United States

Philadelphia

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

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.

Jeff Marrazzo
co-founder and CEO, Spark Therapeutics
Top 30 Global Ecosystem: Talent & Experience
Top 30 Global Ecosystem: Funding
Top 15 North American Ecosystem: Funding

Highlights

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

TOTAL EARLY STAGE FUNDING
$994 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$431 m
ECOSYSTEM VALUE
$18.8 bn
GLOBAL AVG.
$10.5 bn
MEDIAN SEED ROUND
$550 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$494 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND
$3.3 m
GLOBAL AVG.
$2.7 m
SOFT. ENGINEER SALARY
$81 k
GLOBAL AVG.
$42.1 k

Sub-sector Strengths

AI, Big Data & Analytics

In 2021, Philadelphia was ranked 26th among North American cities for tech talent by CBRE. The city also ranked 10th for tech degree completion in North America. In June 2020 The Wharton School announced the establishment of Wharton AI for Business to support cutting-edge research in AI and help business leaders develop innovative applications for the technology. Fishtown Analytics, now rebranded to dbt Labs, announced a $150 million Series C round in June 2021.

Life Sciences

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

Tech Talent

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.

Startup Community

Startup Genome
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