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

This young YouTube star launched a haircare startup for women of color

When Muhga Eltigani’s YouTube channel took off, her viewers kept asking how she made her hair products. So she decided to sell them.

July 18, 2016 | Technical.ly by Wafai Dias

Muhga Eltigani’s parents practically had a mid-life crisis when she told them she was going to work on her startup, NaturAll Club, full-time after finishing college.

They figured she would spend some time on it, then come back to her senses and enroll in law school since she had followed a pre-law track at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s the natural career path they expected her to take. As the first born daughter of Sudanese immigrants, the pressure for her to succeed was on.

But as Eltigani’s product drew in customers, her parents started to accept their daughter’s decision.

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4 things all women STEM grads should know before an interview

Demand respect, know what you’re worth and more advice that tech industry veteran Yvonne Chen wishes she knew when she was starting out.

June 24, 2016 | Technical.ly by Yvonne Chen

If you’re a recent female graduate in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field, I have good news: now is one of the best times for you to get hired.

Yes, women are outnumbered by men in STEM fields. But you’re stepping into a workpool where opportunities and smart conversations about women in technology are happening, more than ever. I’ve seen forward-thinking companies, like Etsy and Slack, that recognize the value of a diverse workforce and that are trying ever harder to correct this imbalance. Meetups and organizations across the spectrum like Girl Develop It, Women Who Code and Women in Tech have sprung into being to help and grow women in technical spaces.

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This $10,000 Desktop 3-D Printer Makes Human Tissue and Bone

Philadelphia-based BioBots has brought bioprinting to a smaller, more affordable scale.

June 6, 2016 | Inc Magazine by Kevin J. Ryan

Inc.’s 11th annual 30 Under 30 list features the young founders taking on some of the world’s biggest challenges. Here, meet BioBots.

Danny Cabrera has been defying the odds all his life. When he was a 10-year-old living in Cuba, Cabrera’s family had dreams of immigrating to America. His father won a visa lottery to travel to the U.S., and the Cabreras set sail for Miami and soon settled in.

As an 18-year-old at Miami Dade College, he had Ivy League ambitions. So he applied to the University of Pennsylvania and was accepted as a double major in computer science and biology.

At Penn, he wanted to find a way to manipulate biology and build living things from scratch. He soon met Ricardo Solorzano, another biology major from Miami, and the two got to work building a 3-D bioprinter.

Now, Cabrera and Solorzano are the co-founders of BioBots, a startup that creates desktop 3-D printers that can produce living tissue. The entrepreneurs used existing 3-D printing components that were primarily meant for manufacturing plastics and metals and used them to build a bioprinter. The result is a bioprinter far less expensive than most of its competitors: At $10,000, BioBots products are accessible to labs that can’t afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars 3-D printers usually cost. And while most bioprinters can take up entire rooms and have many moving parts, BioBots builds machines about the size of a microwave.

“Imagine a world where scientists could design living things with their laptops and print them on their desktops,” says Cabrera. “That’s what got us really going.” …

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Drexel game designers win $10K top prize at Intel University Showcase

The team of eight students accepted the award at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

April 13, 2016 | Technical.ly by Albert Hong

After their advisor, Dr. Jichen Zhu, rejected a handful of pitches for the game they’d create for their senior project, Drexel student Andrew Lichtsinn and his classmates didn’t have much confidence in one of their new gameplay ideas: a “dynamic splitscreen” that would change the size of players’ screens as they suffered damage in the game.

So the students, which call themselves 51st and Fire, were surprised when Zhu heard the idea and immediately gave them the go-ahead to develop the concept further into a game.

That game is Mirrors of Grimaldi, and it won first place for Best Gameplay at the Intel University Games Showcase on March 17 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

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Temple students are throwing a startup showcase next week

It’s the school’s first What IF Innovation Festival. The event also features a handful of Philly technologists.

