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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Philadelphia is heading to SXSW2016!

Until now, Philadelphians have made their own ways through nine days of conferences and events at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. But this year is different. A broad public/private coalition of local companies and organizations from enterprise to nonprofit have joined together to create SXSWPhilly.

You can participate without heading to Austin. Join us for the SXSW Sendoff party here in Philly on March 3rd at 6PM at Coda, 1712 Walnut St.

Registration is FREE, with food and cash bar.

Philly anchors Independence Blue Cross and Comcast NBCUniversal have already stepped up to sponsor, as well as local companies and organizations: Guru, Zivtech, Chariot Solutions, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennovation Works, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Showcasing the excitement of living and working in Philly at SXSW is a compelling proposition for the region’s businesses. It’s a great opportunity to recruit talent and create an emotional tie to our hometown. The StartupPHL booth will be surrounded by Philly startups: Cloudmine, RJ Metrics, Eventuosity, Zivtech, Chariot Solutions and Picwell. Attendees will enjoy Philadelphia-branded events, such as a concert of local talent produced by REC Philly and a VIP party.

SXSWPhilly organizers are always seeking additional funding and support from area businesses; it’s not too late to get involved. There’s an active SXSWPhilly Google Group with over 70 members, and a number of committees ready to helping make this initial effort a success. If you are already planning to go to SXSW, let us know!

“The efforts of the group really mirror the overall personality of the city,” said Yuval Yarden, who’s leading the SXSWPhilly initiative and is also program director at Philly Startup Leaders. “Startups and established companies are working to mutually support each other. For example, funding from Independence Blue Cross helps secure a place in Austin for Philly biotech startups.”

Philly is unmatched when it comes to our vibrant startup culture, our internationally renowned artists, filmmakers and musicians. A super cool city like Philadelphia deserves celebrity status at SXSW. A heaping helping of love from Philly makes a much greater impact than a performance here, and a booth there.

SXSW 2016 takes place in Austin, Texas, from March 11-20, 2016. There are multiple tracks, but the primary track for tech and startups is SXSW Interactive, from March 11-15. During that time, visitors can participate in the Trade Show (March 13-16), as well as the Job Market and Health/MedTech expo (both March 12-13). The film conference and festival runs from March 11-19, and the SXSW music conference is March 15-20.

Sue Spolan is Director of Marketing at Zivtech, a Philadelphia startup that specializes in open source app and website development.

Why Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is sending staffers to SXSW

They’ll be part of the crew that’s representing Philly’s growing health-tech scene at the annual conference in Austin later this month

March 1, 2016 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

We were surprised to see three staffers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on a list of local South by Southwest attendees.

We saw many of the usual suspects on SXsocial, the social network for attendees of the annual Austin conference: agencies like Bluecadet and O3 World, accelerator DreamIt Ventures and Comcast, which is sending at least 10 staffers, including director of entrepreneurial engagement Danielle Cohn.

But CHOP stood out to us — VP of entrepreneurship and innovation Patrick FitzGerald, formerly of DreamIt, is one exec who’s going, as well as Kamilah Weems and Paul Dehel from his team. (Dehel followed FitzGerald from DreamIt.)

They’re all part of a concerted effort to showcase Philadelphia at SXSW this month. (We’ll be there too!) CHOP’s sponsoring the SXSW Philly effort, alongside the likes of Comcast and Penn’s Pennovation project.

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