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Jan. 13, 2014 10:30 am

PSL’s Accelerator pairs 11 new startups with established entrepeneurs

Adam Kearney and Kert Heinecke started the program because it was something they wish existed when they first arrived in Philly. There was lots of interest from the startup community, with 40 startups applying to be part of the inaugural class and about 15 entrepreneurs who signed up to be mentors, Kearney said.

The Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator kicked off inside SEER Interactive's Search Church with each startup giving its elevator pitch.

In two years, Ted Mann grew his mobile couponing app SnipSnap to two million users. The cofounders of CollectedIt!, a new online marketplace for collectibles, hope Mann can show them the ropes.

For the next three months, Mann will act as a mentor to the team behind CollectedIt! as part of the inaugural class of the Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator. Run by entrepreneurs Kert Heinecke and Adam Kearney, the accelerator pairs 11 very early-stage startups with more established founders and will hold regular programming on different topics.

It’ll also emphasize meeting as a group, as the participants did last night at the kickoff, because “our peers will always be our greatest mentors,” Kearney said, quoting DuckDuckGo founder Gabe Weinberg.

Rick Nucci, recently-appointed president of Philly Startup Leaders and also a mentor in the program, has said that mentorship is one of his priorities for his two-year term.

Kearney and Heinecke started the program because it was something they wish existed when they first arrived in Philly, said Kearney, who’s working on a startup called Saunter that he describes as “Yelp for the arts.” There was lots of interest from the startup community, with 40 startups applying to be part of the inaugural class and about 15 entrepreneurs who signed up to be mentors, Kearney said.

The founders, who each pitched to the group during the program kickoff at SEER Interactive‘s Northern Liberties “Search Church” headquarters Thursday evening, are a diverse group when it comes to age and experience: there’s at least one Drexel undergraduate, others with little startup experience looking to leave their day jobs in the financial industry and one tech scene veteran (James Bright of CollectedIt!) who cut his teeth at early local tech companies like VerticalNet and Reality Online.

When it comes to gender or race, the group of nearly 20 founders is not diverse, at least on the face of things, with only one woman cofounder present at the event.

During the kickoff event, both mentors and mentees asked questions and offered feedback on each pitch. It felt a little bit like a startup demo night but with a smaller, more curated crowd that cared about helping each presenting startup.

Find a list of the 12 mentors below.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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  • tedmann

    It’s a phenomenal program. Hats off to Adam and Kert for organizing!

  • amishsteve

    I am continually amazed and inspired by the camaraderie and support the Phila. entrepreneurial community extends to each other. Congrats to all involved with this important program. The vision is far reaching.