A Richmond student entrepreneur's passion for connecting the consumer with local events has begun reaping rewards, having grown into a successful business and app.
Virginia Myers, WC ‘18, has always been an entrepreneur, from her start in the app world to now, as she works to develop and design her own website.
Ever since she was younger, Myers knew she wanted to do something that would impact her community and help to solve basic, everyday problems.
“From when I first met Virginia freshman year, her dedication to entrepreneurship and business was already clear,” Helen Robinson, WC ‘18, said. “As most of us were still trying to figure out what classes we want to take, she was already working to develop her app, ROVE.”
Most of her focus was on connecting people with what is going on in their own community or in the place they are visiting — Myers wants to help locals and visitors fully engage on a community level.
Myers knew food was a major connector, and because of her love for food and her talent for design, she has been successful in her endeavors.
It all started during the spring of her senior year, when she was given the opportunity to participate in a senior project that would allow her to come to school only for her AP classes. This gave students like Myers an extra five hours each day to “do something [they'd] always wanted to do.”
She paired up with Alex Britton, a classmate who soon became her business partner. They decided to work on an entrepreneurial project, so Myers and Britton began brainstorming ideas and researching existing products and apps to figure out what their everyday needs were.
“Alex had a background in app development, and I was known for my obsession with social media, constantly downloading the latest apps,” Myers said. “So, we decided to develop an iPhone app and called it ROVE.”
ROVE is a location-based social media app, and the word means to travel constantly without a fixed destination.
“The idea was to explore and wander with no plans or destination in mind but to come upon something awesome,” Myers said.
The app has an adjustable mile radius that uses geolocation data to create information for the user about food, activities and news from a quarter of a mile to 50 miles away.
“Whether traveling to a new destination or walking around your current neighborhood looking for a bite to eat or something to do, ROVE is your local guide to finding out what's happening around you," Myers said.
Investors found Britton and Myers' idea practical, and the two students worked with programmers in India on app development.
ROVE launched in the Apple App Store in March 2015 but is temporarily off the U.S. app store due to a recent update to Apple’s licensing agreement.
Since starting ROVE, Myers has created an Instagram account called Eatstagrama, which initially featured food with creative captions. Since this launch, she has grown her user backing to 12,300 followers and has created a profitable business. Myers is currently developing a website to showcase food and travel recommendations.
Eatsagrama now promotes products, services and brands using high-quality images. The website she is developing will open doors for new businesses because it will feature more personalized, targeted and detailed promotional posts.
On March 23, she won the The University of Richmond Student Entrepreneur of the Year award. The award is given to a female high school, college or graduate student that attends school in the metro Richmond area or Southeast Virginia.
This $2,000 scholarship is through the National Association of Women Business Owners and funded by UR.
Myers said that she was surprised to win the award but was also honored and humbled.
“All her hard work has culminated with her recognition as Student Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, of which she is beyond deserving," Robinson said.
Contact contributor Sarah Raymond at firstname.lastname@example.org.