Philly Ranks #4 for New Amazon HQ on Data-Heavy Geekwire List

The competition between North American cities to lure Amazon’s HQ2 is only heating up, and a recent data-heavy national ranking from Geekwire puts Philly high on a list of metro areas that meet Amazon’s requirements.

Geekwire collected data on North American metros to see how well they meet Amazon’s four main criteria, which are:

  1. Metropolitan area with more than one million people
  2. A stable and business-friendly environment
  3. Urban and suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent
  4.  Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options

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Philly’s Delphic Digital Acquired by Silicon Valley Firm

Delphic Digital managing partner Lance Hollander with Mayor Kenney at the company’s expanded Manayunk HQ.

Not long after expanding its Manayunk headquarters, customer experience agency Delphic Digital has announced that it’s joining forces with the Silicon Valley agency Hero Digital.

The acquisition is big for the local agency of 77 employees that has plans to grow its team in the coming year. Delphic says the acquisition will create an independent customer experience agency serving North America, with the capacity to rival larger firms like Accenture, Deloitte and SapientRazorfish.

Though the combined company will bring 200 employees together on two coasts, Delphic says the acquisition won’t impinge on its agility and client service intimacy. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Read more »

Dear Amazon: Here Are 25+ Really Good Reasons for You to Come to Philly

Philly to be home to Amazon’s new HQ?

Amazon has outgrown Seattle, and the behemoth is on a newfound quest to find a home for its second North American headquarters. The new HQ, what’s been dubbed HQ2, would employ a whopping 50,000 and would cost a pretty penny to build and operate—$5 billion to be exact.

So naturally, such an announcement has already set off a wild race among our nation’s big cities (side eye to Pittsburgh) as Amazon is soliciting bids for the development and says its giving priority to locales with more than 1 million people. Philadelphia’s very own mayor, Jim Kenney, jumped into the fray on Twitter to express excitement at the idea that the City of Brotherly Love has a real chance to house one of the world’s most valuable companies.

The Philly tech and business community is already standing strong with Mayor Kenney on this one. I put a call out to the business community: Why would Philly be the best place for Amazon’s HQ2? Answers came pouring in within minutes.

So, Dear Amazon, here’s a shameless list of why you should absolutely come to Philadelphia: Read more »

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 »

Q&A: Yasmine Mustafa on ROAR for Good’s Athena Product Launch

Courtesy photos.

Philly startup ROAR for Good has been snatching headlines and wallets for the past two years, and now the startup’s highly anticipated first product — the Athena — has officially made its way into the hands of consumers.

Remember when cofounders Yasmine Mustafa and Anthony Gold crowdfunded a whopping $267,000 in 30 days for the product back in 2015? Now, two years later, with the window for pre-orders coming to a close this week, the company again has some fascinating numbers to share. In a week, Athena will have its official out of preorder launch when it’ll retail for $129 up from its $99 promotional price.

If you need a refresher on the device, here’s a short video:

BizPhilly caught up with ROAR for Good CEO Yasmine Mustafa for more insight on the launch, a new local partnership, and what’s on the horizon for the startup. And though the company says it’s getting tons of good feedback on Athena, Mustafa shares some challenges the company continues to face.

Read more »

Too Busy for Online Dating? New Philly Startup Will Swipe for You

Image courtesy of Wingman

There isn’t a lot that the duo behind Wingman, the dating startup launched this month in Philadelphia, will let their customers know about them.

“It plays into the culture of the service,” they say of their anonymity.

What “J” and “B” will tell you is that during their four years at the University of Pennsylvania (well, they’ll share the name of their alma mater), J was the de facto “smooth talker” amongst their group of friends. And B? B did all right with the ladies in person, but when it came to texting, he’d quickly grow frustrated at his inability to master the nuances of what he saw as an impersonal medium for romantic communication.

Eventually, he’d toss his phone to J, and three minutes later, J had scheduled B a date with the girl he’d been pursuing on a dating app for weeks. And Wingman was born.

