Southern Startup Report: Cryptocurrency, Augmented Reality & Self-Driving Cars

By Mallory Whitfield

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 for September 23 — October 6 :

This is the last SSR before our 3rd annual Ada Lovelace Awards. We’re in the thick of it, finalizing details for the awards ceremony and daytime workshops on Friday, October 13. Earlier this week, we announced nearly 100 incredible nominees representing 6 Gulf South states.

If you’ll be in New Orleans next Friday, we hope to see you for the awards ceremony from 7:30–10:00 p.m. at Le Petit Theatre in the French Quarter, as well as at our daytime events at Propeller (4035 Washington Ave). We’re teaming up with Electric Girls for an electronics workshop for adults at 10amand then, the Win-Win Negotiation Strategies Workshop with Lelia Gowland at 1pm.

~ Mallory Whitfield

Regionwide — This week the venture capital & private equity firm BIP Capital released a new report tracking trends in venture capital funding over the past 5 years in 9 southern states. Dubbed The State of Startups in the Southeast, the report places Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina at the head of the pack, with Mississippi, Kentucky, and Alabama lagging behind.

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently invested $17 million nationwide to spur innovation and job growth. Notable southern recipients include Innovation Depot in Birmingham, AL; Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA; Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Mobile, AL; and Community Venture Foundation in Fayetteville, AR.

In more good news for the region, Blacktech Week has released their 2017 list of best cities for black owned businesses, with southern cities sweeping the rankings. Topping the list were Memphis, Montgomery, Atlanta, Savannah, Baton Rouge, Durham, and Miami.

New Orleans, LA — Local tech company 365 Connect (who also happens to be one of the sponsors of the 3rd annual Ada Lovelace Awards) recently acquired uCribs, the largest search site dedicated to apartments near universities. The all-cash transaction was for an undisclosed amount, but our research shows that similar deals in the multifamily housing industry have netted 7–8 figures.

Atlanta, GA — It seems like every other day there’s news of another multi-national company setting up offices in Atlanta. A recent addition to that list is Infusionsoft, the Arizona-based sales and marketing platform for small businesses. Also making headlines this week are disputes around the accuracy of the recent $1 billion valuation of waste management startup Rubicon. Write-ups in Bloomberg and Fortune put this southern unicorn on shaky ground.

Meanwhile, the augmented reality startup Oculogx recently took home the $100,000 prize at Atlanta Startup Battle. Founded by two Georgia Tech undergrads who met in a research lab, the company aims to improve the world of operations, logistics and supply chain management with the use of augmented reality and machine learning.

Charleston, SC — The Charleston-based online loan platform SnapCap was recently acquired by LendingTree in a deal potentially worth $21 million. Started as a marketplace to provide small business owners more access to credit, the company’s 20 employees will stay on board with the new ownership. On the other side of the state, the Greenville-based investment firm VentureSouth recently announced that they’ve invested $2.3 million so far this year, up 30% from 2016.

Miami, FL — The world of blockchain and cryptocurrency continues to heat up, as Miami-based Centra Tech recently announced a partnership with the BET award winner, DJ Khaled, who is joining the company as a brand ambassador and managing partner. DJ Khaled took to Instagram to show off his VISA co-branded cryptocurrency debit card.

Orlando, FL — One Florida startup is shaping the future of self-driving cars. Luminar emerged from stealth earlier this year after 5 years developing technology that will enable autonomous vehicles to have “better-than-human level perception.” Still highly secretive, Luminar just revealed the first of its four current major partners: Toyota Research Institute.

Recent Rounds:

Atlanta, GA — CallRail — $75M
Charlotte, NC — 
2ULaundry — $2.5M Seed
Miami, FL — 
DermaSensor — $2M
Tampa, FL — 
VeriTread — $2.5M

Upcoming Deadlines:

October 8 — Lafayette, LA — Apply to pitch at Emerging Energy Innovators
October 13 — New Orleans, LA — Apply to speak at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week
November 10 — Austin, TX — Apply to pitch at 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

Upcoming Events:

October 9–11 — Pensacola Beach, FL — ITEN Wired Tech Conference
October 11–12 — Atlanta, GA — Venture Atlanta
October 13 — New Orleans, LA — 3rd Annual Ada Lovelace Awards
October 16–20 — Chattanooga, TN — Startup Week Chattanooga
October 17 — Jackson, MS — MS New Venture Challenge Pitch Competition
October 18 — New Orleans, LA — Raising Capital: Why Tax Structure Matters
October 24–26 — Lafayette, LA — Emerging Energy Innovators Pitch Competition
November 2 — Atlanta, GA — Startup Runway Fall 2017 Showcase
November 8 — New Orleans, LA — PitchNOLA 2017: Education
November 11 — Orlando, FL — DevFest Florida
November 20 — Charlotte, NC — Southeast Fintech Venture Conference

LookFar Updates:

Female Tech Influencers — We’re excited to honor nearly 100 women from the Gulf South at the upcoming Ada Lovelace Awards, but we know there are plenty of other incredible women who didn’t get nominated. Over on our blog, we’re spotlighting 9 female tech influencers you should be following on social media. These women are shaping the story around what it means to be a woman in tech.