PRESS RELEASE: University City Keystone Innovation Zone Expands to Old City, N3rd Street Startup Community

Eligible Startups will have Access Up to $100,000 in Sellable Tax Credits Annually

March 23, 2016 – Contact:  Ajeenah Amir ajeenah.amir@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA– Today Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, alongside The University City Keystone Innovation Zone (UC KIZ), announced that the UC KIZ has received approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to expand its existing boundaries to include the growing tech community in Old City, including the area along N. 3rd Street, known as “N3rd Street.”

“The expansion of the UC KIZ is an incredibly important development for Philadelphia’s startup community,” said Mayor Jim Kenney.  “The inclusion of Old City will bolster the already exciting growth of tech companies we’ve seen on and around N3rd St. We’re committed to helping Philadelphia’s innovation community flourish throughout the City, and tools like KIZs are a big part of that equation.”

As a result of the expansion, a new swath of companies in Philadelphia’s growing innovation ecosystem will be able to access up to $100,000 annually in sellable tax credits. The DCED could award as much as $1.2 million in tax credits to newly eligible companies within the expanded zone in 2017. Many KIZ Tax Credit awardees invest those funds in new employees, while others purchase equipment to further develop and commercialize products and technologies.

“We need to nurture the talent pipeline that exists in Pennsylvania from higher education to business ownership by providing as many opportunities as possible to support their efforts,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “We are thrilled with the success of the KIZ program and are extremely excited with the increased opportunities available in Philadelphia through the expansion of the UC KIZ.”

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit is a fundamental component of the KIZ program. Up to $25 million in credits are available each year to eligible companies. Companies without tax liabilities can sell their tax credits themselves or secure a third-party, independent broker to sell the credits on their behalf.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving all across Philadelphia – from University City and uCity Square all the way to N3rd Street,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA, President & CEO of the University City Science Center, which serves as the fiscal agent of the UC KIZ. “Thanks to this expansion, the UC KIZ will be better equipped to accommodate and support the cluster of tech startups in Old City while helping to attract and retain even more early-stage companies in Philadelphia.”

Twenty-one startup companies in the UC KIZ received a collective $1.8 million in tax credits awarded by the DCED in 2015 as part of the KIZ Tax Credit Program. Over the last 10 years, 48 UC KIZ companies have benefited from almost $8 million in KIZ Tax Credits.

“Our recent KIZ Tax Credit award will help our company retain two software developers” says first-time applicant John Nosek, Founder and Vice President for Research and Product Innovation at Guiding Technologies. “Also, these tax credits meet requirements for matching National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase IB funding, which enhances our chances of obtaining much larger NSF SBIR Phase II and Phase IIB funding.”

About the University City Keystone Innovation Zone

The University City Keystone Innovation Zone was established in 2004 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority as a Keystone Innovation Zone, a geographically designated zone designed to create a “knowledge neighborhood” that develops technology business communities by aligning talent and resources.  It is a partnership of BioAdvance, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University, the University City Science Center, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and The Wistar Institute.. UC KIZ partners are committed to working together to ensure that life sciences and information technology opportunities are developed and supported to maximize the potential of university research, start-up companies and international companies seeking to locate in the region.  The Science Center serves as the administrative and fiscal agent of the UC KIZ.

For more information about the University City Keystone Innovation Zone, call (215) 966-6156 or visit https://www.sciencecenter.org/programs/university-city-keystone-innovation-zone.

Philly Tech Loved SXSW. SXSW Loved Philly Tech Back

Tracey Welson-Rossman’s report from the networking trenches of SXSW’s “Philly Alley.”

March 22, 2016 | Philadelphia Magazine by Tracey Welson-Rossman

The Philadelphia tech and startup scene made its way down to Austin last week for South by Southwest — better known as SXSW. As an interactive-focused conference-turned-festival, SXSW is one of the largest gatherings of leaders and organizations spanning the technological, design and creative realms.

For the first time this year, a concerted effort has been made to spread the message of Philadelphia’s growing tech culture and the vibrant innovation coming from our region — and what better place to do so than right at SXSW. With that goal in mind, a solid group of Philadelphia’s tech leaders decided to head south and represent the great things brewing in Philadelphia’s emerging tech scene. So, why, exactly, did 10 companies and close to 200 Philadelphians (including Comcast, Independence Blue Cross, Zivtech, my own Chariot Solutions, and others) decide it was worth the time, effort, and money to make the trek to Texas?

I asked Yuval Yarden, program director for Philly Startup Leaders, and one of the driving forces behind the push to spread the word, what she felt the main goal of organizing this coalition was. Yuval summed it up well: It is time for the Philadelphia region to to a better job telling our story.

