StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant Awardees Announced

For Immediate Release: February 17, 2017

StartupPHL Call for Ideas Grant Awardees Announced

PHILADELPHIA – Today, Mayor Jim Kenney and the Department of Commerce announced the fifth round of StartupPHL Call for Ideas grantees. The Call for Ideas grant program funds innovative and exciting proposals that bolster Philadelphia’s continually expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem, while providing access and opportunities to all Philadelphians.

“The latest set of awardees represent a variety of industries – from tech to entertainment,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “These programs will also serve a number of populations, including young people, small business owners and immigrants. I am eager to see the impact of our latest Call for Ideas grants and the programs they support.”

The Call for Ideas program provides small grants to organizations with ideas or initiatives that best meet the objectives of StartupPHL, including: Increasing business and job creation in Philadelphia; Enhancing collaboration between organizations that support entrepreneurs; Fostering networks and creating space for entrepreneurs to develop businesses and connect with mentors, advisors, talent and capital; and Deepening integration and coordination between city government, citizens, students, and the startup community.

“Call for Ideas is one of many ways we are fostering a positive reciprocal relationship between the City and Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs,” said Archna Sahay, Director of Entrepreneurial Investment for the City of Philadelphia. “The awardees chosen in this round all have the potential to make an impact when it comes to encouraging entrepreneurship, growing Philadelphia’s economy, and ultimately reducing poverty.”

The latest round of StartupPHL Call for Ideas provides funding to six organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to twenty-six. The grants awarded this round include:

  • Coded by Kids ($16,500) – Coded by Kids will use the Call for Ideas grant to support the development and piloting of a data science curriculum for students at two recreation centers in Philadelphia. The data science curriculum will use publicly available Open Data sets to teach students how to extract, analyze and present data.
  • Destined to Achieve Successful Heights, Inc. ($22,975) – DASH will partner with PSTV (the Education channel for The School District of Philadelphia) to help students produce, write and record their own original music with Grammy-nominated songwriters and producers while learning the real world economics of the music industry.
  • Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation ($17,200) – The Free Library will utilize the grant to expand business support to four neighborhood Library locations serving low-income communities. Each location will pilot integrated services including free classes, a core collection and seed funding.
  • The Hacktory ($24,000) – The Hacktory will host a summer hardware bootcamp for professionals in the region to learn a foundation of technical, fabrication and design skills through hands-on projects and experimentation.
  • SecondMuse ($25,000) – SecondMuse will use their funds to research and better understand the needs and resources available to Philadelphia’s existing hardware startup and manufacturing communities. Based on the findings, SecondMuse plans to co-design an incubator for hardware.
  • Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians ($25,000) – The Welcoming Center plans to use its Call for Ideas grant to cultivate entrepreneurial leadership among first generation immigrant youth and provide assistance to immigrant-owned small businesses with technology.

StartupPHL is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). The StartupPHL initiative encompasses a range of programs including the Call for Ideas grants, PIDC’s StartupPHL Seed + Angel Fund, and several measures to enhance visibility and connectivity of the startup community. The initiative aims to make our city a more attractive environment to launch and grow a business by investing in entrepreneurs who bring energy, ideas and vitality to Philadelphia, as well as further enabling the existing entrepreneurial talent that resides in the city’s different neighborhoods to flourish.

All applications were reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives from the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and members of the entrepreneurial community. The first StartupPHL Call for Ideas was launched in October 2012 as part of the larger StartupPHL initiative. Twenty-six Call for Ideas grants have been awarded to date.

For more information on StartupPHL, visit: startupphl.com.

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StartupPHL is Heading to SXSW 2017

For Immediate Release: February 14, 2017

Mayor Kenney and Amplify Philly Initiative

Announce Details of 2017 SXSW Participation

 

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce will join a coalition of Philadelphia startups, corporations, musicians, and other partners in Austin, Texas  at the SXSW Interactive & Music Festival this March. The Amplify Philly initiative will promote Philadelphia as a hub for innovation, highlighting the companies, music, and technologies created here.

“I am excited the City will once again be part of Amplify Philly’s collaborative effort at SXSW,” said Mayor Kenney. “This initiative is proof of what can be accomplished through a successful public-private partnership. The investment being made by our corporate partners and anchor institutions shows a commitment to Philadelphia’s tech and entrepreneurial community. The City is thrilled to participate in one of the most influential tech conferences in the world, and I am personally looking forward to sharing with so many budding entrepreneurs why Philadelphia is the place to grow their business.”

