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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PRESS RELEASE: Startupphl initiative achieves success supporting entrepreneurs & startups in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (July 20, 2016) – Four years after the launch of the StartupPHL initiative, The City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and StartupPHL Fund management partner Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital made a series of StartupPHL announcements taking stock of the goals achieved to date and looking ahead to the future. Attaining many of the set objectives, the initiative has increased startup capital in Philadelphia, catalyzed investment, and increased visibility of and activity in the local startup ecosystem.

“StartupPHL was designed to accelerate the development of a supportive environment for local entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The City is proud of the success this initiative has achieved to date and committed to its goal to continue to establish Philadelphia as a city of choice for new startups and entrepreneurs.”

A collaborative effort, StartupPHL aims to support entrepreneurs in the city who bring energy, ideas and vitality to Philadelphia as well as further enable the existing entrepreneurial talent that resides in the city’s different neighborhoods to flourish. The StartupPHL initiative encompasses a range of programs including the Call for Ideas grants,StartupPHL Seed + Angel Fund, and several measures to enhance visibility and connectivity of the startup community.

The StartupPHL Seed + Angel Fund is a venture fund, launched with an initial investment by PIDC leveraging additional funding and management from First Round Capital and co-founder Josh Kopelman, which makes investments in Philadelphia-based tech startups. Today, PIDC announced that the fund made a $100,000 investment in Termaxia, LLC, a big data storage solution that hopes to disrupt the market in significant way.

“Philadelphia is home to an increasing number of innovative startup companies like Termaxia, who are choosing to start and grow their business here,” said Josh Kopelman, Managing Partner at First Round Capital. “The startup community in Philadelphia is an ideal place for entrepreneurs to grow their companies and develop their talent.”

Termaxia was founded by renowned innovators in the tech industry in Philadelphia. CEO Dr. Changbin Liu, has extensive industry experience at AT&T and as an Openstack core developer. Fellow co-founder and Chief Scientist, Boon Thau Loo, is an award-winning professor in the Computer and Information Science (CIS) department at the University of Pennsylvania.

“We are thrilled with the Angel Fund investment we received through the StartupPHL initiative,” said Dr. Liu. “Termaxia is developing a big data storage solution and the support of StartupPHL was critical in helping us get started.”

The announcement marks the final investment from the initial StartupPHL Seed + Angel Fund as the three year initial term has been reached. Over the last three years, the fund has invested about $1.1M of PIDC’s capital in 10 Philadelphia startups – which was matched by over $5 million from First Round Capital and Josh Kopelman. The 10 StartupPHL portfolio companies employ more than 100 people and have raised over $36 million in total venture capital to date. Pleased with the results of what is being called ‘Fund I,’ PIDC is looking to continue the momentum into the future.

“Following the success of Fund I, which has increased access to early stage capital in Philadelphia, we are excited about the opportunities for the next iteration of the StartupPHL Fund,” said John Grady, President and CEO of PIDC. “We want to continue to invest as early as possible to support leverage, growth and returns as well as increase capital available.”

PIDC announced today the release of a Request For Proposals (RFP) for fund management and investment services for StartupPHL Fund II. PIDC is seeking an experienced investment organization with a clear vision for cultivating a thriving startup economy in Philadelphia and the demonstrated capacity to market, co-invest in, and manage Fund II. The RFP can be downloaded from the PIDC website at PIDCphila.com/tools/contract-opportunities. Responses are due on August 31, 2016.

The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce has also announced plans for the fifth round of Call for Ideas grants. Further details on the latest Call for Ideas grants, including the focus, will be released in August. The Call for Ideas is a City funded grant program to support innovative, exciting proposals for ideas and programs that support startups and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia. Past recipients have included Coded by Kids, Techgirlz, and Philly Startup Leaders.

“As we prepare for the launch of Fund II, the City looks forward to continuing our support of the StartupPHL platform and its many programs,” said Commerce Director Harold T. Epps. “One of the other key resources provided by StartupPHL is the Call for Ideas grants, which help to seed the next generation of entrepreneurs throughout our city. We are excited to welcome the next batch of applicants and to continue fostering a network of support for Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs.”

As part of its ongoing growth, StartupPHL launched a new website earlier this year,www.startupphl.com, to provide entrepreneurs with information about funding and the ability to submit ideas. It also participated in South by Southwest® (SXSW), the premier trade show and conference that serves as a launch pad for emerging technologies and innovative content, and launched the Amplify Philly branding campaign. Officially branded as “StartupPHL Presents Amplify Philly SXSW Edition,” the campaign builds on the city’s existing efforts to attract global investment and accelerate the growth of the Philadelphia startup community.

Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

Announcement wraps up 10-day focus on startups and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia

PRESS RELEASE: Philadelphia, October 8, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The announcement comes at the end of a series of events and announcements related to startups, innovation and entrepreneurship in Philadelphia, kicking off with Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Tour last week and including the Forbes Under 30 Conference which concluded yesterday.  The grants announced today help programs supporting a wide range of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia.

“Over the last week we have showcased our city’s startups and entrepreneurs to leaders from around the country and around the world, demonstrating that Philadelphia is one of America’s top startup cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Increasingly, people are learning that Philadelphia has all of the raw ingredients necessary to start and grow exciting companies.  I am confident that the attention our city receives will only continue to grow as more founders and entrepreneurs choose Philadelphia as their home city.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to six organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to twenty.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • Asociacion Puertorriquenos En Marcha ($20,000) – APM will convert a parcel of land at 6th and Susquehanna into a pop-up market place and provide entrepreneurial training to aspiring and nascent entrepreneurs, creating a gateway for entrepreneurial activity in this community.

 

  • Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts ($15,000) In January 2016, the Center – in partnership with the Philadelphia Free Library – will offer an interactive, program to those considering a business based in the creative economy.  Participants will also receive two hours of one-on-one consulting and the opportunity to apply for seed grants.

 

  • Refugee Women’s Textile Initiative ($18,548) – The RWTI will empower refugee women with sewing and textile skills and manufacturing contacts to create independent businesses, develop a cooperative store, and merge traditional textiles with new art forms to overcome poverty and gain economic mobility.

 

  • Schoolyard Ventures ($6,000) – Schoolyard Ventures will create a marketplace where teens with great ideas can connect with those who wish to fund them. After helping over 800 middle school and high school aged students launch businesses providing over $70,000 in direct micro-capital to them, Schoolyard Ventures has learned that as little as $250 can help a young person launch a business, as well as build skills and improve the lives of others in the city.

 

  • TechGirlz Charitable Foundation ($19,990) – TechGirlz will provide a stipend or college credit for high school and college students who teach the TechShopz in a Box Program in workshops throughout Philadelphia. TechShopz in a Box is a TechGirlz-developed curricula for middle school girls.

 

  • Tiny WPA ($25,000) – The Building Hero Project is a design, leadership and entrepreneurship incubator for individuals ages 16 and up who want to be a part of a diverse community of civic change agents. Participants will learn how to design and build products for sale and manage an eCommerce store.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital, nine Philadelphia startups have received more than $1.1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants twenty organizations have received more than $400,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.  Just last week Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Greenberger, PIDC and First Round Capital announced a $100,000 Startup PHL Angel Fund investment in Scholly, an education startup in Philadelphia connecting students to scholarship opportunities.  Scholly also won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition securing a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case.

“Our goal through Startup PHL is to provide more capital to growing startups in Philadelphia and to support collaboration and entrepreneurship across the city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “We have invested around $1.5 million into our city’s ecosystem to date and, in the process, sought to elevate the profile of entrepreneurship in Philadelphia by working with incredible partners such as PIDC and First Round Capital.”

The applications were evaluated by officials from the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce and PIDC along with representatives of the investment, academic, policy and startup communities.

