UK Firm to Offer Housing for Tech Startup “Friends” in Philly

Startup Home's London facilities join the idea factory and the loft apartment at the hip.

Startup Home’s London facilities join the idea factory and the loft apartment at the hip.

Co-working spaces typically have several common amenities: meeting and gathering spaces, game tables, beer taps in the kitchen or even a pub room.

The newest entry in the co-working field, an import from the United Kingdom that’s launching in Philadelphia this spring, adds a few others: a living room, a dining area, and groceries in the fridge and pantry. And the office spaces come with bedrooms.

Startup entrepreneur, meet Startup Home, a “starter home” with a difference. Read more »

How the Sharing Economy Is Changing Office Space

Coworking space provider Benjamin's Desk is one of the major forces reviving the Center City office space market.

Coworking space provider Benjamin’s Desk is one of the major forces reviving the Center City office space market.

Two booms taken together turned Center City Philadelphia from a somewhat sleepy place at night with a buzz-cut of a skyline to a vibrant, round-the-clock environment with a true big-city downtown profile.

The first was the office construction boom that was touched off by Liberty Place, the building that broke the buzz cut. The second was a wave of new residents that first began to stream into the city center around that same time.

But as that wave turned into a flood, the two booms ended up canceling out the city’s office-sector growth. Older office buildings were turned into residences even as new office buildings went up, thus keeping the office market (and the rough number of office workers) flat. The culmination of this canceling-out was the conversion of Two Liberty Place’s upper floors into condominiums in the early 2000s. Read more »

U-City Named Hottest Tech Submarket in Nation

One Drexel Plaza and Drexel Square

Strong demand and rising rents should make it easy for projects in the University City development pipeline, like the Schuylkill Yards joint venture between Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust, to find tech-sector tenants to fill them, if the latest CBRE “Tech-Thirty” report is any guide. | Image: SHoP Architects and West8

Those shiny new buildings rising in University City are not only turning it into Philadelphia’s second downtown — they’re making it the nation’s hottest submarket for high-tech office space, according to CBRE’s annual “Tech-Thirty” survey.

The survey, which examines job growth and technology office space rent growth in the nation’s 30 largest technology employment centers, put the area surrounding Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania at the top of the list for office rent growth — the average rent of $41.40 per square foot is up 37.8 percent over the two-year period from the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2016 — and in growth of net absorption (the amount of space on the market that gets occupied), it ranked second only to Tempe, outside Phoenix, with a growth rate of 23.3 percent over that same period. Read more »

Are You More Innovative Than a Middle Schooler?

Keelyn, Dani, Alisha, Calea, Simone, and Emma spent the week designing an app and pitched it to potential investors at a TechGirlz camp.

Keelyn, Dani, Alisha, Calea, Simone, and Emma spent the week designing an app and pitched it to potential investors at a TechGirlz camp.

On Friday, 26 ambitious young ladies ages 11 to 13 from various Philadelphia middle schools presented app ideas to a panel of mock investors at Villanova University.

“Demo Day” was the culmination of a week-long entrepreneur camp offered by TechGirlz, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls to be future leaders in tech. This summer marks the fifth year of camp, and 5,000 girls taught at camps nationally and internationally.

“We are big and we are audacious and we are going to keep making sure that girls understand that they can be part of this industry,” said Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of TechGirlz.

Read more »

Comcast Expands Internet Access for Thousands of Low-Income Families

Comcast Center | Jeff Fusco

Comcast Center | Jeff Fusco

About 35,000 households across Philadelphia are now eligible to apply for Internet Essentials, Comcast’s high-speed internet program for low-income families.

Comcast and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also announced today that nationwide, an estimated total of 2 million households will now have access to the internet program.

The expansion follows several other attempts by Comcast to increase access to low-income families through pilot programs in the last year, and is also possible through HUD’s ConnectHome, an initiative of the Obama Administration to expand high-speed affordable broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and electronic devices to all Americans.

Read more »

Comcast to Satisfy Your Connectivity Needs During DNC

Wells Fargo Center | Photo by PHL Approach via Wikimedia Commons.

Wells Fargo Center | Photo by PHL Approach via Wikimedia Commons.

