StartupPHL is Heading to SXSW 2017

For Immediate Release: February 14, 2017

Mayor Kenney and Amplify Philly Initiative

Announce Details of 2017 SXSW Participation


PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Department of Commerce will join a coalition of Philadelphia startups, corporations, musicians, and other partners in Austin, Texas  at the SXSW Interactive & Music Festival this March. The Amplify Philly initiative will promote Philadelphia as a hub for innovation, highlighting the companies, music, and technologies created here.

“I am excited the City will once again be part of Amplify Philly’s collaborative effort at SXSW,” said Mayor Kenney. “This initiative is proof of what can be accomplished through a successful public-private partnership. The investment being made by our corporate partners and anchor institutions shows a commitment to Philadelphia’s tech and entrepreneurial community. The City is thrilled to participate in one of the most influential tech conferences in the world, and I am personally looking forward to sharing with so many budding entrepreneurs why Philadelphia is the place to grow their business.”

Mayor Kenney is joining other mayors from across the country for The United States Conference of Mayors track during opening weekend of the 2017 SXSW Interactive Festival. The mayoral track connects several of the nation’s forward-thinking mayors with top innovators in the technology, entrepreneurship, media, nonprofit, philanthropy and creative sectors. In addition to individual and group meetings with industry leaders, Mayor Kenney will also take part in a panel discussion focused on the economic, social and cultural impact of extreme immigration policy on cities like Philadelphia. The panel, Building Bridges When Others Want to Build Walls, takes place on Saturday, March 11. On Sunday, March 12, Mayor Kenney will attend the SXSW Tradeshow to visit the Amplify Philly activation. The Philadelphia Department of Commerce, through its StartupPHL platform, will attend the festival and exhibit as part of the Amplify Philly booth.

For the second consecutive year, Amplify Philly is coordinating Philadelphia’s presence at SXSW. The 2017 initiative, organized by Philly Startup Leaders and REC Philly, is made possible through the support of 15 sponsors, including: StartupPHL, Comcast, University City Science Center, Guru, Zivtech, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Chariot Solutions, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Visit Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Brandywine Realty Trust, Safeguard Scientifics, and CoStar360. This year, 18 Philadelphia companies will be exhibiting at the SXSW Tradeshow as part of the Amplify Philly activation: BioRealize, Boost Linguistics, Chariot Solutions, Comcast, Cosy, Eventuosity, Iqinetics, Keriton, LIA Diagnostics, MLeads, Neuroflow, Oat Foundry, Oncora, ROAR for Good, SafeStamp, Social Ladder, Stratis, and Zivtech.

Amplify Philly will also promote Philadelphia to the SXSW audience through two additional activities – a happy hour event and concert. The happy hour and accompanying interactive event on Monday, March 13 will feature entertainment by Philadelphia music legend DJ Jazzy Jeff. Invited guests will have the opportunity to network with Amplify Philly sponsors and participating companies. On Tuesday, March 14, the Amplify Philly Official Music Showcase will spotlight local talent, including: Bilal, DJ Aktive, Good Girl, The Districts, Son Little, The Dove & The Wolf, Julian King, and Queen of Jeans. The concert is open to all SXSW badge holders.

Additional details about the Amplify Philly initiative will be made available on Mayor Kenney’s public schedule will be released daily while he is in Austin.


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StartupPHL’s Favorite Things From 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, we wanted to take a minute to reflect on the past year and highlight our favorite moments .

  1. SXSW/SXSW Eco: We were excited to take part in SXSW as a community this year, and it was an honor when StartupPHL was invited back for Eco in October to speak about Smart Cities. We look forward to returning to Austin in 2017 — this time with Mayor Kenney, who will be attending SXSW as part of a US Conference of Mayors delegation!
  2. Mayor Kenney’s Op-Ed: This fall, Mayor Kenney shared his thoughts on the influential role of tech, entrepreneurship and startups in solidifying Philadelphia as an innovation city.
  3. Post a Pilot: A new project launched earlier this year as part of StartupPHL’s site relaunch, Post a Pilot aims to connect startups with anchor institutions in the City. The idea behind the program is that more than capital, what a startup really needs is customers! We are happy to report Post a Pilot was a success for our first anchor institution — PGW. Stay tuned for more developments from this program in 2017.
  4. U.S. Chamber Ranking: Philly came in 8th with our first appearance in this ranking (produced by 1776 and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) of cities and their readiness to take advantage of the digital economy. We ranked in the Top 10, ahead of D.C. and New York City. Many more accolades ahead in 2017 for our beloved city!
  5. The General Fabulousness of Our Community: The folks here at StartupPHL are consistently impressed with the tenacity, dedication, diversity and commitment of the tech community in Philadelphia. None of the highlights mentioned above would be possible without the amazing people we get to work with daily. It is a privilege to rep our community throughout the country and world. We are humbled to serve you and call you our friends. We love you Philly tech, and we look forward to another year of championing your successes! Thanks for all you do!

StartupPHL Newsletter #45

SXSW News, Fighting Small Battles, and an Opportunity from Microsoft Reactor


Guess who’s going to SXSW 2017?!? We’re happy to announce that Mayor Kenney is heading to Austin with us this year! Get the deets

Your weekend reading is right here.

Join Amplify Philly at SXSW

For the second year in a row, Philadelphia will have an organized presence at SXSW. As part of the effort, Amplify Philly is distributing grants to local startups to cover 50 percent of costs for a booth at the trade show. There’s still room for three more companies, so email Yuval Yarden ASAP if you’re interested.

Small Battles = Big Wins

Growth doesn’t come from targets set on high, but instead is the result of lessons learned directly from customers and the front line. Micro battles – discrete, narrowly defined, customer-focused initiatives pursued by small cross-functional teams – force everyone to meet a narrow goal.

Learn More, via Harvard Business Review

Solving Tough Problems With Tech

Technology is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to solve some of our most pressing issues and help bring communities together.

Thoughts from a VC Founder & CEO, via The Information

Innovation Clusters Beyond California

An oldie but a goodie…and even more relevant today. Marc Andreessen on  why we should stop trying to copy Silicon Valley.

Get the Story, via Politico

Open Call From Microsoft Reactor Philadelphia

If you have a startup or growth stage company in Philadelphia that’s focusing on B2B Enterprise Software, B2C Software, AI and Machine Learning, Gaming, or Internet of Things, the Reactor: Better Faster Stronger program is looking for you. The program will offer access to mentorship, pitch competitions, advisement on products from a technology standpoint, and other resources.

Send an overview of your company to and be sure to include:

  • Premise Statement: What are you addressing, What is the problem you are solving
  • Solution: What is the need you fulfill with your business
  • Mission Statement: Why you exist, What do you do
  • Proof: How you’re doing this
  • Team: Who you are
  • Team Lead: Contact information, email address and phone number

StartupPHL Spotlight

MUSE Consulting is the consulting arm of Wharton’s premier undergraduate marketing club. They provide market research, strategy, competitive analysis, detailed marketing plans and other related consulting services for both large companies and startups around Philadelphia. The firm is looking for interested companies in need of services for the spring semester. Projects will start in January. Please contact Lacey Chaum or Richie Lou if you’re interested.

We want to shine a light on awesome things happening in the local community. Have something to share? Email us or tell us on social.

StartupPHL is the City of Philadelphia’s platform for supporting entrepreneurship and startup activity.

All events and applications noted in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not an endorsement. We encourage readers to perform due diligence for any programs listed here.

Philly, It’s Time for SXSW 2017

September 19, 2016 | PhillyMag by Fabiola Cineas

Though South by Southwest 2017 is a few months from now, some Philadelphians are already making an effort to draw the city’s attention to the global destination festival and conference.

Back in March, an estimated 300 Philadelphians—artists, technologists and supporters—made their way to Austin for the annual conference that brings together some of the world’s top innovators and creatives. This year marked the city’s largest concerted effort to elevate Philadelphia on the national platform, and organizers David Silver of REC Philly and Yuval Yarden of Philly Startup Leaders, want to make Philadelphia’s 2017 showing, from March 10th to 19th, even greater.

“SXSW is the leading conference in the country around innovation and technology,” said Silver, “When you think about where and when in the country do thousands of tastemakers and influencers, venture capitalists and business people come together, SXSW is what comes to a lot of people’s minds.”

Get the full story, and how you can get involved.

Vote for these 10 Philly panels up for a spot at SXSW

Some of Philly’s best-known tech faces are headed to Austin — with your vote, that is.

August 16, 2016 |, guest post with Shoshanna Israel

The SXSW PanelPicker is out, and by our count there are — at least — 10 Philly tech panels in the running to land a spot in the festival, which will take place March 10-19 in Austin, Texas.

You may remember the article we posted a couple of months ago, inviting the Philly tech community to submit panel ideas for SXSW. We’re really excited that so many of you are interested in speaking at the conference and hope you’ll be part of the Philly delegation that travels to Austin next spring. At Philly Startup Leaders, we believe it’s important that we have Philadelphians willing to tell the city’s story and help brand it as a hub for innovation and technology.

