Philadelphia’s globally competitive health IT and pharmaceutical programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, and University City Science Center have catalyzed a number of recent exits along the health sciences vertical. A concentration of old money has encouraged a burgeoning industry cluster around financial technology. The recent acquisition of fintech startup Ecount by Citigroup was instrumental in inspiring angel investors to focus attention on this up and coming sector. Philadelphia’s low costs of living sets it apart from similarly sized cities and attracts waves of young migrants who have bolstered other existing startup sectors like data warehousing, insurance and enterprise software. However, there are hurdles that come with being in the country’s second-oldest city, namely an uncooperative city government, aging infrastructure, and an unattractive tax structure.
These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.
Trending, anticipated IPO
Acquired by eBay for $2.4 billion
Acquired by Google for $81 million
Acquired by Amazon for $500 million
Josh Kopelman is a serial entrepreneur and longtime tech investor. He serves as a Partner at First Round Capital, a VC firm he co-founded in 2004. First Round has been an active partner for the city’s startup initiative, StartUp PHL, managing the Startup PHL Seed Fund.
Michael Rubin is a longtime entrepreneur and investor who leads Kynetic, a company overseeing three e-commerce firms: Rue La La, Fanatics and ShopRunner. Michael’s tech acumen is a tremendous asset to Philly. He previously founded GSI Commerce, which, when purchased by EBay in 2011, became one of the city’s largest exits at $2.4 billion.
Robert Moore serves as CEO and Co-Founder at RJMetrics, an innovator in data-driven methods to make online companies more effective. He has served as a longtime mentor for the city’s entrepreneurs through his work at Philly Startup Leaders. Robert is also a frequent writer, with his insights appearing on TechCrunch and The New York Times, among other places.
Bob Moul is a tech veteran, leading businesses of all sizes during his three decades in the industry. He currently serves as CEO of Artisan, a mobile app development platform. His deep engagement with Philly’s startup community includes his work as President of Philly Startup Leaders as well as his frequent speaking engagements.
As the Managing Director at DreamIt Ventures, William is responsible for the operation of DreamIt Access, a partnership between DreamIt Ventures and Comcast to increase the number of minority-led startups. Additionally, William leads the Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, a $20M early stage venture fund that invests in diverse entrepreneurs and tech startups with the potential to become industry leaders.
Brad Denenberg founded and leads Seed Philly, one of the largest entrepreneurial spaces in the city. In addition to serving as an incubator and co-working space, Seed Philly also seeks to support the community through research and mentorship. Brad also co-founded Philly Startup Leaders and actively promotes the city’s entrepreneurs.
Gabriel Weinberg founded DuckDuckGo, a privacy-focused search engine. He is an active member of the Philadelphia startup scene, supporting entrepreneurs through Founded in Philly, an organization celebrating the city’s startups, and Open Angel Forum Philly. Gabriel recently wrote Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers, a book on how startups can achieve scale.
Elliot Menschik is an entrepreneur who uses his hybrid expertise in medicine and engineering to support startups in the heath tech space and beyond. He promotes innovation through his roles as Managing Partner at health tech accelerator DreamIt Ventures and as the co-founder of Venturef0rth, a Philly co-working space.
Lucinda Duncalfe is an entrepreneur who serves as President and CEO of Monetate. Her previous ventures include founding Real Food Works, a culinary delivery firm, and ClickEquations, which produced online advertising software. Her expertise at building and scaling startups makes her a skilled mentor and advisor to the city’s entrepreneurs.
Paul Martino is an online innovator and entrepreneur with experience covering subjects from online advertising to gaming. He currently serves as Managing Director at Bullpen Capital, a VC firm he founded in 2010. With his significant experience in development and investment, Paul is a strong proponent of Philadelphia’s burgeoning tech community.
Often thought of as the Fairchild Semiconductor of Philadelphia, the city owes much of its development and innovations to Safeguard Scientific. Safeguard has invested hundreds of millions in the community, Safeguard and those affiliated with it have launched hundreds of businesses, and together they have brought in amazing talent into the city.1953
As one of the country's oldest and largest research parks, the Center has served and continues to serve as a hub of innovation for the city of Philadelphia and is a magnet for a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, innovators, and people passion about science and technology.1963
Infonautics had more than a dozen tech leaders, such as Joshua Kopelman and Marvin Weinberg, who went on to launch many successful enterprises. The company's IPO in 1996 established Joshua Kopelman who founded and then sold half.com to eBay.1991
Comcast Ventures continues the practice of large entities catalyzing innovation and entrepreneurship. They have brought in a diverse team with expertise in virtually all technology sectors, alongside experts in finance and operations.1999
One of the first coworking spaces to launch in the city, Indy Hall has provided a transformation in the way people work in the city. Indy Hall runs many community events, spawned dozens of startups, and its founder, Alex Hillman, has gained international attention.2006
What was once a small group of entrepreneurs meeting at bars has now become a large community with hundreds of members. This all-volunteer, grassroots organization rallies around tackling the problems that startups face and helping existing startups.September 2007
DreamIt provides unique and ongoing mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, access to top-tier legal and accounting services, opportunities to meet and pitch angel investors and venture capitalists and most importantly a collaborative community of fellow entrepreneurs.2008
UPstart is a virtual incubator at the University of Pennsylvania, dedicated to supporting technology commercialization within the Penn community. UPstart has worked with both faculty and staff to form and launch new companies based on selected inventions and innovative technologies.2010
eBay’s acquisition of GSI Commerce was eBay's second largest acquisition and plays a large role in eBay's strategy to compete with Amazon. This also established founder Michael Rubin as an avid angel investor.2011
The Close School is the first freestanding school of entrepreneurship in the nation to offer its own degrees independent of a business school. This is emblematic of the burgeoning interest in entrepreneurship both at Drexel and in the Philadelphia area.May 2014