CEOs group follows Fahrenheit to HandCraft building

As it moves into roomier digs in Scott’s Addition, a local finance consulting and business advisory firm is making sure to save space for its C-Suite-centered roommates.

The Fahrenheit Group started moving in last week to its new home, filling 6,500 square feet of the redeveloped HandCraft Cleaners building at 1501 Roseneath Road. The space more than doubles its previous office at 1700 Bayberry Court in Henrico County’s Glen Forest Office Park.

Joining Fahrenheit in the move is the Virginia Council of CEOs, which has shared space with the firm since it moved to Bayberry three years ago. The council’s full-time staff of three will occupy a room within the space and is subleasing from Fahrenheit, which signed a seven-year lease with building owners Jay, Keith and Jeff Nichols.


Is this thing on? Startup teaches tech to older generation

A mother-son duo is flipping the script on traditional tutoring, and trying to bridge the generational divide along the way.

Tammy Glotz and her son, Carter, launched TechStar Tutors, a startup that sends millennials to teach older generations how to be tech savvy through one-on-one lessons.

The company started last year when Carter, a student at Virginia Tech, spent a summer at home, looking for work and some pocket money.

“One day, his grandmother came over and pulled out a notebook, this long contact list, out of her pocket book,” said Tammy, TechStar Tutors’ COO. “He asked why she didn’t just put it into her cell phone, she said she didn’t know how to.”


Ledbury folds up West End location, focuses on downtown

Some prime Patterson Avenue retail space is opening up as a local shirt maker consolidates its West End outpost into its new flagship store downtown.

Ledbury’s shop at 5710 Patterson Ave. will close at the end of this week, co-founder and CEO Paul Trible said. The men’s fashion brand took over the storefront in 2015 after acquiring longtime occupant Creery Custom Shirts.

Creery specialized in bespoke and made-to-measure shirts, and Ledbury carried on the tradition in the space under the name Ledbury Creery Workshop. But with the opening of its new headquarters and retail home at W. 315 Broad St. in the fall, the company no longer needed two locations in town.

“Once we launched the flagship store, we brought (tailoring and bespoke shirting) in there,” Trible said.

He said the Broad Street store has been a success, and its retail sales are up about 50 percent from its old location in Shockoe Slip.  Read more at

Denim shop expands in the Bottom

A local blue jean maker is going up a couple sizes.

Shockoe Atelier, formerly Shockoe Denim, is expanding its Shockoe Bottom home base at 13A S. 15th St. by taking over an adjacent suite. Co-owners Anthony Lupesco and Matt Rho said they’ll be roughly doubling their current space.

“It was time to expand,” Lupesco said. “We had reached a point where Matt and I were doing our work on a ping-pong table on the retail floor,” he joked.

The added space will be used to increase production. Lupesco said the firm aims to add machinery and bring the company’s production in-house. Its handmade denim, for which the company is known, is already produced in house, in addition to being sold in building’s retail area.  Read more at

Announcing RVA Companies to Watch Winners

In case you missed Venture ForumRVA Companies to Watch 


Growth Category

Emerging Start-up Category


Belle Isle Craft Spirits


Four startup ventures make this year's "RVA Companies to Watch" list

A diverse group of companies, including one that recycles diapers and another that makes craft spirits, were recognized Wednesday as being among the Richmond area’s most promising developing businesses.

The four companies were selected as this year’s “RVA Companies to Watch” by Venture Forum RVA, a group that supports entrepreneurs and startup companies in the Richmond region.

“It is a definitely a diverse group this year, which is exciting and hopefully a sign that there is more creativity going on in the market outside of just the IT space,” said Jessica Barnes, chairwoman of the event.  Read more at

Richmond firm forges ahead with $2.5M raise

A recently fast-growing local financial tech firm has another fundraising round in the works.

WealthForge, a 7-year-old company that acts as an online broker-dealer helping link entrepreneurs with accredited investors, has launched a $2.5 million capital raise.

CEO Bill Robbins said the money will be raised in the form of convertible notes, which are an investment vehicle that is structured as debt and can be converted into equity. The company raised about $2.2 million in capital from a similar round in 2015 and secured about $2.5 million in additional equity in 2014 from local firm NRV and SennHill Partners.

“We want to keep the momentum going,” said Robbins, who became CEO this summer. “Having the additional capital will allow us to grow our core business with investment in sales, marketing and support.”