If you aren’t planning on traveling to SXSW with us, you can still help us Amplify Philly. The SXSW PanelPicker, the platform that allows the public to vote for the topics they want to hear about at the conference, is now open. A bunch of Philly speakers submitted proposals and you can help propel them to Austin.

1. The Lifecycle of Engagement of Girls in Tech
Panelist: Tracey Welson-Rossman

2. React Animations – Practically Applied
Panelist: Mitchell Stewart

3. My Ten Favorite Startup Mistakes
Panelist: Rick Nucci

4. The Power & Potential of Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Panelist: Stephen Tang

5. Shape Your City’s Innovation Community
Panelist: Christopher Wink, Niles Heron, Danielle Cohn, Apu Gupta

6. New Technology and Protecting US Data
Panelist: Lauren Ancona, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Elizabeth Pemmerl, Jake Williams

7. React: JavaScript to Engage Your Web Visitors
Panelist: Ken Rimple

8. Hands-on Bluetooth Low Energy Workshop
Panelist: Don Coleman

9. 7 Lessons from the Future of Content
Panelist: David Thomas

10. Why Healthcare Needs Better Design to Innovate?
Panelist: Bon Ku

To vote for someone on SXSW PanelPicker, you have to create an account, visit the links above and click “thumbs up” in the top left corner of your screen to vote. Feel free to comment with a note of support or use the social media buttons on the left hand side of your screen to share the links of the panel ideas you really like.

See you in Austin!

Original Sauce

Here are 4 steps to getting more Philly speakers at SXSW

Philly Startup Leaders’ Shoshanna Israel asks the Austin tech conference’s director, Hugh Forrester, for some advice.

May 26, 2016 | by Shoshanna Israel

Philly made a killer first impression at South by Southwest in 2016.

Our delegation of startups, universities and large companies helped bring recognition to our burgeoning entrepreneurial scene and larger business community. SXSW is an excellent platform to share your organization or business’ story and help to #AmplifyPhilly as a hub for technology and innovation. Speaking at SXSW is also a great way to bring attention to your business or organization and to elevate your profile as a thought leader in an area that interests you.

Ofo Ezeugwu of Whose Your Landlord, who spoke at SXSW in 2016, emphasized the value of the conference’s platform.

“Speaking at SXSW means increased validation,” he said. “The opportunity to speak, on behalf of your company and a city much larger than yourself, is one of the ultimate nods of recognition.”

Alex Urevick-Ackelsberg of Zivtech, who also spoke at last year’s conference, emphasized the business ramifications of the SXSW platform.

“Gaining access to the SXSW audience has been invaluable to Zivtech’s business growth,” he said.

Getting an opportunity to speak has some great perks, too. It enables speakers to stay in the SXSW hotel and get a free badge to the Interactive portion of the conference.

So how do you become a speaker? Philly Startup Leaders got on the phone with Hugh Forrester, head of SXSW Interactive, and asked him what it takes to make a great panel application.

1. Choose the right format

SXSW organizers have a strong preference for solo talks, as opposed to panels and debates, which tend to stay surface level and devolve without the assistance of a skilled moderator.

Organizers also encourage those wishing to be chosen to designate their talk “advanced,” which tends to be more popular with attendees looking for a more in-depth look at a particular topic (think: more than could be found with just a cursory Google search). Presentations that tend to be instructional or educational rather than merely entertaining have the best success.

More information about formatting and skill level designations can be found throughout the FAQ, and speakers are strongly encouraged to read this information thoroughly before applying.

2. Keep your talk topical and specific

Speakers should address trends in technology and really drill down to a distinct topic. Talks should be relevant and specific.

“‘How Free Downloads Hurt Radiohead’ would work better than the more general ‘Free Downloads and the Future of Music,’” Forrester said. While the former is more detailed, and therefore more engaging to an audience, it still addresses many of the same big ideas as the latter. Successful topics will be specific, but their underlying themes should relate to larger trends in technology and business.

3. Stay abreast of deadlines

Talks must be submitted several months in advance of the SXSW conference. These deadlines can sneak up on you, and since no late entries are accepted, those who wish to speak should begin to prepare their presentations as soon as possible.

With that said, talks that come in earlier (before the deadline) don’t get preferential treatment, so applicants are encouraged to use all of the time they have to prepare and proofread (there are more typo-laden applications than you’d think). This year, applications open on June 28, 2016, and the window typically closes at the end of July. Conference registration opens opens on Aug. 1, 2016 and SXSW 2017 kicks off March 10-19, 2017.

