Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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Teknovation News and Notes
January 18, 2023 | Tom Ballard

News & Notes | Southeast announcements and events

Here's a wrap of Southeast innovation news outside of Tennessee.

From South Carolina:

  • The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) reported that the organization’s impact on the state’s economy in 2022 was more than $1.15 billion. The figure, as highlighted in the SCRA annual report, includes jobs created and supported, the salaries of its member and portfolio companies, grants awarded to companies and academic institutions, and investments made by its affiliate, SC Launch Inc. SCRA’s economic impact is determined by an annual analysis conducted by the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business. Specifically, the analysis showed that SCRA and SC Launch Inc.: (1) supported 5,608 South Carolina-based jobs; (2) enabled an average salary of $81,111, 62 percent higher than the state’s average of $50,905; (3) awarded $4.75 million in grants and investments to SCRA member companies, SC Launch Inc. portfolio companies, and South Carolina colleges and universities; and (4) generated $2.33 billion in additional investment capital since SC Launch Inc. started in 2006.
  • Two Greenville entrepreneurs announced the creation of a $6 million dollar early stage fund with commitments from dozens of investors in the Greenville area. Named the NEXT Founders Fund, it will be run by General Partners Scott Millwood and Shay Houser, Co-Founders of Deal Strategies. Both are entrepreneurs who have successfully founded/co-founded and exited high-growth companies in Greenville. The fund expects to make 8 to 10 investments over the next 18 months in companies with capital-efficient models that call Greenville home. Click here to learn more.

From Raleigh:

North Carolina is at the “forefront” of transforming the economy into one driven by clean energy, the summary of a new economic development report concludes. In an article published in WRAL TechWire, the report from the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina notes that the Tar Heel state should continue to attract major investment from companies driving the clean energy economy of the future. Why? Several factors are cited including the recent ranking by SmartAsset that listed North Carolina as the top state in the nation for renewable energy leadership.

From Research Triangle Park:

  • The Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) has announced that its “2023 Venture Connect Summit + Celebration” is scheduled for March 29-30 in Research Triangle Park, NC. Returning to a two-day format, the Summit will feature 150 companies from the Southeast live on-stage, ecosystem-focused programming, one-on-one meetings, and networking receptions. Venture Connect returned to an in-person event in 2022 for the first time in two years and featured 85 companies across multiple stages. CED also held the inaugural tailgate-style Celebration featuring live entertainment, local beer, and traditional North Carolina BBQ. To review the agenda and also to register, click here.
  • Just a year after launching the Tweener Fund, Scott Wingo reports that the fund ended 2022 with more than 125 accredited investors and deployed $2.8 million into 48 Triangle companies. According to this article from WRAL TechWire, companies must meet the following requirements to be eligible for funding: (1) be headquartered in the Triangle; and (2) be classified as a “Tweener,” meaning early stage, high-tech with 10 people or $1 million in annual recurring revenue.

From Huntsville, AL:

Erin Koshut, Executive Director of the Cummings Research Park, has been elected as the new President of AURP, the 37-year global nonprofit organization representing research parks, innovation districts, technology regions and the firms to support the growth and development of these communities. Formerly known as the Association of University Research Parks before shortening to the acronym, the organization elected Koshut at its annual meeting last week in Tucson, AZ. Koshut is a former Vice President of AkinsCrisp Public Strategies, the organization that through various names has managed the Tennessee Valley Corridor organization. She joined the Cummings Research Park team in July 2015 and was named Executive Director three years later. The park is the second largest research park in the country and the fourth largest in the world.

From Atlanta:

  • Delta Air Lines is launching a first-of-its-kind airline innovation lab to accelerate research, design and testing for a more sustainable future of air travel. The initiative is named “Delta Sustainable Skies Lab” and will inspire disruptive industry innovation while also scaling known technology solutions and actions to reach Delta’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Pam Fletcher, Delta’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said that The Lab will lead the industry by going beyond financial investments, contributing Delta talent and know-how to ensure Delta is the airline of choice for disruptors hoping to test and launch their ideas. “’Delta Sustainable Skies Lab’ is about pairing the operational expertise of our teams with innovators to inspire new ideas and spur industry advancement – it’s a place to showcase advancements and a movement to galvanize everyone with a stake in creating the more sustainable future of flight,” Fletcher said. Click here to learn more.
  • Atlanta Inno reports that Georgia companies raised half the amount of venture capital in 2022 compared to a year prior. In 2022, venture investments in the Peach State totaled $2.25 billion across 287 deals, according to PitchBook and National Venture Capital Association’s latest report. In 2021, companies in Georgia raised more than $4 billion which was a record.