Philly Entrepreneurs Should Tap Into This New Mentorship Network

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It’s no secret that a mentor is one of the most valuable resources an entrepreneur can tap into. That’s why local tech alliance PACT and capital provider Ben Franklin Tech Partners have teamed up to bring Philly entrepreneurs in their membership networks a new and non-traditional mentorship experience.

The two partners officially launched Mentor Connect on Tuesday, a network that brings startup leaders, not just one mentor, but an entire team of mentors that’s dedicated to providing advice based on years of experience. Read more »

Scenes From the Inaugural PHL Innovation Picnic

Thursday evening could not have been a more perfect time for Philadelphia’s innovation crowd to descend upon the Navy Yard to bask in the sun and in the glory of how much the community has grown.

Posted up at a picnic table all night was Cloudamize CEO Bob Moul, who managed to get nearly everyone to buy the tech community’s hottest, most coveted item: the #TEaCH shirt. There was PACT president & CEO Dean Miller, who between sips of his Dock Street beverage, managed to drop some serious knowledge on the tech tax to anyone who would lend an ear. He even informed attendees that the night’s event, in fact, wasn’t the first time the community organized an innovation picnic. About ten years ago, Safeguard Scientifics, with its own version of Sand Hill Road, brought the innovation community together out in the burbs. So the picnic was basically born out of nostalgia and the team’s effort to resurrect the gathering of the past. And then there were the folks like Technically Philly’s lead reporter Roberto Torres and pretty much the entire Stitch Data team who were high off of wins (or losses) in tug of war, Connect Four, hula hoopin’ and more.  Read more »

Philadelphia City Council Says “No” to Wolf Tech Tax

L to R: Councilman David Oh; Governor Tom Wolf.

Since Governor Wolf proposed the reinstatement of the “tech tax” in his Pennsylvania budget proposal, tech leaders across Philadelphia have rallied against it, and on Thursday, City Council members voted 9-7 in favor of a bill that expresses opposition to the tax.

The bill, “Opposing proposed taxes for the technology and computer services in Pennsylvania,” was sponsored by Republican Councilman David Oh and Republican Councilman At-Large Al Taubenberger.

“People understand that the proposed tax would be very harmful to the economy in Philadelphia,” Oh told me as he listed off developments like Comcast’s new technology tower that would stand to be affected. “Tech-related fields and consulting are a booming part of Philadelphia. They’ve created a lot of jobs, excitement and opportunities.”

Governor Wolf proposed the tech tax or computer services tax — a 6 percent levy on software development and consulting firms — to help close a $3 billion deficit in the state budget. Only four other states have a tech tax, which was originally passed in Pennsylvania in 1991 but repealed shortly after, when the tech industry protested that it was inhibiting job growth. Read more »

These Innovators Won Big at the 2017 PACT Enterprise Awards

The scene at the 2017 PACT Enterprise Awards. Image via Twitter.

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), held their 24th Annual Enterprise Awards. The event, sponsored by Fairmount Partners, honored eleven local businesses and individuals that have made exceptional contributions to technology, healthcare and related fields. With a record number of over 400 submissions, this year’s Enterprise Awards were the most competitive yet, with a list of winners spanning every branch of Philly’s hotbed of innovation. Read more »

Philly Tech to Rally Against Wolf Budget Proposal

The tech industry has hit a rough patch with Governor Tom Wolf.

To close a $3 billion deficit in the Commonwealth’s 2017-18 budget, Wolf has proposed the reinstatement of a statewide sales tax on software development, hardware consulting, and other computer services firms, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

At six percent, the so-called “technology tax” would be at least two percent higher than those of any of the other four states (Hawaii, Connecticut, South Dakota, New Mexico) that currently impose broad taxes on these services. The number has Pennsylvania’s tech sector worried.  Read more »

Josh Kopelman on Being a VC: Luck Plays a Big Role

L to R: Apu Gupta, Josh Kopelman, and John Swartley at the Pennovation Center. Image courtesy of Penn Center for Innovation.

L to R: Apu Gupta, Josh Kopelman, and John Swartley at the Pennovation Center. Image courtesy of Penn Center for Innovation.

Monday night, Philadelphia’s entrepreneurship community got treated to a refreshingly honest discussion as part of Philly Tech Week 2017 about the emotional and hopeful journey of being both a successful entrepreneur and a successful venture capital investor.

The panel discussion was convened by the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) in partnership with PACT at the Pennovation Center, Penn’s new incubation and startup space that opened last fall. The space serves as a very visible symbol of the university’s focus on contributing to Philadelphia as a center for tech innovation and startups.

John Swartley, PCI’s Managing Director, moderated two of the most successful Philadelphia-based entrepreneurs: Josh Kopelman, now a nationally prominent venture capitalist and founder of First Round Capital and Apu Gupta, CEO of one of First Round’s local portfolio companies, Curalate.

Both Kopelman and Gupta provided some compelling insight for the standing-room-only crowd of mostly entrepreneurs and investors. Here are some of the key takeaways from the talk:  Read more »

Philly Businesswomen Band Together on “A Day Without a Woman”

On International Women's Day and A Day Without A Woman, Monetate president and CEO Lucinda Duncalfe explains how her relationships fueled her career.

On International Women’s Day and A Day Without A Woman, Monetate president and CEO Lucinda Duncalfe explains how her relationships fueled her career. Image via PACT Foundation.

In celebration of International Women’s Day and in honor of women’s contributions to the global economy, women around the country are taking part in the Day Without a Woman strike.

Back in January, millions of women around the world gathered in defiance of the Trump regime and today’s strike, as the administration moves to defund Planned Parenthood and stall abortion services, was another effort to highlight the sexual harassment, discrimination, job insecurity, and lower wages that women often face in the workplace.

While organizers asked participants to stay away from work, avoid shopping at big businesses, and wear red for solidarity, hundreds of women in Philadelphia convened at a PACT Foundation breakfast to discuss how the region can push for more women-led and women-owned businesses.  Read more »