A look at Richmond’s newest business incubator
A former tobacco warehouse in downtown Richmond has officially opened its doors as a business incubator.
The 1717 Innovation Center in Shockoe Bottom has been open for about a month, but held its grand opening March 26th.
The 42,000-square-foot center at 1717 E. Cary St. is a partnership between McLean-based Capital One and local incubator Startup Virginia, which moved from a smaller space in downtown Richmond into the new center.
Capital One purchased the Cary Street building for $1.84 million and converted into the 1717 Innovation Center. Startup Virginia leases the first three floors of the six-story building. The rest of the floors house Capital One’s product research lab and conference and programming space for the community.
“Our goal is to help nonprofits and civic organizations create and build an innovation mindset,” said Rasheeda Creighton, the center’s director and a Capital One employee.
Capital One invested in the center through its $150 million Future Edge program, which provides financial education, support for small businesses and trains people for modern jobs. The bank decided to invest in the center because it heard from the business community that there was a need for more space for startups and investors to congregate.
“We believe strong communities are supported by strong economies and strong economies are the underpinning of national small businesses,” said Jay Sanne, vice president of technology at Capital One, and head of innovation investing for Central Virginia. “This incubator is all about building small businesses.”
Outdoor Access, which has been in operation for about 20 months, is one of the 52 companies in Startup Virginia. The company provides a platform for outdoor enthusiasts to rent private land for recreational purposes. James Stacia, Outdoor Access’ vice president of land strategy and operations, said being in the new space allows it to help newer startups and feed off the energy and connections at the center. “It's terrific,” he said.