The founders of the early-stage businesses will go through an intensive 13-week program including expert mentoring designed to help them go to market with their business ideas and grow quickly.
“We are excited to expand our efforts this fall with eight amazing new companies coming to Richmond from multiple states, including an emphasis on education technologies,” said Todd Nuckols, executive director of Lighthouse Labs, a nonprofit that started the business accelerator program six years ago.
Since it was founded, 33 startups have been through the program, and those companies subsequently have created more than 120 jobs and raised more than $25 million in capital.
Startups for the fall class were chosen from among 200 applicants from all over the world. The fall cohort, which starts Monday, includes three startups from out of state — one each from Chicago, Atlanta and Boston. The others are from the Richmond area or Charlottesville.
One reason for inviting out-of-state startups is the possibility they will keep operations and jobs in the Richmond area as their businesses grow. For instance, a participant in last fall’s Lighthouse Labs cohort, Philadelphia-based RoundTrip, has a technical center in Richmond.
“We are really looking for strong companies that we know we can have an impact on,” said Dan Myers, Lighthouse Labs’ managing director. “That is our mission. There is always the ideal hope that the companies will have a presence in Richmond.
Four of the eight startups are focused on innovation in education. “Seven of the eight are either female-led or minority-led companies,” Myers said.
The teams are:
- The Abstract Athlete works with professional athletes who are also artists to share the benefits of creativity.
- Brandefy is an app that helps shoppers compare store brands to name brands to save money.
- EdConnective is a staff outsourcing platform that provides schools with instructional coaches for a fraction of today's cost.
- EnrichHER is a debt-based regulation crowdfunding portal that focuses on women-led businesses.
- Quinncia is an AI-based job preparation platform that lets students do a computerized interview and get automated feedback and recommendations.
- Radify Labs offers experiential learning programs for students to gain real world experience with in-demand tech skills.
- Tablee provides a modern solution for the hospitality industry that digitally captures and communicates guests’ needs.
The Lighthouse Labs fall program will be held at business incubator Startup Virginia, located in the 1717 Innovation Center in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom. The fall program concludes with an investor road show and Demo Day the week of Nov. 12.