Comcast Business has been named the official broadband and telecommunications provider for the Democratic National Convention, the Philadelphia host committee announced on Tuesday.

No surprise here. In Philadelphia, the media giant has already made moves to upgrade its XFinity WiFi network at several transportation hubs around the city in time for the influx of an anticipated 50,000 guests in town July 25th-28th.

At the Wells Fargo Center, where the main convention events will take place, Comcast will provide network connections for internet, WiFi, Ethernet, Voice and TV services for convention attendees, operations personnel and vendors working in the arena.

Read more »

How to Make the DNC Innovative? Get Curalate On Board

From left to right: Andrew Binns, DNCC Chief Innovation Officer; Kelli Klein, DNCC Digital Director; Apu Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder of Curalate; Mayor Jim Kenney | Photo by Fabiola Cineas.

From left to right: Andrew Binns, DNCC Chief Innovation Officer; Kelli Klein, DNCC Digital Director; Apu Gupta, CEO and Co-Founder of Curalate; Mayor Jim Kenney | Photo by Fabiola Cineas.

This year’s DNC in Philadelphia will be the most innovative Democratic national convention to date, the host committee says, and that’s thanks in part to the popular, fast-growing Philadelphia-based startup Curalate.

The DNC host committee announced today that Curalate, the image monetization software company, is an official technology provider for the convention, joining other technology leaders like Microsoft, AT&T, and LG, also official technology providers.

In its fourth year of business, Curalate captures the visual content or images of its clients like Staples and Urban Outfitters on social media platforms like Instagram and connects the images to the products pictured within them. With Curalate’s technology, for example, a user on Pinterest can click on an image of a dinner table spread from Crate & Barrel (a client) and be linked to where they can find and purchase the items online. Read more »

What Hillary Clinton’s Tech Plan Could Do for Philadelphia

Hillary Clinton speaks earlier this year at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke, AP

Hillary Clinton speaks earlier this year at the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke, AP

Hillary Clinton dropped some big technology objectives last week when she released her all-encompassing “Initiative on Technology & Innovation” policy agenda.

The ambitious list of initiatives reads like an innovator’s dream, with proposals to connect every U.S. household to high-speed internet by 2020, train 50,000 new computer science teachers in the next decade, and even minimize the worries of budding entrepreneurs by deferring their federal students loans for up to three years.

In Philadelphia, the presumptive democratic nominee’s platform could do a lot to further the city’s commitment to attracting and retaining entrepreneurs. While some industry leaders say Philadelphia is already a microcosm of Clinton’s plan, others are skeptical about whether the stated initiatives can ever materialize here.

Read more »

Now There Is Free Wi-Fi at Every Wawa

Comcast Tower via iStockphoto.com

Comcast Tower via iStockphoto.com

While customer service has long been the Achilles heel of Comcast’s reputation, they might’ve taken a step in the right direction by teaming with one of the most beloved brands in Philly. Comcast Business and Wawa announced that Xfinity Wi-Fi will be available in every Wawa store beginning … today.

It will come up on your screen as “xfinitywifi” and is completely free. Not bad. Now Wawa will really be the perfectly anti-social convenience store — you don’t have to talk to people to order your sandwich and you won’t have to waste data on your phone while you’re waiting for it. Read more »

Hate Your Cable Box? Comcast Says There’ll Soon Be an App for That

iStockphoto.com | DonNichols

iStockphoto.com | DonNichols

Last week, President Barack Obama came out in support of an FCC proposal to free cable subscribers from the dreaded cable boxes they have to lease from their cable providers. This week, Comcast announced that cable boxes are essentially old news anyway. The Philadelphia cable giant announced its new Xfinity TV Partner Program, which it claims will allow customers to get Xfinity service directly on their TVs and electronic devices without a set-top box at all.

The app will essentially do all of the things a set-top box does — provide live TV, on-demand video, and DVR recordings, but will expand the range of devices customers can use to get their Xfinity service. This includes Smart TVs, a Roku streaming player, or a Roku TV.

Mark Hess, Comcast’s senior vice president of business and industry affairs, said in a statement that Comcast customers “should be able to access their Xfinity cable service wherever they want, whenever they want, on whatever device they want.”  Read more »

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