EO Philadelphia Unveils New Accelerator for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs’ Organization Philadelphia convening. Courtesy of EO.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Philadelphia — the organization that claims a global network of more than 12,000 business owners in 163 chapters across 52 countries — announced on Tuesday that it is launching the organization’s Accelerator program in Philadelphia. The goal: Get more Philadelphia startups to $1 million in annual revenue.

“When you’re an entrepreneur and you start a business, for some reason your first goal is to hit $1 million. And typically it’s the hardest number to hit,” Tim Devers, president of the Board of EO Philadelphia, told Philadelphia magazine. “Once you hit it, you blow by it and you shoot for $10 million. And we want to encourage and support entrepreneurs who want to get at that level.

EO says the program, because of its explicit focus on helping companies reach the $1 million mark, will be the first of its kind in the region. The 18-month accelerator will provide mentorship and peer learning experiences focused on four areas: money, strategy, people, and sales and marketing. Each program session will be held at a different locations across the city, Devers said, with speakers coming in from EO chapters around the world.   Read more »

Kauffman Index Shows Philly Startup Economy Has Much Room to Grow

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

According to Kauffman’s 2017 Startup Activity Index, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro area is in a bit of a lull when it comes to new business creation activity.

Dropping two spots from last year’s ranking, the region took the 36th ranking out of 40 spots, coming in just behind Baltimore and a few spots ahead of Pittsburgh, which ranked last.

The list, topped off by Miami, Austin, and Los Angeles, was compiled using three distinct measurements for each metro area. The first – the rate of new entrepreneurs – represents a percentage of adults in the area that are entering entrepreneurship at a given point in time. The second measure, opportunity share of new entrepreneurs, evaluates the percentage of people entering entrepreneurship out of “opportunity” rather than out of “necessity.” And startup density, the final measure, looks at the number of new employer businesses normalized by population.

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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 »

Curalate Launches in London

At Curalate's Philly HQ. Image courtesy of Curalate.

At Curalate’s Philly HQ. Image courtesy of Curalate.

After five years of rising to the top of Philly’s startup scene, Curalate has now expanded overseas.

The company announced this week that it has launched in the UK, where it’s already hired five people London, including a sales director for EMEA, to be temporarily based out of a WeWork office in London’s Soho neighborhood.

Curalate’s been picking up “great traction” in Europe said Luke Butler, the company’s head of strategy and operations. “Having an official presence in London leaves us much better positioned to take advantage of that opportunity and grow the number of European clients we’re working with.”

The company’s commerce platform links consumers to shopping opportunities by way of tags on online images and videos. Their Like2Buy product for example, makes Instagram shoppable. Curalate’s portfolio of has more than 800 clients like Sephora, BuzzFeed, and Nordstrom and partnerships with Google, Facebook and Instagram. And they’ve already locked in dozens of UK brands like Lipsy and Farfetch. Read more »

These 8 Startups Are in Ben Franklin’s First Fintech Accelerator Class

Ben Franklin Technology Partners HQ.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners HQ.

Ben Franklin Tech Partners just announced the eight startups participating in its inaugural fintech accelerator program and the list of companies gives us a strong sense how quickly Philly’s fintech space is growing. As we reported in February, the new accelerator program is the region’s first support program for tech companies in the financial services space, and it’ll run in partnership with the D.C.-based investment firm Village Capital.

The 12-week program will kick off soon on April 24 and by the end, the eight companies will determine which two startups in the group should be rewarded $25,000 in investment capital. Participants will receive mentorship from industry experts including SEI, Wells Fargo, Vanguard, InstaMed and Safeguard Scientifics. And over the course of the program, they’ll focus on learning how to grow their businesses through Village Capital’s investment readiness curriculum.

The eight companies come from all parts of the financial services spectrum and nearly all of them are based in the Philadelphia region. A number of the companies also offer financial services solutions for big problems in education, real estate, philanthropy and health care. “With the blend of both impact-focused and transaction-based fintech concepts, it’s an impressive range of companies, and a great indicator of the depth of opportunity in our region,” said Ben Franklin president and CEO RoseAnn B. Rosenthal in a statement. 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. Indeed.com 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 Now Has a Free, Next-Day Online Delivery Service for Used Cars

Image courtesy of Carvana.

Image courtesy of Carvana.

Philadelphians just got an upgrade on their online car buying experience. Carvana, the startup that bills itself as the “Amazon of cars” — with more than 7,250 vehicles in its online inventory — recently launched in Philadelphia. This means shoppers can buy a used car online and get it delivered the next day, for free.

“We’re thrilled to finally be in the City of Brotherly Love. Not only is it a major hub in the Northeast with one of the largest populations in the country, but it has a culture of early tech adoption,” said Ernie Garcia, founder and CEO of Carvana, in a statement.  Read more »

10 Philly Startups to Watch in 2017, According to the Biggest Tech Leaders


As we said farewell to 2016, BizPhilly put a call out to the tech community: Which local startups are you most excited about for 2017? That call was answered with overwhelming excitement for what’s ahead in Philly’s innovation space. Here are 10 startups to watch in 2017, according to the Philly tech community.


When Philly’s wildly successful data analytics startup RJMetrics was acquired by Magento Commerce in August 2016, Stitch spun out of the deal. The company evolved out of RJMetrics’ “Pipeline” product, which provided data infrastructure and consolidation services to clients. The product was beta-tested under RJMetrics for more than nine months and these services are now offered to clients like Booktopedia, Instapage and Philly’s Guru. We’ll be watching Stitch for several reasons: Jake Stein, who cofounded RJ Metrics, is leading Stitch as CEO. He’s definitely learned a thing or two about data SaaS after jumpstarting RJMetrics (once one of Philly’s fastest growing startups) back in 2008 and raising more than $20 million from investors in San Francisco, New York and Philadelphia. Stitch is backed by the same investors as RJMetrics—August Capital, Trinity Ventures and SoftTech VC. And less than six months after their August launch, the company passed 100 paying customers. That’s more than five times faster than RJMetrics grew. 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 »

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 »

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