Here are the top states and cities for startups in the South

The American South may not be the first region that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “hotbed of tech entrepreneurship,” but, slightly misguided perceptions aside, it’s home to a diverse and growing collection of startups.

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

What is “the South?”

Just like it’s a common pastime for many city dwellers to argue about the precise boundaries of neighborhoods, there’s often some disagreement about the exact contours of the U.S.’s various regions. To quash rabble-rousing from the get-go, we’re using the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of “the South” on its official map of the United States. Below, we display a map of the states we’re going to look at today.

Much like barbecue, the South is not a monolithic concept. So to incorporate some regional flavor into the following analysis, we’re also going to use the same regional divisions that the U.S. Census Bureau uses.

By doing this, we’ll be able to get a better idea of the relative contribution states from each sub-region make to startup activity in the South overall.

The ebb and flow of deal and dollar volume

As is the case with most of the country, the South appears to be experiencing a shift in startup funding as we move toward the latter half of a bull run in entrepreneurial activity. The chart below shows a divergence in overall deal and dollar volume over time.

Much like in the rest of the U.S., reported deal and dollar volume are heading in different directions. Part of this may be due to reporting delays — it can sometimes take a few years for seed and early-stage rounds to get added to databases like Crunchbase’s . Nonetheless, there is a slow and generally upward creep in round sizes at most stages of funding. And that’s not just a Southern thing; it’s a country-wide trend.

Let’s disaggregate these figures a bit. We’ll start with deal counts and move on to dollar volume from there.

A closer look at southern venture deal and dollar volume

In the chart below, you’ll see venture deal volume broken out by sub-region.

Over the past several years, reported venture deal volume has been on the downswing. From a local maximum in 2014 through the end of 2017, it’s down almost 35 percent overall. But that’s not the whole picture. The relative share of deal volume has changed, as well.

Although it’s not immediately clear just by looking at the chart above, startups in the South Atlantic sub-region have accounted for an increasingly large share of the funding rounds. For example, in 2012, South Atlantic startups attracted 54 percent of the deal volume. In 2017, that grows to 64 percent. Startups in the West South Central sub-region have pretty consistently pulled in between 28 and 30 percent of the deals, so where’s the loss coming from? Startups headquartered in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama pulled in just 8 percent of deals in 2017, compared to 18 percent in 2012.

It’s a similar story with dollar volume.

In general, dollar volume follows the same pattern, albeit with a bit more variability. Regardless, startups in the South Atlantic sub-region are hoovering up an ever-larger share of venture dollars, and there’s little to indicate that trend will reverse itself any time soon.

Where are the regional hotspots for deal-making in the south?

Let’s see which states accounted for most of the deal volume. The chart below shows the geographic distribution of deal-making activity by startups in each Southern state from the beginning of 2017 through time of writing. It should come as no surprise that much of the activity is concentrated in states with higher populations.

And here’s the distribution of dollar volume among southern states.

Despite some variation in which states are at the top of the ranks, the share of deal and dollar volume raised by startups in the top three states is remarkably similar, coming in at between 52 and 53 percent for both metrics.

The top startup cities in the south

We started by looking at the South as a whole and then drilled into its sub regions and states. But there’s one layer deeper we can go here, and that’s to rank the top startup cities in the South.

In the interest of keeping our rankings fresh and timely, we’re covering activity from the past 15 months or so, from the start of 2017 through mid-March 2018. But before highlighting some of the more notable hubs, let’s take a look at the numbers.

In the chart below, you’ll find the top 10 metropolitan areas where Southern startups closed the most funding rounds.

The chart below shows reported dollar volume over the same period of time.

Much like we saw at the state level, the top five startup cities — ranked by both deal and dollar volume — are the same, although there’s some variation between where each one ranks. In order, the D.C., Austin and Atlanta metro areas rank in the top three for each metric, while Dallas and Raleigh, NC switch off between fourth and fifth place.

Startups capitalize on the nation’s capital

To be frank, Washington, D.C.’s top-shelf ranking was a bit of a surprise. It may be the fact that Austin, TX plays host to South By Southwest, a somewhat more relaxed culture and/or a preponderance of excellent breakfast taco and barbecue joints, but to many — ourselves included — the city feels like it would have a more active startup scene than the nation’s capital. But that’s not exactly the case. The D.C. metro area had more venture deal and dollar volume than Austin for seven out of the last 10 years, and startups based in the nation’s capital have raised more than twice as much money so far in 2018.

