Project Liberty Digital Incubator Expanding, Accepting Applications

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania will use $345,000 from Knight Foundation to improve incubator and build investment opportunities

Project Liberty now accepting applications from startup and established digital media companies, due noon on August 30, 2013

Philadelphia – Project Liberty Digital Incubator, located in the heart of the nation’s fourth largest media market, will expand its program with $345,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

A project of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Project Liberty launched in 2011 to build a community of startups in Philadelphia and foster newsroom innovation. Since then, Ben Franklin has supported eight startups along with Interstate General Media LLC (IGM,) publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

Project Liberty was the first incubator in the nation to reside within a traditional media company, a model now followed by The New York Times, The Boston Globe and other media outlets.

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Investors angle for ‘next big thing’ at DreamIt Health demo day

July 24, 2013 | Newsworks by Zach Seward

Ten startups, four months of mentorship and seven minutes to make their case.

Those were the numbers behind demo day at DreamIt Health—the region’s first-ever accelerator program for new companies trying to improve the health care system via personal technology.

Novel ideas:  It was a standing-room-only crowd of 300-plus at WXPN’s World Cafe Live in University City. About half of those in attendance came with checkbooks in tow, mostly East Coast investors watching the stage in hopes of spotting the next big thing…

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‘Innovate’ Tax Credit to aid PA Tech Firms

July 7, 2013 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Deborah M. Todd, via philly.com

If tax credits that helped bring Batman and Jack Reacher to Pennsylvania breathed life into the state’s film industry, a similar measure included in the new 2013-14 budget could save the day for early-stage tech investments.

The Innovate in PA Tax Credit was officially signed into the tax code Sunday and will be activated once the 2013-14 budget makes it through all the necessary channels.

The credit boosts funding to Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the state-sponsored initiative that funds regional technology accelerators. It is based in Harrisburg, with Philadelphia in the southeastern regional branch, one of four…

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FirstMark Capital Reinvests In Artisan Mobile (And Its CEO)

June 26, 2013 | Forbes by Karsten Strauss

Mobile software provider, Artisan, was just slipped a few bills from 5-year-old VC firm FirstMark Capital. The $5.5 million investment is a reaffirmation of FirstMark’s confidence in the Philadelphia-based firm, which it funded to the tune of $1.5 million last year.

FirstMark’s previous investments include Pinterest, SecondMarket, NewsCred and TapAd. The VC had also led a $4 million funding round in 2008 for Boomi, the platform-as-a-service company headed by current Artisan CEO Bob Moul. Boomi went on to be acquired by Dell in 2010.

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First Round Capital to Manage $6 Million Startup PHL Seed Fund

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) will partner with First Round Capital, one of the most active investment firms in the country, to invest in and manage the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a new effort by the City of Philadelphia and PIDC to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups.  Both PIDC and First Round Capital will invest $3 million and First Round Capital will manage the fund to make early-stage investments on behalf of the Startup PHL Seed Fund.  First Round Capital will not receive a management fee, or any other form of compensation, for managing the Startup PHL Seed Fund.

“Supporting entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses in Philadelphia is a priority for my Administration and is crucial for the future of our city. I am thrilled that one of the leading investment firms in the country will partner with us in this effort,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “Josh Kopelman is one of the most successful investors in the venture community and a leading entrepreneur who has demonstrated his commitment to this city time and time again.  With his help and the support of our entrepreneurial community, Philadelphia will once again be recognized as one of America’s leading cities for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital’s founder, said, “We are thrilled to be participating in this effort. Mayor Nutter’s Administration has been very supportive of entrepreneurship and the Startup PHL Seed Fund is a very concrete example of how the City of Philadelphia is dedicating real attention and resources towards helping founders succeed in America’s founding city.”

PIDC to Invest $500K in University City Science Center’s QED Program

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation announced today that through its Penn Venture Fund, it will invest up to $500,000 in the University City Science Center’s QED Program, the country’s first multi-institutional proof-of-concept funding program for healthcare and life sciences technologies.  PIDC’s loan will provide direct funding to qualifying research projects at Philadelphia-based academic and research institutions participating in QED. The projects will be developed and selected through QED’s market-driven process. The loan will be repaid from PIDC’s share in proceeds from successful projects.

