Roughly 6 million new startups launched in 2015, according to Kauffman Index research. The reality is a vast majority of those will fail in their first five years.
Forbes reports that the number one reason startups of any kind fail is due to a lack of capital. “Having only 95% of the necessary capital to start your business is not enough. You need 100%.”
However, if you’ve got a fast-growth tech startup in Philadelphia, with the chops to raise venture capital, consider working with VC firms that help tech founders access the funding they need to scale.
According to a recent PwC/NVCA MoneyTree Report , “Venture capitalists made more than $539 million in investments in Philadelphia-area companies 2015 — the most since 2008 ($675 million.) It represents a 15 percent increase from 2014, when $465 million was raised.”
And while Philadelphia doesn’t have the largest concentration of technology folks in the world, local leaders and newcomers aim to expand the top startup cities map. The assertion is simple: The “American Dream is firmly rooted across the entire United States, not just a few select cities.”
Democratizing entrepreneurship in Philadelphia
Communities build entrepreneurs and VilCap Communities, leveraging the investing power of Village Capital, a D.C.-based venture firm, aims to enable communities across the country to support entrepreneurs solving the world’s biggest challenges.
Village Capital used to focus solely on major tech metros like Boston, Silicon Valley, and New York. And now they’re partnering with local businesses in new cities, including Philadelpia, to launch a startup incubator program.
VilCap Communities focuses on tech startups that are aggressive about creating or disseminating disruptive or transformative experiences on a global scale. The program consists of a group of startups working to help build and coach each other, and at the end of the incubation period, they work collaboratively to nominate one of their members for a $50k investment.
While startup incubator programs are often competitive, the benefits gained from collaborative learning atmospheres, connections in the tech and finance industries, and simply learning the skills to perform better at netting venture capital are powerful tools for the founders which engage them.
A closer look at Philadelphia’s startup scene
Philadelphia has strong medical and pharma tech sectors and is already a major regional healthcare hub, with many big-name healthcare companies dominating the area. Coupled with a strong knowledge economy created by the area’s universities cranking out well-educated and hungry potential entrepreneurs… it’s a recipe for big shake-ups.
But healthcare isn’t the only area where Philly startups can shine. From tech-geared coworking spaces like Devnuts to Spot It Buy It, a startup that helps brands sell more through social media, or Bestimators — a marketplace for big ticket home improvements — Philadelphia is growing a significant startup culture.
VilCap Communities is hardly the first resource developed to cater to the Philly entrepreneur ecosystem. Philly Startup Leaders a.k.a. PSL, a large and active group of tech entrepreneurs, came together to trade advice and offer support. What started in a neighborhood bar far exceeded their initial expectations. Today PSL offers a Startup Bootcamp, networking, startup idea labs, a startup accelerator, and live events.
The value of grassroots entrepreneurship organizations is sizable. Conferring with local startup leaders can help any budding founder learn about different opportunities, the best tools for specific jobs, and tap into a community that makes the often lonely journey more collaborative.
Startup Grind, a project by Google for entrepreneurs, also offers educational opportunities and monthly events for Philly founders, educators, innovators, and investors.
And no Philly startup resource list would be complete without mentioning Startup PHL, a project started by the city and local department of commerce to nurture local entrepreneurial efforts. Startup PHL has a strong focus on the tech industry, and aims to help connect tech startups to capital, training, workforce development, and more.
Narrowing the gap between entrepreneurs and investors
Even if you aren’t a Philly-based founder, collaborating and connecting with the larger ecosystem is beneficial in your local area.
Across the nation we’re increasingly finding that supporting small, local businesses often translates to a reinvestment in the community, a guarantee of better quality products and services, and a reinvestment in local jobs.
Sure, not all startups stay small; Ben & Jerry’s and Facebook were once solo operations. But many founders remember their roots and work vigorously to improve the cities and communities they inhabit. That’s not just warm, fuzzy feelings talking, it’s hard data collected over decades!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Sam Kellen was the CMO of JSInc, a regional marketing brand in the publishing industry. She previously worked as an editorialist and author and currently works as a marketing consultant in Nashville.
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