LookFar’s Southern Startup Report: June 30 — July 14

Startup Southerner is proud to present the Startup Southern Report in partnership with LookFar, a New Orleans software development studio committed to supporting and accelerating technological innovation in the greater Southeast. The Southern Startup Report is a twice-monthly, curated newsletter covering the latest startup happenings in the American Southeast. Subscribe here if you like what you’re reading.

Southern Startup News:

Louisville, KY — RowdMap agrees to acquisition by Cotiviti Holdings — Been a bit since we’ve had a major all-Southern tech acquisition, so this is pretty exciting. RowdMap is a 6-year-old startup that analyzes data to identify high (and low) performing medical providers, then optimize health care plans around them. Their buyer: Atlanta’s Cotiviti Holdings, a subsidiary of health giant Cotiviti. Disclosed details on the acquisition place it at $70M in cash, with $33M in shares also being parceled out to key RowdMap personnel. Which sounds pretty nuts until you realize that Cotiviti went public with an estimated $3B valuation.

Now, this is big news for Louisville. Kentucky has often lagged behind other fast-developing startup ecosystems, but as we’ve seen time and time again, big buyouts can make a huge difference for a city’s entrepreneurial scene. For a recent example: we talk about Chattanooga’s thriving logistics startups, a trend built off the back of Access America’s acquisition by Coyote, a deal that saw millions of dollars, and experienced logistics operators turn around and start the accelerators and funds currently powering other ventures in the sector.

The last time I can remember seeing any tech deal approaching this value in Kentucky happened last year, when pharma company Appellis pulled down $47M in new funding. This is even bigger, and represents a clear high-water mark for healthtech in Louisville.

Florida — Startup programs suffer in latest round of state budget cuts — I really, really don’t like writing these sections but…another week, another state’s startups feeling the pinch of tightening budgets. This time it’s Florida. The Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, a crucial source of capital for regional startups encountering the all-too-common seed funding gap, has lost $5.5M in expected funding. A collection of University accelerators, incubators, and makerspaces have also seen more than $2M in grants withdrawn.

These funds do represent a figurative drop in the bucket, given that recent sessions have seen Florida veto $409M in spending, but they’re still tough losses for Florida startups. The Institute in particular will be missed; a laundry list of promising startups — SSR readers may recognize Kairos, Candidate.Guru, and Biscayne Pharmaceuticals — benefited from their involvement.

Cape Canaveral, FL — Moon Express reveals ambitious plans for future space missions — Let’s move on to something a little more cheerful, yeah? Those of you who have been with the SSR for awhile know that I’ve got a soft spot for the South’s literal moon-shots, and this week saw a story from one of my favorites. Moon Express made waves last year by becoming the first private company on earth to grab a government green-light to head to the moon. They’re also the only US company involved in Google’s Lunar XPrize, which will award $20M to the first company to land a successful robotic mission on the moon by the end of 2017.

And Moon Express seems to be making strides toward that first-place finish. A recent announcement saw CEO Richard Roberts unveil plans to launch three lunar missions by 2020, each dependent on their MX series of robots which, as the article astutely points out, look kind of like R2D2.

It’s a reminder that, even as ecosystems like Huntsville gain steam (even beating out Florida for a recent Blue Origin contract), some of our nation’s most cutting-edge work in aerospace is happening on the Space Coast.

Nashville, TN — Nashville Capital Network closes $34M fund — Music city entrepreneurs have reason to celebrate: one of Nashville’s most prolific early-stage funds is sitting on a fresh store of dry powder. Nashville Capital Network, or NCN, blew clean past a funding goal en route to closing a new $34M early-stage fund. NCN is a particularly valuable resource for Nashville’s cluster of hard-charging healthtech startups. Their early-stage, in-state focus often sees them plow low-million amounts into ventures that haven’t quite made it onto the national radar. A glance at their portfolio turns up names such as Contessa Health, Concert Genetics, and NuScriptRX, all regional startups that successfully sought funding in 2015 or 2016.

Wake County, NC — Infosys announces new tech hub, plans to train 2,000 new tech workers — A major cross-national, public/private/academic (insert other buzzwords, synergistic?) partnership has been announced in North Carolina. Indian IT and tech giant Infosys intends to create an accelerated tech training program in Wake County. Assisted by local universities — and a 12-year investment grant — Infosys will train and hire 2,000 state residents. This is the second such program that Infosys has organized (the first is in Indiana) and represents another major stride toward their stated goal of hiring 10,000 employees in the US by 2021.

Recent Rounds:

Atlanta, GA — Haste — $2.5M
Birmingham, AL — Revere — $2M Seed
Charleston, SC — Ceterus — $6M Series A Extension
Columbia, NC — Stiletto Manufacturing — $12.5M Series A
Dania Beach, FL — Plum — $9M Series A
Miami, FL — RecordGram — $1M Seed
Miami, FL — Source Molecular — $1.6M Series A
Orlando, FL — O’Dang — Undisclosed
Raleigh, NC — Pendo — $25M Series C

Upcoming Events:

July 20 — Atlanta, GA — On the Grind with Chirag T. Patel
July 26 — Little Rock, AR — VC FinTech Accelerator Demo Day