3 minutes

10 Southern Innovation Stories You May Have Missed This Summer

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Maybe you’ve been on a mission to make headlines of your own and haven’t had the time (or energy) to check Twitter for summer’s newsworthy happenings. Or maybe you’ve been off the grid fishing, swimming, or sipping margaritas since May. Whatever your reason, we know it can be hard to keep up with who’s who and what’s what in our region’s innovation scene.

Want a quick recap? These ten stories that caught our attention this summer, proving that you can #SucceedInTheSouth all year round.

  1. North Carolina unanimously passed the NC PACES Act in July. The bill, which stands for “Providing Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Small Business,” loosens rules around crowdfunding and intrastate investment for North Carolina businesses (hint hint: it just got a lot easier to raise funds in the Old North State).
  2. AOL Co-Founder Steve Case visited Louisville in June for a “Day of Entrepreneurship” as part of his Rise of the Rest tour. Since 2014, Case and his venture firm, Revolution, have traveled to 19 cities and invested $2 million in local startups. Louisville joins the ranks with other Southern markets on his list like Raleigh, Durham, and Charleston.
  3. Google Fiber is expanding into Raleigh-Durham, Huntsville, Alabama and San Antonio, Texas. The gigabit service already exists or is being built out in Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta, and at least five other Southern markets are on Google’s radar. The #fiberwars heated up this summer with Google Fiber’s acquisition of Webpass, which operates in Miami, and AT&T’s GigaPower expansion (which, BTW, became available to Charleston business owners in June).
  4. Five Southern metros made America’s top 10 spots for highest tech job growth from 2010-2015, according to recent data from the NY Times.  The list includes Raleigh (#2), Austin (#3), Nashville (#4), Charlotte (#6), and Atlanta (#9).
  5. The SC Angel Network, one of the largest alliances of angel investor groups in the US, launched VentureSouth in July. The new brand will enable expansion and early-stage capital opportunities in other Southeastern markets. The eight angel groups currently on VentureSouth’s roster have collectively invested over $17 million in 50 startups.
  6. Google for Entrepreneurs set up shop in Atlanta in June through a partnership with TechSquare Labs. Atlanta is only the 11th North American city in Google’s global Tech Hub Network, and the fourth Southern city on the list.
  7. New York-based venture capital firm Valmiki 504 opened two accelerators in New Orleans this summer: TOPXIGHT LA, a software and cybersecurity startup incubator, and Ceres 504, a consumer brand and packaged foods incubator. Ceres 504 will also facilitate direct investments in New Orleans’ growing food and bev sector because, even investors need to “laissez les bons temps rouler.”
  8. Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry, a seed-stage healthcare innovation fund, revealed investments in 17 healthcare startups in May. The lineup of new portfolio companies includes Nicotrax, and digital health startup launched out of North Carolina State University.
  9. Three Southern startups pitched at Google Demo Day in Silicon Valley in May: Austin-based Chiron Health, Dart Music from Nashville, and Durham-based Mira. Each company is a member of their local Google for Entrepreneurs tech hub.
  10. EcoTech Visions announced plans to offer entrepreneurship and tech training to low-income Miami residents with $200,000 from the Knight Foundation. They’ll do so through Digital Citizen, a seven-week technology boot camp that aims to provide real-world technology programs and entrepreneurship training to local underserved communities.

What other Southern headlines caught your eye this summer? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Photo credit: EcoTech Visions