10 wishes he hopes to see come to fruition for Tennessee’s startup community. During this time of transition, LaunchTN has announced a new program, which will introduce Tennessee high school students to entrepreneurship.

Orlando, FL — Orlando-based Global Blockchain Ventures recently launcheda $100 million blockchain technology focused venture capital fund. Meanwhile, Central Florida is hoping to score big with esports video gaming, as Jason Siegel (CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission) is leading a task force to examine how the region can leverage its entertainment and game-development strengths to become a leader in esports.

Raleigh, NC — While Crunchbase recently profiled the Research Triangle area as a growing entrepreneurial hub, Raleigh-based veteran entrepreneur and investor Chris Heivly thinks the region “may have hit a little plateau.” One possible hurdle, facing not just the Carolinas, but the U.S. as a whole, is the lack of recent STEM graduates relative to the demand for them. Things are looking up for plenty of local companies though, as Charlotte’s Premier is acquiring SaaS company Stanson Health for over $51 million, and Raleigh-based drone technology company PrecisionHawk is acquiring Chicago-based Uplift Data Partners. Bunker Labs RDU is supporting veteran entrepreneurs year-round, and NC IDEA recently awarded a total of $250K to five North Carolina startups: Bear Fiber, Courtroom5, ExLattice, Phinite, and Vizla.

“The most valuable asset you have is time. It is the only thing that is not replaceable. When you are first starting out there is a temptation to take every appointment and attend every event — even when you know it is not for you — just to get your name out there.

I have been broke more times that I can count. I have lost everything I owned to disasters — twice. It all came back eventually. The only thing you cannot get back once it is lost is time, so invest your time with the preciousness it deserves. Hold your schedule to this standard: The things you do should advance you toward your goals, be they personal or professional. And resist people who abuse your time.”

~ Jeff O’Hara, Owner of PRA Business Events, New Orleans, LA

PRA Business Events provides services to corporate meetings and incentive travel programs coming to New Orleans. Jeff O’Hara’s upcoming book “Have Fun, Fight Back and Keep the Party Going: Lessons from a New Orleans Entrepreneur’s Journey to the Inc. 5000” will be released December 11.

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.

Alpharetta, GA — Deposco — $9M

Atlanta, GA — Cove.Tool — $750K Seed

Austin, TX — Coder — $4.5M Seed

Austin, TX — Grid4C — $5M

Austin, TX — Pilosa — $5.4M Seed

Austin, TX — RF Code — $6.6M

Cary, NC — Samanage — $30M Series D

Charlotte, NC — Commerce Signals — $3.9M

Charlotte, NC — LeanTaaS — $15M Series C

Dallas, TX — Baswood — $9.2M

Dallas, TX — BoodsKapper — undisclosed seed round

Dallas, TX — Pickup — $5M

Dallas, TX — Playful — $5M

Deerfield Beach, FL — ShipMonk — $10M Series A

Durham, NC — Ribometrix — $30M Series A

Houston, TX — Riversand — undisclosed

Plantation, FL — Oncology Analytics — $21M Series B

San Antonio, TX — Plus One Robotics — $8.3M Series A

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

November 17 — Durham, NC — Application Deadline for LaunchDURHAM 2019

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

December 1 — Durham-Raleigh, NC — Apply to Become an Ice House Entrepreneurship Launch Partner

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

rolling deadline — Charleston, SC — DIG SOUTH Speaker Submissions

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 19 — Durham, NC — Women Innovators Day

November 27 — Austin, TX — TechTalk with Hugh Forrest, SXSW and Jan Ryan, Women@Austin

November 29 — Tampa, FL — Tampa Bay Wave Pitch Night

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

December 1 — Austin, TX — Latinx Tech Summit

December 4–6 — New Orleans, LA — ResCon 2018

December 5–6 — Greenville, South Carolina — VentureSouth Summit 2018

December 6 — New Orleans, LA — SaaS NOLA

December 6 — Austin, TX — JBTVL Venture Expo

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

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

December 10 — Baton Rouge, LA — Angelbeat Cloud Seminar with Microsoft Keynotes

December 11 — New Orleans, LA — Angelbeat Cloud Seminar with Microsoft Keynotes

January 23 — Tampa, FL — Tampa Bay Wave Demo Day

February 6–7 — Jacksonville, FL — Global FinTech Innovation Challenge

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.