Back in April, we reported Microsoft was making its first foray into the city by setting up a University City-based Microsoft Innovation Center, part of a network of over 100 global locations.
Well, on Monday, as we showed up to cover the Microsoft Challenge, a part of Committee of Seventy’s American Experiments, we found a different name on the walls: Microsoft Reactor Philadelphia.
Initially scheduled for a June launch, the space has held some small private events before entering this new, soft-launch mode during the Democratic National Convention.
What does the change mean, exactly? It’s not clear at the moment. According to an emailed statement from a Microsoft spokesperson, the Philly Reactor is in line with the space that opened over a year ago in San Francisco. (University City Science Center reps referred us to Microsoft for comment.)
“This experience reflects Microsoft commitment to meeting the needs of developers and startups in the Philadelphia metro area,” the spokesperson wrote.
According to its website, the West Coast Reactor seeks to be a “community hub for making connections, resources and talent more accessible to local startups and the developer community.”
When asked to comment further on the switch, the company’s representatives said more information would be available closer to the launch date.
The center, located within the Science Center at 3711 Market St., is expected to have an official opening in the fall.
For SeventySix Capital Managing Partner Wayne Kimmel, who spearheaded the effort to open the space, the change brings good news for Philly.
“The most exciting thing about this is that it’s the second Reactor in the world,” said Kimmel. “There’s one in San Francisco and now one in Philly.”
Time will tell, as the space develops, what kind of impact the Reactor is aiming for, and how it plans to get there.
We’ll be watching.