There’s much ado about the future of Philadelphia’s technology scene.
Active discussions are taking place about how Philly can become a hub of technology innovation on the popular PANMA new media listserve.
Subscribers have been debating whether or not Philadelphia can become the Silicon Valley of the East coast. There’s even a few mentions of a “Philacon Valley.”
Earlier this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Technically Philly that the city met all the criteria for a tech renaissance.
Except, instead of championing Philadelphia’s long list of suburban tech companies, he suggested that tech hubs tend to grow best in urban centers.
“Do you think Schmidt understands that when you get down to brass tacks, it’s the Philly tax situation that’s keeping [Center City] tech entrepreneurship artificially suppressed,” responded one reader on the PANMA listserv.
It seems that policy makers are conscious of taxes that affect business in Philly proper.
City Council approved a compromised budget today that would increase sales tax by 7 percent to 8 percent for five years, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal. Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. called it the “preferred alternative” to other business taxes.
There were other concerns about Philadelphia entrepreneurial dichotomy voiced on the listserv.
“I agree that Philly could certainly become the East Coast Valley, but until there are investors here willing to support the ecosystem and the local startup scene, it isn’t going to be that way,” wrote Jameson Detweiler, CEO of Konnect.me.
Venture capital funding plunged in the first quarter, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers last month, but local investors tell Technically Philly that while the region’s investments are locked to national trends, seed-stage funding is still strong.
Other responders of the e-mail blast said that Philly stands on its own.
“We all were excited about the idea of a Wireless Philadelphia even though it didn’t work out as planned. University of Penn was where the ENIAC project was housed. We have some of the most wired campuses in the country where students have had the chance to work with computers and IT-centric careers for a good number of years,” wrote Mike Rosenberg of LeanServer.
“I think Philly has been in large part a major player in contributing to the new media and IT culture of the world.”
We throw it back to you, the reader. Is “Philacon Valley” in Philly’s future or are we defining the tech scene ourselves? Should the city do anything to lure tech companies into the city, or does Schmidt just not get our suburban culture? Let us know in the comments.