Mayor Kenney is joining other mayors from across the country for The United States Conference of Mayors track during opening weekend of the 2017 SXSW Interactive Festival. The mayoral track connects several of the nation’s forward-thinking mayors with top innovators in the technology, entrepreneurship, media, nonprofit, philanthropy and creative sectors. In addition to individual and group meetings with industry leaders, Mayor Kenney will also take part in a panel discussion focused on the economic, social and cultural impact of extreme immigration policy on cities like Philadelphia. The panel, Building Bridges When Others Want to Build Walls, takes place on Saturday, March 11. On Sunday, March 12, Mayor Kenney will attend the SXSW Tradeshow to visit the Amplify Philly activation. The Philadelphia Department of Commerce, through its StartupPHL platform, will attend the festival and exhibit as part of the Amplify Philly booth.

For the second consecutive year, Amplify Philly is coordinating Philadelphia’s presence at SXSW. The 2017 initiative, organized by Philly Startup Leaders and REC Philly, is made possible through the support of 15 sponsors, including: StartupPHL, Comcast, University City Science Center, Guru, Zivtech, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Chariot Solutions, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Visit Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brandywine Realty Trust, Safeguard Scientifics, and CoStar360. This year, 18 Philadelphia companies will be exhibiting at the SXSW Tradeshow as part of the Amplify Philly activation: BioRealize, Boost Linguistics, Chariot Solutions, Comcast, Cosy, Eventuosity, Iqinetics, Keriton, LIA Diagnostics, MLeads, Neuroflow, Oat Foundry, Oncora, ROAR for Good, SafeStamp, Social Ladder, Stratis, and Zivtech.

Amplify Philly will also promote Philadelphia to the SXSW audience through two additional activities – a happy hour event and concert. The happy hour and accompanying interactive event on Monday, March 13 will feature entertainment by Philadelphia music legend DJ Jazzy Jeff. Invited guests will have the opportunity to network with Amplify Philly sponsors and participating companies. On Tuesday, March 14, the Amplify Philly Official Music Showcase will spotlight local talent, including: Bilal, DJ Aktive, Good Girl, The Districts, Son Little, The Dove & The Wolf, Julian King, and Queen of Jeans. The concert is open to all SXSW badge holders.

Additional details about the Amplify Philly initiative will be made available on AmplifyPhilly.com. Mayor Kenney’s public schedule will be released daily while he is in Austin.

 

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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.

Watch Out Organovo! This “Most Innovative” 3D Bioprinting Startup Has You in its Crosshairs

April 29th, 2015 | The Motley Fool by Beth McKenna

Philadelphia-based start-up BioBots is aiming to shake up the human tissue engineering — or “3D bioprinting” — space by making its desktop 3D bioprinters available for only $5,000 to scientists, engineers, and medical professionals who qualify for its beta testing program.

This low-cost product strategy aims at putting bioprinters into the hands of as many professionals in the biotech and medical fields as possible. It has the potential to unleash a wave of innovation in the biotech world, and possibly catapult this upstart into the bigger leagues.

BioBots: Aiming to democratize the bioprinting world

BioBots was founded by several recent graduates of the University of Pennsylvania. Among a field of 48 finalists, whittled down from more than 500 entrants, the upstart from “Rocky’s” hometown knocked out the competition for “Most Innovative” honors at Oracle Corp.‘s South by Southwest 2015 Accelerator venture competition last month. SXSW has a reputation as a breeding ground for innovative new ideas in the tech realm.

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It was a big winter for the first 3 startups in Project Liberty

April 1, 1015 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

At  the beginning of 2012, a Philly media company opened its doors to three startups.

It was an experiment: Could the legacy media company behind the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com invigorate the tech scene while also modernizing its own offerings? (The following year, the New York Times launcheda similar program.)

Four years later, Project Liberty, as its known, is in the middle of its sixth class of startups (they have yet to be announced). The program was initially funded for three cycles by a $250,000 Knight Foundation grant, which got renewed for $345,000 in the summer of 2013.

So, has the experiment succeeded? That remains to be seen, but here’s what we do know: those first three Project Liberty startups had a big winter, full of exits and fundraising. And at least two of them have had an impact on the region’s tech scene.

The startups — SnipSnapCloudMine and Versa — all joined Project Liberty fresh off completing DreamIt Ventures. (The DreamIt accelerator provided mentorship to the first three classes of Project Liberty and now, it supports the program “in any way that [it] can,” said DreamIt cofounder Steve Welch.)