According to an SEC document filed by the firm Monday, WealthForge is seeking to secure a minimum of $25,000 from any outside investor in this latest capital raise. It plans to complete the raise by Dec. 31.  Read more at

What started seven years ago as an idea between two friends at the University of Richmond has turned into one of the fastest-growing businesses in the region.

WealthForge, which acts as an online broker/dealer helping link entrepreneurs with accredited investors, landed the top spot in Richmond BizSense’s fourth annual RVA 25 ranking thanks to 455 percent revenue growth over the last three years.

The 2016 RVA 25 list ranked the top 25 businesses in the region based on average annual revenue growth from 2013 to 2015. Each company ranked had a minimum of $500,000 in revenue annually.

The list featured a mix of startups and established firms; some have made the rankings in previous years and some were recognized for the first time.  Read more at

Renee Fisher and Venture Forum RVA

Venture Forum RVA The catalyst for Richmond’s visionaries - It’s a place where entrepreneurs can learn and make critical connections to transform ideas into reality.

Next Event

RVA Creates - A panel discussion and luncheon about the business of live and static art in Richmond. To register, please visit Venture Forum RVA

Date: Thursday September 15, 2016

Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm

Location: Virginia Historical Society

Interview with Renee Fisher The following interview as conducted on September 1, 2016 by Joanna Duggan, RVA Works volunteer correspondent:

Q: Renee, please tell us about the upcoming panel discussion ‘RVA CREATES”, and how it will be helpful to working artists.

A: Venture Forum RVA hosts events that showcase local entrepreneurs and community leaders from a number of industries, and this collaboration has proven to be successful. Our luncheons are a key part of our event lineup, and each time they magnetically attract a network of strategic advisors and potential funding sources who want to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Q: Can you explain what Venture Forum RVA offers the art community?

A: Many artists/creators are amazing at what they do, but often don’t have the expertise or desire to handle business affairs. We assist them with education on running a business - from protecting business assets, taking product to market, funding, growth, and much more. And we provide a network of other entrepreneurs and experts to help them with their journey.

Q: What do you see as Venture Forum RVA’s most significant accomplishment during your presidency?

A: This year is the 30th Anniversary of VENTURE FORUM RVA, and there are several things I see as most significant: Our membership and Board are now more diverse; we are able to put on exciting events; and we help successful entrepreneurs lead the way forward in our community. Venture Forum RVA is a catalyst for all things entrepreneurial, and a meeting ground for everyone who wants to participate. Our two signature events, RVA Companies to Watch and Virginia Venture Summit, have exploded with attendance, programming, and vision.

On October 26th at the Hippodrome, RVA Companies to Watch will showcase successful local companies that have been vetted and judged by some of Richmond’s most successful business leaders. Held in late Springtime, Virginia Venture Summit, an amazing and energizing day that educates and motivates all of us, will focus on starting, growing, funding, and fostering your business

Q: Please tell us about your ‘day job’ as Executive Partner at VACO.

A: VACO is a blend of experts that have been entrepreneurs themselves or have been practitioners in their discipline - hence our strong ties to Venture Forum RVA. VACO was created with the vision and passion to support businesses by providing professional talent in finance, technology, and operations. It is a big supporter of the communities it serves, in 30 locations throughout the U.S., and our culture is all about being a servant/leader to the business community.

Q: What is your vision for Richmond entrepreneurs in the next few years?

A: Richmond has never lacked in talent, innovation, and business creation, with a rich culture, solid higher education access and corporate business support. Our ecosystem is desperate for a physical “front door” where any stakeholders can go for guidance. My hope and desire is for the entrepreneurial community to have clear paths for funding, government initiatives, and local investors.

Venture Forum RVA will continue to be a catalyst driven by a dedicated working Board of Directors, with a passion for local entrepreneurs to thrive, and depends on volunteers and sponsors, so please join us. And don’t forget to register for our luncheon on Thursday, September 15 at Virginia Historical Society.

For More Information

Please contact Robin Hogge, Executive Director

5 Hacks to Know Before Launching a Human-Centric Tech Startup

hat makes the app unique is that, while it is built on data, it is decidedly human-centric.

Chang may have a background in analytics, but she understands the importance of a company built around human needs.

She shared with me her top five tips on successfully launching a tech startup built on people-centered relationships.

1. Find a way to fix a problem you see firsthand.

Chang first came up with the idea for Accompany when she was charged with trying to sell Google Analytics Premium to high-level company executives. Chang often felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the people she encountered.

“I was walking into a room of 20 Intel execs and trying to sell them a $150,000 piece of software,” Chang said.