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Mayor Nutter Announces Startup PHL Investment in Scholly

Education startup the 9th Philly company to receive investment

PRESS RELEASE Philadelphia – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Startup PHL Angel Fund has made a $100,000 investment in Scholly, a Philadelphia startup which has developed an app that gives students a fast and simple way to find scholarships for college. Scholly also recently won the Rise of the Rest pitch competition securing a $100,000 investment from AOL founder Steve Case on his visit to Philadelphia earlier this week.

“My Administration has worked diligently to build on this city’s history of innovation by providing the support and programming needed by young companies to grow and prosper in Philadelphia,” Said Mayor Nutter. “More companies are choosing not just to launch in the City of Philadelphia but to stay and grow their businesses here as well. Talent is also staying and finding opportunities for themselves in the vibrant startup economy in Philadelphia. My Administration is proud to do all we can to continue to promote Philadelphia as one of America’s top startup cities. Thank you to our partners at PIDC and First Round Capital for making this work possible.”

Scholly has partnered with the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to provide the app to 275k students across America each year. The app has also been endorsed by the Coca Cola Scholars Foundations and the Gates Millennium Scholars Foundation. In less than two years, Scholly has helped students raise at least $20 million in scholarship funds.

Scholly was recently on Shark Tank and was chosen as one of Inc. Magazine’s Top College Start Ups. The company has won UnderArmour’s Cupid’s Cup Competition as well as Drexel’s Incubator competition and was chosen as one of Philly’s Coolest Start Ups of 2013. Founder Christopher Gray, a recent graduate from Drexel and an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015 for Philadelphia, along with his co-founders Bryson Alef and Nick Pirollo launched the app in May 2013

“Startup PHL is a great opportunity for us and really shows that Philadelphia is growing as a startup ecosystem,” said Scholly founder Christopher Gray. “We are excited to make Philadelphia our home, create more jobs, and be a part of what will be one of the next hubs of entrepreneurship.”

Startup PHL is an initiative between the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and First Round Capital to support the growth of startups in Philadelphia. The Startup PHL Seed Fund and Startup PHL Angel Fund are partnerships between PIDC and leading venture capital firm First Round Capital to make investments in Philadelphia-based startups. Scholly is the ninth company to receive an investment with $1,149,997 invested in Philly startups since 2013.

“I’ve known Chris since his days as a student investor with our Dorm Room Fund. He and his team at Scholly have accomplished an incredible amount in a very short period of time, and I’m thrilled to continue to work closely with them through Startup PHL.” said Josh Kopelman, Partner at First Round Capital.

“The success of the Startup PHL Initiative continues to showcase Philadelphia as a top competitor in the startup community,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “PIDC is committed to investing in businesses like Scholly that not only serve Philadelphia’s economy but supports priorities like education. We are proud to partner with First Round Capital and look forward to supporting the next inventive entrepreneur.”

Startup PHL also provides grant funding through its Call for Ideas program. This grant program managed by the Department of Commerce provides grants to initiatives or organizations that are supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The program has awarded over $300,000 in grants to date to support Philadelphia’s startup community through a range of organizations such as Startup Corps, Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Campus Philly, Techgirlz and Coded by Kids. The next round of Call for Ideas grants will be made next week.

“Over the last few years Philadelphia’s profile as a city from which to launch and grow exciting, innovative companies has grown tremendously and the success of firms like Scholly is testament to that progress,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “Philadelphia has become a city of choice for startups and for larger firms looking to acquire some of the top talent in the nation and I am proud of what we have been able to do to support the growth of this community.”

Mayor Nutter, Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger Announce New Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards

PRESS RELEASE

Mayor visits Coded by Kids after-school program providing tech training to young people in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, May 7, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger announced today a new round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants to organizations that provide programs and events to support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia.  The funding supports the goals of providing opportunities to young people in neighborhoods all across the city; increasing the diversity of Philadelphia’s technology sector; and fostering greater collaboration among universities and better connecting students to startups in Philadelphia.

