United States

Philadelphia

MEMBERS:
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania Drexel University University City Science Center

"Philly gave us an unfair advantage. The unique combination of access to talent and customers, and the supportive community of fellow founders, investors, and leaders, has kept us one step ahead of our competition since day one."

Mark Switaj
Founder and CEO, Roundtrip
Top 30 Global Ecosystem in Talent & Experience
Top 15 North American Ecosystem in Funding
Top 20 Global Ecosystem in Performance

Highlights

Outside of tech circles Philadelphia may be best known as the home of cheesesteaks and Rocky, but the city is also a vibrant Life Science hub and a particularly attractive home base for female entrepreneurs. The Philadelphia metro area ranked 13th in SmartAsset’s Best Cities for Women in Tech report for 2021, and PitchBook data shows that Philly is the fourth-best place to raise capital as a woman. In 2021, more than 3,600 companies with at least one woman founder collectively received $54.8 billion, and 931 companies with all women founders collectively raised $6.4 billion. The bianual Women in Tech Summit serves this community of female entrepreneurs.

 

The ecosystem’s proportion of venture capital funding is growing. In 2021, Philadelphia startups closed 441 deals valued at $8.1 billion, a 299% increase on 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2021, $2.6 billion was invested in 90 deals across the ecosystem, while already in Q1 2022, dbt Labs closed a $222 million Series D at a $4.2 billion valuation. Local fundraising success stories include Gopuff’s $1.2 billion Series G in March 2021 and Houwzer’s $100 million debt financing round in February 2022.


University City Science Center’s Launch Lane accelerator helps startups transition from prototype to sales and customer acquisition. During 2021, 54% of companies supported by Science Center, and more than a third of Ben Franklin’s 39 companies receiving seed-stage investments in the region, were minority-led ventures , The annual Philly Tech Week events showcase innovation happening throughout the region.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
(2019H2-2021)
$1.3 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$687 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
(2019H2-2021)
$46 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$28.6 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$525 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$671 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (2019H2-2021)
$5 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY (2021)
$80 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$46 k
15.4 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
11.3 bn
253
GLOBAL AVG.
101
Amount ($)
Count (#)

Exits

(2017-2021)
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH TIER (2018/19 VS. 2020/21)
6
Calculated on a scale of
1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2017-2021)
$10 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$4.5 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2017-2021)
10.1 years
GLOBAL AVG.
9.4 years

Sub-Sector Strengths

AI, Big Data & Analytics

The Wharton School and Penn Engineering hosts the annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) @ Penn Conference, and Wharton AI for Business supports cutting-edge research in AI. Data transformation tool startup dbt Labs has raised $414.4 million in funding over four rounds to date, including a $222 million Series D in February 2022. Collaborative data platform Crossbeam raised $76 million at Series C in October 2021, and Guru, the maker of a knowledge-management solution, has raised $70.7 million in funding over six rounds.

Life Sciences

University City Science Center provides commercialization support for STEM founders, and its Launch Lane accelerator early-stage healthcare startups transition their prototypes to sales. In 2021, the Center announced a capital fund to address health inequities. Fund for Health, a partnership between Penn Medicine and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, invests in early-stage businesses working to improve the social health determinants of people from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Gene therapy company Passage Bio has raised $379.5 million over three rounds, and Aro Biotherapeutics has raised $101 million.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Philadelphia

Diverse & Skilled Talent

CBRE ranked Philadelphia #26 in its 2021 tech talent ranking. ​​The City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office runs PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub, an initiative to support underrepresented founders, foster connections between higher education and local companies, and provide on-the-job training and internships for Black and brown Philadelphians transitioning to tech careers.

Research Hub

Home to several leading science institutions and many innovative startups, Philadelphia is a leader in research and innovation. In December 2021, Spark Therapeutics announced that it will invest $575 million in a cell and gene therapy innovation center.26 In March 2022, it was announced that Drexel University and Gattuso Development Partners will build an 11-story complex in University City that will become Philadelphia’s largest Life Sciences research laboratory.

Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome Members

Key Ecosystem Players

Get connected

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