Resources for Tech Entrepreneurs and Startups in Philadelphia
Tammy Slaughter wrote this article
As a startup or first-time entrepreneur, it’s so important to make the right connections.
Whether it’s with potential partners, mentors, customers or finding resources to grow your business and yourself – these connections and knowledge are everything in the startup world.
But half the battle is knowing what’s out there already to help you along the way as you navigate your own entrepreneurial journey.
We’ve done that part for you with this resource list for entrepreneurs and startups in and around the Philadelphia area.
Check it out!
Venture Cafe Philly
“Venture Café Philadelphia connects innovators and entrepreneurs with high-impact programming and events.
We create intentional spaces for individuals and organizations to gather, connect, and build relationships.”
Venture Café is a nonprofit organization that hosts free community events and programs supporting early-stage entrepreneurs, including a weekly Thursday Gathering revolving around a monthly theme relevant to the entrepreneurial-tech space.
Powered by Quorum, Venture Café Philly joined seven other Venture Café locations in cities like Boston, Tokyo, St. Louis and Miami in the fall of 2018.
Besides offering free office hours and powerhouse programming for entrepreneurs on a weekly basis, Venture Café Philly also offers free drop-in workspaces in their Innovation Hall. They also offer co-working and office space for local startups through Quorum, the larger building the space occupies.
Perhaps the best part of Venture Cafe Philly is the networking and connections to be made by attending these weekly events.
Because in the startup world, you never know what’s right around the corner.
Comcast and NBC Universal LIFT Labs
“Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs gives talented entrepreneurs access to Comcast NBCUniversal’s renowned network of partners, brands and mentors to foster rapid breakthroughs in connectivity, media, and entertainment.”
LIFT Labs, based out of the brand new Comcast Technology Center here in Philadelphia, is new to the Philly Tech scene but couldn’t be a more welcome addition to this city.
Besides presenting an incredible networking opportunity to all in attendance, the events curated by the team at Comcast and NBC Universal’s LIFT Labs bring in some of the best and brightest stars in Entertainment, Technology and Business.
Once a month, LIFT Labs also plays host to a Female Founder and Funder meetup – an excellent addition to Philly’s growing diverse entrepreneurial landscape.
Besides the incredible, informative events and programming that are only just beginning at Philly’s LIFT Labs, this space is also home to a cutting-edge accelerator program.
“This program is designed to elevate connectivity, media, and entertainment startups.”
Apps and tech startups from within those industries are encouraged to apply.
The skies truly the limit with this brand new, state-of-the-art building in Philly when it comes to events, programming, and networking opportunities.
Definitely one to keep your eye on.
Philly Startup Leaders (PSL)
“Our mission is to help current and future founders succeed in Philadelphia and beyond. We envision Philadelphia to be a place where everyone can achieve their entrepreneurial potential as part of a collaborative startup and innovative community.”
What started out as a grassroots effort back in 2007 by a small group of local entrepreneurs with a vision to nurture Philly’s nascent startup scene, today Philly Startup Leaders is a non-profit supported by thriving collaboration amongst thousands of local entrepreneurs and a full-time staff.
PSL not only sponsors and offers ample networking events for local entrepreneurs and startups throughout the year, they are also home to a 12-week accelerator program.
This program for early-stage founders offers the necessary knowledge and network to build towards success through educational programs led by experienced entrepreneurs, all culminating in PSL’s Accelerator Pitch Night.
This yearly event offers members of PSL’s cohort a unique opportunity to pitch their idea to local Philly startup supporters, investors and entrepreneurs on a celebrated stage.
Other amazing events include Founder Factory, Diversity Dinner, and the PHL Innovation Picnic. And of course, Philly Startup Leader’s are the brains behind the Philly Tech Guide.
If you are a startup or entrepreneur in Philly, this is one organization you don’t want to miss!
TinySeed: The Startup Accelerator Designed for Bootstrappers
“TinySeed is a year-long, remote accelerator designed for early-stage SaaS founders.”
TinySeed just launched in the fall of 2018, but this accelerator is already making waves in the VC world.
“TinySeed is Rob and Einar, two serial entrepreneurs who saw a gap in the ability for non-unicorn startups to raise early-stage funding.”
This remote accelerator program is the perfect solution for the funding issues many of our app development clients who are first-time entrepreneurs face. It solves the age-old ‘chicken or the egg’ question when it comes to digital products – which is how do you get funding without a product when you need funding to build the product?
It’s providing non-unicorn startups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive early-stage funding and resources to help with the transition to full-time with their companies, often in the form of income replacement.
This accelerator is specifically designed to be more logistics-friendly to the everyday entrepreneur, who can continue to build their business from their home base without relocating during their time in the program.
There’s also the non-unicorn aspect about it that we like here at Chop Dawg, too.
At Chop Dawg, we absolutely love what TinySeed is doing for the bootstrapped entrepreneur. The reality is, so many startups we partner with have been in this position of seeking early funding for a compelling idea that just isn’t profitable yet.
They have incredible ideas and startups in the making but they also aren’t after scaling hyper-fast and raising multiple rounds either.
