(Photo by Flickr user Heisenberg Media, used under a Creative Commons license)
On Monday, Sept. 22, the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia will host PayPal cofounder and investor Peter Thiel at the Franklin Institute. The entrepreneur, “intellectual provocateur” (according to a recent Fortune profile) and author of the new Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future will be discussing the need for pioneering ventures.
Technical.ly Editor-in-Chief Zack Seward will be moderating a panel discussion featuring a handful of leaders from Philadelphia’s innovation ecosystem:
- Ellen Weber (Executive Director, Robin Hood Ventures)
- Richard Vague (Managing Partner, Gabriel Investments)
- Jon Gosier (Founder, Market Atlas; Partner, Third Cohort Capital)
- Mark Samuels (Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, SEI)
The panel will discuss the current state of the startup and entrepreneurial communities in Philadelphia: what’s still needed, what’s good and what has improved.
“It’s going to be very informative for folks,” said Vague.
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s in store:
Vague says the startup scene in Philadelphia is rapidly improving. “We’ve had a nice trend in funding compared to five years ago,” he said. “We’re nowhere where we need to be, but the trend is going in the right direction.”
Vague also notes the world-class education that Philadelphia universities provide for young entrepreneurs. Ellen Weber, who was recently tapped to lead entrepreneurship at Temple, agrees.
“The students are working hard to get connected with the entrepreneurial community,” said Weber, referencing the accessibility of the Blackstone Launchpad program, for example. “We’re starting to see density, we’re starting to see accelerators focused on specialty areas like media, edtech or healthcare.”
“We don’t have a lot of super success stories out of Philly, but we have enough that people are starting to pay attention,” said Jon Gosier, whose investing work we recently profiled. Still, he says, it’s the attitude among startups in Philly that set them apart. “There’s a feeling of camaraderie here. A sense that we’ve got something to prove,” Gosier said.
And let’s not forget about Peter Thiel.
“Peter is known for being candid, insightful and very entertaining,” said Vague. “People are going to enjoy that a great deal.”
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