Startup Southerner is proud to present the Southern Startup 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 | June 2 – June 16:
Birmingham, AL – Shipt raises $40M in latest funding round – Birmingham’s flagship startup continues to impress. Grocery delivery venture Shipt first made national news by raising $20M in capital last July – and for having the temerity to mount a challenge to giants like Instacart and Amazon.
A $40M round is plenty newsworthy on its own, but I’d still like to draw attention to a few things. First, the fact that Shipt closed a round at double the value of their previous raise, and with leading firms Greycroft, e. ventures, and Harbert Growth Partners also participating in the newest raise, is some indication of success in a sector littered with dead competitors. Sprig, Kitchit, Maple and others can all attest to the difficulty of the food delivery space.
Also worth keeping an eye on: Birmingham startups went on a tear after Shipt’s $20M raise, with Fleetio and Swell Fundraising both nailing down major rounds in the immediate aftermath.
So. What’s next for Shipt? As you might guess, it’s expansion. CEO Bill Smith has stated that the funding will create approximately 100 new jobs in Birmingham as the startup marches on toward its goal of operating in 100 cities by the end of 2018.
New Orleans, LA – Idea Village announces search for new CEO – The title pretty much says it all: Idea Village needs a new CEO. New Orleans entrepreneurs are likely already familiar with the organization, but if the name’s new to you, IV is one of the primary hubs for the NOLA startup ecosystem. They’ve been very ably helmed by Tim Williamson in the past, and most recently by interim CEO Emily Madero. The post requires ~10 years of managerial experience, a burning passion to transform New Orleans’ tech scene, and some serious chops as an organizer and evangelist.
Miami, FL – Plans unveiled for startup super-campus TheVentureCity – Hoboy. This one’s…large. Fast forward a few years, and Miami may be the home of an enormous, full-suite startup accelerator called – with almost no exaggeration – TheVentureCity. Seriously, look at this:
Okay, now the sane news: that’s not all meant to happen in one place. The true beauty of TheVenture city lies in interconnectedness. Far from just being a Miami operation, TheVentureCity intends to have international campuses in multiple cities by 2020, leveraging these resources from around the world to provide cohort startups with all the resources they could conceivably need.
I honestly hesitated to include this story because it seems so absurdly pie-in-the-sky. However, there are some incredibly serious people behind it, including project head Laura González-Estéfani, previously Facebook’s director of international business and mobile partnerships. As a result, I’m advising you to keep a weather eye on this program, as it’s huge, ambitious, and represents a fascinating trend toward decentralization and cosmopolitanism in the startup world. Does it still sound a little nuts? Sure, but it’s absolutely worth watching.
Kentucky – Kentucky angel investing tax credit in jeopardy – Kentucky investors and operators alike are warily watching upcoming state legislative sessions. The Kentucky Angel Investment Act Program has been an enormous draw to state investors, who have leveraged it in search of double-digit potential returns on their money. Now, changes to the tax code called for by Governer Matt Bevin may lead to their being sunset.
This narrative is likely all too familiar to other Southeastern operators. State support of investors has had an enormous impact on startup activites across the region; look no further than New Orleans’ own endangered angel tax credit or Tennessee’s equally embattled TNInvestco initiativ
Atlanta, GA – FraudScope – $1.5M Seed
Atlanta, GA – Greenlight Financial Technology – $7.5M Seed
Atlanta, GA – Patientory – $7.2M Equity Crowdfunding
Atlanta, GA – SoftWear Automation – $4.5M
Birmingham, AL – Shipt – $40M
Charlotte, NC – AvidXChange – $300M
Gainesville, FL – TearClear – $4.5M Series A
Greeneville, SC – Proterra – $55M
Nashville, TN – Hurdl – $2.5M Seed
Orlando, FL – UniKey Technologies – $5M
Shreveport, LA – RNvention – $215K
Tampa, FL – Peerfit – $2M Seed
June 21 – New Orleans, LA – Silicon Bayou Summer Kickoff Party
June 22 – Tampa, FL – Innovation Fusion
June 22 – Baton Rouge, LA – PitchBR
June 23 – Atlanta, GA – We Rise Women in Technology Conference
June 23 – Atlanta, GA – #HealthTechWeekend
On the Blog – Net Neutrality in the Southeast: Why Emerging Hubs Should Fight for Title II – LookFar President Chris Reade weighs in on the net neutrality debate. Spoiler: we’re on the “keep it neutral” side of things here. If you’re an entrepreneur off the coasts (or one on the coasts who’s a fan of fair competition), this is a big, big deal. I think you should read this, and talk to me if you’d like to add your voice to the discussion. We’re also helping organize Southern Startups in the fight to safeguard net neutrality – stay tuned for details.