(Photo by Corinne Warnshuis)
Project Liberty, the incubator housed at Philly.com headquarters on Market East, announced its latest class yesterday. It’s the fifth class of startups to participate in the incubator, which is backed by a $345,000 Knight Foundation grant. Some startups moved in as early as June.
According to Project Liberty manager Cory Donovan, the startups include:
- ROAR, a new women-focused wearable tech startup from Girl Develop It Philly co-organizer Yasmine Mustafa
- I’m Sorry to Hear, a website that’s like “TripAdvisor for funeral planning”
- Professor Word, an edtech company that graduated from the GoodCompany Ventures accelerator last fall
- SETVI, a mobile app that aims to modernize sales presentations
This cohort and the previous one are likely the least tied to the news media focus that the program was originally intended to incubate — being housed by a newspaper company and funded by a foundation with journalism roots. While it could mark a relative lack of high quality media technology firms in Philadelphia, it may also show a widening in the region’s startup class, as Project Liberty said last January that it would accept all types of startups, not just media-focused ones.
The news comes after a number of management and ownership shakeups at Interstate General Media, the parent company of Philly.com, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. Philanthropist H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest became the sole owner of the company in June after buying shares from the family of the late Lewis Katz. Three of Philly.com’s executive producers and the company’s spokesman resigned. IGM has since appointed a new Vice President of News Operations.
Despite that, the startups remain excited about the opportunity.
“We’re loving it already,” SETVI spokesman Stephen Stewart wrote in an email to us earlier this summer. Among the perks: “Having an office to which we can come 24/7, access to conference rooms for meetings and hosting guests, the support of Project Liberty as we grow.”
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