Application Deadline for DreamIT Health Philadelphia 2015 is May 1

DreamIt Health Philadelphia 2015, running June 26th thru Oct 16th, is looking for startup teams who are fanatical about solving significant healthcare problems by combining relentless business execution, software or hardware, and inspired design.

DreamIt provides

  • seed capital (up to $300k per team)
  • access (customers, partners, investors, KOLs, SMEs)
  • coaching (from been-there-before, successful entrepreneurs)
  • freebies (legal, accounting, space, AWS, etc)
  • tools/techniques/best practices

The program is an unrivaled opportunity to work closely with Penn Medicine and Independence Blue Cross who have committed to provide access to and partnership with clinicians, executives, and industry leaders for designing, testing, launching, and deploying your solution at scale. Teams also benefit from speakers, office hours and content designed around healthcare-specific challenges such as navigating regulatory and reimbursement hurdles.

DreamIt Health alumni include Biomeme, Tissue Analytics, BioBots, and Haystack.

More info and applications at Applications are due May 1st!

About DreamIt Ventures
We uniquely combine a startup accelerator program and an early-stage seed fund to help exceptional entrepreneurs build thriving, fundable companies. Our managing directors all have deep startup operating experience that we bring to bear in stacking the deck in favor of our portfolio companies. We’ve worked with 195 startups across all sectors and which today are valued at nearly a billion dollars. Over the course of a given DreamIt accelerator, participating teams identify and eliminate risks, build out their products, focus on customer acquisition and establish paths to building sustainable revenues. Beyond the program, DreamIt Ventures remains an active and committed investor in our alums helping wherever we can over the entire lifecycle of their companies.

Mayor Nutter Announces Startup PHL Angel Fund Investment in Gencore Systems

Philadelphia, March 27, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Startup PHL Angel Fund has made a $100,000 investment in Gencore Systems, a software company based in Philadelphia founded by a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The growth of a vibrant startup economy is one of the most exciting developments to take place in this city over recent years and my Administration is proud to do all we can to continue to promote Philadelphia as one of America’s top startup cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives we are providing the resources and support system to help exciting companies start, stay and grow in Philadelphia.  Thank you to our partners at PIDC and First Round Capital for making this work possible.”

Gencore Systems offers a non-intrusive, network-based application performance management solution that provides deep-insights into service delivery and user experience of cloud applications, and helps troubleshoot performance bottlenecks in a proactive manner. The Gencore solution is compatible with both private and public cloud setups, as well as data centers that deploy state-of-the-art Software-defined Networking (SDN) technologies. The company is a spinoff from the University of Pennsylvania, and has incorporated award-winning research into its products.

“We are excited to receive the Startup PHL investment, and plan to use the funding to continue product development, and enhance our product through our ongoing pilot deployments with customers,” said Gencore Systems founder Boon Thau Loo.  “Gencore Systems is delighted to be in Philadelphia. We have been able to benefit from a steady stream of engineering and business talent from local universities. Moreover, the community here is close-knit, and we have always been able to get advice from other entrepreneurs when approached. We look forward to growing the company here in this city.”

Startup PHL is an initiative between the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and First Round Capital to support the growth of startups in Philadelphia.  The Startup PHL Seed Fund and Startup PHL Angel Fund are partnerships between PIDC and leading venture capital firm First Round Capital to make investments in Philadelphia-based startups.  Gencore Systems is the seventh company to receive an investment.

“We’re thrilled to be investing in a company with such deep roots in Philadelphia’s academic community, and are extremely excited to see what lies in store for Gencore,” said Josh Kopelman, Partner at First Round Capital.

The Startup PHL Call for Ideas is a grant program managed by the Department of Commerce providing grants to initiatives or organizations that are supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia.  The program has provided ten grants to date investing $217,400 in Philadelphia’s startup community through a range of organizations such as Startup Corps, Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Campus Philly, and the Philly Dev Camp.  An announcement of additional grants is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

To learn more about Startup PHL visit

Life Post-Shark Tank At Scholarship App Startup Scholly

March 24, 2015 | by Anne Field

When we last encountered Christopher Gray, he had recently launched Scholly, which has an app that streamlines the process of searching for college scholarships. Gray had previously won $1.3 million in school aid from a variety of groups.