“We feel SXSW is the best opportunity for our tech community to tell its story since Philadelphia is becoming known as a tech and innovation hub, housing not just software companies, but all types of technology,” Yarden said. “We love that there have been many articles as of late touting Philadelphia’s music, culture and restaurant scene, but we want to make sure Philadelphia is also known for its startups. We are here to discuss why Philadelphia is a great place to start and grow a tech company.”

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TBT: Why You Should Start a Company in… Philadelphia

March 15, 2010 | Fast Company by Laura Rich

When you look around the country, you see that second-generation entrepreneurs play a big role in thriving communities. They serve as mentors, cheerleaders and early capital sources. Philadelphia is an exception to the rule. Because despite a Web 1.0 legacy of hits like CDNow (acquired by Bertelsmann in 2000 for $117 million), Half.com (acquired by eBay in 2000), e-commerce company GSI ($1.55 billion market cap) and VerticalNet (valued at $12 billion in 1999), the city is mainly driven by first-generation entrepreneurs and few of them have hit a serious scale or impact yet.

But what Philadelphia’s current startup scene lacks in experience it makes up for in enthusiasm. Blake Jennelle, a self-appointed leader of the community, founder of Philly Startup Leaders and a serial entrepreneur (Anthillz, TicketLeap), calls it a “self-help ethos.” That sounds about right for a place known as the City of Brotherly Love.

Josh Kopelman, managing partner at First Round Capital, spoke with Fastcompany.com about what makes Philadelphia’s startup scene unique.

What makes Philadelphia a great place for new businesses?

You know, it’s called the City of Brotherly Love and I actually think they mean it when it comes to startups. Philly is small enough and intimate enough that most of the entrepreneurs actually know each other. There’s an unbelievable sense of community.

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A new startup investment program is coming to Philadelphia

Ben Franklin Technology Partners is working with D.C.-based Village Capital to drum up attention for Philly’s tech community. Interestingly, the local effort will focus on fintech startups.

March 16, 2016 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

Ben Franklin Technology Partners Director Omar Mencin and spokesman Jason Bannon are heading to Salt Lake City Thursday to represent Philadelphia in a new program to drive investment dollars to fledgling tech scenes across the country.

The program, called VilCap Communities, is organized by D.C.-based investment firm Village Capital, who point out that nationally, investment dollars are concentrated in New York, Boston and the Bay Area.

“We’ve always found it pretty hard to believe 70-75 percent of the talent lives in those cities,” VilCap Communities manager Jared Marquette told our sister site, Technical.ly Baltimore.

It’s a point that was frequently made by AOL founder Steve Case on his Rise of the Rest tour, during which he highlighted tech scenes across the country, including Philly’s, last summer. Case’s Rise of the Rest initiative is a partner on the VilCap program.

Local partners in 16 cities, including Philadelphia (with BFTP), Baltimore (with Johns Hopkins) and D.C. (with tech inclusion strategist Jason Towns), will run the program. In Philly, the program will focus on fintech startups, since BFTP has been seeing more and more fintech startups applying for BFTP dollars. (Baltimore is focusing on health, while D.C. is focusing on inclusive entrepreneurship.) One startup will get a $50,000 investment from BFTP when the program ends. Village Capital isn’t contributing any investment dollars.

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Why the VC Game Is Attracting a Whole New Set of Players

December 16, 2015 | Entrepreneur Magazine by Michelle Goodman

Earlier this year, Boston-based 3-D printing company Voxel8 raised $12 million in Series A funding. Among the windfall were contributions from Autodesk’s Spark Investment Fund — the software company’s $100 million 3-D printing investment initiative — and In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture fund for intelligence-related innovations.

Wireless intercom company Nucleus scored more than $1.6 million in seed investments this year, $100,000 of which came from Philadelphia’s $6 million StartUp PHL fund, which makes equity investments in local entrepreneurs. And Back to the Roots, a San Francisco-area sustainable-food company, raised $650,000 two years ago from Fund Good Jobs, a $2.53 million philanthropic venture fund focused on job creation.

These unconventional VC groups aren’t anomalies. In recent years, corporations, municipalities, university alumni groups and philanthropic groups with agendas beyond reaping financial rewards have jumped into the equity financing game.

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How Philadelphia’s tech scene helped Oncora Medical raise $1.2 million

No early-stage capital in Philly? This digital health company will make you rethink that.