“Through Startup PHL our goal is to create opportunities for all Philadelphians to participate in the new technology-driven economy,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Programs such as Coded by Kids, TechGirlz, and FirstHand are reaching into diverse communities throughout our city and providing the skills and confidence needed to work in the technology sector, or even to start a company.  This is all part of our commitment to establish Philadelphia as a thriving startup city with opportunities available to all.”

John Grady, President of PIDC, said, “We are proud partners in the StartUp PHL initiative.  PIDC is pleased to help support entrepreneurship in Philadelphia with this multifaceted initiative to increase the availability of capital and make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs.”

The latest round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants provides funding to four organizations, bringing the total number of programs supported by this initiative to fourteen.  The programs funded in this round include:

  • University City Science Center FirstHand Program ($25,000) – a youth STEAM initiative serving Philadelphia youth from under-resourced schools and the teachers, professionals and families from their communities. The Startup PHL funding assists in lab equipment acquisition for the FirstHand Lab, a dedicated lab space for students.
  •  Drexel University, Regional University Business Plan Competition ($23,500) Startup PHL funding will help establish a multi-university business plan competition run by a new consortium of university-based entrepreneurship programs and incubators.  Drexel University’s Chuck Sacco, organizer of this initiative, commented, “A number of us at university-based entrepreneurship programs wanted to find new ways to have entrepreneurially-minded college students work across the region and build their networks at other universities and colleges and within the community.  A regional business plan competition will be a great way for that to occur”.
  • Coded by Kids Instructor Pipeline Project ($19,870) – Coded by Kids provides inner city children with free, engaging, challenging and creative tech education program. Startup PHL funding will establish an adult training program for instructors in the Coded by Kids workshops.
  • TechGirlz Entrepreneur Bootcamp in a Box ($10,000) – TechGirlz hold workshops and an annual entrepreneurial summer camp serving middle-school girls. Startup PHL funding will expand the existing and successful TechGirlz Summer Entrepreneur Bootcamp materials into sharable, lesson plan formats so other groups can teach the program.  TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman commented, “This Tech Entrepreneur Camp is unique in this country and we are extremely happy to be partnering with the City to have more girls understand how they can participate in the tech and startup economy. Innovation is gender blind.”

Later today Mayor Nutter will visit the Coded by Kids after-school program at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center to see how this initiative is providing a coding-focused education program that would normally be out of reach for many Philadelphia residents and is preparing prepare both children and adults for careers in web development.

“Providing tech education opportunities to Philadelphia residents who have traditionally lacked access to these opportunities is critical to the social and economic success of our communities,” said Coded by Kids founder Sylvester Mobley.

Startup PHL is an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia.  Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital eight Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed stage or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants fourteen organizations have received almost $300,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.

“Philadelphia’s emergence as a hub for startups and technology companies is one of the most exciting trends for the future of this city,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “This Administration, through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives, is proud to support the work of entrepreneurs across Philadelphia who are building companies, developing exciting new products, and providing innovative, challenging job opportunities for the growing number of people who want to live and work in our city.”

Mayor Nutter Announces Startup PHL Angel Fund Investment in Gencore Systems

Philadelphia, March 27, 2015 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced that the Startup PHL Angel Fund has made a $100,000 investment in Gencore Systems, a software company based in Philadelphia founded by a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The growth of a vibrant startup economy is one of the most exciting developments to take place in this city over recent years and my Administration is proud to do all we can to continue to promote Philadelphia as one of America’s top startup cities,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Through Startup PHL and a range of other initiatives we are providing the resources and support system to help exciting companies start, stay and grow in Philadelphia.  Thank you to our partners at PIDC and First Round Capital for making this work possible.”

Gencore Systems offers a non-intrusive, network-based application performance management solution that provides deep-insights into service delivery and user experience of cloud applications, and helps troubleshoot performance bottlenecks in a proactive manner. The Gencore solution is compatible with both private and public cloud setups, as well as data centers that deploy state-of-the-art Software-defined Networking (SDN) technologies. The company is a spinoff from the University of Pennsylvania, and has incorporated award-winning research into its products.

