The company will have two full-time and one part-time member of the Backstage Philadelphia team at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC Philadelphia) in West Philly. There, Backstage will make use of the coworking space leading up to the spring launch of its accelerator cohort, when it will host six companies for the three month-long program.
Director Liz Brown, formerly of Webjunto, declined to mention specific terms of the deal with CIC.
“What I can say is that CIC has been extremely supportive,” said Brown, who’s a consultant and UX designer, in an email. “They not only made us an attractive offer, but also made it clear that they sincerely want us to be a part of the community that they’re building. Aside from that, they see the value that we can bring to their ecosystem.”
CIC came into the picture in 2016, when it leased a six-story cluster of 3675 Market St., amid a push from the University City Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology to make the building an entrepreneurial totem within the larger uCity Square development.
Sally Guzik, senior community engagement lead at CIC Philadelphia, said CIC staff must understand the local socioeconomic issues facing each of the cities where it has a hub.
“In Philadelphia, we were already focused on developing an accessible innovation campus for underrepresented entrepreneurs but the chance to work closely with Backstage Capital means that we can take that focus to a deeper level,” she said.
In addition to mentorship and programming, Backstage Capital’s accelerator will invest $100,000 into companies in exchange for 5 percent equity. Brown said, in Philly, the initial reaction to the program has been positive.
“So far we’ve received nothing but love and support from the community,” Brown said. “For underrepresented founders who are already familiar with Backstage Capital, they understand the importance of our work and are enthusiastic to be able to interact with us on a local level. Our team looks forward to building community partnerships and playing an active role in our entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems.”
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