The Sixers now have a fund to invest in startups, but will they come to Camden? - Philly


Feb. 13, 2017 12:46 pm

The Sixers now have a fund to invest in startups, but will they come to Camden?

A new piece on the basketball team's “Innovation Lab” accelerator reveals that it may invest in the program's first cohort.

What the Sixers want to do to startups.

(GIF via @76ers on Twitter)

Technically Baltimore alum Andrew Zaleski wrote a story for Backchannel on the Philadelphia 76ers’ play for the entrepreneurial realm: an accelerator program we told you about last April, one that’s based in Camden, where the Sixers’ new training complex is. (Spokeswoman Lara Toscani Weems tells us the team just moved in today.)

In the piece, Zaleski reveals there’s now a fund in the seven-figure realm for investing in the accelerator cohort in exchange for equity. This didn’t appear to be part of the original deal, at least according to the Sixers’ PR people we spoke to. Initially, the deal included office space, marketing opportunities and the use of the team’s brand. Also, it’s not a given that the Sixers will invest in companies in the accelerator.

“In exchange for extending an invitation to join the Innovation Lab, the Sixers organization takes an equity stake in each company,” Zaleski writes. “In some cases, it plans to invest, and it has a fund of several million dollars to play with (the exact amount, however, is not for public consumption.)”

Perhaps the sharpest insight in the piece is that Sixers — amid a horrid slump that landed them at the bottom of the league last year — are joining a bit of a trend among teams like the Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Orlando Magic, all of which are now sporting some form of accelerator program.

“In other words, teams are not just clusters of athletes,” Zaleski writes of the team’s play for the entrepreneurship world. “They are now platforms. With an NBA championship ring proving elusive, the Sixers have decided it’s time to diversify their portfolio, and to bet on tech wizardry.”


Read the full story

Other news from the Innovation Lab: The accelerator is still accepting applications and has chosen a manager of operations in Rhyan Truett, who formerly managed business operations for the Sixers.

And yes, we are still wondering, despite the now-sweetened deal in the form of possible seed capital, can the Sixers attract startups to Camden? We bet these folks hope so.

Already a member? Sign in here


Meet the second class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator

Pennovation picked these 9 early-stage companies for its summer accelerator

AI, medical devices and sports tech startups land in NextFab’s accelerator



This financial services firm offers global opportunity in the heart of Philly


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Mobile Tech Lead

Apply Now
Blue Bell, PA

Pinnacle 21

Senior Software Engineers

Apply Now

Guru Technologies

Marketing Web Engineer

Apply Now

This Doylestown company will set up a digital ad network at 25 Minor League Baseball parks

These 6 companies made it to Backstage Capital’s first Philly accelerator

Former Phillies player Ryan Howard calls this startup ‘the future of baseball’



Guru is taking on growth with deliberate steps and an engaged team

Philadelphia, PA


Senior UX Designer

Apply Now
601 Lee Road Chesterbrook, PA 19087


Web Application Developer

Apply Now
Chesterbrook, PA


Software Developer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!