Eight startup companies from four states have been chosen to participate in this fall’s Lighthouse Labs program in Richmond, an intensive mentoring and business development program for promising new, small companies.
The founders of the companies will participate in the business accelerator development program starting Aug. 23. It will include advice and coaching from about 150 volunteer mentors who work with the nonprofit Lighthouse Labs program.
The program will culminate on Nov. 18, when the startups participate in a virtual pitch competition to potential investors for their businesses.
“We will do six weeks virtual and then a week in person, in October” followed by another six weeks of virtual work, said Erin Powell, executive director of Lighthouse Labs.
The eight startups that will join Lighthouse Labs include three based in Virginia, with out-of-state representation from Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich.; Iowa City, Iowa; and Philadelphia.
Lighthouse Labs is partnering with the city of Richmond and ChamberRVA and “using this as an opportunity to roll out a red carpet, especially on the heels of Virginia being named the number one state for business” by CNBC in July, Powell said.
Powell said 168 startups applied for this fall’s program.
The startups have businesses in health care, sports, software-as-a-service development, human resources and other industries.
“It is a good combination of smart and hungry founders that want to be able to scale their businesses and want to be able to do so with the assistance of the Richmond community,” Powell said.
All of the business startups will receive $20,000 in equity-free grant funding. Backed by corporate donations, Lighthouse Labs has provided more than $1.4 million in funding to the 72 other early-stage startups that have been through the program.
Lighthouse Labs was founded nine years ago and has since provided mentoring and business development programs to 72 startup companies.
About 80% of those companies are still in business today, Powell said.
“Not only are they still in business, but they are thriving,” she said. “They have added 2,000 jobs and grown to over $150 million in revenue, and they really are making an impact not only here in Richmond but in our region as well.”
This will be the 11th cohort hosted by Lighthouse Labs, and its first “hybrid cohort” that will run primarily virtually with one week of in-person programming in Richmond.
“We are really excited to roll out the red carpet for these companies to show them what Richmond is all about and why Richmond is a great place to start a business,” Powell said.