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Entrepreneurs / Events / Founders / Startups

Dang, this is actually the most big-time lineup we’ve ever seen for Founder Factory

With speakers from the likes of Etsy, Blavity and New York City venture fund BoxGroup, Philly Startup Leaders' flagship conference is upping the ante this year.

At the 2015 Founder Factory. (Screenshot via Vimeo)

At the upcoming Founder Factory, the well-known entrepreneurship conference put together by Philly Startup Leaders, Program Director Yuval Yarden wants people to go home with more than startup-y anecdotes.
“Attendees are going to leave with a packed notebook,” warns Yarden. “The goal isn’t for speakers to share their life story but to provide actionable advice people can use to grow their company starting the next day.”
The eighth annual edition of the event, to be held Dec. 8 at Center City’s Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, is slated to attract some 500 attendees, doubling the headcount from the previous edition.
Also up from last year: speakers hailing from outside of Philly, with half the lineup repping cities like New York and Boston. We’re impressed with this slate of speakers — and while we don’t want to overstate the importance of having out-of-town speakers come to speak at Founder Factory (because that feels so very, New York is the center of the universe and we know that’s not true), it does feel like a big deal that people like Etsy COO Linda Kozlowski and former Birchbox CEO and now First Round Capital venture partner Hayley Barna are coming through for the conference. Learning from new people, instead of the same rotating lineup of local speakers, is good. Even better if we can get ’em to come here. Is this what Philly Startup Leaders can be when it has a dedicated staff?

Here’s the full lineup. And we’ll also note that we’re happy to see that the lineup is almost 50 percent women speakers, as this is something Founder Factory has struggled with in the past.

On the eve of the conference, the community of tech entrepreneurs will be hosting a Diversity Dinner to open the discussion on tech’s diversity challenges.
“People still feel this discomfort talking about how to diversify their offices past just gender,” Yarden said. “We want to create a place where that conversation can happen.”
All proceeds from the event will go to to PSL’s annual operations (which include that accelerator program you’ve been reading about).
And how are things doing over at PSL? According to Yarden, the organization is actively fundraising, and recently welcomed its second full-time employee, former Technical.ly events intern Rachel Zydyk as program coordinator. The current focus: community outreach.
“We’re trying to understand the needs of the community and what PSL can do to alleviate them,” she said.
Here’s a quick recap of what went down at PSL’s 2015 Founder Factory (where former PSL prez Bob Moul gave that memorable talk about failure):

Companies: Zoomer / Lyft / Birchbox / Etsy / First Round Capital / Golden Seeds / InstaMed / Philly Startup Leaders / RevZilla / Sidecar
People: Yuval Yarden / Andre Golsorkhi / Anthony Bucci / Bob Moul

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