“We are excited to receive the Startup PHL investment, and plan to use the funding to continue product development, and enhance our product through our ongoing pilot deployments with customers,” said Gencore Systems founder Boon Thau Loo.  “Gencore Systems is delighted to be in Philadelphia. We have been able to benefit from a steady stream of engineering and business talent from local universities. Moreover, the community here is close-knit, and we have always been able to get advice from other entrepreneurs when approached. We look forward to growing the company here in this city.”

Startup PHL is an initiative between the City of Philadelphia, PIDC, and First Round Capital to support the growth of startups in Philadelphia.  The Startup PHL Seed Fund and Startup PHL Angel Fund are partnerships between PIDC and leading venture capital firm First Round Capital to make investments in Philadelphia-based startups.  Gencore Systems is the seventh company to receive an investment.

“We’re thrilled to be investing in a company with such deep roots in Philadelphia’s academic community, and are extremely excited to see what lies in store for Gencore,” said Josh Kopelman, Partner at First Round Capital.

The Startup PHL Call for Ideas is a grant program managed by the Department of Commerce providing grants to initiatives or organizations that are supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia.  The program has provided ten grants to date investing $217,400 in Philadelphia’s startup community through a range of organizations such as Startup Corps, Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Campus Philly, and the Philly Dev Camp.  An announcement of additional grants is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

To learn more about Startup PHL visit www.startupphl.com.

Twenty Philadelphia-Based Life Science and IT Startups Awarded $1.7 Million in KIZ Tax Credits

January 15, 2015 | via PR Web, University City Science Center 

Twenty startup companies in University City and Center City received a collective $1.7 million in tax credits awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in 2014 as part of the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Tax Credit Program. All 20 companies are located in the University City Keystone Innovation Zone.

Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone Tax Credit is a key component of the KIZ program. Up to $25 million of credits are available each year to eligible companies. Companies that do not have any tax liabilities can sell their tax credits themselves or secure a third-party, independent broker to sell the tax credit on their behalf.

Since 2006, over $6.2 million in KIZ Tax Credits have been awarded to 39 companies in the University City KIZ. “Securing non-dedicated funds through the sale of KIZ Tax Credits can be a major boost for early-stage companies operating in the life science and tech sectors” says Robert McGrath, Chair of the University City KIZ Executive Committee and Senior Associate Vice Provost at Drexel University. “The KIZ Tax Credit Program is incentive for companies to move into and stay in the City of Philadelphia and a major economic asset to our entrepreneurial community.”

Eligible companies can access up to $100,000 in tradable credits each year, and many of the awardees will invest those funds in new employees while others will purchase equipment to further develop and commercialize products and technologies. As awardee Robert Moore, Co-founder and CEO of RJMetrics, put it, “Jobs, jobs, jobs! We will use the KIZ Tax Credit to help fund our aggressive team growth. We grew from 40 to 90 people in 2014 and are planning for further growth in 2015.” …

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Mayor Nutter Announces StartupPHL Investments, Creation of New StartupPHL Angel Fund, and Opens Latest ‘Call for Ideas’

Philadelphia, November 12, 2014 – Today Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced a range of investments in Philadelphia’s startups and entrepreneurs through Startup PHL, an initiative of the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department, PIDC, and First Round Capital to provide funding for early-stage companies and to support programs that develop the startup community in Philadelphia. The Startup PHL initiative encompasses a range of programs including the Call For Ideas, Startup PHL Funds, and the University City Science Center QED program. Through Startup PHL Funds and co-investments from First Round Capital six Philadelphia startups have received more than $1 million in combined seed or angel investment since October 2013, and through the Call For Ideas Grants ten organizations have received more than $200,000 in funding to support entrepreneurship programming.

“For Philadelphia to continue to grow we must be a city that welcomes exciting, innovative companies and the type of talented workforce that wants to work for those companies,” said Mayor Nutter.  “Through Startup PHL our goal is to send the message that Philadelphia is one of America’s great startup cities and that we are committed to helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses in our city.”

