Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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February 19, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Five additions to the “Bronze Valley Investment Accelerator” program

VentureSouth invests in 11 new start-ups while helping existing portfolio companies navigate a difficult funding environment.

From Birmingham, AL:

Alabama Inno reports that five new, fast-growing start-ups from across the country have been selected to receive a $100,000 investment each as part of their participation in the “Bronze Valley Investment Accelerator” program.

The initiative is a partnership between venture capital platforms Bronze Valley, which is based in Birmingham, and gener8tor, the Wisconsin-based organization that has partnered with The Company Lab in Chattanooga for the “Sustainable Mobility Accelerator.” The start-ups take part in the intensive 12-week, cohort-based accelerator program which includes one-on-one coaching, mentorship-driven programming, more than $1 million in deals and perks, and more than 100 connections to the gener8tor network of mentors and investors.

The selected start-ups are:

  • Atlanta-based artificial intelligence (AI) developer Adravision;
  • Phoenix-based generative artificial intelligence developer Botco.AI;
  • Brooklyn-based sustainable Business-to-business hygiene company Generation Conscious;
  • Birmingham-based immersive learning company Kai XR; and
  • Miami-based marketplace for authenticated sneaker rentals, Loan My Sole.

Each company moved to Birmingham to participate in the program.

From Greenville, SC:

VentureSouth, an early stage investment organization based in Greenville, announced last week that it had invested in 30 early stage companies throughout the Southeast in 2023. According to an article in the Upstate Business Journal, the organization used almost half of its funding to support existing portfolio companies by helping them navigate a difficult funding environment, while the remaining money was invested in 11 portfolio additions, including:

  • Base HQ, a Greenville, SC-based software platform that provides a full-stack solution for executive assistants;
  • CADchat of Columbia, SC, a secure communications tool enabling designers to work with 3D files more efficiently;
  • Yuva Biosciences of Birmingham, AL, a company that leverages AI and mitochondrial science to develop anti-aging products;
  • Tendonova of Atlanta, GA, a micro-invasive medical device for treating tendinopathy; and
  • Modern Ritual of Chapel Hill, NC, a teledermatological platform giving care providers the ability to image, assess, and triage various skin conditions more effectively.

Since its creation, VentureSouth has grown to more than 550 members across the Southeast including a chapter in Chattanooga, invested more than $80 million in 100 plus companies, generated investment returns for investors, and helped its portfolio companies raise $1 billion in follow-on capital and create more than 1,500 jobs.

From Orlando, FL:

Orlando Inno reports that Duke Energy Corporation has shuttered its economic development department in Orlando, and Director of Innovation and Competitiveness John Fremstad and Marketing Manager Lisa Rain are no longer with the company.

In response to a request, Duke Energy responded that the utility “is entering the next phase of its clean energy transition, which calls for a transformative expansion and modernization of our energy generation and grid. In preparation, we are reorganizing for greater efficiency and cost effectiveness to deliver smarter energy solutions that are affordable, reliable, and cleaner for our customers and communities. As a result, we expect limited workforce impacts across our service territories.”

From Fort Smith, AR:

ArcBest®,  an integrated logistics company, has announced the next step in its first-of-its-kind Vaux suite: Vaux Smart Autonomy. The offering combines autonomous mobile robot forklifts and reach trucks, intelligent software, and remote teleoperation capabilities to autonomously handle materials movement within warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities — all while keeping humans in the loop. Vaux Smart Autonomy is the only autonomous material handling technology in the market that’s flexible out of the box to handle variability in facilities, processes, and product characteristics. The technology builds on the launch of ArcBest’s innovative suite of hardware and software, the Vaux Freight Movement System, which has transformed how freight is loaded, unloaded, and transferred using a mobile platform. Named one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2023, it reduces an hours-long process to mere minutes.

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