December 8, 2016

2016 in Southern Startups: Stories, Rounds, and What Comes Next

Read up on 2016's biggest startup and tech news from the South, ranging from rounds, to storylines, to predictions on what promises to be an incredible 2017. Thanks to LookFar for recognizing Lucid as a notable player in #NOLATech.

By Jillian Firnhaber, LookFar

We’ll always remember 2016 as the year of Pokemon Go, the Cubs World Series, and the wackiest ever presidential election. But how did the Southern startup community fare in 2016? We’ve put together a quick recap of the highs and lows from the past year.


999 funding deals

$13.5 billion in capital invested

113 acquisitions over $50M

Top States


Investment $$ per capita: Texas

*Data via Crunchbase

Startup jobs per capita: Georgia

*Data via AngelList

Deals per capita: Georgia

*Data via Crunchbase

New Unicorn

The South’s herd of unicorns has now grown to 7. Knoxville-based Ministry Brands retained Bank of America Corp. to explore a sale of the company at a projected $1.5B valuation. Ministry Brands is backed by private equity firms Genstar Capital and Providence Equity Partners and provides SaaS tools for churches and faith-based organizations.

Major Deals

Apellis (Louisville, KY) – $47M

Finova (West Palm Beach, FL) – $52.5M

Magic Leap (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – $793M

NextGear Solutions (Oxford, MS) – $11M

Pindrop (Atlanta, GA) – $80.8M

PrecisionHawk (Raleigh, NC) – $18M

Shipt (Birmingham, AL) – $20M

Notable in #NOLATech

LUC-HR-Inline-Black.pngLocal star Lucid continues to grow with expanded service offerings that make market research effective and easy. They partnered with NOLA Media Group to provide poll tracking for the 2016 Presidential Election.  zlien.pngConstruction lien management software company zlien raised $6.3M in 2016. The eight year old company has touched more than 1.1 millionconstruction projects and has more than doubled their staff – growing from 34 to 66 employees.


Propeller.jpgSocial innovation accelerator Propeller received two major grants totaling more than $650,000. Executive Director Andrea Chen says grant money will be used to help underserved populations benefit from entrepreneurship.

Source: 2016 in Southern Startups: Stories, Rounds, and What Comes Next