📬 Southern Startup Report: September 13 — September 26, 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.

A few weeks back, at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018, Sound Ventures partner Effie Epstein pointed to Denver, Austin and Miami as the most promising U.S. markets for tech startups and investing, outside of Silicon Valley and NYC. In fact, the “Peak Valley” topic was a hot one at this event, with two full sessions dedicated to discussing whether Silicon Valley’s reign is over.

That said, Michael Sengbusch, founder of Atlanta-based startup Eletype, reported that out of over 700 startups that exhibited at TechCrunch Disrupt, only 12 were from the Southeast — most of those from Florida.

We’ve still got plenty of room to grow as Southeastern startups aim to take their place at the table. What are you building? We love sharing stories from a diverse range of founders, investors, CTOs, CMOs, and other movers & shakers from across the Southern startup ecosystem. Contribute a quote for a future edition of our “What I Wish I Knew Then” feature.

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

New Orleans, LA — The world’s leading professional association for angel investors, The Angel Capital Association, has selected New Orleans and the NO/LA Angel Network to host their Southeastern Investors Conference this week. Loyola University has received $1.5 million to expand its Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Development. Propeller named 22 startups to its latest accelerator cohort while also announcing 10 semi-finalist startups for their education pitch contest. Two local woman-led, pet-themed startups continue to grow, as Pet Krewe signed a licensing deal with Sesame Street just in time for the holiday shopping season, while Dig was selected as a top 100 finalist for the 2018 Startup of the Year Global Competition. The dating app for dog lovers is also launching in 3 new cities in the coming weeks (Detroit, San Francisco and Austin) and releasing their Android app next month.

Atlanta, GA — The country’s busiest airport is getting even more high tech, as the first biometric terminal in the US is opening in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, promising to shave up to nine minutes per flight off the check-in time. Finalists have been chosen for the 2nd annual Atlanta Startup Awards, while Venture Atlanta has announced the biggest lineup in the conference’s 11-year history: 33 companies will pitch to investors on-stage, while 34 more startups will showcase their products at a dedicated networking event. Long-running podcast network HowStuffWorks and its parent company Stuff Media have been acquired by San Antonio-based iHeartMedia for $55 million. One of Atlanta’s oldest institutions, First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta, is getting into the startup game with the announcement of Epiphany, a new social entrepreneurship initiative. The Atlanta-based American Cancer Society is launching a $100 million-minimum VC fund, BrightEdge Ventures, which will invest in early-stage companies with products related to cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, screenings and care provisions.

Austin, TX — Six-year-old Mithril Capital Management, co-founded by Peter Thiel, announced that it’s moving its headquarters entirely from San Francisco to Austin. Mithril cofounder Ajay Royan spoke with TechCrunch about why they’re leaving Silicon Valley. Austin based Spredfast and San Francisco based Lithium Technologies, both leaders in digital customer engagement, announced that they are merging. The combined company will be headquartered in San Francisco, CA and Austin, TX will be the company’s largest office. ATX startup BuildASign is being sold in a deal that values the company at $280 million, while Sputnik ATX, an Austin-based accelerator focused on growth companies, announced the launch of the Texas Startup Bible, a free online platform for current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Birmingham, AL — Babysitting app Wyndy has announced via Instagram that it will be expanding its services to Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth and Raleigh/Durham this fall. Jim Cavale’s tech startup INFLCR, which helps sports teams partner with their athletes, coaches and brand ambassadors to share digital content produced by the team via social media platforms, recently signed a deal with The Birmingham Legion Football Club, the startup’s first professional sports client. Birmingham startup XpertDox, which won the 2018 EDPA Innovation Award for Startup of the Year in July, recently announced a new partnership with the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA).

Gulfport, MS — Four business entities from across Mississippi and Louisiana are partnering to promote entrepreneurism in the first annual Gulf Coast Pitch Night, to be held on October 17 in Gulfport. The Small Business Innovation Research Consortium (SBIRC), Louisiana Technology Transfer Office, Marine Industries Science & Technology Cluster (MIST) and Innovate Mississippi will co-host the event where the pitch competition winner will take home $10,000 in cash and in-kind services. The four-way collaboration is intended to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem across state lines. In recent years, Louisiana’s economy has seen steady growth in digital media and biosciences, while Mississippi has seen similar growth in the aerospace industry and marine sciences.

Mobile, AL — A new technology expo is set to take place on October 6 in Mobile, Alabama. Organized by leaders in technology along the Gulf Coast, Ten65 Tech is an event for education, networking, and growing the local tech community. Ten65 Tech will showcase 25 leaders in technology within the following tracks: Entrepreneurs in Technology, Diversity in Technology, Emerging Technologies, Deep End Development, and Security in Technology. There will be a Live Ask Me Anything session with Steve Huffman, co-founder of Reddit, and the speaker lineup also includes founders from Dropbox, Nurx and Sweet as well as many local, reputable industry leaders.

Nashville, TN — Actor and investor Ashton Kutcher recently announced to a packed room of 800 or so entrepreneurs, creatives and audience members at the WeWork Creator Awards that Nashville’s reputation as a hub for innovation has gone global. Kutcher was there to judge the pitch competition at the event, where New York City-based surplus fabric supply-chain management company Queen of Raw took home the $360,000 grand prize. Four winning Tennessee student startup teams took home a total of $60,000 at the annual pitch competition, 36|86: Student Edition, at 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival last month. PredictionHealth, Synchro Motion, ATS Innovations, and Flo + Co. were the winning startups. Hytch, the Nashville-based social impact technology company behind the smartphone app Hytch Rewards, has earned a 2018 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Award for its role in changing transit behavior and improving public health and safety across the state.

