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by Burl Rolett

And then there were 15.

Fifteen businesses are finalists for a $10,000 prize and free office space in the Greater Richmond Chamber’s inaugural startup competition.

The finalists advanced from a field of 143 contestants after a round of public online voting last week. They will compete before an eight-judge panel made up of local entrepreneurs and venture capitalists at a free, public event June 21 at Richmond CenterStage.

New Richmond Ventures, a private company that advises startups, will offer six free months of office space to the contest winner. Chrystal Neal, a spokeswoman for the Chamber of Commerce who is organizing the event, hopes the space will put the winning business in contact with potential investors and customers.

“We’re hoping that this will be a launching pad for them,” she said.

MeadWestVaco is the primary sponsor for the event. Local accounting firm Cherry, Bekaert & Holland is putting up $10,000 for the prize.

The contest was free to enter and open to startups that had been in business for less than a year. Contestants also must be committed to keeping their businesses based in Richmond.

The finalists are listed below in alphabetical order. The chamber also recognized 10 runners-up.

BetterGuard Mobile offers privacy protection services for iPhone and Android.

Bonfire Funds is a crowd-funding company that helps individuals and organizations raise money by selling T-shirts.

Chef Sous produces cocktail mixers, including “Keep It Simple Syrup” or “kiss.”

City Scrapbook is a social networking program that aggregates information on a city’s restaurants, neighborhoods and upcoming events from posts by fellow citizens.

Company Bright aims to lower the cost of employee training by offering an online platform where trainers can post lessons and managers can track and record employee progress though the courses offered.

Dozer, to be released later this summer, is a wedge-shaped device that automatically rocks a baby in its car seat.

InLieu is a web-based company that allows users to raise money for a cause by registering gift-giving occasions, such as a birthday or anniversary, and soliciting monetary donations in lieu of gifts.

Little House Green Grocery, opening in the fall, will feature fresh, locally grown foods and foster a community atmosphere by hosting events and classes.

New Way Fitness sells “Moving Grooving for Life.” Moving Grooving for Life allows schools to track student exercise through RFID and Wi-Fi technology. Students carry an RFID tag, which they scan at towers along a walking path. The towers send time-stamped information to a database, which produces reports summarizing each student’s aerobic activity.

Richmond Young Writers offers after-school and summer writing workshops for students and is hoping to expand to a full-time building.

SEELogix offers homeowners a cloud-based website on which they can develop a profile of their home, set up maintenance reminders, purchase maintenance products and store electronic documents.

Shockoe Denim, opening this summer, is a premium denim manufacturer located in Richmond’s Shockoe district. Local tailors design, cut and sew the company’s jeans at a 15th Street workshop.

Smart Projex is a web-based project management program.

The ARTisan Cafe will serve as a retail market in downtown Richmond for undercapitalized entrepreneurs.

Wag-in-a-Box sends subscribers a goody box of dog treats, toys and promotional offers for pet care goods each month.

Runners-up, also in alphabetical order:

Iberian Inspirations LLC
Love RVA
New World Sports
The TLC Kitchen
Thought, Inc.
ViM: Video in Music
Your Chow Hound

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