Q&A with WealthForge’s Mat Dellorso

Earlier this year, local financial tech firm WealthForge announced it had surpassed the half-billion-dollar mark for capital investments processed for customers – a feat accomplished over the course of 300 deals and as the company nears its 10th year in business.

Founded in 2009 as a social network-investment banking hybrid in the crowdfunding realm, WealthForge pivoted in 2014 to become a broker-dealer, connecting entrepreneurs and investors for capital raises.

The shift helped land it as the fastest-growing company in the Richmond area in 2016, even as one of its co-founders was on his way out. Nearly 10 years in, the company is still climbing toward profitability for its investors, which include local venture capital firm NRV.  Read more at

Local startup Tenant Turner forms partnership with Boston-based property management software firm

Richmond-based startup company Tenant Turner, which makes software that helps property managers lease apartments and homes, has formed a partnership with a larger company that will help expand its service into international markets.

Tenant Turner announced this week it has teamed up with Buildium, a Boston-based company that offers property management software for real estate professionals. Under the partnership, Buildium will integrate Tenant Turner’s software into its own services for customers, in a new system called Showings Coordinator, designed to streamline both property management and leasing.

“It is a big milestone for us,” said James Barrett, Tenant Turner’s CEO who co-founded the company in 2014 with Brandon Anderson and Chris Stewart.

Tenant Turner has a staff of six in Richmond. There is no change in ownership as a result of the deal with Buildium, and Tenant Turner will continue to offer its software to customers separately, Barrett said.

The Buildium partnership enables Tenant Turner to expand its service to more customers in more markets.  Read more at

Henrico-based dog treats business gets new CEO and capital investment

Henrico County-based TDBBS LLC, which makes natural dog treats and pet toys, has a new CEO after a New York private equity firm made an investment in the fast-growing business.

Tim Hassett, former president of spirits maker Beam Suntory Inc.’s Americas division and a 10-year veteran of the Campbell Soup Co., has been appointed as CEO.

The hiring followed a growth investment in TDBBS by Bregal Partners. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Read more at

$550M Target deal flows back to Richmond

A downtown venture capital firm had reason to celebrate last month, as one of its more recent investments hit it big as the target of a nine-figure acquisition.

Shockoe Slip-based Harbert Growth Partners successfully exited its investment in online grocery delivery startup Shipt in December, after it was acquired by retail giant Target for $550 million.

HGP, headquartered at 1210 E. Cary St., was part of a trio of firms that led the funding on two capital-raising rounds for Shipt over the last two years. The first was a $20 million Series A round in summer 2016. A second, $40 million round followed about a year later, six months before closing the Target deal.  Read more at

Chicago coworking brand drops $5M for Shockoe Slip space

An out-of-town coworking company is making a seven-figure splash into downtown Richmond.

Chicago-based Level Office, which has 18 locations nationally, is planning its Richmond entrance after purchasing the five-story building at 11 S. 12th St. in Shockoe Slip for $4.6 million. The deal closed Dec. 20.

Founder Bill Bennett said the company plans to spend an additional $1.5 million to renovate and outfit the 113-year-old, 52,600-square-foot office building with common areas, meeting rooms, private offices, an espresso bar and outdoor decks.

Level Office is the first national coworking company to move into the Richmond market, joining local brands Gather, 804RVA and at least one other newcomer in the downtown area.  Read more at

Congratulations to Venture Forum RVA Companies to Watch in 2018

Congratulations to Venture Forum RVA Companies to Watch in 2018

Emerging Startup Awards

CrowdLobby LLC: A company that has adopted the Kickstarter model of online funding, enabling individuals to donate and pool their funds to be used to hire lobbyists to work on specific legislative issues.

Food Not Flowers: A company that enables people to send precooked meals as gifts for friends or family to help them through major life events such as the birth of a baby instead of sending flowers.

Outdoor Access: A company that operates an online marketplace where outdoor enthusiasts can find private landowners who want to temporarily rent their land for hunting,fishing, camping or other outdoor recreation.

Growth Award

Seasonal Roots: A company that is an online farmers market that delivers fresh produce from nearby farms to its customers, who pay membership fees.

Presented by


Microsoft is holding a $3.5 million competition to find the next great garage startup — 'like American Idol'

Microsoft, suffice it to say, is a very big company. But even with its vast resources, it can’t go out and talk to every developer working on the next big thing.

“There are many great companies pushing the boundary of [artificial intelligence] that we can’t reach, even with our efforts,” Microsoft Ventures head Nagraj Kashyap tells Business Insider.  Read more at Business Insider

Downtown finance firm closes $18.9M capital raise

An expansion-hungry local investment firm has just raised a pile of cash.

Cary Street Partners, a 15-year-old Shockoe Slip-based wealth management and financial advisory business, closed last week on an $18.9 million capital raise.

Tom Tullidge, founder and chief strategy officer, said it will use the money to pursue acquisitions of other firms and recruit talent from competitors. That will add to its base of about 80 employees in 13 offices in six states.

“We see an opportunity in the market,” Tullidge said. “The industry is changing away from the big wire houses. The market is moving in our direction.

“This will give us the balance-sheet strength we need to attack the market.”

The capital was raised in a private placement from about 30 investors that included both local and out-of-town contributions. It was mostly equity, but also included some debt capital. The company had the ability to raise up to $22 million. Read more at

Local men’s retailer completes move from Grove to Short Pump

The bow tie count is about to go up at one of Henrico’s busiest malls.

Collared Greens, a locally based men’s retailer specializing in button-downs, bowties, cummerbunds and polo shirts, opened its new shop Monday in Short Pump Town Center.

The store replaces its previous spot in the Libbie-Grove corridor, which Collared Greens had operated since 2013.

CEO Mason Antrim said the Short Pump store originally was set to be upstairs near L.L. Bean, but landed downstairs in a 1,600-square-foot space on the mall’s main level, bookended by women’s clothing store Free People and the mall services office.

The shop is open during regular mall hours – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Those are longer days than on Grove, where it was open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Antrim said the increased hours warranted the addition of five employees to his retail staff, adding to eight employees at the company’s Henrico office. Read more at

The RVA 25 Ranked by Average Annual Revenue Growth Percentage from 2014 to 2016

The RVA 25 Ranked