4. Choose a killer title

While the 50-character, eight-word limit on the title may tempt you to think of the title as an afterthought, a great title is essential to capturing the vote of the staff and the public, which count for a combined 70 percent of your chance of being picked. While pithy or clever titles may seem like a great way to grab attention, SXSW staff encourages speakers to avoid that route, and instead choose detailed, relevant titles that accurately describe your event. Great titles should be brief and descriptive, not punny.


Speakers should also note that, in addition to the interactive track (the business and tech portion of the conference), SXSW offers a speaking platform in other parts of the conference, such as education, film and music. More information about these opportunities can be found in the links below.

Make sure Philly gets heard and check out the application at the links below. We’ll see you in Austin at #SXSW2017.

If you have any questions, feel free to follow up with Yuval Yarden at or Dave Silver at, who are heading up the SXSW Philly initiative or check out the SXSW PanelPicker FAQs.


Philly Tech Loved SXSW. SXSW Loved Philly Tech Back

Tracey Welson-Rossman’s report from the networking trenches of SXSW’s “Philly Alley.”

March 22, 2016 | Philadelphia Magazine by Tracey Welson-Rossman

The Philadelphia tech and startup scene made its way down to Austin last week for South by Southwest — better known as SXSW. As an interactive-focused conference-turned-festival, SXSW is one of the largest gatherings of leaders and organizations spanning the technological, design and creative realms.

For the first time this year, a concerted effort has been made to spread the message of Philadelphia’s growing tech culture and the vibrant innovation coming from our region — and what better place to do so than right at SXSW. With that goal in mind, a solid group of Philadelphia’s tech leaders decided to head south and represent the great things brewing in Philadelphia’s emerging tech scene. So, why, exactly, did 10 companies and close to 200 Philadelphians (including Comcast, Independence Blue Cross, Zivtech, my own Chariot Solutions, and others) decide it was worth the time, effort, and money to make the trek to Texas?

I asked Yuval Yarden, program director for Philly Startup Leaders, and one of the driving forces behind the push to spread the word, what she felt the main goal of organizing this coalition was. Yuval summed it up well: It is time for the Philadelphia region to to a better job telling our story.

“We feel SXSW is the best opportunity for our tech community to tell its story since Philadelphia is becoming known as a tech and innovation hub, housing not just software companies, but all types of technology,” Yarden said. “We love that there have been many articles as of late touting Philadelphia’s music, culture and restaurant scene, but we want to make sure Philadelphia is also known for its startups. We are here to discuss why Philadelphia is a great place to start and grow a tech company.”


RJMetrics pegged as one of the fastest growing startup at SXSW by Big Data firm

March 9, 2016 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Dan Norton

RJMetrics was tapped as the 10th fastest growing startup in the U.S. that will have a presence at South by Southwest, according to Mattermark, a Big Data analytics firm.

RJMetrics is the only Philadelphia startup on the list, although the City of Brotherly Love will have a large contingent at the Austin festival next week.

Robert Moore‘s a data analytics software startup facilitates data-driven business decisions for its customers. For the last few years, it has been one of Philadelphia’s most successful tech ventures.


Philly tech ambassadors trying to spread the word at SXSW

March 7, 2016 | by Todd Bookman

Representatives from the Philadelphia region’s tech scene are packing their bags for Texas.

This Friday, the 2016 edition of South by Southwest kicks off in Austin, and while the festival is still best known for showcasing new musicians, it has also become a key place for tech entrepreneurs to show up and show off.

For the first time, a collection of Philadelphia startups, along with local networking groups and some big name companies, are joining together to host a booth inside the Austin Convention Center as part of the SXSW Interactive Trade Show. It’s a tactical effort to highlight the Philly tech scene, and lure companies and capital to an area that may not yet be on the national radar.

“We all know how great Philadelphia is, and we all understand all the great wonderful activity and energy that’s going on in our city, but you have to get out, and you have to promote it, you have to market it,” said Archna Sahay, director of entrepreneurial investment for Philadelphia.

The SXSW Philly effort and its branding concept, Amplify Philly, are sponsored in part by Comcast and Independence Blue Cross. Yuval Yarden, program director for the group Philly Startup Leaders, says nearly 100 local representatives will head to Austin for the Trade Show’s opening on Sunday.


Join the PHL party at SXSW

A collaborative community effort to organize Philadelphia companies and attendees of SXSW launched last week. The initiative is hoping to organize any attendees into a unified block while at the conference. If your company is attending, or you’d like to sponsor, check out the details at

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