Now the Philadelphia, Pa-based social enterprise has helped students raise at least $9 million, Gray and his co-founders are in the midst of raising a series A round, they’ve signed several major partnerships and launched a web site, according to Gray. And, oh yes, they recently won a $40,000 investment during an appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank, causing a ruckus in the meantime.

And Gray is getting ready to graduate from Drexel University in June.

The Shark Tank experience netted Gray a lot of attention, as well as an investment from panelists Lori Greiner and Daymond John. The investors offered their terms almost as soon as Gray finished his pitch, which is unusual for the show. (Gray says he actually pitched for 45 minutes to an hour, although only a few minutes of that made it to the final edit). Also, according to Gray, they gave him what he’d ask for–$40,000 and a total 15% stake. The hullabaloo happened after that, when the other sharks  got mad that a deal had been made without sufficient questioning and one of them, Robert Herjavec, walked out of the studio in a huff. According to Gray, the company’s social mission, combined with his own life story, are what sold the investors on the company.


Bootstrapping a Venture Capital Fund

December 19, 2014 | The Huffington Post The Blog by Jon Gosier

“We decided the best way to get into the venture space was to establish our own small fund. With a fund we could collectively share the risk of investing and the burdens of legal compliance, the costs, and the necessary due diligence. We could also leverage more capital than any one of us could on our own. For instance, some of us had dabbled in angel investing before but were only doing about one or two deals per year. The fund could invest in upwards of eight per year!

“So our group of nine eventually came together, each putting in a minimum of $10,000. Over the life of the fund we’ll have deployed between $300,000 and $500,000 in capital. Because we were the third cohort to go through the GS10K program in Philadelphia we named our fund to honor the circumstances, Third Cohort Capital.”


TechGirlz Take Over

Reblogged from Drexel University, Close School of Entrepreneurship

2014 TechGirlz

TechGirlz Take Over

TechGirlz, a nonprofit aimed at closing the gender gap in the technology world, partnered with the Close School to host its third annual summer camp for girls interested in tech careers.

A clan of smart, determined, resilient entrepreneurs hard at work on a new venture is not an unusual sight at the Baiada Institute. But this week, visitors to the Close School’s incubator saw a twist on that familiar scene.

The Baiada Institute hosted 20 sixth- through -ninth-grade girls researching, developing and creating companies and concepts all their own as a part of the TechGirlz summer camp. TechGirlz is a nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing adolescent girls to careers in technology, science and innovation.

The third annual TechGirlz camp took advantage of Close School faculty and staff, as well as the founders of companies incubating in the Baiada Institute, who helped provide support and mentorship as the campers developed ideas, presented prototypes and pitched business plans.

“TechGirlz was born out of a desire to correct the imbalance,” says TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman. “I was shocked to find a severe decline of young women entering computer science programs.”

Welson-Rossman, a Drexel graduate herself, says the Close School was the ideal fit for this year’s program.

“It was a match made in entrepreneur heaven,” she says. “Drexel is definitely leading the way in creating stronger entrepreneurs.”

Close School Dean Donna De Carolis agrees.

“I believe in TechGirlz’s mission. It works in lockstep with our mission of creating a supportive academic environment where students are free to pursue their passions and big ideas,” says De Carolis. “We need to close the gender gap when it comes to the jobs of the future — namely jobs in technological and scientific innovations. And TechGirlz is paving the way.”

Tech Girlz campers accomplish more in a week than many entrepreneurs do in a year. They learn to craft and perfect their elevator pitch, create business use cases, design logos, refine their market strategy and much more. The camp culminates in final presentations of their ideas and business plans.

Tech Girlz is at the forefront of a recent tide of initiatives aimed at increasing the number of women in the tech sector. Google announced last month that it is investing $50 million into its Made With Code project, which also strives to close the tech scene’s gender gap.

Welson-Rossman, a veteran of custom software and development firm Chariot Solutions, says she looks forward to the next phase in Tech Girlz’ continued growth. Companies like SAP and Comcast and universities including Drexel and Harvard spent last year teaching TechGirlz material.

“We expect to have 20 more companies and organizations, and to teach 1,000 more girls this school year,” she says.

Philly Tech Week Open Data Event: Bytes and Mortar

More than sixty people attended Bytes & Mortar: Using Open Data to Help Your Business, an event co-hosted by the Office of Innovation & Technology and the Department of Commerce during Philly Tech Week.