In October 2012 the City of Philadelphia, PIDC and First Round Capital announced the creation of the Startup PHL Seed Fund to invest in fast-growing startups in Philadelphia.  Today, First Round Capital and PIDC announced a combined $400,000 seed investment in Velano Vascular, an innovative medical device company, which has pioneered a needle-free method for drawing blood from hospitalized patients.  The company was recently recognized by the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation at Children’s National Hospital, Washington, DC and received a $50,000 prize for innovation in pediatric surgical care.

In addition to Velano Vascular, the Startup PHL Seed Fund has funded two other companies to date, including healthy meal delivery company Real Food Works, announced last year, and a third Philadelphia startup, which is not yet public. Also last year, PIDC made a $750,000 investment in the DreamIT Ventures program to support follow-on funding rounds of those companies participating in DreamIt Ventures’ highly successful accelerator programs.

Mayor Nutter also announced that PIDC and Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital have created the Startup PHL Angel Fund, which increases the range of Philadelphia funding options available to city’s earliest-stage startups.  Making investments from $25,000 to $100,000, the StartUp PHL Angel Fund co-invests alongside angel investors to help very early-stage companies build a minimum viable product or validate key assumptions.

“We are thrilled to contribute to the growing resources available to the Philadelphia community of entrepreneurs through the Startup PHL Seed and Angel Funds,” said Josh Kopelman, the founder of First Round Capital.  “PIDC has been a terrific partner in this endeavor, and we look forward to working with them and Mayor Nutter’s Administration to attract and support the next generation of Philly founders.”

Josh Kopelman and John Grady, President of PIDC, will announce the first three Startup PHL Angel Fund investments of $100,000 at an event this evening organized by Philly Startup Leaders, Technically Philly and Startup PHL to build connections between Philadelphia startups and young people studying in the city.

Squareknot is a way for people to create beautiful step-by-step guides. Users can collaborate on guides by branching off in separate directions to demonstrate their unique way of doing the same thing. By organizing steps and guides the same way that Google Maps might organize multiple routes, and combining that with the crowdsourcing philosophies of Wikipedia, Squareknot will become the de facto destination site for how to do things online.  Founder Jason Rappaport said, “When we were deciding where to put Squareknot, Philadelphia was a very clear choice for us. It’s turned out to be one of the smartest decisions we’ve ever made. Philly has proven itself to be one of the most supportive cities in the country. We feel like we can do something good and make a dent here.”

Tesorio enables companies to self-finance their daily operations, streamlining early payments on invoices so suppliers get paid early and buyers optimize returns on cash.  Carlos Vega, founder of Tesorio said, “Philly has a tight-knit and unassuming tech community that has been helpful at every step. Corporations and potential clients are always ready to talk. Investors and lawyers are accessible and generous with advice. Veteran entrepreneurs are collaborative and truly want to see you succeed. The strength of this network and abundance of talent from local universities drove us to choose Philly for Tesorio.”

VeryApt combines user reviews with big data analytics to deliver intelligent, personalized apartment recommendations.  Founder Ashrit Kamireddi explained his choice to locate in Philadelphia.  “When it came to choosing the long term headquarters for VeryApt, our primary focus was picking a city where we could hire high quality talent.  Philadelphia was the obvious choice because of its amazing universities, rapidly growing millennial population, and affordability. We have also been incredibly impressed by Mayor Nutter’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and we’re really excited to be part of Philly’s entrepreneurial revolution!”

“Together the Startup PHL Seed and Angel Funds provide much needed early stage capital to help make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “PIDC is committed to driving growth throughout the city and our Startup PHL initiative is a great way to help support the growth for this important sector of Philadelphia’s economy. We are proud to partner with First Round Capital and Josh Kopelman to create these funds and invest in these terrific businesses to launch and grow here in Philadelphia.”

