Most promising startups in Richmond?

The search is on to find the most promising startups in the Richmond area.

The fourth annual Greater Companies to Watch series is now accepting nominations on its freshly-launched website. The winners will be announced on October 29 at a celebration at Toad’s Place, and will then be featured in a widely read brochure.

Thirty-seven companies have been nominated (via email to members of the Venture Forum, which helps organize the event.) Companies may nominate themselves.

The panel of judges is made up of area entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and consultants. They’ll be looking for innovative companies with high growth potential. Startups without revenue may apply.

The yearly bash started four years ago when Carl Johnson, a consultant to early-stage companies who runs NBI Advisors, tired of venture capitalists from Northern Virginia ignoring the Richmond startup community.

“I asked them (VCs from NOVA) why they don’t pay attention to Richmond. They said that if there was a good company, you can bring it up to us,” Johnson said. “They said there wasn’t a critical mass of good companies and that they were not going to spend time down here.”

Now they come to Richmond, at least for the GRCTW event.

The event typically draws several hundred attendees. Johnson said he expects a larger turnout this year because the keynote speaker is Mike Gamson, the general manager at the social/professional networking site LinkedIn.

Previous winners have benefited in a variety of ways, including a greater ability to raise capital.

Past winners:

AdvanceTEC: a Chesterfield builder of clean rooms and labs for nanotechnology, semiconductor, biotechnology and other high-tech trades.

Firstmark Corp.: a Richmond-based firm that designs, manufactures and repairs components in the aerospace and defense industries.

Intrinergy: builds renewable energy power plants for industrial customers. Currently has 23 employees and an office in downtown Richmond.

Ion Healthcare: a Richmond company that uses Internet-based technology to manage apnea, the temporary breathing interruptions during sleep.

Old Dominion Security: a Richmond-based security firm for small and large companies in Virginia and North Carolina.

PartnerMD: a Richmond firm that charges a higher fee than family practices but offers a higher level of individual attention from doctors.

Spec Ops Inc.: an Ashland firm that provides equipment to rapidly set up tactical operations centers for military, defense and emergency groups.

SubMachine Corp.: a Henrico County company that has created low-cost miniature pumps to cool components in computers and servers.

Velocity Micro Inc.: a Chesterfield company that makes and sells high-speed video-game computers. Featured in a BizSense story here.

Worth Home Products: a Henrico company that makes air vents for homes and quick-installing chic ceiling lamps.

Xymid LLC: a Midlothian company founded by former DuPont executives to make proprietary fibers and composites.
Advanous Inc.: uses technology and analytics to squeeze out additional profit for distribution companies.

Arena Racing USA: features half-size stock cars that run indoors on a hockey-rink-sized track.

CyMed Inc.: a medical-transcription service provider that produces more than 3 million medical reports annually.

EverDrive: helps link auto-parts recyclers with dealers such as AutoZone Inc. and Advance Auto Parts. an online system that helps truck drivers find freight for the long haul.

Home Care Delivered Inc.: delivers more than 2,000 medical supplies to mainly elderly customers.

Intelliject LLC: a biotechnology firm that has developed a miniaturized, auto-injecting drug-delivery system.

Payerpath Inc.: a provider of Internet-based transactions for the health-care industry.

Premier Pet Products LLC: a supplier and designer of accessories for pets. a listing of full- and part-time jobs that has had triple-digit revenue growth in four of its five years.

Switch Beverage Co.: a maker of carbonated fruit juices that has been aided in its growth by multiple school systems’ bans on soft drinks — but not

Switch drinks.

Synergy Systems Inc.: uses software to help distributors and retailers solve scheduling, staffing and communications conflicts.

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