This winter:

  • Center City couponing app SnipSnap was acquired by Toronto’s Slyce for $6.5 million. SnipSnap’s five employees are remaining in Philadelphia.
  • Center City mobile back-end CloudMine raised $5 million in a Series A led by local investorSafeguard Scientifics. CloudMine employs 16 and is currently hiring.
  • Sponsored content startup Versa, formerly known as ElectNext, was acquired by online petition site Change.org for an undisclosed amount. At the time of the acquisition, Versa no longer had a Philly presence. Its three staffers, including CEO Keya Dannenbaum, are joining Change.org.

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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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How this Philly Game Forge studio got its game on the front page of Sony’s PS4 network

Nearly four years after Sony first approached Final Form Games, the studio has just launched its “neoclassical” shooter, Jamestown+, for PlayStation4. It’s the second indie game built in Philly to make it to the platform.

March 18th, 2015 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

The story starts at the 2011 Penny Arcade Expo.

At PAX, as it’s known, the Philly team behind Final Form Games — brothers Mike Ambrogi Primo and Tim Ambrogi Saxon and developer Halsted Larsson (who recently left the company) — spent three days in Seattle showing off their PC game Jamestown, a multiplayer “neoclassical cooperative shoot-em-up” set on 17th-century British colonial Mars, at the biggest video game expo in North America.

The booth was completely free, their prize for being chosen as one of the “PAX10,” an indie game honor. That’s where they met Nick Suttner, a Sony account manager and the company’s unofficial indie game evangelist. Suttner was interested in Jamestown.

Back then, Sony had just started reaching out to indie game developers. Developer kits, industrial-strength PlayStations that you can plug into your computer and run live code on, were costly and barricaded by tough security measures. Suttner was excited enough about Jamestown that he got Final Form Games a PlayStation3 developer kit, but the team eventually decided it wasn’t the right time to pursue a PlayStation remake and shelved the project.

Now, three-and-a-half years later, in the thick of Sony’s aggressive indie game push, Final Form just launched Jamestown+ on PlayStation 4 last night as part of a spring PS4 indie promotion. Jamestown+ is one of eight games getting front-page play on PS4’s game network this season. This week only, you can get the game for $10.79 (it’s normally $11.99). Jamestown+ is the second Philly-built indie game to get released on PS4 (Cipher Prime’s Splice was the first).

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What Entrepreneurs Gain When They Venture Outside Of Silicon Valley

March 9, 2015 | forbes.com, by Leadnomics Founder Zach Robbins

As the founder of a Philadelphia-based startup, I’ve fielded the same question countless times as Leadnomics has grown: “Why haven’t you moved West?”Silicon Valley, along with other big startup hubs like New York and Chicago, has held the reputation as the most promising place to build a company — especially in tech — for decades.

However, recent trends among an increasingly large sector of youngentrepreneurs are redefining the optimal location to grow a company, making it even easier to answer the “Why not California?” question. As a result, a new model of startup hubs are popping up in what are considered “secondary markets” across the country, equipped with a set of advantages unique from Silicon Valley, many of which I have experienced first-hand…

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Mobile backend startup CloudMine picks up $5M

March 3, 2015 | Venture Beat by Jordan Novet

CloudMine, a startup that sells a cloud service for operating mobile apps and websites, is announcing today that it has picked up $5 million in new funding.

CloudMine offers several components for mobile developers to tap, including object storage, push notifications, load balancing, and mobile analytics. Such things can come in handy for companies that wish to build or expand their mobile presence but don’t wish to own the physical infrastructure for new apps to run on.

Of course, this area has proven interesting to investors, who have backed startups like Kidozen, Kii,and Kinvey, while enterprise software vendors have partnered with or even bought some startups with mobile backend services. Red Hat last year bought FeedHenry, for instance, while VMware relies on Kinvey’s service to deliver a mobile backend in its vCloud Air public cloud…

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Startup with needle-free way to draw blood raises $5M

February 5, 2015 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

Velano Vascular announced Thursday that it raised $5 million in Series A funding.

The investment round was led by First Round Capital, which co-invested in Velanolast year with Startup PHL (a $6 million seed-fund initiative created by First Round and the PIDC).

Other Velano investors include Safeguard Scientifics and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as Philadelphia outsiders White Owl Capital (New York), Kapor Capital (California) and Griffin Hospital (Connecticut).

The Philadelphia and San Francisco-based company, which is just starting to come out of the woodwork, has created a needle-free method for drawing blood from hospitalized patients, ultimately “bringing compassion into care,” said its co-founder and CEO Eric Stone. Stone founded the company with Pitou Devgon, who invented Velano’s technology. …

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