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.

Hometown Glory: Get Startup Grants and Seed Investments From Your City

November 16, 2015 | Entrepreneur Magazine by Michelle Goodman

After earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Ashrit Kamireddi was prepared to go wherever he had to in order to raise seed money to grow VeryApt, his apartment-review platform. But thanks to a $100,000 angel investment from Philadelphia’s StartUp PHL program, which invests in local entrepreneurs, he didn’t have to leave town. This was good news for Kamireddi, who has hired four full-time employees since raising a total of $270,000 in seed funds, and expanded his operations to 10 other cities. Philly, which launched its $6 million startup fund in 2012, is among several major cities offering grants and seed investments for entrepreneurs. Among them, Detroit boasts two venture funds for early-stage companies, with a portfolio of nearly 80 startups; Denver awards $35,000 in annual grants to new companies.

So, what’s the best way to gain access to these funds? To identify opportunities, check with your city’s economic development office, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, networking groups and anywhere else startup founders and advisors congregate. Begin building relationships long before you’re ready to raise capital—even a year or two in advance, advises Archna Sahay, Philadelphia’s manager of entrepreneurial investment, who regularly counsels entrepreneurs about pitching Startup PHL. “The minute you realize you want to take on the investment is when you need to start having that conversation,” she says.


Join the PHL party at SXSW

A collaborative community effort to organize Philadelphia companies and attendees of SXSW launched last week. The initiative is hoping to organize any attendees into a unified block while at the conference. If your company is attending, or you’d like to sponsor, check out the details at

BuLogics CEO Felicite Moorman on Philly startups: ‘We’re here to build something that lasts’

November 12, 2015 | by Juliana Reyes

BuLogics won the Technological Excellence of the Year award from the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce. Here’s Moorman’s acceptance speech.

Felicite Moorman chose Philadelphia over New York when she joined East Falls internet-of-things company BuLogics as its CEO.

That was because of BuLogics founder Ryan Buchert. But it was also because of the camraderie of the local business community, she said in her acceptance speech for a Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Small Business Excellence Award last week.

“We lack the transience that is representative of NYC,” she said. “We aren’t here to get something done or accomplish some thing, and then leave. We’re here to build something that lasts, and in doing so, build community.”


Taking the Pain Out of Slow Payments

November 9, 2015 | Inc. Magazine by Leigh Buchanan

Earlier this year, the alcoholic beverage giant Diageo gave its supply chain a nasty yank. The company told vendors it was extending to 90 days payment terms on new contracts because it had “significant investment projects underway” and needed to improve cash flow. Suppliers were expected to understand. After all, it’s not like they needed cash themselves for new projects or, say, to stay alive.

Under public pressure, Diageo backtracked. But its actions-and similar actions taken by many other companies-remind us about the vulnerability of B-to-B vendors. Not all large customers that pay late or stretch terms to 90 or even 120 days are opportunistic. Many just want to ensure their own financial stability. But delaying payment hurts small businesses and damages vendor-customer relationships. Much as large and small companies say they want to be partners, that’s tough to achieve when the power imbalance is great.

One partial solution is dynamic discounting: a 10-year-old good idea that improving technology has made better. In this model, customers that pay sooner pay a little less, with the savings determined by dates of payment. Last year, the White House persuaded Apple, Coca-Cola, and 24 other corporations to accelerate their payment rates as part of an initiative called SupplierPay. Taulia and C2FO are among the companies active in this space.

The newest entrant, fresh out of Y-Combinator, is Philadelphia-based Tesorio, which recently raised money from investors like First Round Capital and Funders Club. The company’s founder and CEO is Panamanian-born Carlos Vega, 34, who met his Cuban-born co-founder, Fabio Fleitas, 21, at Wharton in 2013.

The model is fairly simple. Once the large customer approves an invoice, it is sent automatically to Tesorio, which notifies the supplier. The supplier has the option to click a button if it wants to be paid immediately at a discount. Discounts are calculated to be lower than the borrowing cost of the supplier (a rate determined algorithmically) and above the cost of capital of the buyer (a rate determined when new customers are brought onboard). “They split the difference,” says Vega, and “everyone is a little more motivated to participate.” Tesorio takes a percentage of the customer’s savings.

One nice thing about Tesorio is its attention to the supplier side. “While we do develop a lot of tools for the large companies, really, if the small companies don’t play, no one wins,” says Vega. “So we are very focused on designing things so they are helpful to the suppliers.”

Vega hopes that suppliers who like the system will, in turn, implement it with their own vendors. Thus dynamic discounting may promote the creation of a virtuous supply chain, in which all links-no matter their size-are financially stable and pulling together.



