7 questions Philly startup founders want Mayor Kenney to answer

During our quarterly stakeholder meeting we held a brief AMA of sorts on behalf of the mayor. We'll ask him these questions (and maybe yours?) Thursday at #PTW18's marquee event.

Stakeholders gathered at Pennovation ahead of Philly Tech Week 2018.

(Photo by Christopher Wink)

During Introduced by on Thursday, May 3 (get a 20 percent discount by clicking here) Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney will sit down with this reporter to answer the tech community’s most pressing questions during our yearly Tech Town Hall.

Ahead of that event, we gathered a group of stakeholders to help us map out the conversation. An overarching theme? Founders and execs want to know what the mayor envisions for the next stage of City Hall–tech scene relations. During last year’s conversation, Kenney spoke about how a trip out to South by Southwest was one way he was aiming to connect with the community.

As recently as two weeks ago, he gave his blessing to the seven companies in the Philly Startup Leaders accelerator program. More than two years into the job, and following that awkward “getting-to-know-you” stage at the beginning, here are the topics Philly’s tech leaders want to hear more on from Mayor Kenney.


Sylvester Mobley, founder of Coded by Kids:

  • “What’s a meaningful way that you’ll aim to back tech diversity efforts?” Mobley asked. “A lot of the conversations are good and people know that there’s a problem but we need to address the problem now.”


Robert Melton, marketing director at Clarip


Mohamed Zerban, founder of Tern Water

  • “For a city to be more prominent with tech companies, they should be more engaging with them,” Zerban said. “How can we see more outward engagement without so much bureaucracy?”

Model cities

Archna Sahay, senior consultant with J Nowak Strategy (and former Kenney administration startup czar)


  • “What’s a city that you think is doing good work when it comes to tech ecosystems?”

City taxes

Rich Mager, COO of Keriton

  • “We’re going through the process of filing for state and city tax credits,” Mager said. “Can the city make that process easier instead of us having to go through private services?”

State taxes

Will Luttrell, founder of Amino

  • “How do we make sure the state tax for tech services proposal doesn’t go forward?” Luttrell asked. “It would be hugely detrimental for doing business in the city.”


Naila Mattison, comununity manager for The ITEM

  • “There’s no reason why this can’t be a tech city,” Mattison said. “We have all the resources so, what is his exact plan for this to be a tech city?”

P.S. Have other questions for Mayor Kenney? Ask them at Introduced.

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