StartVirginia: Jan. 2023 Heard around Virginia
January startups news from around the state
Vienna-based Attune’s indoor air quality sensor is the first North American-made indoor air quality sensor to receive environmental claim validation UL 2905, the company announced Dec. 6, 2022. The validation, from UL Solutions, evaluates sensors for accuracy by measuring multiple air quality parameters, including common pollutants such as total volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide and particulate matter. Attune, formerly Senseware, is a sensor-based tech platform that measures air quality, risk of water leaks, critical equipment status and energy consumption. The company was founded in 2014 by CEO Serene Almomen and Chief Technology Officer Julien Stamatakis, and currently has 45 patents. (News release)
Manassas-based Capra Biosciences, a renewable chemicals tech company, won first place, and $10,000, in a business pitch competition at George Mason University’s annual Accelerate Investor Conference, held Nov. 2 and 3, 2022. Thirty-five companies were invited to pitch in the main competition and 22 student teams from several universities pitched in a separate competition. Fifty-four investors from 10 states also attended. Absurd Snacks, a trail-mix manufacturer from the University of Richmond, won first place and $5,000 in the student competition. Tow Ninja, a vehicle towing startup from James Madison University, won third place and $1,000. (News release)
Blacksburg-based CytoRecovery, a biotech startup that invented and patented less invasive cell sorting, will be able to bring its cell research platform to market after a $250,000 investment from Danville-based entrepreneur development organization The Launch Place. Announced Dec. 1, 2022, the investment comes after CytoRecovery’s inaugural sale of its Cyto R1 platform to University of California, Irvine researchers in September. CytoRecovery CEO Stephen Turner said the company is reviewing establishing a branch office in Danville as well as a life science internship program with Danville Community College.
Virginia has been approved for $230.4 million in federal funds to accelerate startups, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced Dec. 6, 2022. The money comes from Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative. About $57 million will go to the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority to expand credit support and technical assistance to small businesses through the SSBCI program. The remaining $173 million will be allocated to the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corp., which will use the money to expand its current seed and early-stage direct coinvestment program for Virginia-based technology startups. (VirginiaBusiness.com)
Shift5 Inc., a cybersecurity company that focuses on protecting transportation and military systems from cyberattacks, is nearly doubling its space in Arlington. The company’s headcount grew 54% last year to 85 employees. The expansion comes as Shift5 has seen revenue more than double year-over-year and as the company is planning continued hiring. The new office space increased from 11,883 square feet to 19,840 square feet at 1100 Wilson Blvd. in Rosslyn. The office has desks for 80 workers; the company operates a flexible, hybrid team. (Washington Business Journal)
Five winners of the Southwest Virginia Regional Bristol Casino Pitch Contest, named Dec. 8, 2022, will each receive $10,000 and will also have the chance to become vendors at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Bristol. The winners are: Anne Vaughan Designs (Floyd County); Beagle Ridge Herb Farm (Wythe County); The Orange Bandana (Montgomery County); The Pakalachian food truck (Washington County); and Virginia Mountain Vineyards (Botetourt County). The casino hosted a ceremony during which judges and community partners watched 3-minute pitch videos from applicants. The contest received 17 applications from 11 counties, and more than 1,300 members of the public weighed in during a one-week online voting period. Prizes were awarded with collaboration from the Virginia Small Business Administration, the Friends of Southwest Virginia, the Virginia Tourism Corp., the Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator and the SWVA Small Business Development Center. (News release)