Raleigh, NC — Economic development foundation NC IDEA is awarding thirteen grants, totaling over $1.5 million to entrepreneurial organizations throughout the state. Grant recipients include Bunker Labs RDU, LaunchBio in Durham and Innovate Charlotte. Meanwhile, Aramark recently signed an agreement to sell its Charlotte-based Healthcare Technologies business to TRIMEDX for $300 million so that it can focus on its other operations.

Tampa, FL — Startups in Dreamit Ventures’ urban tech, health tech and secure tech cohort will soon be pitching to and potentially partnering with local Tampa firms during their customer immersion event on October 8–9. The 18 companies in the fall accelerator program were chosen from more than 1,300 applicants.

“I wish I had a plan for health insurance coverage before I left my job to pursue The Distillery full-time. Everyone talks about the importance of having financial runway before you take that step, but securing health insurance is just as critical. Make sure you have a healthcare plan in place before you take the leap, especially if you are a single founder.”

~ Summer Suleiman, Founding Editor of The Distillery, New Orleans, LA

The Distillery is a digital media and lifestyle company building a healthy and diverse community for entrepreneurs. Reserve your spot at the The Distillery Reboot Retreat on Sunday, October 28, a one-day, health & wellness immersion for entrepreneurs to rest, recharge, and re-connect with their vision and purpose.

Atlanta, GA — Groundfloor — $4.2M

Atlanta, GA — Kobiton — $3M

Atlanta, GA — KyckGlobal — $8M

Atlanta, GA — Maxex — $38M

Austin, TX — Bungalo — $1.3B

Austin, TX — data.world — $12M

Boca Raton, FL — Cortera — $10M Series B

Celebration, FL — CareStack — $16M

Coral Gables, FL — Taxfyle — $4.1M Series A

Dallas, TX — INTREorg Systems — $247,000

Durham, NC — Metabolon — $7.3M

Franklin, TN — Avvay — $1M Seed

West Palm Beach, FL — Finova Financial — undisclosed

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — RAISE Forum Application Deadline

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle Application Deadline

September 28 — New Orleans, LA — Silicon Bayou Startup Showcase Application Deadline

September 30 — Jacksonville, FL — PS27 Ventures Leadership Week Application Deadline

October 4 — Austin, TX — SXSW Pitch Application Early Deadline

October 9 — New Orleans, LA — Spring Cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Application Deadline

October 10 — Atlanta, GA — Epiphany Social Entrepreneurship Application Deadline

October 11 — Nashville, TN — Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s InFlight Program Application Deadline

October 12 — anywhere — Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative $750K Challenge on News and Information Quality

October 15 — Baton Rouge, LA — Get Started Louisiana Pitch Competition Application Deadline

October 15 — multiple locations — Backstage Accelerator Spring 2019 Application Deadline

October 21 — Houston, TX — TMCx Digital Health Accelerator Program Application Deadline

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

rolling deadline — Charleston, SC — DIG SOUTH Speaker Submissions

September 27 — Atlanta, GA — Simply SaaS Forum

September 27 — Huntsville, AL — Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition Finale

September 28 — Atlanta, GA — TiECON

September 28 — Pensacola Beach, FL — ITEN Wired Career Expo

September 29 — West Palm Beach, FL — STEM Innovation Awards

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

September 30 — Miami, FL — Startup Palooza

September 30–October 7 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Blockchain Week

October 1 — Austin, TX — Women in Tech Summit

October 1–5 — Austin, TX — Austin Startup Week

October 1–2 — Pensacola Beach, FL — ITEN Wired Conference

October 1–3 — Braselton, GA — Silicon Y’all SaaS & Internet Summit

October 1–3 — Houston, TX — cPanel Conference

October 2–3 — Austin, TX — AnsibleFest

October 2–5 — Chattanooga, TN — Humanizing Innovation Summit

October 3 — Boca Raton, FL — Research Park Annual Awards & Celebration Of Entrepreneurship

October 3–5 — Atlanta, GA — A3C Music, Tech & Culture Conference

October 4 — Austin, TX — ATX Startup Crawl

October 4 — Itta Bena, MS — #MoneyPurposeSuccess Women’s Empowerment Summit

October 5–6 — Mobile, AL — Ten65 Tech

October 9 — New Orleans, LA — Silicon Bayou Startup Showcase

October 11 — Baton Rouge, LA — Tech Park Academy | Hit the (Pitch) Deck

October 11–12 — New Orleans, LA — Aspen Institute Socrates New Orleans Salon

October 12–14 — Gainesville, FL — Startup Weekend Gainesville

October 14 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Awards

October 16–17 — Atlanta, GA — Venture Atlanta

October 17 — Gulfport, MS — Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Consortium Pitch Night

October 18 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Startup Battle 5.0

October 18 — Atlanta, GA — Atlanta Corporate Innovation Summit

October 19–21 — Boca Raton, FL — Palm Beach Tech Hackathon

October 22–24 — Atlanta, GA — BuiltTech Week

October 22–25 — New Orleans, LA — Tableau Data & Business Intelligence Conference

October 22–26 — Chattanooga, TN — Startup Week Chattanooga

October 22–26 — San Francisco, CA — VC Unlocked: BAM! A Bootcamp for Accelerator Managers, by 500 Startups

October 25 — Charleston, SC — DIG on the 1/2 Shell

October 26–28 — Little Rock, AR — JOLT Cyber Security 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.