Starting Up 2013. Hold on tight, RVA-the first issue of the year is jam-packed with thinkers, doers, buskers, and startup owners. To jumpstart things, we went straight to some of our area's most popular risk takers and asked them to share their startup stories in this issue of Greater Richmond Grid magazine.
Ken Johnson, owner of a Richmond-based communications firm, has launched "RVA Grooves: All Things Arts and Culture." Johnson, who has also been instrumental in the The Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont, created RVA Grooves as a captivating new lifestyle reality series that showcases the talent RVA has to offer.
At the helm of the Bizarre Market, Richmond's favorite handmade extravaganza hosted by Chop Suey Books, is Bird Cox. The inventory of the Bizarre Market is the handcrafted work of local artists. Cox, a crafter herself, believes there's something unique about handmade products.
Running 13.1 miles is tough-but it's still easier than chemotherapy. That's the mantra of Briana Kirby, who plans to run 12 half marathons in 12 months to raise $10,000 for the VCU Massey Cancer Center. She runs every mile in memory of her mother, who passed away from cancer in 2012.
The road has been long, but at last Richmond's Noah Scalin, known for his award winning Skull-A-Day art project, has brought to life a decade's old idea. His new book, The Design Activist's Handbook, is Scalin's way of sharing the ideas that have shaped his career.
The No. 1 killer of women in America is still on the loose-you can help stop it. Heart disease continues to top the leading causes of death for mothers, sisters, and daughters across America, killing almost 500,000 women each year-an average of one death every minute.
For those of us connected to the nonprofit sector, we know that Central Virginia is an extremely generous community. It should be no surprise then to learn that the Central Virginia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals hosts one of the largest National Philanthropy Day events in the country. This year's luncheon was held at the Convention Center and was once again a powerful affirmation
of our community's collective work.
When most people hear the word "grease," they think John Travolta. Well this story is far from the glamour of any "Summer Lovin'." My brother Joey Anderson and I were flipping hamburgers at your local burger joint and doing the ever-loved grease dumps when Joey came up with the idea of using waste cooking oil for fuel, but we didn't know what to do with it. After doing research, we found out it's recycled to make lipstick, other cosmetics, and biodiesel. That was when we were seniors in high school. I went off to college in Florida to pursue professional wakeboarding and a business management major while Joey stayed in Richmond to study advertising at Virginia Commonwealth University.
World Pediatric Project is known for putting on a good show in RVA. This year's "Treasures in Paradise" auction was no different, with the best in fashion from an up-and-coming New York designer, a cast of local models, favorite Richmond businesses, and more. But between the glitz and glamour, the real reason for the annual gathering was evident.
I spent most of my childhood clearing paths through woods, swimming in pools, building tree forts, and jumping in creeks. I clocked in endless hours riding bikes, skateboards, and mini bikes through the invented worlds swirling in my imagination. I worked hard at placing myself in a world of crazed friendships that lasted about as long as my ever-changing, specious tales. I would spin these tales in any direction if I thought it would help me keep a friend.
Richmond neighborhood Jackson Ward was once the center of a musical revival so impactful that it earned the nickname, the "Harlem of the South." Entertainers came from miles around to set their stages on the streets of Richmond and inspire crowds of onlookers.
After a decade-long quest, Patrick Murtaugh and I launched Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on Ownby Lane in Richmond in October 2011. The dream, which began with our first taste of handcrafted beer at an Australian farm bearing the name Hardywood Park, was driven by our desire to enlighten others about real craft beer. While our first months of business were an exhilarating adventure, 2012 was really a landmark year for Greater Richmond's beer scene.
In today's corporate jungle, it's all about survival of the most innovative. Miles Finch Innovation, a Midlothian firm with meeting space in Manchester's Corrugated Box Building, skillfully guides corporations toward a more innovative approach to business solutions.
Ranee Kamens may not be from Richmond, but in a very short time, she has become the quintessential Richmond girl-a Ram and a Spider, who is creative, passionate, and driven to help people become the best version of themselves.
I wanted to build interfaces for the iPhone as soon as I'd tapped the glass on the original model. I wasn't alone. Plenty of other interface designers saw the future in multitouch and started mocking up apps. I'd recently signed up for Tumblr and wanted to post from my iPhone so my first iOS design was meticulous views of what that app might look like. Unfortunately, Apple wasn't allowing third party development on iPhone OS at that time so my interface was relegated to nothing more than a mobile design exercise.
It's Friday afternoon in RVA. Inside the New Venture Richmond office a small crowd is gathering to discuss the upcoming TedxRVA in March. Taking their seats at a round table, I crack open a beer and begin.
Those of us who keep a close eye on the business press see a lot of headlines about millions of dollars pouring into chosen startup companies, locally and around the country. And that's great. But we also know that for every growing company that needs a million-dollar boost, there are probably 25 scrappy founders and their teams who could get a lot done with $25,000.
Local economic development offices and a cadre of volunteers are turning up the heat on regional economic development through a unified outreach tool. Business First Greater Richmond, a collaboration between the Greater Richmond Partnership and economic development offices in Richmond, Henrico, Hanover, and Chesterfield, sends volunteers into the business community with a standardized survey. Responses are funneled back to local economic development staff so they can help businesses navigate permitting processes, collect market information, and address workforce needs.
