Startup Goodness, Issue #2

Thank you for reading the second Issue of Startup Goodness! 

This is a newsletter about the intersection of new business and branding for Hampton Roads hustlers. 

Are you reading this but haven’t subscribed yet? You can do that here.

Good News 

A snapshot of the most important stories in the local startup and creative small business community

The big story: DroneUp hired a former Apple Exec to be their new Chief Strategy Officer. 

Carl Smit was the man responsible for managing the retail record-breaking boxy white stores with a fruit on the front, and after leaving Apple he was the VP of Retail marketing at Under Armour, and VP of Retail Experience at Verizon (not to mention he was a Navy SEAL before the business world). 

VB-based DroneUp brought this retail behemoth onto the team in late January.  

The breakdown 

Drones have been in the news for a while now, and while it would be easy to say that the pandemic has accelerated their use, the truth is they were growing exponentially regardless. 

If you’re as lost as I was on the potential of drones outside of photography, a hobby or the military, enjoy this gorgeously interactive market overview. The drone services market is expected to grow to $63.6 B in the next 4 years, with the market size hovering around $100B. 

The biggest sectors? 

  • Agriculture (crop monitoring)
  • Construction and Mining (site safety adherence)
  • Insurance (natural disaster claim assessments) 
  • Media and Telecommunications (5G rollout, landscape photography in Outlander)
  • Law Enforcement (surveillance, bomb threat investigation)

For DroneUp (which is only 4 years old!), Smit is “focused on refining DroneUp’s retail delivery model” and excited about positioning drones to find their place in our future lives, in a similar way he did with consumer electronics. 

With over half a dozen (thank you Langley!) flight and drone-related startups in Hampton Roads, it’s safe to say that our area is spreading its wings (sorry) with blue skies ahead (sorry again). 

Other local companies in the space: Advanced Aircraft Company, Turn UAV, Flagship Visuals Co.

In other news...

Norfolk’s Food Hall is not to be. The much-lauded space was plagued by reno issues but persevered. Unfortunately, the pandemic was just a bit too much to weather, but with local restaurants opening spaces at an impressive clip, it hopefully won't stay empty for long. 

Pretlow Library joins the Maker movement with a Maker Studio. When gathering in groups isn’t a public health threat, Pretlow is opening The Randi Marston Peterson Studio @ Pretlow, named after a beloved patron who recently passed and donated the initial funds for the studio, which will house everything from sewing machines to a recording booth. 

With Good Cheer

Danielle Johnson’s House of MKTG hit 1 year old. Initially started as a side project while taking care of family, in one pandemic-filled year House of MKTG has added 7 employees, planted over 200 trees in over 25 countries, and started a $1,000 scholarship fund for low-income, first-generation, and students with disabilities. Not to mention booking clients from RISE to Ardent Candle Company

Yet another reason to celebrate:
They’re in the process of becoming the first B-Corp certified company in their sector in the state!

Good Money

Funding, accelerator, and other opportunity deadlines for local startups 


🗓️ 2.17.21 (5 pm) 

👉 Hampton Roads Chamber COVID Business Resiliency Recognition 

💰(Presumably) press and recognition 

🏢 HRVA biz that has gone above and beyond to pivot their business during COVID-19


🗓️  3.1.21

👉 ICAP Lean Startup Introductory Course – Virtual Cohort

💰Mentoring, a first look by the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative

🏢 VA early-stage startups focused on cyber-related solutions

🗓️ 3.5.21

👉 1701 Entrepreneur in Residence Spring Session 

💰 2.5 months free rent + amenities (April 12th-June 25th)

🏢 VB-located startups or entrepreneurs in need of connections, community, and office space

🗓️ 3.15.21
👉  RISE 2021 Coastal Community Resilience Challenge Application

💰 Up to $350K, non-equity, non-dilutive 

🏢 Businesses who are piloting or advancing cutting-edge products and services in the areas of Flood Management & Infrastructure, Data Analytics, Protection of Buildings, and/or Re-establishing Critical Utilities

🗓️ 3.17.21

👉 Dominion Energy Innovation Center Accelerate Application 

💰 Networking space, intensive mentoring, demo day in front of Dominion Energy & potential investors 

🏢 Energy and sustainability-focused startups

Good place to start 

Here are some proven roadmaps to profitable side hustles that can become the dream job. And you can do it right here in Hampton Roads. 

Last month I talked about Webflow’s new valuation and the promises of no-code tools. It’s something I’m passionate about because for someone whose brain doesn’t work in binary code (but has endless ideas) it gives me the ability to build without a dev. 

I also think it’s one of the ways that Hampton Roads can set itself apart as an entrepreneurship hub. 

We have an incredible amount of talent and it doesn’t take a huge team (or much money) to build $1M companies using no-code and just you, yourself, and you. Here’s a list of 1-person companies that have already made it. 


Websites & Web Apps (digital products)

Card - one-page websites

Webflow - complex websites (great for service, retail, and innovative creative projects)

Bubble - web apps (aka digital products)

Softr - websites, web apps, and web portals (built in Airtable!)

Pory - websites (built in Airtable too!)

Bildr - websites and web apps (early access only)


Glide - Apps built from a Google Sheet in 5 minutes (uh huh)

Adalo - Drag and drop app builder (iOS + Android created simultaneously)


Buildbox - no code mobile game development

Sharetribe - no code marketplace creator

Side Hustle Suggestions

Slack + Desire to connect + shared interests = Paid Communities

Okay, so Slack isn’t a traditional no-code tool, but stick with me. Tethering no-code tools together can create a unique space for paid communities. Like Webflow (website homepage) + Slack (actual community) + premium content/events/workshops/you name it. 

Due Diligence: Harvard Business Review has a how-to article on creating online communities 

Examples: Here’s a profitable example of a paid community that launched in a month. And one for remote workers. And another for digital product builders. And another for freelancing females

Glide + Validated Ideas = better designed apps

Here are 5,000+ popular apps with ratings under 3 stars that need a rebuild. You could try adding some gamification or other best app design practices like intuitive UX/UI or unifying color schemes as a starting point for making better versions of these. 

Due Diligence/Examples: the number of downloads on these apps kinda speaks for itself

ShareTribe + Fastest growing jobs in America  = niche job sites 

Add in a community (Rosieland is a great place to start) and you have a company that can keep people around even after they’re hired. 

Due Diligence: Micro Marketplaces 5 Minute Research Report 


And if you’re not sure where to start with building a company once you have the idea, use; 

Business Model Canvas to help you map out the key points in 20 minutes 

Denise Lee Yohn’s Minimum Viable Brand framework for building a brand that sticks in an hour

Use Fyi’s templates for product launch and marketing 

120 places to post your company to get the word out 

And these places for community keep you going

Good Learning

Upcoming workshops and events for entrepreneurs Live and on Zoom 

🗓️ The Human Side of Cybersecurity Seminar Series: Lorrie Cranor and Privacy

💬 2.18.21 11am-12pm

📍Free, Online

🎟️ Register on Eventbrite

🗓️ Introduction to Early Stage Deal Terms (VentureSouth)

💬 2.26.21 10am-11am

📍$5, Online

🎟️ Register on Eventbrite

🗓️ U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Resources for Inventors, Innovators, and Entrepreneurs (first in a series!)

💬 3.4.21, 12pm-1pm

📍Free, Online

🎟️ Register on site

Goodness Gracious Yes 

Software tools that change you

With Valentine’s Day upon us, I'm thinking of tools that connect us to the people we love. 

📧 ❤️ Letterloop 

A small group newsletter with people you want to stay connected with in a deeper way. Choose questions to ask, invite your inner circle, and every week Letterloop sends an email newsletter of everyone’s question responses. 

👵👴 Saga 

Capture the stories from your family in their voice on this app. There are even prompts if you’re not sure what to ask. “What were you like at my age?” is always a good one. 

☎️ 📬 Voicemail Love 

For $5, send a loved one or a stranger a real paper letter with a QR code to your voice recording. The money goes to the American Postal Workers Union and the ACLU. 

💋💻 Ai Valentines 

Not life-changing (probably) but fun nonetheless. Use Ai to write a love poem, love letter, or a Tinder profile. 

Good Read

Black History should be part of American History all the time, IMHO. That being said -

Here is the story of Garrett Morgan, known as the “Black Edison” who invented the traffic light, an early iteration of WWI’s gas masks, and so much more. 

And the inspiring modern story of McBride Sisters Wine, which reads (listens?) like a globe-trotting novel and encourages like a Ted Talk. 

Goodbye Wave

Thank you so much for reading the second issue of Startup Goodness!

Did Startup Goodness help you, encourage you, make you smile?

Then please tell your friends and tag us - it’s the best way to say, “hey, I love this email!” We’re @startupgoodness on Insta and our new home on the web is

I’m already excited for next month’s issue. 

Have a good day,

I’ll be back in your inbox next month!


Good Catch

In Issue 1 I mistakenly said that Nik Sharma was The Fascination’s (co?) CEO. He is a heavily involved advisor. David Wolfe is CEO.

Good Beats: Music on repeat while I wrote this

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