Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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January 23, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | SCRA had a nearly $1.2 billion impact

Innovate Mississippi launches its third regional angel fund.

From Summerville, SC:

In its 40th year of operations, the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) had a more than $1.19 billion impact on the Palmetto State’s economy. That’s according to the recently published 2023 annual report from a study conducted at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business.

In 2023, SCRA and its investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.:

  • Supported 5,825 South Carolina-based jobs. The average salary for SCRA Member Companies and SC Launch Inc. portfolio companies was $91,209, 70 percent higher than the state’s average of $53,618.
  • Generated $330 million in additional investment capital for its supported startups to grow their companies, bringing the total to $2.66 billion since SC Launch Inc. started in 2006. This follow-on funding resulted in an additional up to $680 million in economic impact and 3,352 South Carolina-based jobs.
  • Owned or managed 1.38 million square feet of lab, office, and collaborative space.

“Each year, our team outdoes itself with their commitment to our state. Their hard work and dedication are evident in their time with our Member Companies, SC Launch Inc. portfolio companies, academic research teams, industry partners, and the tenants we serve. That results in our overall success and positive impact on South Carolina,” said Bob Quinn, SCRA President and Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, our success would not be possible without those who meet their state tax obligations by contributing to our Industry Partnership Fund.”

We last spotlighted the work of the organization in this September 2023 teknovation.biz article.

From Charleston, SC:

Blackbaud, a Charleston-headquartered provider of software for powering social impact, has announced the newest cohort of eight participants in its Social Good Start-up Program, a tech accelerator designed to support early stage software companies focused on solving problems that matter to the social impact community.

Since the launch of the first cohort in January 2020, Blackbaud has supported a total of 55 start-ups through seven prior cohorts, with these organizations collectively raising upwards of $175 million in funding and contributing 25 new solutions to the Blackbaud Marketplace. In addition, more than 55 percent of the start-up founders who have participated in the program are from backgrounds typically underrepresented in tech.

Blackbaud accepts applications for the Social Good Startup Program on a rolling basis. For consideration in the July 2024 or other future cohorts, learn more and apply here.

From Oxford, MS:

Innovate Mississippi has formed a new angel investment group named Oxford-Delta Angel Fund, the third for the organization. Innovate’s other active funds are the South Mississippi Angel Fund and North Mississippi Angel Fund. The members of the newest group are from Oxford and the surrounding Delta region with plans to add more members to raise $1 million. The members will support early stage Mississippi-based technology start-ups that have high growth potential.

Members, including University of Mississippi alumni and regional investors from Delta, can join the fund at $25,000 a unit, allowing members to pool their resources and invest in more start-ups than if they were investing individually. The Oxford-Delta Angel Fund I will kick off with an organizational meeting in February.

The Fund is expected to provide a low-cost way to explore a wide range of promising deals, support local businesses, and learn about angel investing while going after returns. If a company gets approved for funding, investors can choose to invest more on their own terms.

From Raleigh, NC:

In a bold move to fuse financial technology with environmental stewardship, Karma Wallet has announced the launch of its Karma Wallet Card, described in this news release as “a groundbreaking new spending tool that redefines the power of purchase.”

Karma Wallet is designed to disrupt the fintech status quo by offering an easy mechanism for consumers to understand the true impact of their spending habits. The Karma Wallet reloadable prepaid debit card is the first financial product to provide real-time insights into the social and environmental impact of every transaction. Karma Wallet’s growing community now has the unparalleled ability to turn their daily and recurring expenses into direct action, earn cashback rewards, and automatically support reforestation efforts and local food security initiatives on select purchases.

Accompanied by more than $2 million funding injection from socially conscious investors, including the innovative Tweener Fund, this launch heralds a new era of impact-driven, conscious consumerism.

From Miami, FL:

DermaSensor Inc. has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its its real-time, non-invasive skin cancer evaluation system.

“For the first time, the 300,000 primary care physicians in the U.S. can now be equipped to provide quantitative, point-of-care testing for all types of skin cancer. Better identifying skin cancer in a primary care setting is designed to accelerate patient access to necessary care,” the company noted in this recent news release.

The FDA pivotal study involved more than 1,000 patients, led by the Mayo Clinic across 22 study centers to validate device performance, showed that the device had a sensitivity of 96 percent across all 224 skin cancers. A negative result had a 97 percent chance of being benign for all skin cancers. In a companion clinical utility study with 108 physicians, the DermaSensor device was found to decrease the number of missed skin cancers by half (from 18 percent to only nine percent), increasing the physicians’ accuracy and confidence in assessing cancerous lesions.

DermaSensor’s artificial intelligence-powered spectroscopy technology is used to non-invasively evaluate cellular and subcellular characteristics of a lesion in question for skin cancer. The wireless, handheld device then provides an immediate, objective result using an FDA-cleared algorithm.

“Achieving this medical milestone is a testament to the 12 years and tens of millions of dollars our company has invested in research and development to bring this powerful technology to market,” said Dr. Maurice Ferre, Co-Founder and Chairman of DermaSensor.

From Durham, NC:

Joe Procopio, Chief Product Officer at Get Spiffy and Founder of teachingstartup.com, is out with a new column as well as a YouTube video titled “How to Survive When Your Start-up Grows Faster Than Your Funding.” It’s slightly more than eight minutes long and can be found at this link.


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