Meet the 4 Project Liberty startups housed in the Inquirer building - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 13, 2014 11:30 am

Meet the 4 Project Liberty startups housed in the Inquirer building

The incubator held its first three six-month cycles in 2012 and 2013, backed by a $250,000 Knight Foundation grant. The Knight Foundation re-upped its funding last August, awarding Project Liberty $345,000.

Interstate General Media headquarters used to be the Strawbridge and Clothier building. Photo taken by Flickr user Tim McFarlane via Creative Commons. Taken on Feb. 27, 2007.

The startup incubator at the headquarters of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com continues with two new startups moving into the building at 8th and Market last October and two startups from the previous class returning.

The incubator, dubbed Project Liberty, held its first three six-month cycles in 2012 and 2013, backed by a $250,000 Knight Foundation grant. The Knight Foundation re-upped its funding last August, awarding Project Liberty $345,000. The increased funding allows Project Liberty to take on four startups, instead of three, said Interstate General Media spokesman Mark Block. The incubator is also accepting all kinds of tech companies, not only those in the ecommerce and mobile app field, like before, Block said.

One of the main Project Liberty partners, Interstate General Media, parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com, has had a rocky winter with its owners fighting a much publicized legal battle over the Inquirer’s editor. Still, the company was on the brink of profitability, Philadelphia Magazine reported in October.

Project Liberty does not invest in its startups, though partner organization Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners has invested in seven of the eight startups that participated in the first three classes of the incubator. Aside from office space, the incubator offers an opportunity to partner with Interstate General Media. At least two of the graduates – ElectNext (now Versa) and tapCLIQ – have done so, according to a release.

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The main differences between this cycle and the initial three IGM spokesman Mark Block.

At least one perk for the new class? An in-road to local newspaper coverage: The founders of a new startup called VUID were featured in a Daily News story about the merits of “juicing.”

Below, find a list of the participating startups.

  • Tuva Labs: this edtech startup uses news stories to teach math to students. A GoodCompany Group graduate, Tuva Labs was part of the previous Project Liberty cycle. It has offices in both New York City and Philadelphia, founder Harshil Parikh told us last fall.
  • A View from My Seat: A View from My Seat is a crowdsourced photo sharing site that helps fans make better ticket purchases, offering a seating chart that actually shows what you’ll see.
  • VUID: This soon-to-launch startup offers a “mobile digital identification number that enables users to access secure content from their mobile phones,” according to the Project Liberty site. It’s run by Kevin Brophy and Karen Meidlinger of private equity firm Meidlinger Partners. Meidlinger also participated in GoodCompany Group’s 2012 accelerator with a company called ZiyROn.
  • Fitly: This former DreamIt Health company is a healthy meal subscription service geared toward families.
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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

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