9 Cool Events to Do at Philly Tech Week

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Philly Tech Week is upon us! It certainly has come a long way in five years. Just look how dated this website from the first one looks! It would still be functional now, but it’s nowhere near as nice as the fancy, sponsored-by-Comcast look of this year. Plus, Christopher Wink and Brian James Kirk got their own profile here in Philadelphia magazine this year.

Right: Philly Tech Week is bigger than ever. That means there are even more cool events to go to this year than in previous years. Here are nine event picks for Philly Tech Week, one for each day. Read more »

Philadelphia Venture Capital Status? Perfectly Mediocre

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Last November, Mayor Nutter announced a batch of grants for local entrepreneurs, funded through StartUp PHL—the joint venture between the Commerce Department, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and Josh Kopelman’s First Round Capital. StartUp PHL—the city’s main pipeline of support to the city’s entrepreneurial community—has contributed more than $1 million in seed funding or angel investments to local startups since its inception two and a half years ago. “For Philadelphia to continue to grow we must be a city that welcomes exciting, innovative companies and the type of talented workforce that wants to work for those companies,” Nutter said, in announcing the latest grants.

But to breed an urban-tech community of startups, you need lots of private investment—a lot more cash than StartUp PHL can provide. And there’s new research out showing that Philly remains something of a laggard in attracting private capital for its startups. A senior fellow at Brookings compiled data on “first fundings”—the initial round of venture capital for new companies—in metro areas of more than 100,000 people nationwide. In the report, there’s good news and bad news for Philadelphia. Read more »

“Philadelphia Business Journal” Names Region’s 25 Top LGBT-Owned Companies

philadelphia business journal top lgbt owned companiesTomorrow, the Philadelphia Business Journal (PBJ) will debut its list of 2014’s 25 top LGBT-owned companies at a cocktail reception at Cuba Libre. The honorees include a variety of businesses — from Midtown Village natural beauty nook duross & langel to the Giampolo Law Group. PJB Editor-in-Chief Crag Ey says this is the second year they’ve released this LGBT-specific list, and the objective is to “show the largest businesses in a certain category.” This year’s winners were chosen based on objective criteria obtained from a questionnaire sent out to employees. “We also ask a few bonus questions,” he says, “Like have you ever been discriminated against, or whether or not its easier to get a bank loan than it was 20 years ago.”

I’ve got the complete list below of honorees below, broken up into categories so you can easily reference it next time you’re in the market for, say, a gay-owned realty group or catering company. It goes without saying that these are the first companies to dole out your dollars to.

The cocktail reception takes place tomorrow, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Cuba Libre in Old City. To reserve a $52 ticket, go here.

See the complete list of winners after the jump »

ThinkFest Snapshot: Wayne Kimmel

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Wayne KimmelWayne Kimmel‘s title is founder and managing partner of SeventySix Capital, but that only scratches the surface. Entrepreneur, venture capitalist and volunteer, Kimmel has titles and awards from multiple boards and organizations, including being named one of Philadelphia magazine’s “Smartest People in Philadelphia” in 2012. Wayne’s latest fund, Bread, was acquired by Yahoo in October, which marks the company’s third “exit” in 2013.

With fellow business tycoons at coworking space Benjamin’s Desk—otherwise known as start-up central and a hub for like-minded professionals to collaborate in Philadelphia—Kimmel will be sharing tales from his experiences on the start-up scene. The panelists will  discuss the art of creative collaboration and what we can expect from Philadelphia’s greatest innovators in the future.

Read more »

ThinkFest Snapshot: Josh Kopelman

We’re rounding up the reasons Philly Mag readers should not miss ThinkFest, our week-long event connecting the brightest minds and most innovative ideas in Philadelphia. 

Josh KopelmanWho better to hear from about the current state and trajectory of the emerging Philly tech scene than from serial entrepreneur Josh Kopelman? Kopelman was the brain behind successful start-ups like Half.com, TurnTide and, most recently, First Round Capital.

While an undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania, Kopelman founded his first business, Infonautics Corporation.

Three start-ups later, First Round Capital, a Philadelphia-based venture capital firm, is among the first to invest in the Startup PHL Seed Fund, a system intended to help provide innovative Philadelphia startups with investment capital.

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Temple Students Launch Clothing Line to Help Solve Philly’s Food Deserts

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A few weeks back, our friends over at Honeygrow posted an update on Facebook about some new friends they’d just met from a local startup called Fruitstrology. I clicked (of course, I did) and learned that Fruitstrology is actually the brainchild of twin-sister Temple students Sarah and Rachel Stanton.

Borrowing the concept from mega brands like Toms, which gives a pair of shoes to a kid in need for every pair purchased, their idea was this: Why not create a fun clothing brand where, for every item purchased, a piece of produce is delivered to kid who doesn’t have ready access to healthy, fresh foods? They wanted to find a creative way to tackle Philly’s problem of food deserts—that is, neighborhoods and sections of the city with little to no access fresh produce. So they came up with Fruitstrology, a line of screen-printed (individually, by the Stanton sisters) tees, tanks and bags in various fruit themes based loosely on astrology: You’re supposed to pick the fruit (Independent Pineapple, Active Orange, Smart Apple) that most reflects your personality. Fun, right? And in case you’re wondering, all the tops are made with high-quality (read: soft) American Apparel-brand shirts.

I chatted with Rachel and Sarah to find out more about the concept behind their brand, what they hope to accomplish, and, most important, when in the world they’re going to graduate. Read on for their story.

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