The City of Philadelphia wants to play matchmaker

The city’s new RFP board plans to feature gigs from universities, utilities and large corporations. First up: PGW.

April 20, 2016 | by Juliana Reyes

The city’s Commerce Department launched an RFP board to connect startups with anchor institutions that “might not have the flexibility internally to try new ideas to solve problems,” said the Commerce Department’s Rebecca Lopez-Kriss. She means: city agencies, utilities like PGW or PECO, universities or large corporations, organizations that aren’t as connected to the local tech scene.

The first pilot listed is from PGW, which is looking for an app that can pull in location-based data. It’s free to post a pilot.


Coded by Kids is hosting Philly Tech Week events at rec centers in marginalized neighborhoods

With the help of a Philly Tech Week microgrant, the coding education nonprofit is bringing Philly Tech Week outside of the normal Center City fold. Here’s how you can get involved.

April 12, 2016 | by Juliana Reyes

Many people, including Mayor Jim Kenney, are talking about how to make the tech scene’s opportunities reach beyond the “creative office spaces” in Center City and the labs in University City.

Here’s one way: bring Philly Tech Week to city rec centers in low-income neighborhoods and ones that are predominantly black. That’s what Sylvester Mobley, the founder of coding education nonprofit Coded by Kids, is doing.

Mobley said it’s the organization’s way of bringing the tech scene into neighborhoods that are often overlooked by the tech scene at large. We awarded the group a Philly Tech Week microgrant for the series of events.

There are three events in three recreation centers across the city — in North Philly, Southwest Philly and East Mt. Airy. They’ll be doing brief intro to coding workshops, plus a “Meet the Philly Tech Scene” portion, where tech groups will talk about who they are and what they’re working on. See the agenda for each event here.


Coded by Kids is looking for both volunteers and organizations that want to present at the events. Here’s info on how to get involved, as per Coded by Kids spokeswoman Maggie Deptola:

Individual volunteers can send an email to with the name of the session and location they are interested in. Volunteers will be required to attend a volunteer orientation held at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center (740 South 17th Street, 11th Floor) on Saturday, April 23rd from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Volunteers can participate in as many sessions as they’d like, but will be expected to commit to at least one, one-hour session.

Interested organizations can send an email to with a slide deck (max 10 slides) describing their organization and fill out this doodle poll with the dates and times members of their organization can present. Organizations should send their slide decks no later than April 20th, 2016.

Original Sauce

A new startup investment program is coming to Philadelphia

Ben Franklin Technology Partners is working with D.C.-based Village Capital to drum up attention for Philly’s tech community. Interestingly, the local effort will focus on fintech startups.

March 16, 2016 | by Juliana Reyes

Ben Franklin Technology Partners Director Omar Mencin and spokesman Jason Bannon are heading to Salt Lake City Thursday to represent Philadelphia in a new program to drive investment dollars to fledgling tech scenes across the country.

The program, called VilCap Communities, is organized by D.C.-based investment firm Village Capital, who point out that nationally, investment dollars are concentrated in New York, Boston and the Bay Area.

“We’ve always found it pretty hard to believe 70-75 percent of the talent lives in those cities,” VilCap Communities manager Jared Marquette told our sister site, Baltimore.

It’s a point that was frequently made by AOL founder Steve Case on his Rise of the Rest tour, during which he highlighted tech scenes across the country, including Philly’s, last summer. Case’s Rise of the Rest initiative is a partner on the VilCap program.

Local partners in 16 cities, including Philadelphia (with BFTP), Baltimore (with Johns Hopkins) and D.C. (with tech inclusion strategist Jason Towns), will run the program. In Philly, the program will focus on fintech startups, since BFTP has been seeing more and more fintech startups applying for BFTP dollars. (Baltimore is focusing on health, while D.C. is focusing on inclusive entrepreneurship.) One startup will get a $50,000 investment from BFTP when the program ends. Village Capital isn’t contributing any investment dollars.


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 | 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.


Comcast acquires hometown partner OneTwoSee

Backed by local investors and founded by two alumni, OneTwoSee could be the perfect Philly tech story. Will others follow its playbook?

