Philadelphia named a Bloomberg Mayors Challenge Winner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blackstone Charitable Foundation Expands Campus Entrepreneurship Platform Bringing “Blackstone LaunchPad” to Pennsylvania

December 03, 2012 | PRESS RELEASE

“The Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced today that it is bringing Blackstone LaunchPad to Pennsylvania to train Philadelphia’s next generation of entrepreneurs. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $3 million grant establishes a partnership between the University City Science Center, Temple University and Philadelphia University to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and provide university students and alumni with the skills, knowledge, and guidance to transform new ideas into viable companies. The Pennsylvania Blackstone LaunchPad programs are expected to generate some 100 ventures and hundreds of jobs over the next five years…”

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Mayor Nutter Announces one of America’s Leading Investors To Move Headquarters To Philadelphia

PRESS RELEASE: August 15, 2012

“Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that First Round Capital, led by leading venture investor Josh Kopelman, will be moving its headquarters to Philadelphia. First Round Capital is one of the most active early-stage venture capital firms in the country, having helped to fund and start more than 200 companies since it was founded in 2004. First Round will open its 10,000-square-foot facility in West Philadelphia on Wednesday, September 19, at a ceremony to be attended by Mayor Nutter…”

“The arrival of Josh Kopelman in Philadelphia is a game changer,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “When one of America’s leading entrepreneurs and investors sees Philly as a place of ideas and innovation, a place where those ideas can be transformed into successful businesses and jobs, and feels the need to be part of it, he sends an incredibly powerful message about what is going on in our city. Welcome to Philly, Josh. We’re just getting started.”

First Round Capital partner Josh Kopelman said, “We’ve begun to see more really exciting companies get their start in Philadelphia and more entrepreneurial activity at Philadelphia’s universities. For me this is more than just an office move. It’s a way for me to get more involved in helping local entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground, and I’m looking forward to playing a more active role in helping the current generation of Philadelphia entrepreneurs make their mark.”

Earlier this year Josh Kopelman was named as one of the top ten ‘angel investors’ in the United States by Newsweek magazine, and was ranked sixth on Forbes 2012 “Midas List” of the top 100 tech investors. He has been an active entrepreneur and investor for more than twenty years, co-founding the company Infonautics Corporation while still a student at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. In 1996 Infonautics went public and in 1999 Josh left to found the website Half.com which he sold to eBay one year later. In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world’s first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later.

In addition to being an active investor, Josh has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Comcast Interactive Capital and is an inventor on ten U.S. Patents for his work in Internet technology. Josh has been recognized as one of the “10 Most Influential People in Philadelphia Technology” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the “76 Smartest Philadelphians” by Philadelphia Magazine and as one of forty individuals under the age of forty who have made the biggest impact on the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

First Round Capital, currently headquartered in West Conshohocken, will initially employ approximately 10 people in the Philadelphia office. The facility will have space to host five startup companies including, initially, Uber Philadelphia, Curalate, and Technically Philly. In addition, there will be space for 24 entrepreneurs to develop their concepts and event space to host educational and community events. The building previously was the site of another Philadelphia entrepreneurial landmark – the first “Urban Outfitters” retail location.

“Philadelphia is starting to establish itself as a player in the world of startups and innovation,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. “We have no shortage of ideas in this city due to the incredible talent emerging from our colleges and universities, but too often those ideas leave in search of early-stage funding. First Round Capital’s arrival in Philadelphia is a strong signal that this city, which has led this country in innovation since its founding, will continue to be a America’s home for ideas, entrepreneurship and business creation.”