The Expansion of Philadelphia’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Silicon Valley; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; New York City. When people mention “startup hubs” these are the cities that typically come to mind. For years, aspiring entrepreneurs flocked to these areas if they wanted to start or grow a business. However, over the past few years, Philadelphia has quietly built a very strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.
While the rest of the nation generally saw declines in the number of venture capital dollars and deals last year, Philadelphia saw a 17% increase in the number of financing deals. In a joint report entitled Venture Impact, Ernst & Young LLP, early-stage investor Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA (BFTP/SEP), and Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) state that during the past 18 months more than $1B has been invested in Greater Philadelphia companies, and the stage has been set for future growth. Since 2008, the region has had 10 IPOs and over 160 acquisitions worth around $7.5 Billion.
Recent noteable events in Philly’s entrepreneurial scene:
- Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic established its headquarters in Philadelphia and has since grown to include Washington, DC, New York City, and Pittsburgh, PA
- Early Stage VC, First Round Capital, moved its headquarters to University City and established the student-run Dorm Room Fund
- The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has partnered with First Round Capital to create a $6 million public/private venture fund, the Startup PHL Seed Fund, to increase the availability of investment capital for Philadelphia-based startups
- Accelerator Dreamit Ventures has expanded and established its headquarters at the Science Center in University City
- Dreamit is raising a $30 million fund focused on its growing number of alumni companies
- Drexel University, a Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic partner, has invested $3 million in the Dreamit fund and is developing the office space being used as the accelerators’ headquarters
- Drexel has also established the nations first, stand alone College of Entrepreneurship
- The University of Pennsylvania’s UPStart Program, which works with faculty members to build companies around technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania, currently has 56 active companies that have raised over $10 million from investors
- Philadelphia Magazine profiled the city’s growing entrepreneurial scene in its October 2013 issue