Read more »

I Love My Job: Cloudamize Founder and Chairperson Khushboo Shah

Courtesy photo.

If you think you’re working hard in life, Khushboo Shah’s story will likely make you rethink the meaning of hard work. Just a week ago, Cloudamize — the infrastructure analytics startup that Shah launched just five years ago (fresh out of DreamIt’s Fall 2012 accelerator cohort) — announced that it will merge with London-based Cloudreach, a cloud computing consultancy owned by the New York-based investment firm Blackstone. News of the exit sent ripples through Philly’s tech community as local investors like MissionOG and DreamIt Ventures applauded the company’s steady growth and as Cloudamize execs called the acquisition a win for Philadelphia.

While the development represents a great Philadelphia story, it also speaks to the power and journey of Shah—an entrepreneur whose path has been anything but easy and traditional. Shah says being an immigrant, a woman and a mom are three big factors driving her resilience. Though she’s stumbled on many “bad times” as she says it, Shah’s constantly looking ahead, preparing for the next move. As Cloudamize’s chairperson, Shah tells BizPhilly how she fell in love with data in the first place and why the cloud is still revolutionary. She shares her excitement and worries around the company’s big news and where she hopes to be in five years. Ultimately, it’s all about impressing her daughters! Read more »

Welcome to Cellacon Valley?

Illustration by Muti.

In the conference room of a spacious loft office near 30th Street Station, Usman “Oz” Azam and Michael Christiano huddle for a meeting. They’re CEO and chief business officer, respectively, of Tmunity Therapeutics, a start-up launched to commercialize some breakthrough research out of the University of Pennsylvania — a method of reengineering a patient’s own immune system cells so they can destroy cancer tumors.

The two execs are the company’s sole employees so far. Their new headquarters still contains chalkboard-style signs and leather couches from the prior tenant, some sort of hipster

telemarketing operation. It looks like an abandoned Cosi restaurant.

“Literally the only thing we’ve done is bring in a coffee machine,” Azam says.

It’s a microscopically small start to what some people around Philadelphia hope will become very, very big. Read more »

Philadelphia Among the Country’s Top 10 Emerging Startup Hubs

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

A new report from the nonprofit Progressive Policy Institute and D.C.-based technology network Technet, says it time for policymakers to recognize and support emerging startup hubs across the country, including Philadelphia, that are “Next in Tech.” The report named Philadelphia as one of the nation’s top 10 emerging vibrant startup ecosystems.

To determine the areas that are “next in tech,” researchers developed the “Metro Startup Economy Index,” which measures the “intensity” of each metro area’s startup ecosystem. The index is calculated by determining the percentage of job postings in a given area that use the word “startup.” That percentage is then normalized by dividing by the median percentage for all metro areas analyzed, according to the report. reports that the percentage of job postings using the word “startup” increased by 60 percent from November 2014 to November 2016, the study says, an indicator that the country’s startup landscape is producing more jobs and spreading beyond the traditional tech metro areas.  Read more »

Philly Is the Nation’s 10th-Best City for Women in Tech

Philly is the country’s 10th best city for women in tech, according to SmartAsset’s 2017 ranking.

The fintech company combed through data on men and women in tech jobs in 59 of the largest U.S. cities and ranked them according to the gender pay gap in tech, income after housing costs, women as a percentage of the tech workforce and the city’s four-year tech employment growth.

According to the study, women fill just 32.3 percent of tech jobs in Philadelphia, but it beats the national figure of women filling only 26.2 percent of tech jobs. After Philly housing costs, women bring home an average of $47,622 in income, compared to $53,158 nationally. The city’s gender pay gap in tech is 92 percent compared to 84.8 percent nationwide, which represents the ratio of median earnings for women in mathematical occupations to median earnings for men in computer and mathematical occupations. Philly’s four-year tech employment growth, measured from 2012 to 2015 (the most recent year for which data is available), is 14 percent, four percentage points higher than the national average.  Read more »

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