Capital, Resources Boost Greater Philadelphia Tech Sector

Greater Philadelphia is a serious place for entrepreneurs. First Round Capital, PhillyStartupLeaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and First State Innovation (in Delaware), plus incubators and universities, provide expertise and connections to everything from business plan formation to capital investment.

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Josh Kopelman is so high on Philadelphia that he moved the headquarters of First Round Capital, an early stage venture capital firm, to new offices in University City from suburban Conshohocken in September 2012. Two local startups in the company’s portfolio, Curalate and Uber, moved with First Round, a national firm with offices in San Francisco and New York. Greater Philadelphia is a serious place for entrepreneurs. Organizations such as PhillyStartupLeaders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners and First State Innovation in Delaware, plus incubators and universities, provide expertise and connections to everything from business plan formation to capital investment. “We’ve begun to see more really exciting companies get their start in Philadelphia,” Kopelman said when he announced the move. PSL sponsors Founder Factory – an annual fall event that brings together entrepreneurs, angels, mentors, VCs, students, schools and government groups – and Entrepreneurial Expo each spring. Philly Tech Week features dozens of events and drew more than 4,000 people in 2012. The 2013 extravaganza is from April 20-27. DreamIt Ventures, headquartered in downtown Philadelphia, is an intense, three-month startup accelerator that provides its companies with up to $25,000 in seed capital, office space, one-on-one coaching, donated legal, accounting and administrative help, and access to venture capital. DreamIt’s also has accelerators in New York, Austin and Israel; in April 2012, Forbes ranked it No. 3 among the top tech incubators in the U.S. Ben Franklin TechVentures, an incubator at Lehigh University in Bethlehem that opened in 1983, moved to a bigger building in 2007 and added a second building in 2011. Lehigh University has been cited as a top 25 U.S. University for Entrepreneurship by Entrepreneur magazine and The Princeton Review. Gabe Weinberg, founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, a search engine that wants to give users a high-quality experience with less clutter, more privacy and better search results, knew no one when he decided to locate the company in Paoli, in Chester County, Pa. “When I first moved here there was no central community organization at the ground level of entrepreneurs or angel investors getting together,” Weinberg says. “Community organizations really have sprung up and the level of connection increased from 10 to 100. My goal is to get more companies like mine started here and staying here.”

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Fri, 10/27/2017 - 19:55