Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
August 14, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | A new fund, a bankruptcy, and a new R&D facility

Also of note is an announcement of a $45 million raise by Tractian, a leader in industrial Internet of Things and enterprise asset management software.

From Research Triangle Park, NC:

More than 50 investors have come together to launch the new RTP Angel Fund with an initial close of $3 million toward a goal of $5 million. As described in this news release, the target is very early-stage companies raising their first institutional round, serving as the lead investor where appropriate, and providing the critical first term sheet. Among the experienced investors behind the fund are RTP Capital Associates, Triangle Angel Partners, and IDEA Fund Partners.

From Atlanta, GA:

Tractian, a leader in the industrial Internet of Things and enterprise asset management software, has announced $45 million in growth capital led by General Catalyst with participation from existing investor Next47 and several strategic angels.

The start-up’s goal is to revolutionize the lives of maintenance professionals with a hardware-software solution. offers an industrial operations platform and sensors that monitor the health of critical machines and prevent unplanned downtime, to give maintenance technicians and industrial decision-makers comprehensive oversight of their operations. Tractian operates across a wide range of verticals including food and beverage, automotive, consumer goods, mining, oil and gas, and commodities manufacturing.

The new funding comes as the company’s asset monitoring system reaches more than 1,000 industrial plants, and positions the company to rapidly scale customer enablement while investing in new technology innovation for its maintenance operators.

From Birmingham, AL:

Alabama Inno reports that a participant in the 2021 cohort of the “Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator” is opening an R&D facility in the city.

Birdstop Inc., a Concord, CA-based remote sensing company, is locating its new operation in Homewood. The remote sensing company collects and manages data on physical infrastructure and assets. Customers in sectors ranging from energy to agriculture to telecommunications rely on Birdstop systems to make mission-critical decisions in near real-time. Birdstop nodes sit in the field to deploy and command Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in conjunction with fixed sensors to acquire intelligence without requiring personnel onsite.

The company also announced last week that it had raised $2.3 million in funding to expand its constellation of BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) drones across the nation’s critical infrastructure, grow its artificial intelligence capabilities, and deliver more data-driven value to customers. The round was led by Lerer Hippeau and included Anorak Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Data Tech Fund, Graph Ventures, Techstars, Timberline Holdings, as well as strategic investors in energy and telecommunications.

From Western North Carolina:

The WNC: MADE X MTNS (Made By Mountains) Partnership has awarded a total of $125,000 from its Outdoor Equity Fund to 20 businesses and other organizations that are focused on the outdoor industry.

As described in a recent news release, the grantees represent small businesses, sole proprietors, nonprofits, and community groups, located across Western North Carolina’s 25-county footprint and the Qualla Boundary, that are working to increase outdoor recreation access and economic opportunity.

The grants were made possible through a three-year “Accelerating Outdoors Grant” awarded to the MADE X MTNS Partnership by the Dogwood Health Trust.

From Greenville, SC:

Proterra Inc., the electric bus and battery manufacturer which has its East Coast operations hub in this Upstate South Carolina city, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to strengthen its financial position and sharpen its technology focus. The company intends to continue to operate in the ordinary course of business as it moves through the process.

According to this article, the bankruptcy filing came after Proterra earlier this year announced the South Carolina Department of Education had purchased 160 of the new Proterra Powered Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley electric school buses. That acquisition represented the single largest order of electric school buses funded entirely by the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean School Bus Program.

VentureSouth first invested in Proterra in 2011 when local investors partnered with the Upstate Carolina Angel Network (UCAN) and SCRA to provide bridge funding shortly after the company moved to Greenville, SC, from Colorado.

Today, in addition to its Greenville-based electric bus manufacturing facility, Proterra located Powered 1, its first purpose-built, high-volume battery production plant in the Eastern United States, in nearby Greer.

Like what you've read?

Forward to a friend!

Don’t Miss Out on the Southeast’s Latest Entrepreneurial, Business, & Tech News!

Sign-up to get the Teknovation Newsletter in your inbox each morning!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

No, thanks!