A Mexican company marketing a pre-paid debit card that connects to any smartphone or tablet won this week's startup competition at the Southland Southern Culture and Technology Conference. The company will receive $110,000 from the contest's 11 judges — with the stipulation that that money be the final $110,000 of a $4 million round that Sr. Pago executives plan to raising.
Sr. Pago was selected from a group of 10 early-stage companies that pitched at the conference. Its card will be sold at Best Buy or about $50.
“We were pretty surprised,” said Pablo Gonzalez Vargas, CEO of Sr. Pago. “As a Mexico-based company, we knew we would bring diversity to this conference, and it’s a very good thing for Southland to be this open to an international company.”
Separately at Southland, PandoDaily Editorial Director Paul Carr revealed that the staff of the website selected Nashville-based musical instrument maker Artiphon as their favorite company and said they will fork over a financial prize soon.
Sarah Lacy, whose Pando team is co-organizing next week's Southland conference at Marathon Music Works, says she has accidently exceeded her goal of having 10 judges for the event's startup pitch competition. The 11th investor to commit is Paul Judge, an executive at Barracuda Networks, which means the winning startup team will get the opportunity to negotiate for a $110,000 investment.
The organizers of the upcoming Southland Conference have filled out the roster of judges for the confab’s pitch competition. They are Tige Savage of Revolution Ventures, Michael Goldstein of SwitchPitch, Zach Ware of Project100, Erik Moore of Base Ventures and Peter Barth of the Iron Yard. The quintet joins the previously announced group of Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Ventures, Kirsten Green of Forerunner Ventures, Kevin Colleran of General Catalyst and Vic Gatto from Nashville’s Jumpstart Foundry.
For more info — including on some of the mentors who will guide the 10 startups pitching at Southland next month — head to southlandse.com.
Launch Tennessee and PandoDaily have invited four early-stage Nashville companies to exhibit at the Southland conference they will host June 9-11 at Marathon Music Works in Nashville. The start-ups are part of a group of about 40 chosen by a panel of investors, entrepreneurs and technology writers from across the country.
The locals are:
• Artiphon, which is marketing a multifaceted electronic instrument that hooks up with an iPhone
• Everly, a social enterprise that is marketing three all-natural drink mixes
• InvisionHeart, a mobile hardware and software system that lets cardiologists access electrocardiogram information from their smartphones or tablets
• Project10K, the entity behind populr.me, the system that lets people produce published one-pagers, or POPs
Another 10 Tennessee companies also will pitch the judges. They are:
Iron Gaming, Chattanooga
Vendor Registry, Knoxville
And here are the companies from outside the Volunteer State also invited to present:
ArchiveSocial, Durham, N.C.
ARGIL, San Jose, Calif.
Bioscape Digital, Atlanta
Broadly, San Francisco
CareLuLu, Washington, D.C.
Clean Hands Safe Hands, Atlanta
Emanate Wireless, Hudson, Ohio
Feetz, San Diego
Fluencia, Arlington, Va.
Kinvolved, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Life Patch, West Palm Beach, Fla.
MetaCart, San Francisco
Predikto Analytics, Atlanta
Sanitation Creations, Raleigh, N.C.
Shade, New York City
Sr. Pago, Delegación Álavaro Obregón, Mexico
Travefy, Lincoln, Neb.
Vault Stem Cell, Atlanta
Waygo, Mountain View, Calif.
WebTeam Corp., Somerset, N.J.
A group of investors affiliated with Jumpstart Foundry has taken the lead on a $1.2 million fundraising round for PandoDaily, the Silicon Valley news and event company. Sarah Lacy, the editor of the two-year-old site pictured here, says Jumpstart's role in bringing together the "unconventional group of investors" stemmed from her involvement with the Southland conference, which debuted last June.
$1.2 million is more than we initially set out to raise, and we are still wrapping up a few last conversations, so the final total may tick up to $1.5 million before it’s all done (I’ll update this post and our disclosure page if that happens). We were lucky to raise that money at a healthy valuation, which I won’t disclose, because no entrepreneur ever does if she can help it. The new investment brings our total raised to date to $4.2 million.
HT: Southern Alpha
Attracting venture capital funding in the Southeast and, more particularly, in Nashville is no easy task.
And today's panel discussion at the Southland Southern Culture and Technology Conference made that clear.
Dubbed VC Trends: Focus on the Southeast and moderated by Frank Willliamson of FourBridges Capital Advisors, the conference included the following panelists: Sid Chambless, managing partner and executive director of the Nashville Capital Network; Rik Vandevenne, a Vanderbilt University graduate and director of River Cities Capital Funds based in Cincinnati; David Jones of Southern Capitol Ventures in Raleigh, N.C.; and Spence McCelland of Noro-Moseley Partners in Atlanta.
After opening comments by Williamson, Chambless (pictured) started the discussion at Mercy Lounge by stating that the modest VC scene in Nashville doesn't represent the larger region, given the predominance of early-stage-funded companies located here.
“Nashville has been particularly strong at the angel funding stage of investing [with] the city tallying 37 first-time fundings in 2012,” Chambless said.
This is great news for local start-ups but makes extrapolating the city’s limited VC experience in a way that attracts investors outside the state difficult. Those investors, like large limited partnership funds or institutional money managers, are looking for VC investments beyond angel funding stage. This adds to the local funding-gap problem, given the $5 million to $10 million-plus that start-up companies need to grow.
The panelists agreed that for the city to attract major VC dollars, it needed to focus on its strengths, particularly in health care. Jones said Nashville was the ‘Silicon Valley’ of health care services and, as such, development in that sector — especially on the tech side — is key.
“Medical devices are also strong,” Jones said.
But despite the obvious health care presence here, Chambless said of the 70 or so folks participating in his recently established $10 million NCN Angel Fund II, only half were from the medical community. Clearly, Nashville is more than health care. And the city’s success goes beyond the number of start-up companies funded in a given year.
As to the future, panelists warned that deal flow across the country has been slow although there are signs of momentum. And to provide local entrepreneurs perspective on the broader VC funding world, one panelist said that in 2012, 50 percent of all VC deals in this country were done in California.
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