Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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November 14, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | “Venture Connect 2024” opens applications for high-growth start-ups

Innovate Alabama announces recipients of $9.3 million in funding, while Charlottesville, VA is home to a new seed stage blockchain venture firm.

From Raleigh, NC:

Applications are now open for high-growth start-ups interested in pitching at “Venture Connect 2024.” Organized by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, the two-day capital conference brings together the tech and biotech communities under one roof, in North Carolina. The event, scheduled for March 20 and 21 in Raleigh, aims to highlight innovation across the Southeast and create an environment where powerful connections are made. The deadline to apply is January 5. More information and a link to the application can be found here.

From Durham, NC:

More than 700 top investors, entrepreneurs and others in the start-up and tech ecosystem are expected to turnout December 6 for the Bull City Venture Partners‘ “Founders First” event. Scheduled to be held at the historic Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, the event was formerly known as the “Entrepreneurs’ Series.” Keynote speaker for the roughly half-day program is Brian Shield, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Management. In that role, he leads the technology team on all phases of their information technology strategy, including creating a compelling digital fan experience; overseeing emerging technology; and supporting corporate and ballpark infrastructure, systems and data architecture, cyber security, app development, and corporate systems. In addition, eight venture capitalists are listed on the program. To purchase a ticket, click here.

From Charlotte, NC:

Innovate Charlotte, the City of Charlotte, and the University of North Carolina Charlotte are partnering to conduct a short survey aimed at assessing the current state of the start-up ecosystem in the Queen City. It is part of the Charlotte Startup Ecosystem Report that is expected to be released in early 2024. According to the announcement, “The goal of this survey is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges, opportunities, and trends that local entrepreneurs like you are facing. By participating, you will help us identify areas for improvement and create strategies to support the growth of startups in our community. The survey is designed to be concise and should take no more than ten minutes to complete. Your responses will be kept confidential and will only be used for research purposes at the aggregated level.”

From Birmingham, AL:

Innovate Alabama has announced the inaugural designees of the Innovate Alabama Network, a comprehensive resource to connect communities, nonprofits, and higher education institutions across Alabama fostering innovation in their local footprint. Fifty-one designees in 17 Alabama counties make up the group, receiving $9.3 million in supporting funds from Innovate Alabama. 

“The Innovate Alabama Network is a major step forward to growing the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem in Alabama,” said Innovate Alabama Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Crutchfield. “By providing funding and resources to our local communities, nonprofits and higher education institutions, we are developing a statewide network for innovation programming and catalyzing entrepreneurship in all of our communities, both rural and urban.”

By investing in these organizations that are shaping the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Innovate Alabama is driving innovation-related activities, encouraging collaboration across the state, and providing vital seed funding to propel innovation forward at the community and regional level. In total, 30 nonprofit entities, 11 communities and municipalities, and 10 colleges and universities received an Innovate Alabama Network Designation.

Applications for the second round of the Innovate Alabama Network are now open. Any interested Alabama community, nonprofit, or higher education institution can apply by 5 p.m. CST January 5, 2024. 

From Charlottesville, VA:

Factor Capital Management has announced its launch and the first close of its Factor Venture Capital Fund I with approximately $10 million in commitments. According to the news release announcing the fund, that represents about one-third of the Fund I goal of having $30 million to invest in seed stage start-ups that leverage blockchain technology to solve real-world problems.

Blockchain technology has promised to change the way business is conducted by introducing trustless efficiencies in archaic analog systems. While the early applications of blockchain technology were often associated with cryptocurrencies and speculation, the technology has come a long way since its inception. Existing Factor Capital Management portfolio companies like KoyweJasmine EnergyNeutral, and Parcl are already driving significant efficiencies for businesses and consumers using blockchain technology to solve real problems today.

The firm was founded by Jake Dwyer, a start-up and finance executive with more than 20 years of operating experience leading early stage businesses and driving innovation within world-class investment managers like Two Sigma Investments.

From Greenville, SC:

Swedish truckmaker Volvo Group announced that it has prevailed in a bankruptcy auction for the South Carolina-based battery business of a failed company that once aimed to build thousands of electric buses at an Upstate factory. Volvo said it bid $210 million for Proterra Powered. The deal still requires court approval. Proterra Inc., the parent company, filed for bankruptcy protection in August.

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