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 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.

Penn faculty startup raises $100K from Startup PHL angel fund

March 26th, 2015 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

A startup that spun out of the University of Pennsylvania’s computer science department just raised $100,000 from the city’s Startup PHL angel fund.

Penn computer science professor Boon Thau Loo and a group of graduate and undergraduate students founded Gencore Systems about a year ago. They spent years researching how to analyze huge volumes of network and cloud traffic, and built a product out of it.

Gencore is a software that allows companies that use public cloud infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace, to monitor and understand how well their applications are performing in the cloud. It’s unique, Loosaid, because it’s “completely non-intrusive.”

“It provides detailed application performance metrics, yet requires no code modifications to existing applications or add performance overheads,” he said. “This makes it easy to install and adopt.”

READ MORE

Startup with needle-free way to draw blood raises $5M

February 5, 2015 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

Velano Vascular announced Thursday that it raised $5 million in Series A funding.

The investment round was led by First Round Capital, which co-invested in Velanolast year with Startup PHL (a $6 million seed-fund initiative created by First Round and the PIDC).

Other Velano investors include Safeguard Scientifics and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as Philadelphia outsiders White Owl Capital (New York), Kapor Capital (California) and Griffin Hospital (Connecticut).

The Philadelphia and San Francisco-based company, which is just starting to come out of the woodwork, has created a needle-free method for drawing blood from hospitalized patients, ultimately “bringing compassion into care,” said its co-founder and CEO Eric Stone. Stone founded the company with Pitou Devgon, who invented Velano’s technology. …

READ MORE

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.

First Round’s Student-Run Dorm Room Fund Has Backed 20 Startups; Adds Entrepreneur ‘RAs’ As Advisors

September 5, 2013 | Tech Crunch by Leena Rao

First Round Capital has made a big bet on students sourcing and making investments at colleges around the U.S. with its Dorm Room Fund. the idea behind the Dorm Room Fund is that if students are motivated enough and smart enough to start a company while in college, then they are capable to run a venture fund, and back the next big ideas. First Round originally launched the fund in Philadelphia and expanded the initiative to New York and San Francisco (and soon Boston). Today, the Dorm Room Fund has made 20 investments in startups, and the firm is announcing the addition of 60-plus mentors.

For background, each city;s fund is around $500,000. Students from colleges in the city apply to be part of the investment team, and then the chosen students source investments and make decisions unilaterally to invest in startup ideas. As students graduate, more will be added. On average each investment is around $20,000, and is structured as an uncapped-convertible note.

READ MORE

First Round Capital to Manage $6 Million Startup PHL Seed Fund

Philadelphia, March 19, 2013 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter announced today that the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) will partner with First Round Capital, one of the most active investment firms in the country, to invest in and manage the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a new effort by the City of Philadelphia and PIDC to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups.  Both PIDC and First Round Capital will invest $3 million and First Round Capital will manage the fund to make early-stage investments on behalf of the Startup PHL Seed Fund.  First Round Capital will not receive a management fee, or any other form of compensation, for managing the Startup PHL Seed Fund.

“Supporting entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses in Philadelphia is a priority for my Administration and is crucial for the future of our city. I am thrilled that one of the leading investment firms in the country will partner with us in this effort,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “Josh Kopelman is one of the most successful investors in the venture community and a leading entrepreneur who has demonstrated his commitment to this city time and time again.  With his help and the support of our entrepreneurial community, Philadelphia will once again be recognized as one of America’s leading cities for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital’s founder, said, “We are thrilled to be participating in this effort. Mayor Nutter’s Administration has been very supportive of entrepreneurship and the Startup PHL Seed Fund is a very concrete example of how the City of Philadelphia is dedicating real attention and resources towards helping founders succeed in America’s founding city.”

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.”