The American South is probably not the primary area that involves thoughts once you hear the phrase “hotbed of tech entrepreneurship,” however, barely misguided perceptions apart, it’s house to a various and rising assortment of startups.

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Here, we’re going to take a deep dive into the startup funding information for the area.

What Is “The South?”

Just prefer it’s a typical pastime for a lot of metropolis dwellers to argue in regards to the exact boundaries of neighborhoods, there’s typically some disagreement in regards to the precise contours of the U.S.’s numerous areas. To quash rabble-rousing from the get-go, we’re utilizing the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of “the South” on its official map of the United States. Below, we show a map of the states we’re going to have a look at at the moment.

Much like barbecue, the South is just not a monolithic idea. So to include some regional taste into the next evaluation, we’re additionally going to make use of the identical regional divisions that the U.S. Census Bureau makes use of.


Five Southeastern Startups That Raised In 2018

By doing this, we’ll be capable to get a greater concept of the relative contribution states from every sub-region make to startup exercise within the South total.

The Ebb And Flow Of Deal And Dollar Volume

As is the case with a lot of the nation, the South seems to be experiencing a shift in startup funding as we transfer towards the latter half of a bull run in entrepreneurial exercise. The chart beneath exhibits a divergence in total deal and greenback quantity over time.

Much like in the remainder of the U.S., reported deal and greenback quantity are heading in several instructions. Part of this can be as a result of reporting delays—it could actually typically take just a few years for seed and early-stage rounds to get added to databases like Crunchbases. Nonetheless, there’s a sluggish and usually upward creep in spherical sizes at most phases of funding. And that’s not only a Southern factor; it’s a country-wide pattern.

Let’s disaggregate these figures a bit. We’ll begin with deal counts and transfer on to greenback quantity from there.

A Closer Look At Southern Venture Deal And Dollar Volume

In the chart beneath, you’ll see enterprise deal quantity damaged out by sub-region.

Over the previous a number of years, reported enterprise deal quantity has been on the downswing. From a neighborhood most in 2014 by way of the tip of 2017, it’s down nearly 35 % total. But that’s not the entire image. The relative share of deal quantity has modified as nicely.

Although it’s not instantly clear simply by trying on the chart above, startups within the South Atlantic sub-region have accounted for an more and more massive share of the funding rounds. For instance, in 2012, South Atlantic startups attracted 54 % of the deal quantity. In 2017, that grows to 64 %. Startups within the West South Central sub-region have fairly constantly pulled in between 28 and 30 % of the offers, so the place’s the loss coming from? Startups headquartered in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama pulled in simply 8 % of offers in 2017, in comparison with 18 % in 2012.

It’s an identical story with greenback quantity as nicely.

In basic, greenback quantity follows the identical sample albeit with a bit extra variability. Regardless, startups within the South Atlantic sub-region are hoovering up an ever-larger share of enterprise , and there’s little to point that pattern will reverse itself any time quickly.

Where Are The Regional Hotspots For Deal-Making In The South?

Let’s see which states accounted for a lot of the deal quantity. The chart beneath exhibits the geographic distribution of deal-making exercise by startups in every Southern state from the start of 2017 by way of time of writing. It ought to come as no shock that a lot of the exercise is concentrated in states with increased populations.

And right here’s the distribution of greenback quantity amongst southern states.

Despite some variation during which states are on the prime of the ranks, the share of deal and greenback quantity raised by startups within the prime three states is remarkably related, coming in at between 52 and 53 % for each metrics.

The Top Startup Cities In The South

We began by trying on the South as an entire after which drilled into its sub areas and states. But there’s one layer deeper we will go right here, and that’s to rank the highest startup cities within the South.

In the curiosity of preserving our rankings recent and well timed, we’re masking exercise from the previous fifteen months or so, from the beginning of 2017 by way of mid-March 2018. But earlier than highlighting a number of the extra notable hubs, let’s check out the numbers.

In the chart beneath, you’ll discover the highest ten metropolitan areas the place Southern startups closed essentially the most funding rounds.

The chart beneath exhibits reported greenback quantity over the identical time frame.

Much like we noticed on the state stage, the highest 5 startup cities – ranked by each deal and greenback quantity – are the identical, though there’s some variation between the place each ranks. In order, the D.C., Austin, and Atlanta metro areas rank within the prime three for every metric, whereas Dallas and Raleigh, NC change off between fourth and fifth place.

Startups Capitalize On The Nation’s Capital

To be frank, Washington, D.C.’s top-shelf rating was a little bit of a shock. It could also be the truth that Austin, TX performs host to South By Southwest, a considerably extra relaxed tradition, and/or a preponderance of wonderful breakfast taco and barbecue joints, however to many – ourselves included – the town feels like it will have a extra lively startup scene than the nation’s capital. But that’s not precisely the case. The DC metro space had extra enterprise deal and greenback quantity than Austin for seven out of the final ten years, and startups primarily based within the nation’s capital have raised greater than twice as a lot cash up to now in 2018.

D.C.-area startups have lately raised some notable rounds. Just a pair weeks previous to the time of writing, Viela Bio raised $250 million in a Series A spherical in late February 2018 to proceed funding analysis and testing of its therapies for extreme irritation and autoimmune illnesses. And on the later-stage finish of issues, schooling know-how firm Everfi raised $190 million in a Series D spherical that had participation from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, former Alphabet govt Eric Schmidt, and Medium CEO Ev Williams. Other D.C. corporations together with Mapbox,, Afiniti, and ThreatQuotienthave all raised late-stage rounds throughout the previous fifteen months.

Startup ecosystems in Southern cities could pale compared to locations like New York and San Francisco, but it surely wouldn’t be sensible to low cost the area solely. A lot of attention-grabbing corporations name the decrease half of the Lower 48 house, and as the price of dwelling continues to rise on the east and west coasts, don’t be shocked if many present and would-be founders decide to remain down house within the South.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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