Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Round Capital to manage $6 million Startup PHL Seed Fund

One of the most active venture capital investors has been chosen by the City of Philadelphia to operate a seed fund that would invest in tech start-ups.

First Round Capital to manage $6 million Startup PHL Seed Fund


First Round Capital, one of the nation's most active venture capital investors, has been picked by the City of Philadelphia to manage its $6 million seed fund.

The West Philadelphia-based First Round Capital intends to invest the capital in Philadelphia start-ups over the next two to three years. The average size of investment will be about $500,000, according to First Round founder Josh Kopelman.

At that amount, the Startup PHL Seed Fund would invest in 12 companies from the information technology sector.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. and First Round will each supply $3 million to capitalize the fund, which city officials hope will encourage more startups to stay in Philadelphia, rather than leave for New York or California which have greater concentrations of investment.

Mayor Nutter also announced Tuesday that PIDC would invest $500,000 in the University City Science Center's QED Program, which supplies money to academics in need of "proof-of-concept" funding. The goal of the program is get more technology out of the city's research labs into the commercial marketplace, said Science Center president Stephen Tang.

Finally, the city's Commerce Department announced the six winners for its "Call for Ideas" program from among 118 submissions. Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development, said the small grants will go toward efforts to support the city's startup community. The winners are:

  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania/Campus Philly: $25,000 for a summer internship program to place college students at firms in Ben Franklin's own investment portfolio.
  • The Enterprise Center's Center for Culinary Enterprises: $15,000 for a workshop series to help 25 food entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
  • The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce: $18,400 to develop an online directory of resources to help entrepreneurs find funding, technical advice, and other services.
  • PhillyCore Leaders: $15,000 for a program aimed at helping education entrepreneurs prepare to compete for funding.
  • Startup Corps: $20,000 to expand a high school entrepreneur program.
  • VentureF0rth: $25,000 for dedicated space at its co-working facility to provide job-training services for those looking to work in the tech sector.
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Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at

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