Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

Announcement wraps up 10-day focus on startups and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia

PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia, October 8, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The announcement comes at the end of a series of events and announcements related to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia, kicking off with Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Tour last week and including the Forbes Under 30 Conference which concluded yesterday.  The grants announced today help programs supporting a wide range of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia.

“Over the last week we have showcased our city’s startups and entrepreneurs to leaders from around the country and around the world, demonstrating that Philadelphia is one of America’s top startup cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Increasingly, people are learning that Philadelphia has all of the raw ingredients necessary to start and grow exciting companies.  I am confident that the attention our city receives will only continue to grow as more founders and entrepreneurs choose Philadelphia as their home city.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to six organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to twenty.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • Asociacion Puertorriquenos En Marcha ($20,000) – APM will convert a parcel of land at 6th and Susquehanna into a pop-up market place and provide entrepreneurial training to aspiring and nascent entrepreneurs, creating a gateway for entrepreneurial activity in this community.

 

  • Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts ($15,000) In January 2016, the Center – in partnership with the Philadelphia Free Library – will offer an interactive, program to those considering a business based in the creative economy.  Participants will also receive two hours of one-on-one consulting and the opportunity to apply for seed grants.

 

  • Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative ($18,548) – The RWTI will empower refugee women with sewing and textile skills and manufacturing contacts to create independent businesses, develop a cooperative store, and merge traditional textiles with new art forms to overcome poverty and gain economic mobility.

 

  • Schoolyard Ventures ($6,000) – Schoolyard Ventures will create a marketplace where teens with great ideas can connect with those who wish to fund them. After helping over 800 middle school and high school aged students launch businesses providing over $70,000 in direct micro-capital to them, Schoolyard Ventures has learned that as little as $250 can help a young person launch a business, as well as build skills and improve the lives of others in the city.

 

  • TechGirlz Charitable Foundation ($19,990) – TechGirlz will provide a stipend or college credit for high school and college students who teach the TechShopz in a Box Program in workshops throughout Philadelphia. TechShopz in a Box is a TechGirlz-developed curricula for middle school girls.

 

  • Tiny WPA ($25,000) – The Building Hero Project is a design, leadership and entrepreneurship incubator for individuals ages 16 and up who want to be a part of a diverse community of civic change agents. Participants will learn how to design and build products for sale and manage an eCommerce store.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital, nine Philadelphia startups have received more than $1.1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants twenty organizations have received more than $400,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.  Just last week Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger, PIDC and First Round Capital announced a $100,000 Startup PHL Angel Fund investment in Scholly, an education startup in Philadelphia connecting students to scholarship opportunities.  Scholly also won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition securing a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case.

“Our goal through Startup PHL is to provide more capital to growing startups in Philadelphia and to support collaboration and entrepreneurship across the city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “We have invested around $1.5 million into our city’s ecosystem to date and, in the process, sought to elevate the profile of entrepreneurship in Philadelphia by working with incredible partners such as PIDC and First Round Capital.”

The applications were evaluated by officials from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and PIDC along with representatives of the investment, academic, policy and startup communities.

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Mayor Nutter Announces Startup PHL Investment in Scholly

Education startup the 9th Philly company to receive investment

PRESS RELEASE Philadelphia – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Startup PHL Angel Fund has made a $100,000 investment in Scholly, a Philadelphia startup which has developed an app that gives students a fast and simple way to find scholarships for college. Scholly also recently won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition securing a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case on his visit to Philadelphia earlier this week.

“My Administration has worked diligently to build on this city’s history of innovation by providing the support and programming needed by young companies to grow and prosper in Philadelphia,” Said Mayor Nutter. “More companies are choosing not just to launch in the City of Philadelphia but to stay and grow their businesses here as well. Talent is also staying and finding opportunities for themselves in the vibrant startup economy in Philadelphia. My Administration is proud to do all we can to continue to promote Philadelphia as one of America’s top startup cities. Thank you to our partners at PIDC and First Round Capital for making this work possible.”

Scholly has partnered with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to provide the app to 275k students across America each year. The app has also been endorsed by the Coca Cola Scholars Foundations and the Gates Millennium Scholars Foundation. In less than two years, Scholly has helped students raise at least $20 million in scholarship funds.

Scholly was recently on Shark Tank and was chosen as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top College Start Ups. The company has won UnderArmour’s Cupid’s Cup Competition as well as Drexel’s Incubator competition and was chosen as one of Philly’s Coolest Start Ups of 2013. Founder Christopher Gray, a recent graduate from Drexel and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015 for Philadelphia, along with his co-founders Bryson Alef and Nick Pirollo launched the app in May 2013

“Startup PHL is a great opportunity for us and really shows that Philadelphia is growing as a startup ecosystem,” said Scholly founder Christopher Gray. “We are excited to make Philadelphia our home, create more jobs, and be a part of what will be one of the next hubs of entrepreneurship.”

Startup PHL is an initiative between the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and First Round Capital to support the growth of startups in Philadelphia. The Startup PHL Seed Fund and Startup PHL Angel Fund are partnerships between PIDC and leading venture capital firm First Round Capital to make investments in Philadelphia-based startups. Scholly is the ninth company to receive an investment with $1,149,997 invested in Philly startups since 2013.

“I’ve known Chris since his days as a student investor with our Dorm Room Fund. He and his team at Scholly have accomplished an incredible amount in a very short period of time, and I’m thrilled to continue to work closely with them through Startup PHL.” said Josh Kopelman, Partner at First Round Capital.

“The success of the Startup PHL Initiative continues to showcase Philadelphia as a top competitor in the startup community,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “PIDC is committed to investing in businesses like Scholly that not only serve Philadelphia’s economy but supports priorities like education. We are proud to partner with First Round Capital and look forward to supporting the next inventive entrepreneur.”

Startup PHL also provides grant funding through its Call for Ideas program. This grant program managed by the Department of Commerce provides grants to initiatives or organizations that are supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The program has awarded over $300,000 in grants to date to support Philadelphia’s startup community through a range of organizations such as Startup Corps, Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Campus Philly, Techgirlz and Coded by Kids. The next round of Call for Ideas grants will be made next week.

“Over the last few years Philadelphia’s profile as a city from which to launch and grow exciting, innovative companies has grown tremendously and the success of firms like Scholly is testament to that progress,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “Philadelphia has become a city of choice for startups and for larger firms looking to acquire some of the top talent in the nation and I am proud of what we have been able to do to support the growth of this community.”