March 7, 2016 | by Juliana Reyes

In the culmination of a nearly four-year relationship, Comcast has acquired sports media company OneTwoSee. It’s the company’s first acquisition of a Philly-based startup, according to a Comcast spokeswoman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The relationship started in 2012, with Comcast Sports Network taking a chance on a young startup. CSN was OneTwoSee’s first customer, signing on to use OneTwoSee’s baseball stats app on several of its local websites. Just last summer, Comcast integrated OneTwoSee’s numerous sports apps into its X1 platform, starting with a National Football League app, then one for baseball, basketball, hockey. An Olympics app is still to come. That partnership with Comcast was the first time that users could interact with OneTwoSee’s apps on their TVs, and it was a big one: they reached millions of Comcast subscribers.


Philly investors exit with IntegriChain sale to Silicon Valley private equity firm

The news comes a year after IntegriChain moved its headquarters into Center City.

March 2, 2016 | by Juliana Reyes

A year after moving into Center City from Princeton, healthcare data company IntegriChain is under new ownership.

Silicon Valley private equity firm Accel-KKR bought out IntegriChain’s existing investors, many of which were local, and now own a majority of the company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Those East Coast investors were Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based NJTC Venture Fund, New York City-based Milestone Venture Partners, New York City-based Cross Atlantic Partners (not to be confused with the Radnor venture firm that sued Facebook and who has since shut down), and Princeton-based investor Jeff Steinberg’s Redwood Pharma Ventures, which led IntegriChain’s 2011 Series C.

This is Accel-KKR’s first Philadelphia deal, a spokeswoman said.

IntegriChain, which provides data services to pharma companies like Merck and Sanofi, moved into Center City, on the third floor of 8 Penn Center, to help its recruiting efforts. The company has grown from 55 employees to 75 since moving into Philly and plans to hire more — though the company declined to quantify its hiring goals. (They have three job openings listed right now.)


Why Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is sending staffers to SXSW

They’ll be part of the crew that’s representing Philly’s growing health-tech scene at the annual conference in Austin later this month

March 1, 2016 | Philly by Juliana Reyes

We were surprised to see three staffers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on a list of local South by Southwest attendees.

We saw many of the usual suspects on SXsocial, the social network for attendees of the annual Austin conference: agencies like Bluecadet and O3 World, accelerator DreamIt Ventures and Comcast, which is sending at least 10 staffers, including director of entrepreneurial engagement Danielle Cohn.

But CHOP stood out to us — VP of entrepreneurship and innovation Patrick FitzGerald, formerly of DreamIt, is one exec who’s going, as well as Kamilah Weems and Paul Dehel from his team. (Dehel followed FitzGerald from DreamIt.)

They’re all part of a concerted effort to showcase Philadelphia at SXSW this month. (We’ll be there too!) CHOP’s sponsoring the SXSW Philly effort, alongside the likes of Comcast and Penn’s Pennovation project.


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

Three areas where Philadelphia stands out.

January 13 | 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.’”


Sidecar raises $8 million Series B

A roster of local investors is backing the Center City ecommerce marketing company in a big way.

November 20, 2015 | by Juliana Reyes

Sidecar, the Center City ecommerce marketing company, raised an $8 million Series B from Boston-based venture capital firm Ascent Venture Partners and a whole slate of local investors.

It’s Ascent’s first investment in a Philly company, according to CEO Andre Golsorkhi’s blog post announcing the round.

For the people who say there’s no local venture dollars, check out this list of local investors who participated in the round, as per Golsorkhi’s blog post (we saw many of these investors at venture capital conference IMPACT).

Osage Venture Partners; Michael Rubin, former CEO of GSI Commerce; Sashi Reddi, former CEO and founder of AppLabs; Jonathan Brassington, CEO of LiquidHub; Paul Melchiorre, President of iPipeline; Michael Phelan, former CEO of SevOne; Scott Tarte, CEO of Sparks; Richard Vague, former CEO of Energy Plus and First USA; Tony Ibarguen, CEO of Quench; NextStage Capital; Robin Hood Ventures; Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Innovation Capital Advisors; and ARC Angel Fund.


OneTwoSee raises $1.2 million from local investors

October 5, 2015 | Philly by Juliana Reyes

Sports-watching app company OneTwoSee raised $1.2 million in a debt round, cofounder Chris Reynolds confirmed to us.

The raise comes 18 months after the Center City startup’s last round, a $1.3 million equity round.

This latest round was backed by previous investors, including lead investor MissionOG, based in Center City, and local angel group Robin Hood Ventures, Reynolds said. The company employs 15 and is looking to hire five more right now.

When asked why the company went with a debt round this time, Reynolds wrote, “We won’t get into the details, but everyone is very pleased with the way the financing turned out.”

The company had a big win earlier this summer when it launched its baseball app with Comcast’s X1 platform, reaching millions of subscribers.