Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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March 15, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | New people, new funding and new programs

There's a new Managing Director of the "Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator," while a North Carolina venture firm is raising a new $125 million fund targeting blockchain start-ups.

From Birmingham, AL:

Alabama Inno reports that Nate Schmidt, who served as Managing Director of the “Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator” for three years, has been promoted within the Techstars organization. He will now serve as General Manager of America’s East and head of product and founder experience at Techstars, where he will be responsible for managing Techstars programs from Alabama to Maine as well as advancing Techstars’ accelerators. Succeeding him in the Managing Director slot is Matt Jaeh, who co-founded ProctorU and made an exit of over half a billion dollars in 2020.

From Cary, NC:

NeuroVice, a medical technology start-up backed by NBA star Charles Barkley, has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance for its first-to-market seizure disorder device, the Protector Against Tongue Injury (PATI) device.

Inspired by her own experience of living with seizures, NeuroVice Founder Ashlyn Sanders created this device, raising more than $2 million to date from angel investors, grant funding, and family-and-friends rounds – and even receiving support from Barkley.

Click here to read more about Sanders and her journey.

From Chapel Hill, NC:

TrueBridge Capital has announced plans to raise a new $125 million fund targeting blockchain, and WRAL TechWire reports that 39 investors have signed on with $55.3 million in commitments thus far. Before launching TrueBridge in 2007, Co-Founder Mel Williams co-founded the UNC Management Company and helped manage more than $2 billion in capital for the University of North Carolina endowment fund.

From Columbus, OH but with Atlanta Implications:

Drive Capital, a venture capital firm based in Columbus, announced that it is expanding to Denver and dedicating $80 million in capital for a seed program to fund start-ups in the Mile High City as well as in Chicago, Atlanta, Columbus, and Toronto. The new program is expected to accelerate 160 start-ups that will each receive $500,000, as well as hands-on mentorship, according to an article in Denver Inno.

Since Drive’s founding in 2013, the firm has raised more than $2 billion of funding to invest in start-ups solving important problems in large markets. Thus far, Drive has invested in more than 80 companies outside of Silicon Valley.

From Baton Rouge, LA:

Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and NexusLA are partnering to create “Startup City Launch,” a new, 10-week training program to help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into scalable businesses.

The program builds upon The Idea Village’s proven IDEAinstitute program that has served more than 300 founders in the last four years and is an expansion of the Baton Rouge partners’ recently released Startup City magazine.

“The IDEAinstitute training complements LSU’s efforts in innovation and technology commercialization,” said Andrew J. Maas, Associate Vice President for Research in the LSU Office of Innovation & Ecosystem Development. “We are excited to partner with The Idea Village to build in Baton Rouge and for the ‘Startup City Launch’ program and look forward to offering even more resources to entrepreneurs in the Capital region.”

Participants will attend hybrid classes, enabling them to learn the fundamentals of creating a scalable business, while building connections with a community of peers locally and across the region. The live classes are supplemented with in-depth curriculum, readings, and suggested “homework” assignments and 1:1 coaching from local coaches. Participants will also connect with mentors from The Idea Village and local networks.

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