Finally Mayor Nutter announced that the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department is now accepting applications for the third round of Startup PHL Call for Ideas, a program providing grants to initiatives or organizations that are supporting startups and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia.  The program has provided ten grants to date investing $217,400 in Philadelphia’s startup community through a range of organizations such as Startup Corps, Philly Startup Leaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Campus Philly, and the Philly Dev Camp.  The closing date for applications for the third Call for Ideas is Friday January 2, 2015.  Further information, along with details of previous investments and how to apply, can be found at www.startupphl.com.

“Supporting startups and entrepreneurs across Philadelphia through programs such as Startup PHL is one of our top priorities and we’re seeing real success from these efforts,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “Businesses from across the region, country and around the world are giving Philadelphia a second look as a place to locate due to our talented workforce, our livable downtown, the strong network to plug into, and the ease of doing business in our city.  It is thanks to partners such as PIDC and First Round Capital that the case for moving a business to Philadelphia is an increasingly convincing case to make.”

The growth of Philadelphia as a startup hub is an exciting trend for the future of the city.  From major corporations such as Comcast and Independence Blue Cross investing in innovation to the continued growth of grassroots efforts such as Philly Startup Leaders, N3RD Street, and Philly Tech Week, recent years have seen an increase in the level of activity supporting startups.  Companies such as RJ Metrics, Cloudmine, and Leadnomics have raised venture capital and moved into larger office space while businesses such as SevOne, Think Brownstone, and Eastern Standard have established Philadelphia offices.

Mayor Nutter Welcomes Think Brownstone to Philadelphia

Latest suburban company to open a Philadelphia ‘gateway’ office

Philadelphia, July 10, 2014 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Think Brownstone, a Conshohocken-based user experience and design agency, opened the company’s new Philadelphia office at the historic Packard Grande Building in Center City.  Founded in 2007 by Carl White and Brian McIntire, Think Brownstone employs 50 people, including at least 15 who will work in the Philadelphia office, with the potential to expand.   Think Brownstone is the latest in a long line of companies to open a Philadelphia ‘gateway’ office in order to attract the talented workforce that wants to live and work in the city.  Other companies that have recently opened ‘gateway’ offices include Bentley Systems, Fiberlink, SevOne, and Eisner Amper.

“Think Brownstone’s decision to open an office in Philadelphia is the latest demonstration that Philadelphia is a great place to start and grow a technology company,” said Mayor Nutter. “Through initiatives like Startup PHL, my Administration, together with our partner PIDC, continues to do all we can to make Philadelphia a more business-friendly place and put this city on the map as one of America’s most diverse, dynamic and exciting places to build a company.”

Think Brownstone is a user experience and design agency that works with global clients, such as ING, The Hay Group, and Comcast, to improve their digital products. The company uses extensive research and discovery methods to produce user-centered software, including business applications, websites, and data visualization and analytic tools.

“When we originally pictured Think Brownstone, it was going to be in an historic building in the City of Philadelphia,” said Carl White, co-founder and CEO. “Even though we established our first studio in Conshohocken, we are thrilled to see that original vision come to life in our second studio at 15th and Sansom Streets. We are looking forward to being closer to our Philadelphia clients, being more convenient to the extensive pool of talented Philadelphia designers and developers, and taking advantage of all of the business services the city has to offer.”

Supporting entrepreneurs and startup companies in Philadelphia and attracting an educated talented workforce is a major priority for the Nutter Administration. Since the launch of Startup PHL the City has awarded more $210,000 across ten Startup PHL Call for Ideas grants. The latest round focused on attracting and retaining talent; recipients include organizations such as Penn Apps Fellows, Philly Startup Leaders and Technically Philly, NextFab, Zivtech, and the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator. In addition, PIDC has also made investments in the Science Center’s QED program and in DreamIt Ventures, which established its global headquarters at 3401 Market Street on Drexel University’s campus.

“Companies large and small are increasingly moving to Philadelphia because they have access to an incredible talented workforce, high quality of life, and a growing support system for entrepreneurs” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “This is a very exciting and promising development for the future of our city’s tech ecosystem.”

For more information about Startup PHL please visit www.startupphl.com. For more information about Think Brownstone please visit www.thinkbrownstone.com