A report from the little known startup scene of Charlottesville, Virginia, including five founders whose companies are adding to the buzz. 

By Alexandra Becker (Founder, phoodE

Some say it goes back to the foundations of the community and Thomas Jefferson himself.  Known as an innovator, inventor and pioneer of new ideas, Thomas Jefferson’s impact on the town of Charlottesville, Virginia has only gotten stronger through the decades. Thanks to the combination of the University of Virginia community and the gorgeous landscape at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville is a spot that keeps people coming back long after their first trip. The city oozes a young, vibrant, energetic (did I mention foodie?) culture rivaling that of many other major US cities.

While many will come and visit for fall foliage viewing and winery tours, Charlottesville has more recently become increasingly attractive to a variety of budding new startups.  The launch of the Tom Tom Founders Festival in 2011—think SXSW—is a testament to the burgeoning entrepreneurial community emerging in the Virginia area. Celebrating innovation through local food, music, art and ideas, TTFF has highlighted what many of us have already known—Charlottesville has the perfect combination of culture, energy, ambition, open-mindedness to serve as a launch-pad for early-stage startups looking to get traction.

While it may not compare in size to Silicon Valley or New York City, for those looking for a relaxed lifestyle combined with a fantastic community to test out their startup hypotheses, look no further than Charlottesville, Virginia.

Check out five amazing women who are making it happen in C’ville in the slideshow above.

350407aAbout the guest blogger: Alexandra Becker is the founder of phoodE, a startup focused on helping small businesses in the food service industry get back to their passions by streamlining their tedious daily operational tasks.  Alexandra currently resides in Charlottesville, VA and is an MBA candidate at the Darden Graduate School of Business.