Who will be the Richmond area's next job creators and how will they fund their
New Richmond Ventures, a venture capital development firm, was formed a year ago by some of the area's most acclaimed businessmen to identify emerging leaders with big ideas and help them grow world-class businesses in this area.
"We are very supportive of the local coffee shop, but it's not what we are set up to do," said J. Robert "Bob" Mooney, one of four partners at New Richmond Ventures.
New Richmond Ventures provides a minimum $250,000 investment and mentoring to startup companies with a passion for social impact and business potential on national or global scales.
The company has invested, for example, in Evatran, which provides wireless recharging products for electric cars, eliminating the need to plug in vehicles and making them easier to recharge.
The technology involves an adapter on an electric car that allows the driver to pull up to a parking place equipped with a transmitter device to recharge the vehicle.
The startup has been through three rounds of funding from equity investors, but none resembles the latest infusion from NRV, said Rebecca Hough, 26, chief executive officer and co-founder of the family-owned business.
Typically, investors are concerned about their equity positions, Hough said.
"The difference for us is the focus that NRV puts on where we are going," she said, declining to say how much money the group invested. "They look at what impact we hope to have and how they can help us get to where we want to be."
Evatran's plant is in Wytheville, but the headquarters will relocate to the Richmond area in early 2013, Hough said.
Some might refer to New Richmond Ventures as an angel investor or venture capital firm.
However, the partners say they are not simply interested in putting money into a company with potential to increase shareholder value. Nor do they seek set returns on investments over pre-determined time periods.
"We are patient investors," Mooney said. "These are early-stage investments. They will take years to monetize."
Their mission, they say, is to help jumpstart the region as a hub for a new breed of startups.
The principals at New Richmond Ventures, including Mooney, are among Richmond's most influential:
--James E. Ukrop;
--Theodore L. Chandler Jr.; and
All four serve on numerous community and corporate boards, providing guidance on several levels in the Richmond area.
"As with many other business leaders, I am often called on to mentor or financially support local entrepreneurs on an ad hoc basis where I can see firsthand the difficulties that they face in growing a business from scratch," said Chandler, former chairman of the Greater Richmond Chamber and founding member of the Capital Region Collaborative.
"My conclusion from these experiences is that our community has all of the ingredients that early-stage companies require, but that those ingredients, such as mentoring, support services and patient capital, are poorly organized and difficult for entrepreneurs to access."
Against that backdrop, Chandler, Ukrop, Mooney, Stefanovich and Matt Rho,
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