April 12, 2016 | Technical.ly by Albert Hong

Tim Mounsey, a senior entrepreneurship major at Temple, wants to answer this question: What if students from all of Temple’s 18 schools and colleges got together to discuss and collaborate on new, innovative projects?

It’s why he came up with and organized the inaugural What IF Innovation Festival, a two-part event at Temple on Tuesday, April 19. It’s free and open to the public.

The first part of the festival, dubbed the Tower Takeover, will take place at the Bell Tower from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where 40 exhibitors will be showcasing their technologies, businesses, music, nonprofits and art. While many of the startups come from Temple students and alumni, like Neha Raman’s award-winning customizable nail polish startup, other startups like Earl Knight’s social media analytics platform GoBabl will also be present.

Following the showcase, a series of lightning talks will be held at Mitten Hall from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The list of speakers includes Venture for America CEO Andrew Yang, Independence Blue Cross (IBX) Innovation Director Michelle Histand and Philly Startup Leaders President Brock Weatherup. There will also be an hourlong networking session afterwards.

The festival is the culmination of an eight-month process for Mounsey, his marketing team and Rosalie Shemmer, the director of Temple’s Career Center, which provided funding for the event along with IBX and Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.

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Here are the winning ideas from College Pitch Philly

The first region-wide business plan competition for college entrepreneurs showcased custom nail polish, a helpful VR app and on-campus food delivery.

February 29, 2016 | Technical.ly by Rob Torres

An on-campus food delivery app, a custom-color nail polish creator, a virtual reality speech feedback application and a technique to produce high-quality fish food were among the winning pitches at the first edition of College Pitch Philly, an event put together by the Philadelphia Regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium and StartupPHL.

On Feb. 24, at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space, over 30 teams from 11 higher-ed centers battled out their best ideas before a panel of experts. A total of $15,500 in prizes were awarded to four student teams from Drexel University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Joins ic@3401 and Drexel to Boost Startup Resources in University City

November 19, 2015 | Drexel Now

A number of developments in University City’s startup ecosystem are aligning—all to the benefit of Philadelphia’s burgeoning community of entrepreneurs. Drexel University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania are teaming up to create a $10 million early stage seed fund that will support spin-off companies from the University. Concurrent with the launch of the new fund, Ben Franklin will join Drexel and University City Science Center’s efforts to strengthen the offerings for members at the Innovation Center @3401 (ic@3401). And the technology and healthcare growth capital provider, Safeguard Scientifics, is also joining ic@3401 in a high-level capacity.

“Ben Franklin has a strong track record of seeding and growing successful companies,” said Ben Franklin President and CEO, RoseAnn B. Rosenthal. “Linking our capabilities with Drexel and the ic@3401 community gives entrepreneurs fantastic new opportunities to leverage each organization’s unique assets, while strengthening the region’s robust engine for innovation.”

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Students: apply to pitch at the first region-wide business plan competition

October 5, 2015 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

Students, wanna be the next Chris Gray?

Here’s one way to polish your pitching skills. Philadelphia is hosting its first region-wide business plan competition for students.

It’s an effort to unite — and celebrate — all the student entrepreneurship activity happening around town. And there’s $15,000 up for grabs.

Apply by December 15th.

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Penn faculty startup raises $100K from Startup PHL angel fund

March 26th, 2015 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

A startup that spun out of the University of Pennsylvania’s computer science department just raised $100,000 from the city’s Startup PHL angel fund.

Penn computer science professor Boon Thau Loo and a group of graduate and undergraduate students founded Gencore Systems about a year ago. They spent years researching how to analyze huge volumes of network and cloud traffic, and built a product out of it.

Gencore is a software that allows companies that use public cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, to monitor and understand how well their applications are performing in the cloud. It’s unique, Loosaid, because it’s “completely non-intrusive.”

“It provides detailed application performance metrics, yet requires no code modifications to existing applications or add performance overheads,” he said. “This makes it easy to install and adopt.”

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