Philly Tech Week's Top 12 Events

This year’s Philly Tech Week is expected to attract over 20,000 attendees at 100 curated events.

So what’s the plan for Philly’s future in tech innovation and all things entrepreneurial? Where are we headed with the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, wearable (and smokable) medication, the mash-up of tech with the arts, plus career opportunities?

Much will be revealed at the specialized forums, start-up-athons, open houses, hack-athons, and networking parties that are Philly Tech Week, flexing our town’s collective brain trust with events from Thursday (Friday, officially) to Saturday, May 6.

More than 20,000 attendees, 100 curated events, and 50 partners will participate in this seventh annual community-rallying effort, steered by the local tech news network Technical.ly with support from title sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal. Which may have a few job slots to fill in that huge Comcast Technology Center opening early next year.

Other high-profile firms such as Facebook, Google, and Pinterest are sending speakers and recruiters, likewise Philly-area-based companies (Urban Outfitters, Wawa, and QVC) and project jump-starters such as StartupPHL and Philly Startup Leaders. All to participate in events categorized in seven tracks: access, business, civic, creative, media, dev (web and product development), and sciences (new this year).

“Our goal is to bring together the broadest cross section of local leaders and bring new faces to the conversation,” said Technical.ly’s editorial director and PTW program producer, Christopher Wink.

Where to jump in? Consider our personal top 12 tech week (and a half) happenings, offering maximum exposure to good ideas and people in efficient and entertaining fashion. Then dig in deeper with Philly Tech Week’s complete calender, where you’ll also find click-on tabs for the mostly free but required event registration. (A number of the seminars are staged in office boardrooms, so attendance is limited.)

  1. AppItUP Demo Day ’17: Jumping the official starting gun, this mobile application challenge gathers five brainstormers from the University of Pennsylvania community seeking $50,000. Thursday, 9-11:30 a.m., World Café Live, 3025 Walnut St.
  2.  Temple Innovation Showcase: Bright ideas in medical care, the most readily funded of Philly tech, are the focus here – from microsphere taste strips for drug delivery to naturally derived wound-healing materials to VR-based rehab for improved balance. Friday, 2-4:30 p.m., Shusterman Hall, 1834 Liacouras Walk.
  3. Innovation Crawl: Put your foot in the doors of such collaborative work spaces as Benjamin’s Desk, WeWork, the Yard, MakeOffices, and CultureWorks. Might find some kindred spirits. Friday, 5-10 p.m.  
  4. Saturday options: Empathy Hack Workshop talks up technology solutions that foster compassion, at the "Intersection of Art and Society," at Abington Art Center, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sixers Innovation Lab stages an open house in Camden, 1-3 p.m.; Pyramid STEM Showcase targets the inner-city community, Sullivan Progress Plaza, 1501 N. Broad St., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  5. Out to Launch: Philly’s “nine most innovative products” (really?!) make their debut at the equally fresh Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. Third St., Monday, noon-2 p.m.
  6. The Future of Health Sciences: Conference highlights Philly’s public health efforts and good ideas like exo-skin. Public Health Management Corp., Centre Square East, 1500 Market St., Monday, 2:30-6:30 p.m.
  7. Building a Venture-Backed Business: Fireside chat with our town’s most visible project funder, Josh Kopelman, could put you on the right road. Pennovation Center, 3401 Grays Ferry Ave., Monday,  6-8 p.m.
  8. Technology Transforming Theatre: This looks like fun, demonstrating how tech can heighten the intimacy between a stage work and the audience. Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. Second St., Monday,  7-8:30 p.m.
  9. Entrepreneur Expo: More than 100 bright ideas get showcased at this low-key table-hopping trade show, with food and drink trucks adding nourishment and conversation enhancement. 23d Street Armory, 22 S. 23d St., Wednesday, May 3, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  10. Philly Tech Week Block Party: Local game developers show off more than 60 titles, some playing on a giant Jumbotron screen. Street performers and lots of vendors, too. Schmidt's Commons, 1001 N. Second St., Thursday, May 4, 4-8 p.m.
  11. #FailFest: Can’t all be hits. Founders and business leaders share lessons learned from mistakes. WeWorks Northern Liberties, 1010 N. Hancock St., Thursday, May 4, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
  12. PTW Signature Event: Cocktail reception/interactive tech expo/demo party is one of the rare Tech Week gatherings that’ll cost you, but can pay back with higher-grade schmoozing. And this year, with VR demonstrations, photobots, and a tech-free but creativity-charging flower-arranging booth. Pennovation Center,  3401 Grays Ferry Ave., Friday, May 5, 6:30-10 p.m., $40.