Vote for these 10 Philly panels up for a spot at SXSW

Some of Philly’s best-known tech faces are headed to Austin — with your vote, that is.

August 16, 2016 |, guest post with Shoshanna Israel

The SXSW PanelPicker is out, and by our count there are — at least — 10 Philly tech panels in the running to land a spot in the festival, which will take place March 10-19 in Austin, Texas.

You may remember the article we posted a couple of months ago, inviting the Philly tech community to submit panel ideas for SXSW. We’re really excited that so many of you are interested in speaking at the conference and hope you’ll be part of the Philly delegation that travels to Austin next spring. At Philly Startup Leaders, we believe it’s important that we have Philadelphians willing to tell the city’s story and help brand it as a hub for innovation and technology.

If you aren’t planning on traveling to SXSW with us, you can still help us Amplify Philly. The SXSW PanelPicker, the platform that allows the public to vote for the topics they want to hear about at the conference, is now open. A bunch of Philly speakers submitted proposals and you can help propel them to Austin.

1. The Lifecycle of Engagement of Girls in Tech
Panelist: Tracey Welson-Rossman

2. React Animations – Practically Applied
Panelist: Mitchell Stewart

3. My Ten Favorite Startup Mistakes
Panelist: Rick Nucci

4. The Power & Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Panelist: Stephen Tang

5. Shape Your City’s Innovation Community
Panelist: Christopher Wink, Niles Heron, Danielle Cohn, Apu Gupta

6. New Technology and Protecting US Data
Panelist: Lauren Ancona, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Elizabeth Pemmerl, Jake Williams

7. React: JavaScript to Engage Your Web Visitors
Panelist: Ken Rimple

8. Hands-on Bluetooth Low Energy Workshop
Panelist: Don Coleman

9. 7 Lessons from the Future of Content
Panelist: David Thomas

10. Why Healthcare Needs Better Design to Innovate?
Panelist: Bon Ku

To vote for someone on SXSW PanelPicker, you have to create an account, visit the links above and click “thumbs up” in the top left corner of your screen to vote. Feel free to comment with a note of support or use the social media buttons on the left hand side of your screen to share the links of the panel ideas you really like.

See you in Austin!

Original Sauce

These Startups Won Awards for Best Workplace Culture, Civic Savvy and More

This year’s Philly Startup Leaders’ Summer BBQ was action-packed, with more than 400 attendees. The group also announced its launch of the Philly Tech Guide.

August 13, 2016 | PhillyMag by Fabiola Cineas

Standouts in the startup community had reason to rejoice on Thursday evening. At Philly Startup Leaders’ annual Summer BBQ at The Piazza at Schmidt’s, the organization doled out awards to members of the community.

But leaders weren’t recognized for traditional markers of success. Instead, they took home gold medallions — shinier and twice the size of Olympics gold medals — for quirkier, more comical accomplishments.

“The Emerging Politician” award presented by UKTI went to Curalate for their civic pride. According to PSL, the company is closely tied to the local government — the CEO, Apu Gupta, wrote an open letter to Mayor Jim Kenney, and it hired Luke Butler, former Mayor Michael Nutter’s special assistant. The company was also named the official tech partner of the DNC. Curalate beat out Azavea and Skyless Gaming for the prize. …

Get the whole scoop.

Venture for America’s accelerator brought 7 startups to Philly again

Half of the six startups from last year’s cohort stayed in Philadelphia. In that way, the program is giving us that DreamIt Ventures vibe.

August 10, 2016 | by Wafai Dias

Leigh Sevin and Jinesh Shah want you to get to your next meeting in style.

The pair runs Arthur, a startup that connects users with personal stylists. After meeting as Venture for America (VFA) fellows in Miami, they’re here in Philadelphia with VFA’s accelerator, along with six other startups run by VFA fellows. (VFA places recent college grads at startups in up and coming tech cities across the country, including Philadelphia, Miami and Detroit.)

It’s the second summer VFA has brought its accelerator to Philadelphia — specifically, First Round Capital’s University City headquarters. The accelerator, which allows fellows to live rent-free for the summer in a West Philadelphia house and get business training and mentorship, is becoming a boon for Philly’s tech scene, akin to the way DreamIt Ventures has historically imported startups from around the country: half of the six startups from last year’s accelerator stayed in Philadelphia and are growing their teams here, including SkyMutual, Compass and LeagueSide.

“A big part of why we stayed in Philly and why our entrepreneurs continue to stay is because of the openness and support we get from the community here,” said Sergei Revzin, VFA’s Entrepreneur in Residence who took over for VFA’s Mike Tarullo in running the accelerator.

See who else after the jump

Here’s what city-backed fund StartUp PHL gets right, and what it needs to do next

StartupPHL has done a bang-up job supporting Philly startups, argues VeryApt CEO Ashrit Kamireddi.

August 1, 2016 | by Ashrit Kamireddi

Over the last few months, a lot has been said about the upcoming changes to StartupPHL and more broadly about city and state involvement in fostering an environment that supports local startup growth.

As a non Philly-native who chose Philadelphia as home for my company, VeryApt, and as a StartUp PHL portfolio company, I thought it would be helpful to give my perspective on the program: how it’s driven Philly’s tech ecosystem and how it can be even better the second time around.

Prior to raising a $270,000 angel round led by StartUp PHL, my two cofounders and I had just graduated from our respective grad programs and had placed 3rd in Wharton’s Business Plan Competition. We could have settled our company anywhere, with New York and San Francisco being the obvious choices. For a startup, the initial round of funding is where geography is most critical. Most angels don’t want to invest outside of their backyard, which explains the natural tendency for startups to relocate where there is the most capital.


RJMetrics just got acquired

Silicon Valley ecommerce company Magento bought RJMetrics’ core business for an undisclosed amount. The partial acquisition also creates a new Philly startup, Stitch.

August 1, 2016 | by Roberto Torres

…Analytics software company RJMetrics has sold its legacy CloudBI business for an undisclosed amount to Silicon Valley ecommerce company Magento. RJ officials say Magento will retain 37 members of the company’s current staff of 67.

The other half of the Center City-based analytics company — its Pipeline division, which launched in the fall of 2015 — will spin off to become a new company called Stitch (here’s the new website already), with cofounder Jake Stein at the helm.

The remaining 30 members of RJMetrics’ staff will be joining this new venture, along with cofounder and CEO Robert Moore, who will serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors…