Virginia city touted as a startup mecca

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Richmond ranks third in a list of midsize cities that are good spots for startups.

The list, “Founders: 10 Best Cities (Outside of Silicon Valley) For Your Next Startup,” was compiled by the website BroadbandNow, which collects and analyzes internet providers’ coverage and availability.

BroadbandNow considered several factors in drawing up its list of top cities for startups, including access to high-speed internet options, cost of living, startup culture and local culture.

“Richmond may not be nationally known for its high-profile startup scene, but the city has been working quietly to change that,” the survey says. “Operations such as LendUp, Knox Payments, Grid 20/20, and Envera Health have all contributed to putting the city on the entrepreneurial map, and we’re betting on this trend continuing in 2019 and beyond. Richmond is also a popular location for “innovation offices” of large companies like CarMax.”

The survey lists Richmond’s fastest broadband speed at 1 gigabyte. The average monthly cost for business telecom service is $744.33, it says, and the competition among broadband providers is described as “high.”

The website cites the presence of business incubators such as Startup Virginia, BizWorks and 1717 Innovation Center but says there aren’t as many coworking spaces in Richmond as in some other cities on the list.

The survey is complimentary of the city’s culture. “If you’re looking for a medium-sized town with some character, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Richmond has been undergoing a cultural boom for young professionals as 20-to-30-something creatives get priced out of nearby hubs like DC or NYC, and has a thriving art scene built around Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the biggest art schools in the U.S.”

The other cities on the list are: Riverside, Calif.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Gainesville, Fla.: Boulder, Colo; Ashland, Ore.; Park City, Utah; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Holland, Mich.; and Cheyenne, Wyo.

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