How Philadelphia’s tech scene helped Oncora Medical raise $1.2 million

No early-stage capital in Philly? This digital health company will make you rethink that.

March 10, 2016 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

Oncora Medical just closed a seed round of $1.2 million from investors like Philadelphia’s BioAdvance, San Francisco’s iSeed Ventures and Wisconsin-based oncology entrepreneur Dr. Thomas “Rock” Mackie, but they say they couldn’t have done it without early financial support from the Philadelphia tech scene.

Founded by brainy high school best friends David Lindsay and Chris Berlind, Oncora Medical is building software that aims to help radiation oncologists learn from past treatment data.

In 2014 and 2015, the early days of Oncora, Lindsay, 26, an M.D./Ph.D. student at Penn, cobbled together roughly $100,000 in grants, loans and investment from various sources: First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund, the Wharton Innovation Fund, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, medical school entrepreneurship program PennHealthX and, most recently, the University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator. Oncora received $50,000 from BFTP in the form of a zero-interest loan, as part of the state-backed venture firm’s effort to support ultra early stage companies.

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How Philly sees itself: Hub for health IT, civic hacking, tech diversity

Three areas where Philadelphia stands out.

January 13 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

That’s when RoseAnn B. Rosenthal said it.

“I don’t want to be the Silicon Valley of anything,” said the longtime, esteemed CEO of state-backed investment firm Ben Franklin Technology Partners, sitting on a panel next to other healthcare and tech bigwigs who were part of the so-called Health Care Innovation Collaborative.

Ahh, shots fired.

Her comment was a clear, albeit playful, dig at Independence Blue Cross CEO Dan Hilferty, seated just to the left of her, who has been known to say that Philadelphia should become the “Silicon Valley of health IT.”

Hilferty picked it up immediately, and with grace: “From now on,” he said, “I will never use the term ‘Silicon Valley of healthcare innovation.’”

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Safeguard Scientifics a Founding Contributor to AWE Ventures

October 7, 2015 | sep.benfranklin.org blog

Safeguard Scientifics, one of the region’s premier providers of capital and operational expertise to emerging and growth-stage healthcare and technology enterprises, has signed on as a Founding Contributor to AWE Ventures – Powered by Ben Franklin.

Says Safeguard Scientifics President and CEO Stephen Zarrilli, “Safeguard is aligned with Ben Franklin’s mission of diversifying the growth of technology and investment activity in our region and beyond. This partnership with the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs is a great initiative both to educate potential new investors of the possibilities within early stage investments, and help women founders access new capital. We’re excited to help our region lead the progress that our world needs.”

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PRESS RELEASE: Mayor Nutter, First Round Capital and PIDC Announce First Startup PHL Seed Fund Investment

Real Food Works moves headquarters to Philadelphia, receives $200,000 seed investment.

October 24, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter, along with First Round Capital and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), announced that Real Food Works will receive the first investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund. Real Food Works partners with local restaurants to provide customers with healthy prepared meals. It will receive a $200,000 investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund.

“The goal of Startup PHL is to help innovative new companies to start and grow in Philadelphia, and this investment in Real Food Works is an example of that strategy,” said Mayor Nutter. “Lucinda and her team have created a company that supports the local economy and encourages people to eat healthy food. This investment will allow Real Food Works to continue growing and is the first of many investments in Philadelphia startups that will be made through Startup PHL.”

Real Food Works will receive a $200,000 investment from the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a $6 million seed stage investment fund, in which both PIDC and First Round Capital have invested $3 million. First Round Capital manages the fund.

John Grady, President of PIDC said, “We are proud of our partnership with First Round Capital and the City of Philadelphia to launch the Startup PHL Seed fund to increase the availability of seed-stage capital and to help make Philadelphia an attractive place for entrepreneurs. As a successful startup that has relocated to Philadelphia, Real Food Works is a perfect demonstration of the power of the Startup PHL Seed Fund making the City a great environment to launch and grow business.”

First Round Capital Managing Partner Josh Kopelman said, “We are excited to contribute to the growing vibrancy of the Philadelphia startup ecosystem, to be working with innovative partners, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the City of Philadelphia. We are thrilled that our first investment together is in such a great company and entrepreneur. Real Food Works is tapping into an important trend of healthier eating, and the company’s scalable model and technology promises great growth. And, of course, backing a proven entrepreneur gives us tremendous confidence.”

Lucinda Duncalfe, Founder and CEO of Real Food Works, created the company after being inspired to eat a more healthy diet. She founded Real Food Works in May 2012 and incubated the company at Monetate in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. In June 2013, Duncalfe moved Real Food Works to Philadelphia, where it is currently located at 224 North Juniper Street. Real Food Works employs 10 people.

“The investments from First Round Capital, Startup PHL and Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners are a vote of confidence in Real Food Works’ vision, technology, and team,” said Duncalfe. “We’re grateful for their support, and look forward to working together to make our dream of a healthier America based on a real food diet a reality.”

Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA is also an investor in Real Food Works. President and CEO RoseAnn Rosenthal added, “We’re happy to, once more, be an investor in one of Lucinda’s ventures. We’ve partnered in the past and are thrilled to see her launch yet another enterprise. Her actions reflect the commitment and confidence of entrepreneurs who have achieved success, here, and who are choosing to do it again, here.”

Mayor Nutter launched the Startup PHL initiative in October 2012. In March 2013, the City and PIDC announced that First Round Capital would manage the Startup PHL Seed Fund. The Startup PHL Call for Ideas, another portion of the initiative, is designed to provide small grants to organizations working to support entrepreneurs in Philadelphia. The second round of funding will be announced next week by the Department of Commerce, led by Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.

“Philadelphia is increasingly seen as a home for startups, entrepreneurs and investment with more and more companies locating here” said Greenberger. “Startup PHL is the City’s effort – in partnership with First Round Capital and PIDC – to support this growth and attract new job-creating businesses, firmly establishing Philadelphia as a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Startup PHL:
Startup PHL is a collaborative effort between the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). The Startup PHL Seed Fund is an effort by the City of Philadelphia and PIDC to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups. The Startup PHL Call for Ideas is a grant program to support innovative proposals for ideas that support business creation and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia. More information about Startup PHL can be found at www.startupphl.com. More information about the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce can be found at www.phila.gov/commerce.

Real Food Works:
Real Food Works delivers fresh meals made with only all-natural whole food ingredients. The meals are developed and cooked fresh by a network of local independent restaurants, which create specific meals to meet the real food diet’s nutritional requirements — ensuring delicious, nutritious food. The real food diet has been popularized in New York Times bestsellers, including The China Study, VB6, and Whole, the Amazon best-selling documentary Forks over Knives, and by celebrities including Alec Baldwin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Alicia Silverstone. Located in Philadelphia, the company was founded by seasoned entrepreneur and healthy food fanatic Lucinda Duncalfe and is backed by leading investors. For more information, visit https://www.realfoodworks.com/.

Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation:
Beginning in 1958 as a non-profit joint venture between the City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, PIDC is Philadelphia’s economic development corporation. In the past 55 years, PIDC has invested more than $11.4 billion in Philadelphia supporting $21 billion of total project costs. Currently managing a diverse loan portfolio in excess of $600 million, PIDC brings years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to structuring real estate and financing transactions that attract investment and create and retain jobs in the City of Philadelphia. PIDC has partnered with First Round Capital to create a $6 million public/private venture fund, the Startup PHL Seed Fund. Both PIDC and First Round Capital have invested $3 million and First Round Capital manages the fund increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based entrepreneurs.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania:
Celebrating its 30th Anniversary, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning organization that provides capital, knowledge and networks that help innovative enterprises generate jobs and economic growth. Ben Franklin is the single largest investor in seed-stage companies in this region, and is one of the most active seed-stage investors in the United States. Three-quarters of all recent venture funded companies in the Greater Philadelphia region had previously received funding from Ben Franklin. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

Gov Corbett Visits BFTP and Innovation Center; Touts how Innovate in PA Will Accelerate Job Growth

October 18, 2013 | Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Philadelphia – Governor Tom Corbett today met with successful start-up companies at the Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ headquarters in the Building 100 Innovation Center and joined entrepreneurs and members of the legislature to launch Innovate in PA, a new program created to accelerate high-wage job growth through supporting small, emerging companies.

“With new, growth businesses continuing to drive job creation in Pennsylvania, Innovate in PA is a common-sense approach to economic growth,” Corbett said. “Innovate in PA’s investments will help forward-thinking companies inspired with vision to become household names, turning Pennsylvania into the next Silicon Valley.”

Innovate in PA will offer $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies in the state to raise funds over multiple years. The funds raised will be directed to the highly successful Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners (BFTP), three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital investment program…

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Entrepreneurs and startups will be eligible for Innovate in PA funding

October 10, 2013 | Keystone Edge by Elise Vider

The state has officially launched its new Innovate in PA program to accelerate high-wage job growth by supporting entrepreneurs and startups.

At a recent visit toInnovation Works’ Alpha Lab, Gov. Corbett said, “With 98 percent of new jobs in Pennsylvania coming from startups and small emerging growth companies, Innovate in PA is a common-sense approach to economic growth. Innovate in PA’s investments will help forward-thinking companies inspired with vision to become household names, turning Pennsylvania into the next Silicon Valley.”

Innovate in PA, effective as of October 1, will offer $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies in the state to raise funds over multiple years. The funds raised will be directed to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Partners, three Life Sciences Greenhouses and the Venture Capital investment program.

