The phrase “peer-reviewed” is more likely to make you think of research papers than venture capital, a space that has often been accused of being walled off. But Ben Franklin Technology Partners is adopting the peer-selection model used by D.C.-based Village Capital for its fintech accelerator program that we told you about last year.
The two orgs are partnering up to bring together a cohort of eight to twelve Philly-based fintech startups and provide them with mentoring sessions in Ben Franklin’s Navy Yard HQ. Here’s the twist: it’s the companies themselves who will select the two startups which will get $25,000 in seed funds at the end of the 12 week program according to nine indicators of investment readiness. Those companies may or may not give up equity — that is decided on a case by case basis, said Ben Franklin spokesperson Tyler Cameron.
Navy Yard-based Ben Franklin will put up the $50,000 for the funds and, though there are no committed funds from Village Capital, Cameron said VilCap will keep a close watch over the accelerator companies. “Probably closer than we’d normally have with follow on investors,” Cameron said.
The program is part of Village Capital’s VilCap Communities, which aims to bring venture capital cities outside of the mainstream tech hubs of San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York. One of the other cities involved in the program is Baltimore, which will be hosting a health-focused accelerator. D.C. will be hosting one centered on inclusive entrepreneurship.
“Ben Franklin’s mission in Greater Philadelphia is well aligned with Village Capital’s focus on facilitating innovation and entrepreneurship to develop communities,” said in a press release Ben Franklin’s CEO RoseAnn Rosenthal. “Consistent with our support for initiatives like ImpactPHL, Village Capital’s focus on democratizing entrepreneurship, and building the meaningful connections that grow communities will help bring new national and international resources to companies in our region.”