Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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May 13, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | Walton Family Foundation making a big difference in Bentonville

SafePush captured first place and a $100,000 investment in last week's "High Stakes Pitch" competition that was part of the annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.

From Bentonville, AR:

Axios NW Arkansas posted two articles of interest recently.

In the first one, the online publication reported that two firms with backing from the Walton Family Foundation are looking to jumpstart 15 new companies in Northwest Arkansas in the next five years.

  • Lane Patterson and Dylan Terry, both partners in a start-up studio named Highway Ventures, told the publication that their plans are to license intellectual property (IP) related to alternative mobility from the U.S. government’s federal labs. They’ll develop a commercial company around the IP — hire a Chief Executive Officer and other staff — then move it into the public sector.
  • Joshua Stanley, Managing Partner at Fieldbook Studio, has a different business model. Backed with $10 million between the Walton Family Foundation and grants from the Arkansas Finance Development Authority, it will focus on Software-as-a-Service for the retail supply chain. Fieldbook Studio plans to launch five Arkansas-based companies in the next three years with investments in each ranging from $750,000 to $1 million to help them incubate into viable companies.

In the other post, it noted that an estimated $1.5 trillion of investable capital – yes, that’s a trillion, not a billion –  was represented by attendees of the Midcon VC Summit held in Bentonville last week. “It’s proof that what once was a cluster of small towns with a few big companies is on its way to becoming an innovation cluster,” wrote Worth Sparkman. “Investors have noticed, sowing about $300 million into NWA (Northwest Arkansas) companies in the past two years.”

From Baton Rouge, LA:

SafePush of Metairie, LA, captured first place and a $100,000 investment in last week’s “High Stakes Pitch” competition that was part of the annual Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week (BREW).

In addition to capturing the investment from members of Innovation Catalyst, a nonprofit venture development organization, and the Red Stick Angel Network, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Innovation Catalyst, the start-up got its ticket punched for an even bigger prize. That’s the Start-up World Cup Grand Finale on October 4. That event, organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, showcases top start-ups globally where they vie for the opportunity to secure $1,000,000 in investment.

SafePush is revolutionizing patient care with innovative biomedical products designed to enhance the quality and safety of critical care procedures. Co-founded by Tonia Aiken and Kevin Edwards, the start-up develops easy-to-use, disposable devices that regulate the flow rate of medication injections, preventing human error and ensuring patient safety. With patented technology and a commitment to making patient care safer, SafePush is paving the way for a new standard in medical innovation.

The other finalists were Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade and Falaya.

From Birmingham, AL:

According to a recent press release from the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), Acclinate has raised $7 million in a recent Series A funding round. Led by Cencora Ventures with notable contributions from Labcorp and Latimer Ventures, the investment will allow Accliante to grow its impact in clinical trial diversity and health equity.

The start-up writes on its website that Acclinate marries cultural connection with predictive software to access, engage, and educate communities of color about the value of clinical trial participation, then encourages potential community members to act.

From Miami, FL:

The Partnership for Miami is a new, nonprofit organization comprising business leaders acting in the civic interest to build a world-class Miami that works for all.

“We facilitate thoughtful collaborations among partners from the private, public, and civic sectors, bridging gaps to advance progress for our community,” the new organization says on its website. “The Partnership works with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including grassroots organizations, researchers, policymakers, and philanthropists, to develop and implement solutions to ensure Miami is a place of economic opportunity, global innovation, and world-class arts and culture.”

The nonprofit, which is led by President Raul Moas, former Director of the Knight Foundation’s Miami program, has released a report titled Miami 2035 . . . A Miami That Works for All.”

From St. Petersburg, FL:

The Tampa Bay Innovation Center has announced the six start-ups that will participate in the latest cohort of its Climate Tech Accelerator. Launched in 2022, the newest group includes five from Florida – three from St. Petersburg, one from Tampa, and another from Bradenton – and the sixth from New Haven, CT. The six cover a range of interests – from ecofriendly coffee pods to leveraging oyster beds and artificial reefs to capture carbon in the environment.

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