Adopting an entrepreneurial Spirit

The Venture Forum unveiled a new logo on Thursday. (Photo by Michael Thompson)

The Venture Forum unveiled a new logo on Thursday. (Photo by Michael Thompson)

In search of a fresh look, a nearly 30-year-old Richmond business club looked to the birds.

The Venture Forum unveiled a new brand and logo on Thursday as it continues in its mission to connect investors and entrepreneurs.

The organization is now known as Venture Forum RVA, and the club has a new mascot and logo: an origami bird named Spirit.

Andrew White, the group’s president, said the hope is that the new brand will attract more entrepreneurs to the club.

“We needed to change with the times,” White said. “We realized we had a dated look and feel.”

Spirit and the new name were announced at the group’s Virginia Venture Summit, held yesterday at the Virginia Historical Society. The event brought together fledgling companies and investors for pitches from the entrepreneurs and panel discussions.

Venture Forum RVA got its start in 1986 as the Richmond Venture Capital Club. Today it has 653 members.

“There has been a groundswell of activity in the entrepreneur and investor space,” White said. “We need to be relevant to that groundswell.”

White said Venture Forum spent $20,000 to update its brand – some 20 to 25 percent of the organization’s annual budget.

The group enlisted Dick Upton, founder and president of the Uptongroup local marketing firm, to begin thinking about changing the brand. Upton called in the services of Punch, a Richmond-based branding firm, which developed the new concept.

In addition to the announcement of the new look, 11 companies pitched the crowd at Thursday’s Venture Summit. That group was whittled down from 60 companies that had applied. The 11th was a “wild card” company chosen by the crowd.

The 11 presenting companies were:

Amber – mobile charging stations for mobile devices
Baspair – cloud-powered software for DNA sequencing data analysis
Tenant Turner – online leasing agent
Knox Payments – website that let’s customers pay merchants through their online banking
Lumiary – marketing firm
Nutriati – food and beverage company
Spendshare – cloud-based data exchange and analytics platform
Drive Factor – platform for consumer vehicle telematics
ADR Software – real time web-based labor monitoring devices
Love That Fit – app that lets users see how clothes would look and fit on them
Refersal – advertising platform that lets brands reward customer referrals


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