WHAT IS STARTUPPHL?

An exciting initiative to support startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia brought to you by a partnership between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).

Two initial measures:

  • The StartupPHL Funds are a public/private venture fund to make seed and angel stage investments in Philadelphia-based tech startups. The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation invested $3m in the fund, which was matched by First Round Capital and Angels, including Josh Kopelman. First Round Capital makes investments on behalf of the fund.
  • The StartupPHL Call for Ideas is a $500,000 grant program to fund innovative, exciting proposals for ideas that support business creation and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia. The goal of this program is to make small grants, averaging $25,000, over several rounds to proposals that enhance collaboration in the startup community; support our existing entrepreneurial community as well as attract new entrepreneurs from both within and outside the city; foster networks for entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other, mentors, talent and investors; and ultimately lead to more business and job creation in Philadelphia.

The goal is to build upon these two initial proposals, adding new initiatives and programs in collaboration with partners across the city and region.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

You’ve already taken the first step by visiting www.startupphl.com!

If you’ve got an idea for how to support startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia respond to the Call for Ideas on this website.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

To establish Philadelphia as a city of choice for entrepreneurs and startups. A place where you can turn a brainwave into a business.

Philadelphia has all of the assets which should make us a ‘startup hub’. However the availability of seed-stage capital continues to be a challenge for Philadelphia startups, meaning that successful companies are often left with no choice but to leave the city in search of funding. We want those companies to stay and grow in Philadelphia.

The broad goals of the StartupPHL Seed Fund and the StartupPHL Call for Ideas are to increase the availability of seed-stage capital in Philadelphia, accelerate the development of a supportive environment for our existing startups and entrepreneurs, and promote Philadelphia as a great place to launch and grow a business.

HOW BIG ARE THE INVESTMENTS THAT THE STARTUP PHL FUNDS WILL MAKE?

Angel investments range from $25,000 to $100,00 while seed-stage investments range from $250,000-$750,000.

CAN INDIVIDUAL STARTUPS ALSO APPLY TO THE STARTUP PHL CALL FOR IDEAS?

The intention of the Call for Ideas is not to fund individual companies, but rather to invest in ideas and proposals that support entrepreneurs in general and strengthen the Philadelphia entrepreneurial ecosystem as a whole. However if a startup has an idea that meets the objective of the Call for Ideas then we’d certainly be interested to hear about it.

DOES PHILLY HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A ‘STARTUP CITY’? 

Yes. Philadelphia has an enormous number of assets essential to being a place of choice for entrepreneurs and startups:

  • World-class higher education and research facilities
  • A dynamic and growing tech startup community
  • A burgeoning network of incubators and accelerators which are drawing entrepreneurs from around the United States and the world to Philadelphia
  • A quality of life which is encouraging population growth, particularly among young people
  • Affordable lifestyle
  • Tax structure increasingly favorable to small businesses, job creation and investment

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS INITIATIVE?

Ultimately, the whole city. StartupPHL will lead to more businesses located in Philadelphia, more jobs created, higher tax revenues, and entrepreneurial opportunities being available to a wider range of Philadelphians.

Through the StartupPHL Call for Ideas we expect to fund a wide range of programs to support entrepreneurs all across Philadelphia. This is an initiative that all Philadelphians should participate in. For example, we’d love to hear about a proposal to engage high school students in entrepreneurial education to Ingrain a culture of entrepreneurship in the next generation of Philadelphia company founders.

IS THIS INITIATIVE JUST FOR TECH STARTUPS?

The intention is that the StartupPHL Seed Fund will primarily make seed-stage investments in Philadelphia tech startups, broadly defined. The tech sector is an area of growth for the Philadelphia region which is increasingly driving business attraction for the City of Philadelphia. It is also a sector with high-paying jobs that can retain college graduates in Philadelphia after they complete their studies.

The StartupPHL Call for Ideas is open to proposals to support startups and entrepreneurs of all stripes.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER ALREADY ESTABLISHED SMALL BUSINESSES? 

The Department of Commerce and PIDC have a wide range of existing measures that support small businesses across Philadelphia:

  • Technical Assistance Programs working with partners such as The Enterprise Center and Finanta to provide business development assistance, entrepreneurship education, and access to financial resources.
  • Storefront Improvement Program provides matching funding to small business owners making improvements to the facades of their buildings.
  • Development grants to Community Development Corporations across the city. In recent years the Commerce Dept has awarded 8 neighborhood development projects with funding totaling $1,025,000, leveraging a total of $100 million in other public and private funds and will create an estimated 462 permanent jobs.
  • The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation supports small business growth through a series of below-market financing options and has provided $54 million to over 150 Philadelphia-based businesses in the last three years.

HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS NEEDED?

Don’t just take it from us.

Take it from participants in the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia’s World Class Greater Philadelphia initiative who made establishing Philadelphia “as a place where entrepreneurs can successfully create and grow businesses to scale” a key priority, calling for measures to increase seed-stage capital in the region.

Take it from entrepreneurial leaders such as Bob Moul of appRenaissance and Apu Gupta of Curalate testifying before City Council in October 2012 that the availability of seed-stage capital was a limit on Philadelphia’s ability to grow as a ‘startup city’.

Take it from leading investor Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital who has said repeatedly, “If capital doesn’t move to the entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs will move to the capital.”

Philadelphia can be a city of choice for startups:

  • “With a vibrant and growing startup community, Philadelphia is increasingly the place to be if you are an entrepreneur, an innovator, or an investor.” —Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital
  • “…we’re doubling-down on Philadelphia. Not because it is the path of least resistance, but because it is the right path. We believe that Philadelphia is the best possible home for our startup.”  —Robert Moore, RJMetrics