They are looking to grow sustainable tech companies, and TinyFund is perfect for this new class of everyday tech entrepreneur looking to bring their idea to reality.
We are so excited to see the amazing companies and digital products to come out of TinySeed and we encourage all Philly tech entrepreneurs and new SaaS startups to look into this innovative accelerator made with bootstrappers in mind.
The Business Resource and Innovation Center
“The Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC) is an essential part of Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We assist entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and job seekers at every stage, helping to improve their skills through public programs and individualized guidance in research and planning. We collaborate with many local and national agencies to provide specialized programs and expert mentoring and curate print and digital resources.”
The Business Resource and Innovation Center offered via the Free Library of Philadelphia is a shining example of the blossoming Philadelphia entrepreneurial landscape.
This resource center offers free lessons on pitching, writing business plans, and access to free workspace and printing services for the city’s growing base of entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs can also film themselves practicing their pitches using the Pitch Corner, which offers a large backdrop and video camera for use.
You can find the BRIC at the Parkway Central Library located at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
Bounce – Bag and Luggage Storage In The City
“Store your luggage, gym bag, or workbag for just $5.90 per day”
This incredibly useful service is a must-know for the globetrotting entrepreneur.
You don’t want to go to a big meeting with a potential investor or client with your luggage or gym bag.
For less then six dollars a day with Bounce, you can be avoid being held hostage by your AirBnB or hotel check-in time by storing your bag at business locations all over cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., to name a few.
Get to your next meeting or event in style and unencumbered.
“The largest group of funded, early-stage tech companies in Philadelphia. We provide a competitive advantage to Philadelphia startups competing globally. ic@3401 is co-working, incubation, and acceleration specifically designed for early-stage tech startups.”
IC@3401 is a software accelerator and incubator based out of Philadelphia’s Innovation District, home to renowned universities, businesses, tech companies, and entrepreneurial resources.
Not only is IC@3401 a great space to work from with its many amenities, their program and location ensures a rich network of experts, investors and resources to develop your early stage tech startup.
Their mission is to provide a platform for Philadelphia tech entrepreneurs to compete on a global scale.
The Alternative Board
“The Alternative Board™ helps owners and leaders of businesses reach their goals through local advisory boards and business coaching. Why trust your business to just one business mind? Members of TAB boards get better enjoyment from their businesses and lives through our proven systems and tools.”
Not every business needs or wants to have an advisory board.
But there are certain benefits to having other business minds weigh in on your business regularly.
And that’s where the Alternative Board comes in.
With an owner-to-owner monthly session, regular business coaching and a proven strategy for success and expansive network, this is an incredible asset for any tech entrepreneur just starting out and looking for hands-on mentorship. It’s also an incredible way to build up your own peer network of other entrepreneurs and local business owners.
Here is how TAB works: You sit on a board with eight founders of similarly sized businesses from non-competing industries. You meet once a month, where each owner can talk about a challenge or issue they’re facing. The other members can ask questions, provide feedback and advice. You also get one-on-one coaching with a seasoned entrepreneur.
What we like most about the Alternative Board is that it’s a great way to inspire accountability, both on short and long term goals.
“Technical.ly grows local technology communities by connecting organizations and people through news, events and services. We provide original editorial, expert programming and tools which improve recruitment, marketing, community cultivation and economic development. We serve technologists, entrepreneurs and people who care about technology’s local impact.”
This news organization is a must-know for every Philadelphia tech entrepreneur and startup.
Technical.ly Philly is the mastermind behind some of Philly’s largest and most exciting yearly tech and networking events, including Philly Tech Week.
Besides offering powerhouse programming through partnerships with some of the cities best and brightest minds in business and tech, they also provide stellar reporting on the local Philly Tech beat and beyond.
Not to mention their job board, a haven for every designer, developer, project manager, and tech employee in and around the Philadelphia area.
Definitely a great idea to have this incredible organization on your radar as a Philadelphia entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, for more reasons than one.
“A monthly event held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month that brings together entrepreneurs and the Philadelphia community over coffee and conversations.”
Not only is it a great networking opportunity, these monthly meetups also include a chance for local founders to present their startups to their peers and and learn how Philly’s local community can help their business to flourish.
Here at Chop Dawg, we firmly believe so many business opportunities are serendipitous.
1MillionCups gets you an edge over serendipitous meetings, giving you the opportunity to go for the coffee and stay for the casual conversation and connections.
Making connections and finding resources as an entrepreneur
Here’s the thing:
There’s no right or wrong road to travel as an entrepreneur.
When it comes to advice, connections, resources and events out there for entrepreneurs and tech startups, more pop into existence everyday.
It’s truly an amazing thing. And it’s one of many reasons we feel so lucky to call Philly our home base.
But as you navigate your own entrepreneurial journey, keep on eye on opportunities in this space. It wouldn’t hurt to follow the social media accounts of the resources mentioned in this post and really immerse yourself into the entrepreneurial-tech scene that surrounds you so you can always be discovering new opportunities, too.
So, what do you think of the resources in this post?
Have any other new and interesting additions we should add?
Let us know in the comments!