Startup Virginia Tour Kicks Off in Charlottesville - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Startup Virginia Tour Kicks Off in Charlottesville

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Monday, entrepreneurs got together to share ideas and network at University of Virginia's Darden School of Business.  They say they're hoping Charlottesville will be the next Silicon Valley.

The event in Charlottesville kicked off a Startup Virginia tour that's traveling across the state.  The entrepreneurs we spoke to say that Charlottesville is a great incubator for new startups.

"It's great to see Charlottesville and the University bridging the gap between each other and fostering an environment for entrepreneurship," said Adam Healey, a Charlottesville entrepreneur. 

Fostering entrepreneurship was the goal of the Startup Virginia tour that kicked off in Charlottesville Monday.

Former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said, "We need to get more entrepreneurs, more high-growth companies so that over the next decade we can become that global entrepreneurship hub."

Healey started his entrepreneurial career as a graduate student at UVA's Darden School of Business.  Since then, he's created two internet startups in Charlottesville.

"I think Charlottesville is a fantastic place to start a business," he said.  "Frankly, there's access to capital here, there's a lot of wealthy people that live in the area, there's some great talent, we've got the university which just presents the market with lots of people that like to work in startups."

Healey got 90 percent of the capital to launch his startup, Hotelicopter, from people who live in Charlottesville. 

"We raised over $5 million for that business and sold it last year to Room Key, which is a company owned by the 6 largest hotel chains in the world," Healey said.  "There are still 25 people who work for Room Key here in Charlottesville, so we were excited to keep the folks in the market."

And now, Healey is ready to pay it forward.  After seeing a pitch from students at the kickoff, he wants to invest in their business.

He said, "They've got some great ideas, great energy and it's wonderful to be a part of it."

Startup Virginia hopes their tour will foster connections and new businesses will be launched in Charlottesville.

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