6 Richmond Startups That Have Potential to Grow Like a Weed

John Egan

Not long ago, LawnStarter re-entered the Richmond, VA, market after testing our offering there in 2013. Today, three years after that test, we’re a fast-growing startup based in Austin, TX, that offers lawn care services in Richmond and eight other U.S. markets.

As a startup, we can appreciate the effort it takes to build a company from the ground up. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard,” entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki says.

In honor of our return to the Richmond market, we decided to highlight local startups that are trying hard to implement their ideas -- and are primed for success. Here’s our list, in alphabetical order, of 6 Richmond Startups That Have Potential to Grow Like a Weed. All of the startups on our list were founded in 2011 or later.


What it does: Acts like an “outsourced office assistance and business partner” for contractors, taking on tasks such as scheduling, price quotes, invoices and customer follow-ups

Why it could grow like a weed: Co-founder Ethan Wirt estimates HourWise has 1.7 million prospective customers, amounting to a marketplace of roughly $1 trillion. Wirt aims to reach a user base of 100,000 by the end of 2020.

Year founded: 2012

Founders: Ethan Wirt and Jon Hill

Website: www.hourwise.com

Marilyn Collins (left) and Michelle Logan

Marilyn and Michelle

What it does: Sells a foam mattress topper, with the breast area cut out, that helps women who are recovering from a mastectomy, are breastfeeding or are large-breasted sleep more comfortably.

Why it could grow like a weed: The prevalence of breast cancer and breastfeeding promises to drive growth. More than 307,000 new cases of breast cancer are expected to be reported in 2016, with many of those patients undergoing surgery to remove one or both breasts, Breastcancer.org says. Additionally, 79 percent of U.S. infants born in 2011 started out breastfeeding, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Year founded: 2014

Founders: Marilyn Collins and Michelle Logan, both of whom underwent mastectomies

Website: www.marilynandmichelle.com


What it does: Educates homebuyers, and connects real estate agents with current and potential clients -- all through an online portal

Why it could grow like a weed: As the millennial generation grows older, more and more people in this age group will be hunting for their first homes -- and will be hunting for home-buying information. “Millennials are about to kick-start a home-buying boom,” a MarketWatch columnist predicts.

Year founded: 2013

Founders: Jody Clower, who is a Realtor

Website: www.nestiny.com


What it does: Makes and sells a mobile health-tracking app that delivers scores of aggregated data to health and wellness professionals so they can better meet clients’ needs

Why it could grow like a weed: Market research company Tracita predicts worldwide shipments of wearable health-tracking devices will rise from 2.5 million in 2016 to 97.6 million by 2021. By the end of that period, the global market for health-monitoring wearables will be $17.8 billion, Tracita says.

Year founded: 2011

Founders: Mac Gambill and Phil Beene

Website: http://nudgecoach.com


What it does: Turns chickpeas into a plant-based protein powder

Why it could grow like a weed: A 2014 report from Lux Research documents the rising popularity of plant-based proteins. Lux Research says the “current dominance of meat and seafood will wane in the coming decades,” and several alternative sources of protein will emerge to fill the void. Those alternative sources (including chickpeas) will make up 33 percent of the worldwide market for protein by 2054, the research company predicts.

Year founded: 2013

Founders: Richard Kelly and Michael Spinelli

Website: http://nutriati.com

Brandon Anderson (left), James Barrett (center) and Chris Stewart

Tenant Turner

What it does: Provides leasing software that helps apartment owners and other landlords reduce vacancies

Why it could grow like a weed: Tenant Turner says the 43 million residential rentals in the U.S. represent a market opportunity of $3.2 billion. For residential landlords, tenant turnover is costly, with each vacant unit costing an owner from $1,500 to more than $5,000 a month when you factor in cleanup costs, advertising and other expenses, according to one estimate.

Year founded: 2013

Founders: Brandon Anderson, James Barrett and Chris Stewart

Website: http://tenantturner.com

If you’re a Richmond resident looking for lawn service, check out our Richmond lawn care page to see how easy it is to schedule service for your home.