Richmond startups 2022: Capital raises, new programming and expansions

Big capital raises grabbed the biggest headlines in the local startup scene in 2022, with plenty of new companies launching, expanding and growing their programs throughout the year.

Capital rises

Fringe CEO and co-founder Jordan Peace in the company’s Scott’s Addition office. (Photo by Jack Jacobs)

A number of local businesses have completed or embarked on significant funding rounds in 2022.

TemperPack Technologies announced in early 2022 that it had closed on a $140 million raise, which was nearly double what the packaging company founded in 2015 had raised through investors prior to that raise.

Plow Corp had raised $24.2 million in early September on its way to a $50 million goal. The pharmaceutical company was founded in 2020 by Frank Gupton and Eric Edwards, and is a player in the Alliance for Building Better Medicine, a regional effort by a collection of private and public entities to develop a pharmaceutical manufacturing hub.

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The employee benefits market as well as Qnovia, which is developing an inhaler-like nicotine replacement product, both closed on $17 million in capital raises in 2022.

Naborforce, which offers an Uber-like service that pairs seniors looking for companionship or assistance with home contractors, announced a $9 million raise in August.

Tutoring company Pearl, formerly known as Trilogy Mentors, completed a $4.8 million capital raise in 2022.

New enterprise programs

From left, JWC Foundation founders Melody Short, Rasheeda Creighton and Kelli Lemon.

There are a number of incubators, accelerators and other resources for people looking to grow their business idea. In 2022, some of these business development groups experienced some growth.

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Local nonprofit JWC Foundation introduced a new accelerator program aimed at black entrepreneurs called the Community Business Academy. The nonprofit was founded in 2022 by the founders of the business incubator Jackson Ward Collective, which falls under the umbrella of the nonprofit, like the Community Business Academy.

Activation Capital, which supports entrepreneurship and start-ups in the region through its initiatives, launched a pilot business development program in 2022 aimed at minority technology entrepreneurs.

Bon Secours in the spring announced grant awards to a number of businesses in Manchester as part of its Supporting Eastern Enterprise Development (SEED) programme. The extension of funding support to businesses in Manchester was the first of the small business grant program originally set up in 2011 to support Church Hill businesses.

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Expansion and launch

Sara McGlothlin is the founder of Gratisfied. (Photos courtesy of Happy)

Several young companies in the Richmond region expanded with new offerings or entered new markets during 2022.

Beauty products LipLoveLine has entered a brick-and-mortar store for the first time amid a larger expansion of more online sellers.

Two food startups added to their product lines in 2022. Gratisfied introduced a baking mix version of its Empower snack bar. Kim Baker Foods has added a lentil-based brownie to its line.

Kristin Richardson launched Sherah, a personal assistant service aimed at working moms, in September.

2022 also saw the launch of two new healthcare companies, in-home care provider Synergy Healthcare (founded by Will Saunders) as well as Remission Medical, a telehealth operation focused on rheumatic conditions founded by Blake Wehman.

Absurd Snacks, a snack company founded by University of Richmond students, introduced its products to the market in early 2022 after developing them as part of a college course.


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