D.C.-area startups have recently raised some notable rounds. Just a couple of weeks prior to the time of writing, Viela Bio raised $250 million in a Series A round (in late February 2018) to continue funding research and testing of its treatments for severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases. And on the later-stage end of things, education technology company Everfi raised $190 million in a Series D round that had participation from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, former Alphabet executive Eric Schmidt and Medium CEO Ev Williams. Other D.C. companies, including Mapbox,, Afiniti and ThreatQuotient, have all raised late-stage rounds within the past 15 months.

Startup ecosystems in Southern cities may pale in comparison to places like New York and San Francisco, but it wouldn’t be wise to discount the region entirely. A large number of interesting companies call the lower half of the Lower 48 home, and as the cost of living continues to rise on the east and west coasts, don’t be surprised if many current and would-be founders opt to stay down home in the South.

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LG G7 release date, price, news and leaks

There's an LG G7 phone coming in a few weeks, and it has a unique notch design twist, according to new rumors we're hearing and leaks we're seeing on video.

LG's new Android smartphone wasn't officially unveiled at MWC 2018 in February, giving the big stage to the Samsung Galaxy S9, Galaxy S9 Plus and Sony Xperia XZ2.

However, the LG G7 was there behind closed doors, we can report, and its current design (which could change at any moment up to the actual launch) has us intrigued.

What's in store for LG's 2018 flagship? More than the LG V30S ThinQ, don't worry. We're still weeks away the LG G7 release date, but can give you a good idea of what it'll look like right now.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? LG’s 2018 flagship smartphone
  • When is it out? April or May launch date expected, with a May release
  • How much will it cost? The LG G6 was $729 (about £568, AU$967), but this could be more

LG G7 release date and price

The LG G7 launch date will be toward the end of April or beginning of May and ship to first customers in May, according to the latest release date rumors.

LG skipped having a big press conference at MWC, backing up a report by Gearburn that claimed an LG exec hinted that the G7 would be "a little bit late." It's true so far.

This isn't too surprising, as apparently the company recently started redesigning the phone from scratch. We've heard from another source that it won't be unveiled until March, or hit stores until April.

Whenever it lands it won’t be cheap. In line with other LG flagships, we expect it cost at least $729 (about £568, AU$967), the price of the LG G6. If you believe some LG G7 price rumors, it may even rise in price by $90 (£70, AU$120).

It’s a lot of cash, but not as much as some others, including the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 and the Galaxy S9 Plus.

LG G7 optional notch display

The LG G7 is getting a notch, according to a leaked video of the handset at MWC 2018. Only, it's incorporating a software trick to make the notch cut out optional.


The blacked-out notch in the middle can hang down from the middle, appearing like the iPhone X, or it can be hidden behind more flush screen bezel, like the Samsung Galaxy S9. It's your choice.

This is done through the settings menu, not seen in the edited video. The advantage here is that the notch gives you about a half inch of extra screen space on the top right and left sides. It's enough room for the time, battery life percentage and notification icons.

Google's forthcoming Android P update moving this top-line information to the top right and left corners of its mobile OS in anticipation of more notch phones, so LG's proactive idea makes a lot of sense.

Other LG news and rumors

Just about everything else about the LG G7 remains a mystery. We have a good idea of the release date, price and the notch-optional screen.

We have heard one source suggesting that the LG G7 could be rebranded, but we're thinking that the popularity of the name will ensure that doesn't happen.

In fact, LG itself has used the G7 name both on its website and a now-removed app, so that's still looking the most likely.

While we know about the notch display, we don't know for sure if it'll be an OLED or LCD. Reports claim that LG will switch to OLED screens in its late 2017 flagships, and we did see that in last year's LG V30, but the G series has had IPS LCD screens. That could be key differentiator between the two phones.

The most recent reports say LG will stick with LCD, to keep costs down.

LG G7 could be very powerful too, with one source claiming LG is working with Qualcomm to ensure the G7 uses the Snapdragon 845 – which is likely to be the main flagship chipset of 2018.

That would make sense, since many criticized the G6 for its use of the dated Snapdragon 821, and LG won't want to make the same mistake twice.

LG's earnings for 2017 have shown that the LG G6 has been slow to sell, likely a result of launching in the midst of the competitive release season alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus

However, its internals, which we mentioned as being slightly behind the times, could have been part of the issue. Knowing that phones with the Snapdragon 835 were coming put an obstacle in front of the G6 before its launch.