“PIDC is excited to invest with partners like First Round Capital and the University City Science Center, both of which are highly respected national leaders in their fields,” said PIDC President John Grady.  “These new investments are both designed to bring more capital to entrepreneurs in Philadelphia at earlier stages, so that they can turn their big ideas into reality sooner and more efficiently.  Today’s announcement illustrates PIDC’s ongoing commitment to find innovative ways to partner with the public and private sectors and to develop new resources for Philadelphia businesses.”

The QED Program has funded a total of 16 projects since its launch in April 2009.  So far, five of the projects have resulted in technology options or licenses, and close to $9 million in follow-on funding has been raised. Twenty-two universities and research institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, including 11 in Philadelphia, participate in the program.

“Due to a lack of funding, promising technologies are often stranded in the lab and never make it to the marketplace where they can have a positive impact on patients’ lives,” says Science Center President & CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “PIDC’s investment will help launch new companies that commercialize Philadelphia-based discoveries.  We at the Science Center look forward to working with PIDC to encourage these companies to stay and grow in the city.”

Philadelphia named a Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Winner

Philadelphia is awarded $1 million prize to support an innovative initiative to help social entrepreneurs solve urban challenges

PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Michael A. Nutter today announced that the City of Philadelphia is one of the five winners in the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. Philadelphia was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities, based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. Philadelphia will be awarded a $1 million innovation prize to implement its idea to create the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, a new effort to engage social entrepreneurs in working with city government and other partners to tackle urban challenges. Philadelphia will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson to commemorate each of the Mayors Challenge winners.

“Philadelphia’s selection as a Mayors Challenge winner is a huge honor for our city and a testament to the creative, innovative work that is going on across city government,” said Mayor Nutter. “Through the Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership, our goal is to explore innovative new approaches to issues affecting cities across the country and ultimately to improve the quality of life for our residents. I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and the Mayors Challenge for supporting innovative thinking in cities across America. The City of Philadelphia is also grateful for the efforts of GoodCompany Ventures and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative; both partners were integral to the successful collaboration that advanced our application through the Mayors Challenge process.”

“Procurement processes can stifle innovation and prevent local leaders from solving pressing city problems,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Mayor Nutter’s winning idea will help city government leverage innovation and creative talent to tackle an array of major challenges. Bloomberg Philanthropies is eager to see this idea take hold in Philadelphia and across the country.”

The Philadelphia Social Enterprise Partnership will create a process through which entrepreneurs and city government can work together on researching, developing, and applying innovative solutions to urban challenges. By building on existing innovations taking place in Philadelphia and cities around the country – such as opening up city data for use by citizens and entrepreneurs – Philadelphia will demonstrate that creating partnerships between innovators within and outside of government provides the opportunity to develop more effective solutions to some of our most intractable challenges. Philadelphia will identify two to three issues per year for which it will seek proposals from entrepreneurs, bringing them to the city to develop and pilot their ideas through a proven social enterprise accelerator program.

The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete, with 305 cities representing 45 states submitting applications last September. Providence was awarded the $5 million grand prize, while Chicago, Houston, and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million prizes. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit bloomberg.org/mayorschallenge.
The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation, which includes the Mayors Challenge, and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $360 million was distributed. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org. For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, media should contact Meghan Womack, meghan@bloomberg.org.

Philadelphia The Founder City, To Invest $3.5 Million In Startups

October 26, 2012 | nibletz.com

“Philadelphia Mayor Michael A Nutter announced today that the city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has created a joint two-tiered investment and grant making initiative called “Startup PHL”. Philadelphia is looking to spur more innovation and encourage startups to move to the city of brotherly love…”

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Philadelphia mayor launches Startup PHL: Should Seattle follow a similar path?

October 26, 2012 | GeekWire by John Cook

“Philadelphia isn’t routinely thought of as a startup hub. But the City of Brotherly Love is hoping to now sprinkle some of that love to entrepreneurs — in the form of cash.

“Mayor Michael Nutter today introduced a new public-private investment program called Startup PHL designed to boost seed-stage capital in the city and support newbie entrepreneurs…”

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