Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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February 12, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Atlanta start-up makes a splashy debut quickly completed a $30.5 million Series A round along with an acquisition.

From Atlanta, GA:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reports that, an Atlanta-based artificial intelligence (AI) start-up, is making a splashy debut. After being quietly launched in November, it has made three big announcements: (1) its existence; (2) raising a $30.5 million Series A round; and (3) acquiring Finnish automation platform Robocorp.

On its website, the start-up writes that it “is on a mission to define the future of knowledge work by building intelligent agents that transform how knowledge workers collaborate with AI.” says everything it does is driven by three core beliefs:

  1. Meaning is everything: For the first time, LLMs (Large Language Models) enable intent to be programmable, allowing users to express and execute complex tasks using natural language. We build intelligent agents with semantic meaning at their core.
  2. Action is essential: Meaningful tasks require the ability to take action. In order for AI applications to expand beyond search use cases, they must be able to respond to real-world conditions and take action against enterprise systems.
  3. Open source fuels innovation: Every meaningful innovation in the data, AI, and application space has unfolded in the open. We’re building a vibrant, inclusive community that gives AI application developers and automation engineers the tools needed to push the boundaries of human-AI collaboration and expand what’s possible.

According to the AJC article, the start-up’s funding came primarily from two established California-based venture capital firms, Benchmark and Mayfield, that have previously funded Atari, eBay, Twitter (now known as X), Uber and Lyft.

From New Orleans, LA:

The Idea Village has selected nine start-ups for the 2024 VILLAGEx program, a 16-week intensive business accelerator designed to aid the region’s technology-enabled companies scale. The program is cohort-based and engages the expertise of seasoned executives, start-up experts, investors, business professionals, and mentors. They provide start-up founders from across the Gulf South and various industries with connections and resources.

Last year’s 13 VILLAGEx participants have collectively raised more than $14.7 million, created more than 80 jobs, and generated more than $5.4 million in annual revenue.

From Raleigh, NC:

North Carolina, already one of the fastest-growing states for technology innovation, might just be getting better as the result of a new partnership announced last week.

The NC Technology Association (NC TECH) and MetLife on Monday announced the  establishment of the NC TECH|MetLife Center for Technology Workforce Innovation. The Center will serve as a hub for the  state’s tech employers and employees providing resources, thought leadership, and collaboration with  the overarching goal of fostering growth and vitality in North Carolina’s technology sector.

MetLife’s global technology hub, located in Cary, NC, and employing 2,600 individuals, contributes to the  wealth of knowledge housed within the Center, while NC TECH, as the primary voice of the technology  industry in the state, underscores its commitment to advancing tech talent and workforce development  initiatives.

From Charlotte, NC:

Charlotte Inno reports that City Startup Labs (CSL) is starting off the new year with a new home. After being housed since 2015 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the business accelerator and incubator for Black tech founders and formerly incarcerated individuals will move its offices to Central Piedmont Community College’s Central Campus. The new location provides more access to its target population.

In early 2019, CSL launched its ReEntry Entrepreneurship Program (REEP), which aims to give justice-involved individuals the tools they need to earn a living wage through innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2021, it started Restorative Pathways, a program that is a partnership with Atrium Health and helps formerly incarcerated people get into healthcare careers.

From Orlando, FL:

Plug and Play, the California-based global innovation platform, has opened its new Tech Center office in Orlando, FL, and it is dedicated to advancing smart cities. This strategic move reflects Plug and Play’s commitment to fostering innovation and supporting start-ups in the rapidly growing field of smart city technologies.

The Orlando office will serve as a hub for one of Plug and Play’s three-month start-up accelerator programs, scheduled to commence in early 2024.

“We are excited to launch our new Orlando office and join hands with renowned partners such as the University of Central Florida, Orange County Government, Duke Energy, and Tavistock,” said Saeed Amidi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Plug and Play. “Together, we aim to foster an environment that supports startups in developing cutting-edge technologies. Orlando has shown incredible potential, and with our startup accelerator programs, we are excited to drive innovation and shape the future of smart cities in the region.”

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