Recently we had the opportunity to meet with Alan Greenberger, Philadelphia’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce and several key members of a team working with him to explore initiatives Mayor Nutter’s office can pursue to foster entrepreneurship in the city. The conversation was still exploratory, as the team was seeking local investor feedback on a few potential concepts – but the very fact that such discussions were happening was further validation of the general feeling that the tech startup scene in Philadelphia has become increasingly vibrant and dynamic.
The flurry of activity in the past year, spearheaded by the Philly Startup Leaders community, has created a palpable buzz in the city, with a proliferation of meetups and other events that have demonstrated Philadelphia has a large cadre of creative entrepreneurs and talented individuals excited about embarking on the startup adventure. I have been to Philly Tech Meetups, a monthly gathering of the 2,500+ “technologists” in the city, have had to shift to daily summaries from the Philly Startup Leaders listserv because the frequent postings were overwhelming my inbox, participated in the new Phorum Cloud Computing Conference, and been to visit the new impressive shared workspace at Venture F0rth and the Forum in the Science Center. Philly has numerous incubators, including DreamIt, GoodCompany, and the new Project Liberty Digital Incubator, along with a variety of initiatives at the excellent local universities that support entrepreneurs, such as the Wharton Venture initiation Program or Temple’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute. All of this activity is supported by some of the more long-standing and official organizations focused on entrepreneurship in the region such as PACT and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, which offer strong platforms for local entrepreneurs to present themselves to the broader community.
These developments are exciting for us at Osage, and we hope that additional support from the Mayor’s office helps to further accelerate the establishment of a robust startup ecosystem here in the city and region. We have organized our investment strategy around a belief in the Mid-Atlantic region, and that belief is being rewarded by the recent wave of entrepreneurship in Philadelphia, a trend very evident in the number of compelling opportunities we have seen recently. We hope to continue the dialog with the mayor’s office and do our part in helping to nurture Philly’s startup community. And if there are any exciting activities or groups working in Philadelphia that I haven’t mentioned here, please post them in the comments section, as we would love to know what else is happening here in the city.