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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StartupPHL Newsletter #31

Economists working it, a free Stanford digital photo class, and the KIZ deadline

Views from Billy Penn's Who's Next: Communications bash last week. Check out the latest and the entire series.

Views from Billy Penn’s Who’s Next: Communications bash last week. Check out the latest and the entire series.

Your weekend reading is right here.

Tech industry hiring in-house economists to explain consumer behavior.

Goodbye, Ivory Tower. Hello, Silicon Valley Candy Store.

Check it out, via The NYTimes

Addressing hunger with a pay-what-you-can café in Philly

When EAT Café opens its doors, owner Jones-Craven hopes that everyone will feel comfortable at the table.

Get the story, via The Atlantic CityLab

Back to School

Learn digital photography with this free online course from a Stanford Professor.

New skills after the jump, via DIY Photographer

KIZ applications due September 15

If you’re located in the KIZ, less than 8-years old, and focused on tech or life-sciences, you may be eligible for up to $100,000 annually from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Get the details, via the DCED

Need more info on KIZ’s? Check out our post with maps of Philly’s KIZs.


StartupPHL is the City of Philadelphia’s platform for supporting entrepreneurship and startup activity.

All events and applications noted in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement. We encourage readers to perform due diligence for any programs listed here.

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.

Hometown Glory: Get Startup Grants and Seed Investments From Your City

November 16, 2015 | Entrepreneur Magazine by Michelle Goodman

After earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Ashrit Kamireddi was prepared to go wherever he had to in order to raise seed money to grow VeryApt, his apartment-review platform. But thanks to a $100,000 angel investment from Philadelphia’s StartUp PHL program, which invests in local entrepreneurs, he didn’t have to leave town. This was good news for Kamireddi, who has hired four full-time employees since raising a total of $270,000 in seed funds, and expanded his operations to 10 other cities. Philly, which launched its $6 million startup fund in 2012, is among several major cities offering grants and seed investments for entrepreneurs. Among them, Detroit boasts two venture funds for early-stage companies, with a portfolio of nearly 80 startups; Denver awards $35,000 in annual grants to new companies.

So, what’s the best way to gain access to these funds? To identify opportunities, check with your city’s economic development office, incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, networking groups and anywhere else startup founders and advisors congregate. Begin building relationships long before you’re ready to raise capital—even a year or two in advance, advises Archna Sahay, Philadelphia’s manager of entrepreneurial investment, who regularly counsels entrepreneurs about pitching Startup PHL. “The minute you realize you want to take on the investment is when you need to start having that conversation,” she says.

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Taking the Pain Out of Slow Payments

November 9, 2015 | Inc. Magazine by Leigh Buchanan

Earlier this year, the alcoholic beverage giant Diageo gave its supply chain a nasty yank. The company told vendors it was extending to 90 days payment terms on new contracts because it had “significant investment projects underway” and needed to improve cash flow. Suppliers were expected to understand. After all, it’s not like they needed cash themselves for new projects or, say, to stay alive.

Under public pressure, Diageo backtracked. But its actions-and similar actions taken by many other companies-remind us about the vulnerability of B-to-B vendors. Not all large customers that pay late or stretch terms to 90 or even 120 days are opportunistic. Many just want to ensure their own financial stability. But delaying payment hurts small businesses and damages vendor-customer relationships. Much as large and small companies say they want to be partners, that’s tough to achieve when the power imbalance is great.

One partial solution is dynamic discounting: a 10-year-old good idea that improving technology has made better. In this model, customers that pay sooner pay a little less, with the savings determined by dates of payment. Last year, the White House persuaded Apple, Coca-Cola, and 24 other corporations to accelerate their payment rates as part of an initiative called SupplierPay. Taulia and C2FO are among the companies active in this space.

The newest entrant, fresh out of Y-Combinator, is Philadelphia-based Tesorio, which recently raised money from investors like First Round Capital and Funders Club. The company’s founder and CEO is Panamanian-born Carlos Vega, 34, who met his Cuban-born co-founder, Fabio Fleitas, 21, at Wharton in 2013.

The model is fairly simple. Once the large customer approves an invoice, it is sent automatically to Tesorio, which notifies the supplier. The supplier has the option to click a button if it wants to be paid immediately at a discount. Discounts are calculated to be lower than the borrowing cost of the supplier (a rate determined algorithmically) and above the cost of capital of the buyer (a rate determined when new customers are brought onboard). “They split the difference,” says Vega, and “everyone is a little more motivated to participate.” Tesorio takes a percentage of the customer’s savings.

One nice thing about Tesorio is its attention to the supplier side. “While we do develop a lot of tools for the large companies, really, if the small companies don’t play, no one wins,” says Vega. “So we are very focused on designing things so they are helpful to the suppliers.”

Vega hopes that suppliers who like the system will, in turn, implement it with their own vendors. Thus dynamic discounting may promote the creation of a virtuous supply chain, in which all links-no matter their size-are financially stable and pulling together.

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From Fashion to Pop-Up Markets, New Grants Support Entrepreneurial Philly

November 6, 2015 | Next City by Cassie Owens

“Victoria Wright, Senpai & Kohai, Wild Mantle — these are some of the fashion brands that have hired sewers from the Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative, and put their work in stores. Last month, the Philadelphia-based RWTI won a grant for nearly $19,000, as part of StartUp PHL’s effort to spur entrepreneurship in the city. (The initiative is a collaboration from the commerce department and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation.) In this latest funding round, six organizations received awards ranging from $6,000 to $25,000.”

Entrepreneurship wasn’t even in RWTI’s sights in the beginning. The group grew out of Philadelphia Burmese Women’s Initiative two years ago, and the seeds were sown when Jessica Lee, an organizer and Ph.D. candidate in social work at Bryn Mawr College, polled women to find out what activities they’d like to undertake. With sewing classes as a top result, Lee began to search for an ideal classroom. Enter designer-teacher Rachel Ford, and her school MADE Studios. The initiative has expanded beyond proper sewing, to a curriculum around textile arts, with artist Shira Walinsky bringing in local designers to collaborate with participants on weaving projects. But Ford has her eye on small-batch manufacturing.

“What I’ve come to realize in my own world is that everybody is a designer,” says Ford. “Everybody ultimately gets to a place where they want to scale things and hire other people to do their sewing. And as it is now, there’s really a lack for [that workforce.]”

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Tiny device aims to help protect women from sexual assault

November 2, 2015 | Mashable by Marilyn La Jeunesse

“…Roar for Good is dedicated to preventing physical assaults. The company’s first product, Athena, is a petite round button that clips onto a belt or lapel. When pressed, Athena emits a loud alarm and texts the wearer’s location to their designated emergency contacts.

“The product is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo. With a goal of $40,000, Athena was fully funded less than 48 hours after its launch. The campaign had earned $150,310 by the time of writing.

“Athena is expected to be available internationally in early May 2016 and will retail for $99.”

“Athena cofounder Yasmine Mustafa said the inspiration for the device came to her during a solo backpacking trip across South America. “As amazing as [the trip] was…literally everywhere I went I would hear of a time where a woman had been attacked,” Mustafa told Mashable. When she came back, a nearby neighbor had gone outside to read her meter when she was attacked, brutally beaten and sexually assaulted. “When I read the news story the next day, that’s when the idea for ROAR was born.”

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Software startup expands its Center City office space

October 28, 2015 | philly.com by Jacob Adelman

RJMetrics is adding in excess of a third more space to its offices at Center City’s Widener Building, according to PernaFrederick Commercial Real Estate, which represented the software startup in the expansion.

The company will now occupy more than 21,500 square feet on the fourth and 15th floors of the 18-story building at One South Penn Square, PernaFrederick said in a release Tuesday.

RJMetrics, which specializes in data infrastructure and analytics software, has operated out of the building since early 2014, PernaFrederick said.

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OneTwoSee raises $1.2 million from local investors

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

Sports-watching app company OneTwoSee raised $1.2 million in a debt round, cofounder Chris Reynolds confirmed to us.

The raise comes 18 months after the Center City startup’s last round, a $1.3 million equity round.

This latest round was backed by previous investors, including lead investor MissionOG, based in Center City, and local angel group Robin Hood Ventures, Reynolds said. The company employs 15 and is looking to hire five more right now.

When asked why the company went with a debt round this time, Reynolds wrote, “We won’t get into the details, but everyone is very pleased with the way the financing turned out.”

The company had a big win earlier this summer when it launched its baseball app with Comcast’s X1 platform, reaching millions of subscribers.

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