Monthly Archives: September 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces More Than $971 Million in Travel Expenditures for Southwest Virginia

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that the Southwest Virginia region generated more than $971 million in travel expenditures in 2014 at the 2015 Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference in Abingdon, Virginia.

“These numbers demonstrate how important the tourism industry is for diversifying the economy in Southwest Virginia,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Visitors who are coming to our wonderful communities are spending money and making businesses viable, which is helping to build a creative, new Virginia economy in the region and the Commonwealth as a whole.”

According to the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 2014 Economic Impact Report, Southwest Virginia has seen a 50 percent increase in total travel expenditures for the region since 2004. In 2014, more than $43.6 million in local meals and lodging tax revenue was generated from the travel expenditures to the region. More than 9,750 jobs exist in Southwest Virginia due to tourism, increasing by 560 jobs since 2004.

“Southwest Virginia is blessed with many assets that visitors love to experience, from music, art, culture, and heritage to outdoor recreation,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “I commend the region for taking a team approach to developing a comprehensive economic development strategy.  The areas with the strongest teams will be the ones that win.”

The Southwest Virginia Creative Economy Conference has been highlighting the region’s outdoor recreation, natural assets, crafts and traditional music as the stepping stones for Southwest Virginia’s growing creative economy. The two-day conference featured Governor Terry McAuliffe as the opening speaker, and continues through tomorrow at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.


Governor McAuliffe Announces Winners of First-ever Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the winners of the first-ever Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition. The competition provided $850,000 to five companies in the bioscience and energy sectors that were looking to expand their business in Virginia.

Speaking about today’s announcement at an event in Richmond, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am thrilled to announce the winners of Virginia Velocity, the first statewide business plan competition.  It is critical to support, attract and retain entrepreneurs in Virginia as startup firms are an important source of job sector growth in urban, rural and suburban communities.  Virginia Velocity is one of our strategies to catalyze entrepreneurism and build a new Virginia economy.”

“The Commonwealth boasts tremendous assets that allow our talent to not only create, but sustain businesses, and Virginia Velocity gives us the opportunity to recognize those assets,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones.  “The competition also gives us the opportunity to reflect on what we need to do to cement Virginia’s reputation as the best place in the country for entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.”

In July, Virginia Velocity received 39 applications from entrepreneurs along the East Coast seeking next-level funding to expand their bioscience or energy business. A panel of more than 40 judges reviewed the applications and narrowed the pool to 10 semi-finalists, five in the bioscience sector and five in the energy sector. The top four finalists presented their plans to a panel of five guest judges, and the fifth finalist received recognition as the honorable mention at the event today in Richmond.

Winning companies must sign a performance contract prior to receiving any money from the business plan competition. This requires them to locate in Virginia for at least two years and have an office operating in Virginia by January 1, 2016.

The winners of the Virginia Velocity Business Plan Competition are: 

Energy First Place ($225,000) 

ConnectDER LLC

The ConnectDER is UL listed utility equipment that turns the electric power meter socket on a customer’s home into a standardized interconnection point for solar PV and other distributed energy resources (DERs). ConnectDER provides a local asset manager at the home that cuts costs of going solar, thereby creating a genuine win-win opportunity for the utility, PV installation contractors and the PV customer.  

Energy Second Place ($175,000) 

Autonomous Marine Systems Inc. 

Autonomous Marine Systems Inc. is a marine data company changing the way the world explores and studies the oceans. Using a patented low-cost, fully autonomous sailboat, Autonomous Marine Systems delivers persistent ocean intelligence anywhere around the world at one-tenth of the cost of existing services.  The systems emit zero carbon dioxide and do not risk human life.  

Bioscience First Place ($225,000) 

ivWatch LLC

ivWatch LLC develops, markets and sells biomedical sensor technology associated with infusion therapy and vascular access. The first of their products, ivWatch Model 400, received FDA clearance in early 2015 and continuously monitors peripheral IV sites and aids in the early detection of IV infiltration and extravasation events. The terms infiltration and extravasation refer to a condition where drugs inadvertently enter the surrounding tissue near an IV insertion site. Market availability of ivWatch products will begin in late 2015. 

Bioscience Second Place ($175,000) 

Personalized Cancer Therapy Inc.

Perthera guides advanced stage cancer patients and their physicians to the best personalized cancer treatment options available by bridging the gap between the latest advances in molecular analysis and patient therapy. The company combines advanced molecular diagnostic testing, a proprietary Expert System, patient history analysis and the input of board-certified oncologists to create a detailed analysis of a patient’s unique cancer.  Perthera was founded in 2012 on the idea of democratizing cancer care. Its core product is the ExpO system that delivers actionable results to oncologists. The company’s customers are patient advocacy groups, oncologists and hospitals. 

Honorable Mention ($50,000) 

Biotherapeutics Inc.

Biotherapeutics Inc. (BTI) is a Virginia-based biotech company dedicated to developing orally-active, disruptive therapeutics to treat inflammation and diabetes. Based on the discovery of the novel LANCL2 pathway and strong IP, BTI developed new small molecule therapeutics using a combination of computational modeling and experimental immunology. BTI’s informatics and computational modeling platform enables an accelerated path to drug development validated with significant animal pharmacology, mechanism of action and safety/toxicology data packages.