From Fashion to Pop-Up Markets, New Grants Support Entrepreneurial Philly

November 6, 2015 | Next City by Cassie Owens

“Victoria Wright, Senpai & Kohai, Wild Mantle — these are some of the fashion brands that have hired sewers from the Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative, and put their work in stores. Last month, the Philadelphia-based RWTI won a grant for nearly $19,000, as part of StartUp PHL’s effort to spur entrepreneurship in the city. (The initiative is a collaboration from the commerce department and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.) In this latest funding round, six organizations received awards ranging from $6,000 to $25,000.”

Entrepreneurship wasn’t even in RWTI’s sights in the beginning. The group grew out of Philadelphia Burmese Women’s Initiative two years ago, and the seeds were sown when Jessica Lee, an organizer and Ph.D. candidate in social work at Bryn Mawr College, polled women to find out what activities they’d like to undertake. With sewing classes as a top result, Lee began to search for an ideal classroom. Enter designer-teacher Rachel Ford, and her school MADE Studios. The initiative has expanded beyond proper sewing, to a curriculum around textile arts, with artist Shira Walinsky bringing in local designers to collaborate with participants on weaving projects. But Ford has her eye on small-batch manufacturing.

“What I’ve come to realize in my own world is that everybody is a designer,” says Ford. “Everybody ultimately gets to a place where they want to scale things and hire other people to do their sewing. And as it is now, there’s really a lack for [that workforce.]”


Tiny device aims to help protect women from sexual assault

November 2, 2015 | Mashable by Marilyn La Jeunesse

“…Roar for Good is dedicated to preventing physical assaults. The company’s first product, Athena, is a petite round button that clips onto a belt or lapel. When pressed, Athena emits a loud alarm and texts the wearer’s location to their designated emergency contacts.

“The product is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo. With a goal of $40,000, Athena was fully funded less than 48 hours after its launch. The campaign had earned $150,310 by the time of writing.

“Athena is expected to be available internationally in early May 2016 and will retail for $99.”

“Athena cofounder Yasmine Mustafa said the inspiration for the device came to her during a solo backpacking trip across South America. “As amazing as [the trip] was…literally everywhere I went I would hear of a time where a woman had been attacked,” Mustafa told Mashable. When she came back, a nearby neighbor had gone outside to read her meter when she was attacked, brutally beaten and sexually assaulted. “When I read the news story the next day, that’s when the idea for ROAR was born.”


Software startup expands its Center City office space

October 28, 2015 | by Jacob Adelman

RJMetrics is adding in excess of a third more space to its offices at Center City’s Widener Building, according to PernaFrederick Commercial Real Estate, which represented the software startup in the expansion.

The company will now occupy more than 21,500 square feet on the fourth and 15th floors of the 18-story building at One South Penn Square, PernaFrederick said in a release Tuesday.

RJMetrics, which specializes in data infrastructure and analytics software, has operated out of the building since early 2014, PernaFrederick said.


SnipSnap Debuts Scout, A Deal-Finding Virtual Assistant

October 28, 2015 | Tech Crunch by Sarah Perez

“There are a number of digital tools that can help consumers save money when they’re shopping in-store or online, including mobile coupons, discount codes, rebates, digitized circulars, barcode scanners, and more. But today, the mobile savings app SnipSnap is rolling out a different kind of savings tool with the launch of Scout, a virtual concierge that helps you find savings via a chat-based interface where you can type in a product’s name, scan a barcode, or even just snap a photo of the product you want to buy.

“The launch comes at a time when we’re seeing a rise in the number of digital assistants that go beyond the use cases provided by built-in tools like Siri or Google Now, for example. Today, Facebook is testing a Messenger-based assistant called M, and a range of other startups have launched apps and SMS-based services, including Operator, the shopping concierge from Uber’s co-founder; Magic, GoButler, Fetch, and others.

“Some of these competitors are general purpose assistants that can help you with a variety of tasks, while others are focused only on shopping queries. However, SnipSnap’s Scout is carving out its own unique niche – it’s not about helping you shop, it’s specifically aimed at help you save money while shopping, either in-store or online.

“SnipSnap, as you may recall, was acquired by visual search company Slyce earlier this year for $6.5 million. The startup, which was profitable at the time of the acquisition, runs a crowd-sourced database where its 5 million users snap photos of coupons and share them with others – turning the images into mobile-ready offers you can use when at local stores or restaurants.

“Instead of being spun out into its own dedicated app, Scout builds upon SnipSnap’s established community of deal-hunters as a new feature within the SnipSnap application.”


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.