March 10, 2016 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

Oncora Medical just closed a seed round of $1.2 million from investors like Philadelphia’s BioAdvance, San Francisco’s iSeed Ventures and Wisconsin-based oncology entrepreneur Dr. Thomas “Rock” Mackie, but they say they couldn’t have done it without early financial support from the Philadelphia tech scene.

Founded by brainy high school best friends David Lindsay and Chris Berlind, Oncora Medical is building software that aims to help radiation oncologists learn from past treatment data.

In 2014 and 2015, the early days of Oncora, Lindsay, 26, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Penn, cobbled together roughly $100,000 in grants, loans and investment from various sources: First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, the Wharton Innovation Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, medical school entrepreneurship program PennHealthX and, most recently, the University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator. Oncora received $50,000 from BFTP in the form of a zero-interest loan, as part of the state-backed venture firm’s effort to support ultra early stage companies.

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RJMetrics pegged as one of the fastest growing startup at SXSW by Big Data firm

March 9, 2016 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Dan Norton

RJMetrics was tapped as the 10th fastest growing startup in the U.S. that will have a presence at South by Southwest, according to Mattermark, a Big Data analytics firm.

RJMetrics is the only Philadelphia startup on the list, although the City of Brotherly Love will have a large contingent at the Austin festival next week.

Robert Moore‘s a data analytics software startup facilitates data-driven business decisions for its customers. For the last few years, it has been one of Philadelphia’s most successful tech ventures.

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Philly tech ambassadors trying to spread the word at SXSW

March 7, 2016 | Newsworks.org by Todd Bookman

Representatives from the Philadelphia region’s tech scene are packing their bags for Texas.

This Friday, the 2016 edition of South by Southwest kicks off in Austin, and while the festival is still best known for showcasing new musicians, it has also become a key place for tech entrepreneurs to show up and show off.

For the first time, a collection of Philadelphia startups, along with local networking groups and some big name companies, are joining together to host a booth inside the Austin Convention Center as part of the SXSW Interactive Trade Show. It’s a tactical effort to highlight the Philly tech scene, and lure companies and capital to an area that may not yet be on the national radar.

“We all know how great Philadelphia is, and we all understand all the great wonderful activity and energy that’s going on in our city, but you have to get out, and you have to promote it, you have to market it,” said Archna Sahay, director of entrepreneurial investment for Philadelphia.

The SXSW Philly effort and its branding concept, Amplify Philly, are sponsored in part by Comcast and Independence Blue Cross. Yuval Yarden, program director for the group Philly Startup Leaders, says nearly 100 local representatives will head to Austin for the Trade Show’s opening on Sunday.

ORIGINAL SAUCE

Comcast acquires hometown partner OneTwoSee

Backed by local investors and founded by two Traffic.com alumni, OneTwoSee could be the perfect Philly tech story. Will others follow its playbook?

March 7, 2016 | Techncial.ly by Juliana Reyes

In the culmination of a nearly four-year relationship, Comcast has acquired sports media company OneTwoSee. It’s the company’s first acquisition of a Philly-based startup, according to a Comcast spokeswoman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The relationship started in 2012, with Comcast Sports Network taking a chance on a young startup. CSN was OneTwoSee’s first customer, signing on to use OneTwoSee’s baseball stats app on several of its local websites. Just last summer, Comcast integrated OneTwoSee’s numerous sports apps into its X1 platform, starting with a National Football League app, then one for baseball, basketball, hockey. An Olympics app is still to come. That partnership with Comcast was the first time that users could interact with OneTwoSee’s apps on their TVs, and it was a big one: they reached millions of Comcast subscribers.

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Philly investors exit with IntegriChain sale to Silicon Valley private equity firm

The news comes a year after IntegriChain moved its headquarters into Center City.

March 2, 2016 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

A year after moving into Center City from Princeton, healthcare data company IntegriChain is under new ownership.

Silicon Valley private equity firm Accel-KKR bought out IntegriChain’s existing investors, many of which were local, and now own a majority of the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Those East Coast investors were Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based NJTC Venture Fund, New York City-based Milestone Venture Partners, New York City-based Cross Atlantic Partners (not to be confused with the Radnor venture firm that sued Facebook and who has since shut down), and Princeton-based investor Jeff Steinberg’s Redwood Pharma Ventures, which led IntegriChain’s 2011 Series C.

This is Accel-KKR’s first Philadelphia deal, a spokeswoman said.

IntegriChain, which provides data services to pharma companies like Merck and Sanofi, moved into Center City, on the third floor of 8 Penn Center, to help its recruiting efforts. The company has grown from 55 employees to 75 since moving into Philly and plans to hire more — though the company declined to quantify its hiring goals. (They have three job openings listed right now.)

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