As more government data becomes open to the public, new and interesting uses are emerging. This event served as an overview and introductory discussion for the business and technology community to help get people thinking about what business opportunities there may be for utilizing open city data. Business people, technologists, and government employees all gathered together to learn about the vast array of data sets and resources available to the public through the following portals:

We’re posting the slides below for those who could not attend. For additional open data questions, reach out to data (at) Beyond questions, please share your successes with us!

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Nutter, First Round Capital and PIDC Announce First Startup PHL Seed Fund Investment

Real Food Works moves headquarters to Philadelphia, receives $200,000 seed investment.

October 24, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, along with First Round Capital and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), announced that Real Food Works will receive the first investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund. Real Food Works partners with local restaurants to provide customers with healthy prepared meals. It will receive a $200,000 investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund.

“The goal of Startup PHL is to help innovative new companies to start and grow in Philadelphia, and this investment in Real Food Works is an example of that strategy,” said Mayor Nutter. “Lucinda and her team have created a company that supports the local economy and encourages people to eat healthy food. This investment will allow Real Food Works to continue growing and is the first of many investments in Philadelphia startups that will be made through Startup PHL.”

Real Food Works will receive a $200,000 investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a $6 million seed stage investment fund, in which both PIDC and First Round Capital have invested $3 million. First Round Capital manages the fund.

John Grady, President of PIDC said, “We are proud of our partnership with First Round Capital and the City of Philadelphia to launch the Startup PHL Seed fund to increase the availability of seed-stage capital and to help make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs. As a successful startup that has relocated to Philadelphia, Real Food Works is a perfect demonstration of the power of the Startup PHL Seed Fund making the City a great environment to launch and grow business.”

First Round Capital Managing Partner Josh Kopelman said, “We are excited to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the Philadelphia startup ecosystem, to be working with innovative partners, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the City of Philadelphia. We are thrilled that our first investment together is in such a great company and entrepreneur. Real Food Works is tapping into an important trend of healthier eating, and the company’s scalable model and technology promises great growth. And, of course, backing a proven entrepreneur gives us tremendous confidence.”

Lucinda Duncalfe, Founder and CEO of Real Food Works, created the company after being inspired to eat a more healthy diet. She founded Real Food Works in May 2012 and incubated the company at Monetate in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In June 2013, Duncalfe moved Real Food Works to Philadelphia, where it is currently located at 224 North Juniper Street. Real Food Works employs 10 people.

“The investments from First Round Capital, Startup PHL and Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners are a vote of confidence in Real Food Works’ vision, technology, and team,” said Duncalfe. “We’re grateful for their support, and look forward to working together to make our dream of a healthier America based on a real food diet a reality.”

Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA is also an investor in Real Food Works. President and CEO RoseAnn Rosenthal added, “We’re happy to, once more, be an investor in one of Lucinda’s ventures. We’ve partnered in the past and are thrilled to see her launch yet another enterprise. Her actions reflect the commitment and confidence of entrepreneurs who have achieved success, here, and who are choosing to do it again, here.”

Mayor Nutter launched the Startup PHL initiative in October 2012. In March 2013, the City and PIDC announced that First Round Capital would manage the Startup PHL Seed Fund. The Startup PHL Call for Ideas, another portion of the initiative, is designed to provide small grants to organizations working to support entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The second round of funding will be announced next week by the Department of Commerce, led by Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.

“Philadelphia is increasingly seen as a home for startups, entrepreneurs and investment with more and more companies locating here” said Greenberger. “Startup PHL is the City’s effort – in partnership with First Round Capital and PIDC – to support this growth and attract new job-creating businesses, firmly establishing Philadelphia as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Startup PHL:
Startup PHL is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). The Startup PHL Seed Fund is an effort by the City of Philadelphia and PIDC to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups. The Startup PHL Call for Ideas is a grant program to support innovative proposals for ideas that support business creation and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia. More information about Startup PHL can be found at More information about the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce can be found at

