Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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March 21, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Lia Winter to present at next week’s “Venture Connect”

Other notables include an announcement from the Atlanta Hawks about a new $50 million early-stage venture fund, and South Carolina holding a month-long celebration of innovation.

From Research Triangle Park, NC but with East Tennessee Ties:

Lia Winter, Co-Founder of Winter Innovations LLC, is one of 180 founders pitching over two full days next week during “Venture Connect” which is billed as the premier conference for high-growth start-ups in the Southeast. The event, hosted by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, is on March 29 and 30 at the GSK Campus. There are 21 separate sessions, and each will feature seven or eight companies. Winter will be pitching the Easy WhipTM device on March 29 in the medical device category.

From Birmingham, AL:

Innovation Depot’s Voltage Accelerator has announced a partnership with AppThink, a business-to-business coaching and curriculum platform, to deploy curriculum and coaching for zero-to-one start-up founders. AppThink will work with Innovation Depot to deliver its founder and new venture creation education content alongside a proprietary evaluation framework to help identify strong ideas and founders.

In addition to deploying the training sessions, a dedicated team of instructors and advisors will facilitate post-program office hours focused on further preparing high-potential founders to turn their idea into a software solution. Graduates of the Voltage program will have access to a community network, where they can share learnings, ask questions, and further explore their ideas with other start-up founders.

From the Magnolia State:

For the first time in the state’s history, South Carolina will observe innovation month in April. In a multi-year project, founding partners the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), South Carolina’s Department of Commerce, and the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) have joined forces to shine a spotlight on innovation in South Carolina.

Currently ranked 13th in the country in the percentage of establishments in high-tech industries, South Carolina is home to a robust ecosystem of academia, entrepreneurship, government, and industry collaborators that understand a strong South Carolina environment must include both a robust knowledge economy and a fertile ecosystem for innovation to thrive.

From the Bayou State:

There’s a new Techstars accelerator coming to Louisiana that is a collaboration with the Louisiana Economic Development and a part of the $80 million “Advancing Cities Fund” raised through the J.P. Morgan Private Wealth platform last fall.

The program, titled “Techstars New Orleans powered by J.P. Morgan,” will invest in 12 companies in 2023, with the possibility of additional cohorts in 2024 and 2025. The application period, which is now open, closes May 10. Those that are successful will begin the inaugural 13-week accelerator in mid-August. According to a recent interview with Melissa Pegus, Managing Director of the accelerator, the focus is on “Commerce, Consumer, Climate, and the Creator Economy.”

New Orleans joins New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, Oakland, and Washington, DC as host cities for the “Advancing Cities Fund” program.

From Atlanta:

The Atlanta Hawks are launching a venture capital fund to support women- and minority-owned small businesses. That’s according to a report last week in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that quoted Steve Koonin,  Chief Executive Officer of the National Basketball Association team and also State Farm Arena. Hawks Ventures will be a $50 million fund to support early-stage businesses.

According to the fund’s website, it is “committed to direct-to-consumer and B2B2C (business-to-business-to-consumer) start-ups that will look to transform an experience for the end user. We expect to bring more than just capital; we are passionate about supporting founders and are committed to leveraging our expertise in customer experience, our vast network, and resources to help founders achieve their goals.”

Tapped to lead Hawks Ventures as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Innovation and Investments is David Garcia, former Hawks’ Senior Vice President of Experience and Innovation. Garcia joined the Hawks organization in 2018 and has played a pivotal role in transforming the guest experience at State Farm Arena, where the Hawks and State Farm Arena secured the top ranking in overall game experience in consecutive seasons.

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