Richmond Venture Forum announced its annual list of RVA Companies to Watch. These are start-up businesses that they believe will eventually have a big impact on the Richmond economy. Here's a look inside two of those companies and what makes them stand out.
Impact Makers, Inc. is making an impact as an IT consulting company.
"General IT management consulting largely, with about 50% state government and the rest commercial clients," explains CEO Michael Pirron.
But it's also making an impact as a B Corporation, which means it gives all its profits to charity.
"The power of the free market in capitalism has this huge power to generate wealth in our society. The idea of social enterprise is how do you leverage that power to make social and environmental impact?" said Pirron.
The company has grown fast since Pirron started it in 2006 with just $50 and one contract.
"Seven years later," said Pirron, "we're between $10 and $11 million and almost 60 staff."
Two charities, Rx Partnership and Family Lifeline, are benefiting from the profits.
"Because of funders like Impact Makers, we have touched the lives of over 3000 individuals in the Greater Richmond and Petersburg area," said Mitzi Fletcher of Family Lifeline.
Another company to watch, according the Richmond Venture Forum, is Shockoe, which has created mobile apps for a long list of clients since it started just three years ago.
Said Shockoe CEO Edwin Huertas, "We help companies, big and small, to create their applications to help consumers."
Shockoe developed an app for the Shaka Smart Basketball Camp to help players get the information they need.
Shockoe also created a kiosk for Carpool car washes, where customers can register for a rewards program.
Huertas also showed us they've created "a couple of games. Letter Lasso is one of them. And we're helping real estate companies, Homes.com, ForRent.com."
As for the future, these companies say the sky is the limit.
Jokes Impact Makers' Pirron, "World dominance. We'll probably buy GM or Exxon Mobile and put all their profits back into the community as well!"