Entrepreneurs in the spotlight at annual event

Venture Forum RVA Chair Jessica Barnes addresses the crowd at Wednesday's event. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

Venture Forum RVA Chair Jessica Barnes addresses the crowd at Wednesday’s event. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

A group of Richmond startups familiar with the spotlight got some extra attention last night.

Venture Forum RVA honored six local businesses on Wednesday during its annual Companies to Watch event. Venture Forum is a business group that promotes networking between investors and startups.

Held at the Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward, the event celebrated three more established “growth companies” and three “emerging startups” still in their initial business stages.

Miller (left) and Forrester merged their two firms earlier this year to firm Workshop Digital. Photo by Michael Schwartz.

Andrew Miller (left) and Brian Forrester, founders of Workshop Digital.

The growth companies were WealthForge, Workshop Digital and Gelati Celesti, two of which have made local headlines this year. WeatlthForge, a kind of online broker-dealer, raised more than $2 million in capital in September, and in May got a check for $100,000 from an itinerant investor. Workshop Digital, an internet marketing firm in Shockoe Slip, was this year’s top ranking company on Richmond BizSense’s RVA 25 list of the area’s fastest-growing companies. Gelati Celesti is an ice cream shop that opened its third location last year.

The emerging startups category also had its share of newsmakers with Painless1099, Tenant Turner, and Evatran.

Painless1099, which helps freelancers manage their taxes, is in the process of moving to Buffalo, New York, as part of a business competition that could net it a $1 million prize. It was also picked to participate in this year’s class for Lighthouse Labs.

Tenant Turner is a real estate technology company started to help landlords find good tenants. It raised nearly $400,000 in capital earlier this year, and the Lighthouse Labs alum was 2014’s i.e. Start-Up Competition winner.

Evatran makes and sells plugless chargers for electronic cars and has received investment money from New Richmond Ventures, among other backers.

Venture Forum RVA has put on Companies to Watch since 2005. It honored five companies last year. About 60 companies were nominated this year. The honorees are chosen by a panel of judges based on market impact, growth, financial success and other factors.

Venture Forum RVA Chair Jessica Barnes addresses the crowd at Wednesday's event. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

Venture Forum RVA Chair Jessica Barnes addresses the crowd at Wednesday’s event. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

A group of Richmond startups familiar with the spotlight got some extra attention last night.

Venture Forum RVA honored six local businesses on Wednesday during its annual Companies to Watch event. Venture Forum is a business group that promotes networking between investors and startups.

Held at the Hippodrome Theater in Jackson Ward, the event celebrated three more established “growth companies” and three “emerging startups” still in their initial business stages.

Miller (left) and Forrester merged their two firms earlier this year to firm Workshop Digital. Photo by Michael Schwartz.

Andrew Miller (left) and Brian Forrester, founders of Workshop Digital.

The growth companies were WealthForge, Workshop Digital and Gelati Celesti, two of which have made local headlines this year. WeatlthForge, a kind of online broker-dealer, raised more than $2 million in capital in September, and in May got a check for $100,000 from an itinerant investor. Workshop Digital, an internet marketing firm in Shockoe Slip, was this year’s top ranking company on Richmond BizSense’s RVA 25 list of the area’s fastest-growing companies. Gelati Celesti is an ice cream shop that opened its third location last year.

The emerging startups category also had its share of newsmakers with Painless1099, Tenant Turner, and Evatran.

Painless1099, which helps freelancers manage their taxes, is in the process of moving to Buffalo, New York, as part of a business competition that could net it a $1 million prize. It was also picked to participate in this year’s class for Lighthouse Labs.

Tenant Turner is a real estate technology company started to help landlords find good tenants. It raised nearly $400,000 in capital earlier this year, and the Lighthouse Labs alum was 2014’s i.e. Start-Up Competition winner.

Evatran makes and sells plugless chargers for electronic cars and has received investment money from New Richmond Ventures, among other backers.

Venture Forum RVA has put on Companies to Watch since 2005. It honored five companies last year. About 60 companies were nominated this year. The honorees are chosen by a panel of judges based on market impact, growth, financial success and other factors.

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