Young Guns: The best of Richmond’s startup scene for 2017

Richmond’s startup scene continued to develop this year, with some established players making moves and newcomers settling in.

outdoor access founders

Outdoor Access co-founders Jamie Christensen, left, and Buck Robinson. (Mike Platania)

Capital raising aplenty

In a plentiful year for startup capital raises, Nutriati hauled in $10 million to expand its operation, which is fueled by breaking down garbanzo beans into proteins for health food manufacturers.

Also breaking the million-dollar capital raise mark was Outdoor Access, an Airbnb-like platform connecting landowners with outdoors enthusiasts looking for a place to hunt, fish, camp and hike. It raised $2 million as it begins to expand in the Mid-Atlantic.

A member of Lighthouse Labs’ 2017 class got plenty of local love. Payment processing company Blueswipe closed on $450,000, all from local investors.

evatran - scotts addition

Evatran is based out of the HandCraft building in Scott’s Addition. (Mike Platania)

Pivots

Speaking of Lighthouse Labs, the startup accelerator’s host for 2017, electric car charge manufacturer Evatran, is on track to be taken over by Chinese investors. The 7-year-old company is based in Scott’s Addition’s HandCraft building.

Changes also came to local healthcare startup Iggbo. The firm faced a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, which it promptly settled.

Weeks later, the company announced an expansion of its offerings, pivoting beyond its original model of sending phlebotomists to patients’ homes for blood draws.

ar's honey

Ames recently rebranded to AR’s Hot Southern Honey.

Newcomers

There was no shortage of new startups debuting in 2017.

Matt Paxton, the Clutter Cleaner founder known for his appearances on A&E’s “Hoarders,” this year launched Legacy Navigator, a concierge service for those who have lost a loved one. The company has grown quickly enough to prompt Paxton to expand its footprint in the West End.

Ames Russell saw a fast start to his food product startup, riding it all the way to the shelves of Publix. His AR’s Hot Southern Honey began distributing around Richmond in early 2017 and inked a distribution deal with Publix over the summer. Russell said he’s working on adding more products to his lineup.

Just in time for holiday shopping, ReRunner launched in November to offer on-demand pickup for items customers want to return to stores. Behind ReRunner is Sarah Abubaker, who said she aims to expand the service beyond Richmond and bring in investors in 2018.

Mike and Kristy Montesano’s new company is looking to keep Richmonders’ beards well coiffed. Their Wolfgang Beard Co. launched in the spring, selling locally made balms, oils and creams for beards.

Click here to catch up on all of BizSense’s startup coverage. And always feel free to drop us a tip whenever you hear of a new business in the works around town.

Richmond’s startup scene continued to develop this year, with some established players making moves and newcomers settling in.

outdoor access founders

Outdoor Access co-founders Jamie Christensen, left, and Buck Robinson. (Mike Platania)

Capital raising aplenty

In a plentiful year for startup capital raises, Nutriati hauled in $10 million to expand its operation, which is fueled by breaking down garbanzo beans into proteins for health food manufacturers.

Also breaking the million-dollar capital raise mark was Outdoor Access, an Airbnb-like platform connecting landowners with outdoors enthusiasts looking for a place to hunt, fish, camp and hike. It raised $2 million as it begins to expand in the Mid-Atlantic.

A member of Lighthouse Labs’ 2017 class got plenty of local love. Payment processing company Blueswipe closed on $450,000, all from local investors.

evatran - scotts addition

Evatran is based out of the HandCraft building in Scott’s Addition. (Mike Platania)

Pivots

Speaking of Lighthouse Labs, the startup accelerator’s host for 2017, electric car charge manufacturer Evatran, is on track to be taken over by Chinese investors. The 7-year-old company is based in Scott’s Addition’s HandCraft building.

Changes also came to local healthcare startup Iggbo. The firm faced a sex discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, which it promptly settled.

Weeks later, the company announced an expansion of its offerings, pivoting beyond its original model of sending phlebotomists to patients’ homes for blood draws.

ar's honey

Ames recently rebranded to AR’s Hot Southern Honey.

Newcomers

There was no shortage of new startups debuting in 2017.

Matt Paxton, the Clutter Cleaner founder known for his appearances on A&E’s “Hoarders,” this year launched Legacy Navigator, a concierge service for those who have lost a loved one. The company has grown quickly enough to prompt Paxton to expand its footprint in the West End.

Ames Russell saw a fast start to his food product startup, riding it all the way to the shelves of Publix. His AR’s Hot Southern Honey began distributing around Richmond in early 2017 and inked a distribution deal with Publix over the summer. Russell said he’s working on adding more products to his lineup.

Just in time for holiday shopping, ReRunner launched in November to offer on-demand pickup for items customers want to return to stores. Behind ReRunner is Sarah Abubaker, who said she aims to expand the service beyond Richmond and bring in investors in 2018.

Mike and Kristy Montesano’s new company is looking to keep Richmonders’ beards well coiffed. Their Wolfgang Beard Co. launched in the spring, selling locally made balms, oils and creams for beards.

Click here to catch up on all of BizSense’s startup coverage. And always feel free to drop us a tip whenever you hear of a new business in the works around town.

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