Leadership Lab, a program created and cultivated by the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, is designed to create individual development and relationship building for emerging leaders. Leaders who choose to apply to Leadership Lab are interested in increasing their lead and influence within their organizations or businesses.
Early one evening in the summer of 2009, I called Comcast customer service only to hear the dreaded words, "I'm sorry, we are currently experiencing higher than normal call volumes, please hold as your call is very important to us."
From his office in Shockoe Bottom, Edwin Huertas is building a growing base of clients that operate throughout Latin America. About one in five people south of the U.S. border own a smartphone (compared to one in two here), and as is the case in the U.S., iPhones and Androids have become the dominant handsets and continue to gain market share. That's a nice place to play if you're Huertas, an Ecuador native whose three-year-old company, Shockoe.com, happens to build applications for iPhones and Android devices.
It's hard to turn around in Richmond without bumping into a collaborative workspace or three. There's Gangplank Henrico for the technology-minded, or 804RVA for individual entrepreneurs tired of staring at their bedroom walls. Hanover offers the Dominion Resources GreenTech Incubator, while the city offers Advantech with its below-market office space rental. A trio of local business standouts launched New Richmond Ventures, which advises startups and offers opportunities for space. And there's always the basement of the Tuckahoe Library, or any number of coffee shops.
CapTech Ventures wrote the book on iPhone and iPad development, and that's literal: iOS Network Programming, authored by three of the Richmond information technology company's developers, is available on Amazon for $30.
With the start of 2013 comes an onslaught of resolutions. At the top of most people's list is improved health and wellbeing, in some shape or fashion. Richmonders do not have to look far, however, to find good role models when it comes to the success stories found at the various YMCA locations scattered around Greater Richmond. Here's to some of our favorites-Makita Byrd, Amanda Clarke, Jesse Evans, and Aurora Johnston. Read their inspiring stories, think about them, and then get active.
In the last issue of Greater Richmond Grid, we asked Happy the Artist to give us his tips on ways to be happy in RVA. Next up we have Jonathan Austin, one of Richmond's most recognizable figures and favorite entertainers. From tossing flaming objects in the air to magic tricks delivered with a hefty dose of humor, Jonathan the Juggler has offered his 24-hour Emergency Juggling Services to RVA for decades.
Swimming is the part of a triathlon that most athletes fear most. Though it's the shortest portion of the race, even the best swimmers are faced with the stress of other swimmers all around them. And for those participating in a Kona Ironman, the toughest of all events, this feeling can last the entire 2.4-mile swim. Jay Peluso, founder of Peluso Open Water, set out to change this.
"Is this for real?" That was Stacy Dudley's first reaction when she got the call inviting her high school dancers to perform at the Orange Bowl half-time show in Miami. Dudley, the dance teacher at Collegiate School since 2001, "didn't believe it at first. Usually things that are too good to be true aren't true," she says. But this was.
The recent success of Richmond-based Health Diagnostic Laboratory is not about any one person. It's about a family of people willing to roll up their sleeves and work around the clock for the past three years to save lives. It's representative of the spirit found by the many startups, organizations, and nonprofits in Greater Richmond who are dedicated to a cause worth fighting for. It's who we are.
Along the banks of the James River floats Celebration, a 78-foot-long boat docked near Rocketts Landing. Inside is Flatheads, Richmond's only floating restaurant. Dishing up American cuisine, Flatheads offers views of the RVA skyline, an open-air top floor and bar, and a fire pit on the bow.
Brothers Chris and Phil Ray have recently found themselves at the center of it all. As the owners of the newly opened Center of the Universe Brewing Company, the duo has morphed their hobby into one of the latest in a string of quality, craft breweries opening in Greater Richmond.
CarLotz is a consignment store for used cars that I co-founded with my partners Michael Bor and Aaron Montgomery in Richmond in early 2011. The company was born out of an unmet need in the marketplace. Buying and selling cars is an activity nearly every adult goes through, yet most consumers genuinely dislike the process.
When Afro-Cuban percussionist Melena took the stage at this year's Richmond Folk Festival, she reached a personal and historical milestone. "It was a tremendous honor to have been the first female instrumentalist to be invited to perform with the Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pi?eiro since 1927," the musician says of her experience accompanying the renowned Afro-Cuban ensemble on congas.
Constantine Giavos grew up to a soundtrack meant to please a diverse crowd. As a child, the DJ and drummer absorbed the eclectic song library his parents compiled for their popular Fan restaurant, The Sidewalk Caf?, enjoying artists as varied as Aaliyah, Timbaland and Magoo, The Police, and Thin Lizzy.
Tell A Story is a special section for this issue of Grid. Seventeen graphic design students at VCU were given the seemingly simple task of telling a story of Richmond through ten photos and an accompanying artist's statement. The challenge turned out to be anything but easy and the results were varied. In the end, one winning student's story was chosen to grace the pages of Grid, and we're happy to publish it.