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 | Technical.ly 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 | Technical.ly 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.

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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 | Technical.ly 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…

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These 3 companies are coming to the Pennovation Center

The Grays Ferry innovation campus adds a robotics startup and two young healthtech companies.

June 30, 2016 | Technical.ly by Roberto Torres

Didn’t we say to expect more surprises from the Pennovation Center?

Since we told you Hershey Co. was going to be the inaugural corporate tenant at the 200,000-square-foot Grays Ferry space, three additional companies have been announced as upcoming members of the community.

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Here’s a new $200 million fund Philly healthcare startups should know about

The University City-based 1315 Capital is aiming to make investments of up to $20 million in promising life sciences companies.

June 15, 2016 | Technical.ly by Roberto Torres

As of today, there’s $200 million in fresh investment money looking for a new home. But you have to dream big. The funding is meant for companies that “have the potential to generate $100 million a year in revenue.”

So says University City-based 1315 Capital. The growth-equity firm announced Wednesday the closing of a $200 million fund aimed at commercial-stage pharma, medical and healthcare services companies.

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PCOM starts $5M venture fund

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine is getting into the venture capital business.

Through a new venture capital fund, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has committed $5 million in an effort to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of health care, with a specific focus on primary care.

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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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