Real Food Works:
Real Food Works delivers fresh meals made with only all-natural whole food ingredients. The meals are developed and cooked fresh by a network of local independent restaurants, which create specific meals to meet the real food diet’s nutritional requirements — ensuring delicious, nutritious food. The real food diet has been popularized in New York Times bestsellers, including The China Study, VB6, and Whole, the Amazon best-selling documentary Forks over Knives, and by celebrities including Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone. Located in Philadelphia, the company was founded by seasoned entrepreneur and healthy food fanatic Lucinda Duncalfe and is backed by leading investors. For more information, visit

Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation:
Beginning in 1958 as a non-profit joint venture between the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PIDC is Philadelphia’s economic development corporation. In the past 55 years, PIDC has invested more than $11.4 billion in Philadelphia supporting $21 billion of total project costs. Currently managing a diverse loan portfolio in excess of $600 million, PIDC brings years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to structuring real estate and financing transactions that attract investment and create and retain jobs in the City of Philadelphia. PIDC has partnered with First Round Capital to create a $6 million public/private venture fund, the Startup PHL Seed Fund. Both PIDC and First Round Capital have invested $3 million and First Round Capital manages the fund increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based entrepreneurs.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania:
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning organization that provides capital, knowledge and networks that help innovative enterprises generate jobs and economic growth. Ben Franklin is the single largest investor in seed-stage companies in this region, and is one of the most active seed-stage investors in the United States. Three-quarters of all recent venture funded companies in the Greater Philadelphia region had previously received funding from Ben Franklin. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

SEED – Supporting Entrepreneurs in Education – 3.0 is coming October 16, 2013

Buy your tickets online:


SEED (Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education) 3.0 is a crowd-funded and -sourced opportunity for education entrepreneurs and teachers to compete for cash prizes and, even more importantly, present their ideas before an engaged audience of potential funders, users, collaborators, and community members.

SEED 3.0 is modeled off the internationally popular Sunday Soup program, a micro-granting program where attendees pay on a sliding scale (usually $10-20) for a locally sourced dinner during which they hear brief presentations from members of the creative community.  The attendees then vote on their choices for first, second, and third prize.  Once the votes are tallied, the winning groups take home monetary prizes of varying sizes (e.g., $400 for first, $200 for second, $100 for third) funded by the attendance charge.

SEED 3.0 takes the premise of Sunday Soup and tweaks it: the presentations focus solely on education entrepreneurship in the Philadelphia area.  Following a meet and mingle period, during which presenters will be available to answer attendee questions on their concepts, presenters will be given three minutes each to “pitch” their idea to the entire audience.  After each pitch, an esteemed panel of judges has five minutes to ask questions, critique business plans, and make suggestions.  After all the pitches and Q&A, the audience then votes for a winner.

To generate a significant monetary prize (targeted at $5,000 for first place and $2,500 for second place), attendees will be asked to pay a $25 entrance fee and sponsorships from corporate partners will be solicited.  A large portion of this year’s monetary prize comes from a StartUp PHL grant awarded to PhillyCORE Leaders. Other sponsors include PECO, Oxford Mills, and the Philadelphia School Partnership.


The first SEED in March 2012 had over 40 applicants, which were narrowed down to 12 finalists – 6 in an “Emerging” Entrepreneurs category and 6 in an “Expanding/Established” Entrepreneurs category.  The winner of the “Emerging” Entrepreneurs category – PhilaSoup – won $5,000, which it is used to apply for non-profit status and to extend its outreach.  The winner of the “Expanding/Established” Entrepreneurs category – Springboard Collaborative – won a bundle of pro-bono services (legal, accounting, etc.) and sit-downs with several foundation heads in the region.

The second SEED event, called SEED 2.0, was held in October 2012, and the theme was “technology in the classroom.”  We attracted over 20 “ed tech” applicants, which were narrowed down to 5 finalists.  The winner, Teachers Lead Philly, used the $5,000 to create an online portal that would supplement its off-line teacher networking and collaboration events.  Each SEED event had on average 150 attendees and each raised about $9,000, including $5,000 from ticket sales and $4,000 from corporate sponsorships.

This year, there will be two categories for this year’s SEED event.  The first category will be for education entrepreneurs (either non-profit or for-profit) and the second category will be specifically for teachers who are focused on bringing innovation and leadership to their school but are committed to remaining in the classroom as teacher.

WHEN/Where? Wednesday, October 16th from 6 to 8:30 p.m.  at City Hall

Buy your tickets online: