First Round Capital to Manage $6 Million Startup PHL Seed Fund

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) will partner with First Round Capital, one of the most active investment firms in the country, to invest in and manage the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a new effort by the City of Philadelphia and PIDC to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups.  Both PIDC and First Round Capital will invest $3 million and First Round Capital will manage the fund to make early-stage investments on behalf of the Startup PHL Seed Fund.  First Round Capital will not receive a management fee, or any other form of compensation, for managing the Startup PHL Seed Fund.

“Supporting entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses in Philadelphia is a priority for my Administration and is crucial for the future of our city. I am thrilled that one of the leading investment firms in the country will partner with us in this effort,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “Josh Kopelman is one of the most successful investors in the venture community and a leading entrepreneur who has demonstrated his commitment to this city time and time again.  With his help and the support of our entrepreneurial community, Philadelphia will once again be recognized as one of America’s leading cities for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital’s founder, said, “We are thrilled to be participating in this effort. Mayor Nutter’s Administration has been very supportive of entrepreneurship and the Startup PHL Seed Fund is a very concrete example of how the City of Philadelphia is dedicating real attention and resources towards helping founders succeed in America’s founding city.”

PIDC to Invest $500K in University City Science Center’s QED Program

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation announced today that through its Penn Venture Fund, it will invest up to $500,000 in the University City Science Center’s QED Program, the country’s first multi-institutional proof-of-concept funding program for healthcare and life sciences technologies.  PIDC’s loan will provide direct funding to qualifying research projects at Philadelphia-based academic and research institutions participating in QED. The projects will be developed and selected through QED’s market-driven process. The loan will be repaid from PIDC’s share in proceeds from successful projects.

“PIDC is excited to invest with partners like First Round Capital and the University City Science Center, both of which are highly respected national leaders in their fields,” said PIDC President John Grady.  “These new investments are both designed to bring more capital to entrepreneurs in Philadelphia at earlier stages, so that they can turn their big ideas into reality sooner and more efficiently.  Today’s announcement illustrates PIDC’s ongoing commitment to find innovative ways to partner with the public and private sectors and to develop new resources for Philadelphia businesses.”

The QED Program has funded a total of 16 projects since its launch in April 2009.  So far, five of the projects have resulted in technology options or licenses, and close to $9 million in follow-on funding has been raised. Twenty-two universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, including 11 in Philadelphia, participate in the program.

“Due to a lack of funding, promising technologies are often stranded in the lab and never make it to the marketplace where they can have a positive impact on patients’ lives,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “PIDC’s investment will help launch new companies that commercialize Philadelphia-based discoveries.  We at the Science Center look forward to working with PIDC to encourage these companies to stay and grow in the city.”

First Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards Announced

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that six local organizations will receive Startup PHL grants from the City of Philadelphia for programs or services that support the entrepreneurial community in Philadelphia.  The Startup PHL ‘Call for Ideas’ received more than 115 submissions, which were reviewed by City officials, PIDC, and representatives of the entrepreneurial and startup community. The grant winners are the following:

  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners/Campus Philly – $25,000 to create a Targeted Internship Matching Program to place Philadelphia-area college and university students at BFTP portfolio companies in Philadelphia this summer. The goals of the program are to provide Philadelphia startups with talent and to connect college students to startups/mentors, increasing the likelihood that they stay in Philadelphia post-graduation.  Matching funding will be provided by the companies hosting interns.
  • The Enterprise Center, Center for Culinary Enterprises, Philly Food Innovation Program – $15,000 to support the development of a workshop series for 25 early to middle stage food entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses.
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce – $18,400 to develop an online Entrepreneur’s Resource Directory, working with Select Greater Philadelphia, PACT and the Philadelphia startup community.  The Directory will provide a centralized location for entrepreneurs to find information on funding sources, professional and technical expertise, specialized facilities and professional services.  Matching funding will be provided by a corporate sponsor or the Chamber.
  • PhillyCORE Leaders – $15,000 to support the Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education (SEED) program, which includes a pitch event for education entrepreneurs to compete for funding.  The winning teams will then participate in the Fels Institute Social Innovations Lab to further develop their ideas.  Matching funding will be provided by corporate sponsorship.
  • Startup Corps – $20,000 to support the expansion of the high school entrepreneur program that provides programming to a diverse range of teenagers looking to develop entrepreneurial skills and build businesses.  In 2013 Startup Corps plans to expand the number of students served by 50% and develop new partnerships with organizations that support entrepreneurs.  Matching funding will be provided by private sponsorship.
  • VentureF0rth – $25,000 to create a ‘community commons’ space at the existing VentureF0rth co-working facility that will provide an increased range of services to the startup community, including daytime programming, job training for individuals looking for work in the technology sector, and an increase in the number of entry-level low-cost spots available to entrepreneurs.

Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, said, “The overwhelming response to the ‘Call for Ideas’ is further evidence of the strength of Philadelphia’s startup and entrepreneurial community and one of the many reasons why the Nutter Administration is committed to supporting business creation in Philadelphia.  Increasingly Philadelphia is becoming a place of choice for businesses to start, stay and grow and the Startup PHL initiative is just one more tool we have to help make that happen.”

The City of Philadelphia and PIDC expressed their gratitude to the following people for their support and assistance: Andrea Allon (Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and PIDC Board Member), David Brussin (Monetate), M. Therese Flaherty (Wharton Small Business Development Center), Steve Goodman (Morgan Lewis), Apu Gupta (Curalate), Sam Landman (Comcast Ventures), Bob Moul (Artisan Mobile and Philly Startup Leaders), and Richard Vague (Gabriel Investments).

Philadelphia named a Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Winner

Philadelphia is awarded $1 million prize to support an innovative initiative to help social entrepreneurs solve urban challenges

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced that the City of Philadelphia is one of the five winners in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. Philadelphia was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities, based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. Philadelphia will be awarded a $1 million innovation prize to implement its idea to create the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, a new effort to engage social entrepreneurs in working with city government and other partners to tackle urban challenges. Philadelphia will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson to commemorate each of the Mayors Challenge winners.

“Philadelphia’s selection as a Mayors Challenge winner is a huge honor for our city and a testament to the creative, innovative work that is going on across city government,” said Mayor Nutter. “Through the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, our goal is to explore innovative new approaches to issues affecting cities across the country and ultimately to improve the quality of life for our residents. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the Mayors Challenge for supporting innovative thinking in cities across America. The City of Philadelphia is also grateful for the efforts of GoodCompany Ventures and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative; both partners were integral to the successful collaboration that advanced our application through the Mayors Challenge process.”

“Procurement processes can stifle innovation and prevent local leaders from solving pressing city problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Mayor Nutter’s winning idea will help city government leverage innovation and creative talent to tackle an array of major challenges. Bloomberg Philanthropies is eager to see this idea take hold in Philadelphia and across the country.”

The Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership will create a process through which entrepreneurs and city government can work together on researching, developing, and applying innovative solutions to urban challenges. By building on existing innovations taking place in Philadelphia and cities around the country – such as opening up city data for use by citizens and entrepreneurs – Philadelphia will demonstrate that creating partnerships between innovators within and outside of government provides the opportunity to develop more effective solutions to some of our most intractable challenges. Philadelphia will identify two to three issues per year for which it will seek proposals from entrepreneurs, bringing them to the city to develop and pilot their ideas through a proven social enterprise accelerator program.

The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete, with 305 cities representing 45 states submitting applications last September. Providence was awarded the $5 million grand prize, while Chicago, Houston, and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million prizes. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit bloomberg.org/mayorschallenge.
The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation, which includes the Mayors Challenge, and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $360 million was distributed. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org. For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, media should contact Meghan Womack, meghan@bloomberg.org.