Richmond’s startup scene took the Washingtonian spotlight last week as the city’s best-known accelerator showcased its fall cohort.

On Thursday, Richmond-based Lighthouse Labs partnered with Amazon AWS to host a Virginia Demo Day in Northern Virginia.

Philip Luca from Amazon Web Services’s Venture Capital & Startups team, alongside Todd Nuckols and Dan Myers from Lighthouse Labs and Evan McMillion from 757 Accelerate, spoke on the powerful impact of companies deepening their engagement with Virginia-based startups and entrepreneurs.

Nuckols told the crowd that for every dollar corporations invest into the startup ecosystem through Lighthouse Labs, nearly $25 of economic impact is created. The group has also helped portfolio companies create a combined 600 jobs.

Myers said Virginia could become one of the top three states for innovating and creating the future of education, and McMillion added that collaborating with Lighthouse Labs has helped regions like Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Charlottesville duplicate its success.

Todd Nuckols speaks at Lighthouse Labs AWS Demo Day. Image credit: Lighthouse Labs

Then came a surprise moment for all.

To conclude the event, AWS representatives awarded prizes to three startups after quietly taking note of which presented themselves as the most customer-centric. Edtech won the day, with all three focused on educational platforms.

Trilogy Mentors received top marks in the secret contest and $20,000 in AWS credits, MajorClarity took second place and $15,000 in credits and EdConnective rounded out the group with $10,000 in credits. The additional participating startups were awarded $5,000 in AWS credits.

In all, nine startups from Lighthouse Labs and 757 Accelerate presented, all within the theme of creating social-impact on education, nonprofit organizations and government.

EdConnective provides customized professional development + coaching to teachers & administrative professional. By leveraging video and AI technology, teachers receive feedback and transformative training to ensure every student has a strong teacher. EdConnective is used by schools across 12 states, the majority of which are Title I funded schools.

MajorClarity creates academic and career plans for students through activities and video content, which aligns them to customizable plans of study. It’s used at 1,700 schools.

Trilogy Mentors enables schools and SMB tutoring businesses to offer one-on-one academic tutors virtually for students. It recently partnered with the ASK Childhood Cancer program to help Virginia students from dropping behind academically as they battle cancer.

Quinncia is an AI-based tool for students, job-seekers and employers that offers personalized practice interviews, resume analysis and action-oriented guidance through career-readiness and job application processes. About 60 colleges use the platform.

Light the Music is a music education technology and curriculum enabling anyone to learn and create music, focused on teaching children with special needs.

Totem is a supporter engagement platform that helps nonprofits organize their constituent and donor relationships, fundraisers, campaigns and volunteers.

Troopster, a veteran-operated nonprofit, runs a marketplace for buying and sending customized care packages to deployed military family and personnel.

Crowd Lobby leverages crowdfunding to bring awareness to public policies that civic experts believe can be changed with as little as $50,000.

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