Civic News

7 orgs that invest in Pennsylvania tech startups just got a $123M boost

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia groups including the local Ben Franklin Technology Partners and LifeX Greenhouses are each receiving millions in American Rescue Plan funding.

The HQ of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Julie Zeglen)

Tech investors and small biz-supporting organizations in Pennsylvania are getting a boost, thanks to $246.8 million from the American Rescue Plan.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that economic development orgs in the commonwealth would receive this funding through the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative. The funding will be dispersed in turn to businesses throughout the state through investments and loans to encourage job growth — specifically “businesses that are small, socially and economically disadvantaged, and those in the innovation and technology sector grow and thrive,” Wolf said in a statement.

The Direct Venture Investment program in particular funds orgs that will provide seed and later-stage capital for “existing and emerging companies involved in the development and commercialization of technologically advanced products and processes,” per a release. The program is giving $123 million to these groups:

  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners Central & Northern Pennsylvania — $19,678,479
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania — $19,678,479
  • Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania — $19,678,479
  • Innovation Works — $19,678,479
  • BioAdvance (Biotechnology Greenhouse Corporation of Southeastern Pennsylvania) — $14,758,859
  • LifeX Greenhouses — $14,758,859
  • Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania — $14,758,859

LifeX Greenhouses is the result of Pittsburgh’s LifeX Labs, a life sciences incubator from the University of Pittsburgh, taking on the “life sciences greenhouse” designation from the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse in July 2022. Innovation Works is the Pittsburgh arm of the statewide Ben Franklin Technology Partners network, which also operates in Philadelphia.

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Today’s funding news also includes $123.8 million via the Revolving Loan Fund for 21 economic development orgs across the state. That includes the Pittsburgh area’s Mon Valley Alliance and The Progress Fund, and the Philadelphia area’s Chester County Economic Development Council and Women’s Opportunities Resource Center.

Evan Facher. (Courtesy photo)

Evan Facher, vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship and associate dean for commercial translation in the Pitt School of Medicine, told Technical.ly that the $14.76 million to LifeX Greenhouses is a boon to the state, as the influx of cash could lead to more early-stage life sciences companies sticking around.

“This funding does not currently exist in the region and has not for a while,” he said via a spokesperson. “As such, we are now in a better position to grow these companies in [Southwestern Pennsylvania] and keep them here as they mature. The other item is that when this funding is combined with the top-class programming and support service offered by LifeX, there is an opportunity to do something really special with growing our life science ecosystem.”

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