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 »

Ben Franklin Tech Partners Pumped $3.7M Into These 21 Philly-Area Startups Last Quarter

Ben Franklin Technology Partners HQ.

Tech investment powerhouse Ben Franklin Technology Partners released their third quarter investment plan this week and 21 early-stage companies got approved for investment. A total of $3.7 in funding has been approved, and eight companies in the physical sciences sector got approved for the biggest sum of investment. The eight companies will receive $1.4 million in total.

The group’s three other divisions – information technology, digital health, and health – each hold 5 or fewer companies. Read more »

VitalTrax Scores First Cut of $6 Million Philly Digital Health Fund

Screenshot of VitalTrax website.

Screenshot of VitalTrax website.

Clinical trial software platform VitalTrax just became the first startup to dip into the $6 million digital health funding initiative launched by Safeguard Scientifics, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and Independence Blue Cross last December.

VitalTrax, a member of the University Science Center’s ic@3401 community, received $150,000 in seed funding from the new digital health initiative. The company’s cloud-based platform allows clinical trial teams to better recruit patients and communicate with them throughout the course of a trial. With the company’s mobile app, Wing, patients can search and apply for trials and directly input data into the app for the trials they participate in. And because many patients still face big hurdles to participation in clinical trials, these developments might play a big role in revolutionizing the space.  Read more »

How Hard Is It for Startups to Raise Capital in Philly?

L to R: Nate Lentz, Osage Venture Partners managing director; Scott Snyder, Safeguard Scientifics chief technology and innovation officer; and Jonas Cleveland, COSY founder and CEO.

L to R: Nate Lentz, Osage Venture Partners managing director; Scott Snyder, Safeguard Scientifics chief technology and innovation officer; and Jonas Cleveland, COSY founder and CEO.

It’s been said many times before that access to capital is still a challenge for Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs, but the process of securing funds for a new venture is getting easier.

Case in point: COSY (Cognitive Operations Systems, Inc), a software platform that enables robots to navigate retail stores autonomously to help businesses manage inventory and maintain smooth operations. At a talk about innovation and capital at the Pennovation Center on Thursday, the company’s founder and CEO, Jonas Cleveland, announced a $2.3 million seed round of funding led by Intel and Chicago’s GoodPoint Ventures. Safeguard Scientifics participated in the round and we know from previous reporting that Ben Franklin Technology Partners also backed the company.

Read more »

Q&A: Healthcare IT to Enter an Intense Period of Innovation in Philly

From left to right: David Luk, principal at Safeguard Scientifics; Scott Nissenbaum, chief investment officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Tom Olenzak, managing director, strategic innovation portfolios at Independence Blue Cross at PSL's Founder Factory. Image courtesy of Safeguard Scientifics.

Left to right: David Luk, principal at Safeguard Scientifics; Scott Nissenbaum, chief investment officer at Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Tom Olenzak, managing director of strategic innovation portfolios at Independence Blue Cross at PSL’s Founder Factory. | Image courtesy of Safeguard Scientifics.

Last week, three of the Philadelphia region’s biggest players made a major announcement at PSL’s Founder Factory. Philly’s veteran venture firm, Safeguard ScientificsIndependence Health Group, the parent company of Independence Blue Cross; and venture firm Ben Franklin Technology Partners announced a $6 million funding initiative to support local, early-stage health IT startups over the next four years. The digital health startups selected for funding can receive anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million, and will also be mentored by the partners as they grow.

The initiative is an effort to “fuel Philadelphia’s innovative digital health ecosystem,” the partners said in a release. BizPhilly sat down with David Luk, a principal at Safeguard, to find out exactly why this initiative is being launched now and what it means for Philadelphia’s digital health landscape moving into 2017. Luk also shares why the team decided to focus on early-stage startups, a shift from Safeguard’s usual Series A and Series B financing. Read more »

New Way to Pitch a Startup Investor: In a Chat Room

A screenshot of Quick Pitch.

A screenshot of Quick Pitch.

For many entrepreneurs, the first introduction to an investor can prove valuable in the long run — and they’re typically thrilled to pitch investors in any forum: A conference room, over a cup of coffee, or in front of a large audience at a conference. But next Friday, they’ll be pitching in a forum you just don’t see very often: A chat room.

Called the Quick Pitch: An Online Venture Fair, entrepreneurs from the East Coast will hold one-on-one chat sessions with venture capitalists from Osage Venture PartnersFirst Round Capital, Greycroft Partners, Grotech Ventures, Edison Partners, Safeguard Scientifics, and Ascent Venture PartnersThe system lets entrepreneurs choose which VCs they’d like to chat with for each eight-minute session. The hope is that they lead to face-to-face meetings and maybe even an investment down the line. Read more »