You can bet that LG will be gunning to have the most powerful phone around this year, or at least be on par with its competitors.

You won’t find the Snapdragon 835 in the G6

All that said, LG has apparently recently started from scratch on the LG G7, potentially ditching whatever progress had been made, so much of what we've heard previously may no longer be true.

There’s a lot about LG’s 2018 flagship that can probably be gleaned from the G6, though. Considering that it was the first major smartphone to release with small bezels and a 18:9 aspect ratio, signs point favorably to the next phone keeping in line with that general design philosophy: a large, tall screen inside of a compact build.

However, what it will look like piece-by-piece is, right now, a complete mystery. Today’s best practices in flagship smartphone manufacturing aren’t likely to change all that much going into 2018, so expect to see a fair share of curvature and metal dashed around the device, with more focus directed to the screen.

What do we want to see in the LG G7? We’re so glad that you asked.

What we want to see: a curved screen

The LG G6 opts for business (flat) in the front and party (curved) in the back, but we’d like to see LG mix up the formula for the next iteration of its G series.

After seeing how well Samsung’s curved Edge experiment turned out —being that it has made the core S product even more refined— the LG G7 would be the perfect test bed for a brand new curved look, with the hope being that the learnings will feed into making future G phones even better looking.

Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of curved screen? It feels really good in the hand and looks futuristic. If LG can build in some utility, as we’ve seen from Samsung, all the better.

The latest Snapdragon chipset

The Snapdragon 821 inside of the LG G6 is no slouch. It’s perfect for everyday use, only slowing down under the immense pressure of Daydream VR in the Google Pixel (the G6 doesn’t support Daydream. We’ll get to that later.). But even with its performance pedigree, it’s old news.

When the G6 launched, one of its main highlights was that it used old technology – not the takeaway you’re aiming for in your brand spanking new flagship smartphone. Not just that, the S8 showed it up with the next-gen Snapdragon 835 shortly after its release. Not the best look. 

While LG’s latest appeals to those looking for a well-built smartphone with a ton of features, it’s going to have to work to get back the hardcore audience that cares about raw performance capability. Adopting the Snapdragon 845 would be a good way of doing just that.

The LG V20 has a removable back, so why not the G7?

A removable battery

LG is familiar with making phones that have removable batteries. Take the LG G4, LG G5, LG V10 and LG V20 as some recent examples. So, there’s little to no reason as to why its next flagship shouldn’t have this sought-after feature.

Of course, slimmer design requires sacrifice somewhere around the device, so while it’s understandable that LG removed the ability to swap batteries in its latest smartphone, it’s a real crowd-pleaser that’s worth keeping in mind for next year’s model.

After last year’s Samsung Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco, the benefits of a removable battery explain themselves. Fortunately, LG’s reputation in the battery department is iron clad, but even so, power users love being able to keep the experience going with swappable batteries and we’re in the same boat.

Quad DAC and wireless charging in all regions

The LG G6 is the jack-of-all-trades, well, depending on where you live. If you’re in the US, you’re treated to wireless charging, but not the quad DAC hardware that makes your audio sing at audiophile-grade quality.

Those elsewhere in the world might have been treated to the quad DAC, but they were then missing wireless charging. As a result, there is no ideal version of the LG G6.

In the company’s quest to give each region what they clamor for, they’ve abandoned a piece of their audience that has likely moved onto a different phone this year as a result.

We spoke with an LG spokesperson about the challenges of making the “perfect” phone and thankfully, he stated that LG is always listening to consumer feedback. Given that said feedback for the LG G6’s regional split of hardware features, we’ll see if that’s true when the LG G7 arrives next year.


Lastly, let’s touch on one of the G6’s more inexcusable omissions: an OLED screen. The company has been rather predictable with its IPS display technology, so the fact that the LG G6 continued the trend wasn’t a surprise, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.

Many of the smartphone competitors have moved onto OLED screens, which offer a greater contrast ratio and brightness capability than IPS LCD does. While it suffers in its limited viewing angles, it makes up for with a very vivid picture that makes LG’s technology look a little stale by comparison. To give you an idea of how behind LG is in this department, the best VR headset compatible with the G6 is Google Cardboard.

An OLED screen in LG's next isn’t just to satisfy our desire for what the LG G6 doesn’t have, it’s a required component for Google Daydream support —something that LG’s latest phone obviously doesn’t have. Therefore, if virtual reality is your thing, you’ll have to get your kicks on a different phone instead. LG, we have seen your stunning OLED televisions. You can do this.

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