Project Liberty Digital Incubator Expanding, Accepting Applications

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania will use $345,000 from Knight Foundation to improve incubator and build investment opportunities

Project Liberty now accepting applications from startup and established digital media companies, due noon on August 30, 2013

Philadelphia – Project Liberty Digital Incubator, located in the heart of the nation’s fourth largest media market, will expand its program with $345,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

A project of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Project Liberty launched in 2011 to build a community of startups in Philadelphia and foster newsroom innovation. Since then, Ben Franklin has supported eight startups along with Interstate General Media LLC (IGM,) publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com.

Project Liberty was the first incubator in the nation to reside within a traditional media company, a model now followed by The New York Times, The Boston Globe and other media outlets.

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Startup PHL-backed tech internships hope to fight brain drain

July 31, 2013 | Technically Philly by Juliana Reyes

Campus Philly’s research points to a link between internships and talent retention. According to a 2010 Campus Philly survey of 4,600 undergraduates, graduates and alumni, 70 percent of alumni who stayed in Philly for a year or more after graduation had a summer internship in Greater Philadelphia.

The answer to Philadelphia’s brain drain problem didn’t seem so complicated at Bliss on Broad Street, where Mayor Michael Nutter had lunch with eight students who were interning at local tech companies through a program funded by the Nutter administration’s StartupPHL program.

“What would make you leave Philadelphia?” asked Rob Weber, cofounder of AgileSwitch, one of the companies hosting the interns.

After a brief pause, the whole table — students from Penn, Haverford, Temple and Penn State — agreed: “If I couldn’t find a job.”

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‘Innovate’ Tax Credit to aid PA Tech Firms

July 7, 2013 | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Deborah M. Todd, via philly.com

If tax credits that helped bring Batman and Jack Reacher to Pennsylvania breathed life into the state’s film industry, a similar measure included in the new 2013-14 budget could save the day for early-stage tech investments.

The Innovate in PA Tax Credit was officially signed into the tax code Sunday and will be activated once the 2013-14 budget makes it through all the necessary channels.

The credit boosts funding to Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the state-sponsored initiative that funds regional technology accelerators. It is based in Harrisburg, with Philadelphia in the southeastern regional branch, one of four…

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First Startup PHL Call for Ideas Awards Announced

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that six local organizations will receive Startup PHL grants from the City of Philadelphia for programs or services that support the entrepreneurial community in Philadelphia.  The Startup PHL ‘Call for Ideas’ received more than 115 submissions, which were reviewed by City officials, PIDC, and representatives of the entrepreneurial and startup community. The grant winners are the following:

  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners/Campus Philly – $25,000 to create a Targeted Internship Matching Program to place Philadelphia-area college and university students at BFTP portfolio companies in Philadelphia this summer. The goals of the program are to provide Philadelphia startups with talent and to connect college students to startups/mentors, increasing the likelihood that they stay in Philadelphia post-graduation.  Matching funding will be provided by the companies hosting interns.
  • The Enterprise Center, Center for Culinary Enterprises, Philly Food Innovation Program – $15,000 to support the development of a workshop series for 25 early to middle stage food entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses.
  • Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce – $18,400 to develop an online Entrepreneur’s Resource Directory, working with Select Greater Philadelphia, PACT and the Philadelphia startup community.  The Directory will provide a centralized location for entrepreneurs to find information on funding sources, professional and technical expertise, specialized facilities and professional services.  Matching funding will be provided by a corporate sponsor or the Chamber.
  • PhillyCORE Leaders – $15,000 to support the Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education (SEED) program, which includes a pitch event for education entrepreneurs to compete for funding.  The winning teams will then participate in the Fels Institute Social Innovations Lab to further develop their ideas.  Matching funding will be provided by corporate sponsorship.
  • Startup Corps – $20,000 to support the expansion of the high school entrepreneur program that provides programming to a diverse range of teenagers looking to develop entrepreneurial skills and build businesses.  In 2013 Startup Corps plans to expand the number of students served by 50% and develop new partnerships with organizations that support entrepreneurs.  Matching funding will be provided by private sponsorship.
  • VentureF0rth – $25,000 to create a ‘community commons’ space at the existing VentureF0rth co-working facility that will provide an increased range of services to the startup community, including daytime programming, job training for individuals looking for work in the technology sector, and an increase in the number of entry-level low-cost spots available to entrepreneurs.

Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, said, “The overwhelming response to the ‘Call for Ideas’ is further evidence of the strength of Philadelphia’s startup and entrepreneurial community and one of the many reasons why the Nutter Administration is committed to supporting business creation in Philadelphia.  Increasingly Philadelphia is becoming a place of choice for businesses to start, stay and grow and the Startup PHL initiative is just one more tool we have to help make that happen.”

The City of Philadelphia and PIDC expressed their gratitude to the following people for their support and assistance: Andrea Allon (Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce and PIDC Board Member), David Brussin (Monetate), M. Therese Flaherty (Wharton Small Business Development Center), Steve Goodman (Morgan Lewis), Apu Gupta (Curalate), Sam Landman (Comcast Ventures), Bob Moul (Artisan Mobile and Philly Startup Leaders), and Richard Vague (Gabriel Investments).

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