Innovation center will provide space for entrepreneurs

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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The 42,000-square-foot 1717 Innovation Center will house Startup
Virginia plus Capital One offices. Rendering courtesy SMBW

Startups soon will have a new hub in the River City, thanks to a partnership between a Richmond incubator and McLean-based Capital One Financial Corp.

Last spring, the banking giant purchased a former tobacco warehouse at 1717 E. Cary St. for $1.84 million from Will Loving and Brad Cummings, two co-founders of Startup Virginia, a business incubator currently located in a 5,000-square-foot building at 27 N. 17th St. The 42,000-square-foot Cary Street building will reopen by March as the 1717 Innovation Center, which will serve as the new location of Startup Virginia as well as space for Capital One.

Startup Virginia will lease and occupy the first three floors of the six-story building.  The fourth and fifth floors will house Capital One’s product research lab and conference and programming space.  Capital One will have a group of rotating employees on-site in addition to 10 permanent workers.

“This is really about bringing Richmond together, supporting the blooming startup ecosystem that we have here,” says Rasheeda Creighton, the center’s director. “Being a founder-led company, I think that’s really important for us.”

Each floor is named after a Richmond neighborhood and will include elements of that area. The first floor, for example, is named after Scott’s Addition, a former warehouse district now home to breweries, apartments and restaurants. The floor’s décor will incorporate wood and metal, mimicking the neighborhood’s industrial feel.

Capital One added a sixth floor to the building, which will function as meeting and event space. The addition, dubbed the “Sky Lounge,” has a glass wall offering a sweeping view of Richmond that leads to an outdoor patio.

The center’s membership packages range from $150 to $1,600 per month, depending on the amount of space and resources needed. Amenities include 24/7 building access; use of event space, conference rooms and research lab and access to a network of vetted mentors. Startup Virginia now has 31 members but plans to expand.

“As we scale, we anticipate 75 high-growth companies will hold memberships at any one time,” says Bryan Bostic, Startup Virginia’s executive director and co-founder.  

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