Taking advantage of the power of diverse talent, being creative and being inclusive, is going to attract people and make people want to come here.
With its underdog energy and vibrant population, Philadelphia is built on the foundation of innovation, from American democracy to cures for cancer. Millennials are relocating to Philadelphia at growth of 1.5 times the rest of the country. Alumni from Philadelphia’s universities launched more than 600 VC-backed companies in the past 10 years, raising an average of $6 million in their first round. Led by corporations like Comcast Corporation and established startup ecosystem partners like the Philly Startup Leaders‘ accelerator and the Science Center’s Launch Lane Accelerator, a vibrant network of startup support organizations and events support MVP-stage and early-stage tech-startups. Philly Tech Week is an annual week-long celebration showcasing local innovation. The 3rd most diverse US city for STEM, Philly’s startup scene is also inclusive. In November 2020 the city announced its Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative, investing $500,000 to retain Black and brown students and expose them to careers and entrepreneurship. In June 2020 Philly Startup Leaders committed $550,000 to underrepresented founders, with contributions from delivery company GoPuff and civic partners including Ben Franklin Technology Partners. In February 2021, Drexel University and the Science Center announced the $500,000 Raynier Institute & Foundation Seed Fund, supporting local underrepresented founders. VCs have noticed this energy. $1.8 billion was invested across 221 deals in Philadelphia in 2020 with an average disclosed round value of $8.1 million. Deals continue in 2021 with GoPuff, founded by two Drexel University alumni, announcing another $1.15 billion raise with an $8.9 billion valuation.
Ecosystem by the numbers
AI, Big Data & Analytics
CBRE ranked Philadelphia as the 7th top Life Sciences cluster in the USA, based on its jobs, lab space, and VC funding. Pennsylvania’s Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) tax credit program offers upto $15 million in tax credits annually. Philadelphia-based gene therapy pioneer Spark Therapeutics was purchased by Roche in 2019 for $4.3 billion. Biopharmaceutical company Carisma Therapeutics announced a $59 million Series B in March 2021, and data management platform HealthVerity raised $100 million in June 2021.
Reasons to move your startup to Philadelphia
According to CBRE, Philadelphia ranks 13th in the number of tech-related workers nationally, with tech-related jobs making up 3.9% of Philadelphia’s workforce. Its many academic institutions turned out more than 25,000 tech graduates between 2015 and 2019, and continues to attract a young talent pool with millennials comprising almost 28% of Philadelphia's population.
Low Cost of Living
Compared to other nearby east coast tech hubs, Philadelphia offers a substantially lower cost of living, including affordable rents and home prices. The median home cost is $680,500 in New York and $714,400 in Washington, but only $153.400 in Philadelphia, for instance.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Ranked among the most active seed and early stage investors in the US, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a venture development organization that helps high-growth innovative enterprises plant and nurture their roots in the Philadelphia region. The nonprofit has supported more than 2,000 companies to deliver an economic impact of more than $5 billion and over 32,000 jobs created in the Philadelphia region.
University City Science Center
The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been globally recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services, allocating capital, gathering the innovation community, and building inclusive STEM career pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults.
Drexel is a comprehensive global research university with a unique model of experiential learning that combines academic rigor with one of the nation’s premier cooperative education programs. Drexel is classified as “R1: Doctoral Universities” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, a designation given to US research institutions with the highest level of research activity. In 2021, the Princeton Review ranked Drexel’s Close School of Entrepreneurship #12 in the US for undergraduate entrepreneurship programs.
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