Drexel game designers win $10K top prize at Intel University Showcase

The team of eight students accepted the award at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

April 13, 2016 | Technical.ly by Albert Hong

After their advisor, Dr. Jichen Zhu, rejected a handful of pitches for the game they’d create for their senior project, Drexel student Andrew Lichtsinn and his classmates didn’t have much confidence in one of their new gameplay ideas: a “dynamic splitscreen” that would change the size of players’ screens as they suffered damage in the game.

So the students, which call themselves 51st and Fire, were surprised when Zhu heard the idea and immediately gave them the go-ahead to develop the concept further into a game.

That game is Mirrors of Grimaldi, and it won first place for Best Gameplay at the Intel University Games Showcase on March 17 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

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Here are the winning ideas from College Pitch Philly

The first region-wide business plan competition for college entrepreneurs showcased custom nail polish, a helpful VR app and on-campus food delivery.

February 29, 2016 | Technical.ly by Rob Torres

An on-campus food delivery app, a custom-color nail polish creator, a virtual reality speech feedback application and a technique to produce high-quality fish food were among the winning pitches at the first edition of College Pitch Philly, an event put together by the Philadelphia Regional Entrepreneurship Education Consortium and StartupPHL.

On Feb. 24, at the University City Science Center’s Quorum space, over 30 teams from 11 higher-ed centers battled out their best ideas before a panel of experts. A total of $15,500 in prizes were awarded to four student teams from Drexel University, Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.

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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Joins ic@3401 and Drexel to Boost Startup Resources in University City

November 19, 2015 | Drexel Now

A number of developments in University City’s startup ecosystem are aligning—all to the benefit of Philadelphia’s burgeoning community of entrepreneurs. Drexel University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania are teaming up to create a $10 million early stage seed fund that will support spin-off companies from the University. Concurrent with the launch of the new fund, Ben Franklin will join Drexel and University City Science Center’s efforts to strengthen the offerings for members at the Innovation Center @3401 (ic@3401). And the technology and healthcare growth capital provider, Safeguard Scientifics, is also joining ic@3401 in a high-level capacity.

“Ben Franklin has a strong track record of seeding and growing successful companies,” said Ben Franklin President and CEO, RoseAnn B. Rosenthal. “Linking our capabilities with Drexel and the ic@3401 community gives entrepreneurs fantastic new opportunities to leverage each organization’s unique assets, while strengthening the region’s robust engine for innovation.”

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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.”

PurpleCloud Technologies Helps the Hotel Industry Rest Easier

The Baiada Institute company is making hospitality management more efficient — starting with a five-star hotel in their own backyard.

January 23, 2015 | Drexel University, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship Blog

“I’ve always been fascinated by psychology,” says Adria Bagdonavicius, a 2012 Drexel LeBow grad. “Color has a very interesting affect on people. The color purple is said to affect people in a wonderful way physically. It is known to be a very calming, uplifting color.”

The effect is similar to the one produced by arriving at a five-star hotel, she says.

“You walk into a luxurious lobby and you instantly feel calm and relaxed,” Bagdonavicius says. “However, behind the scenes of a hotel is a chaotic, scrambling mess.”

That’s where the aptly named PurpleCloud Technologies comes in. The company, founded by Bagdonavicius in 2011, aims to use cloud-based software to make the back-end of hotel operations look more like the customer’s experience.

We caught up with the Shamong, N.J., native to talk about her eye-opening co-op, appearance at the first annual Drexel Startup Day, and PurpleCloud’s string of recent success.

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DreamIt Ventures gets new home, $3M investment

December 11, 2013 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Zenovia Campbell

DreamIt Ventures has a new headquarters. The startup accelerator is moving to theUniversity City Science Center in a partnership with Drexel University. The second and third floors of the Science Center building will transform into an “innovation hub” in April 2014. In addition to housing DreamIt Ventures, the 17,500 square foot space will also have space for local entrepreneurs. Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center, which opened last fall, occupies the Science Center’s first floor.

Also announced Wednesday was Drexel’s $3 million investment to DreamIt Fund II, a fund for aspiring entrepreneurs. While the company hopes to raise $30 million, DreamIt Co-Founder David Bookspan declined to comment on the amount raised to date.

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Drexel, Science Center unveil coworking space, DreamIt Ventures HQ

DreamIt Ventures is ramping up efforts to support its graduating companies by offering its Philadelphia startups both office space and capital, as DreamIt is currently raising a $30 million fund to invest in startups that have completed its program.

December 11, 2013 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

This spring, 3401 Market Street will launch as a tech startup hub.

DreamIt Ventures will establish its headquarters on the second and third floor of the building, a 17,500 square foot space that’s being developed by the University City Science Center and Drexel University for about $1 million, the organizations announced this afternoon.

DreamIt aims to host all of its Philadelphia accelerator programs for early-stage startups, as well as offer office space for its graduating companies. The space will also be open to non-DreamIt startups. On the ground floor  of the building is the ExCITe Center, Drexel’s cross-disciplinary music and tech lab.

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