Philadelphia is a B2B town.
That’s business to business, for the uninitiated, and it refers to tech companies that cater to other businesses, rather than the broader public (like Silicon Valley tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google). Philly’s biggest venture-backed startups are B2B: RJMetrics, Monetate, Curalate.
It’s early yet, but Philadelphia just got an injection of consumer startups, thanks to DreamIt Ventures.
The accelerator just graduated its most recent class in Philadelphia, many of which are consumer-facing, and nearly all of them are strongly considering staying in the city. Most consumer-facing startups that have graduated from DreamIt Philadelphia have left the city, like LevelUp, SeatGeek and Charlie. (Couponing app SnipSnap is one that notably stayed.)
The consumer startups that presented at DreamIt’s demo day include:
- Bestimators: think of it as Angie’s List on steroids. Use the tool to compare prices on a home improvement project. Contractors can also use the app to bid for projects in real time. Bestimators has delivered bids on nearly $250,000 worth of home improvement projects, said CEO Matt Fineberg, who quit his longtime job at a home improvement company this summer to focus on the startup full time.
- Ishqr: a dating service for Muslims that already has 4,000 users and has resulted in at least 10 engagements so far, said CEO and recent George Washington University grad Humaira Mubeen. It’s a response to what Mubeen called the outdated and not-always-effective arranged marriages that are customary among Muslim youth. She talked about Ishqr as the inverse of dating app Tinder: photos are initially hidden, so personality comes first, she said. We also have to give Ishqr the award for Best Tagline: “Where God is your wingman.”
- Myavana: a service that offers personalized hair advice for women of color. CEO Candace Mitchell called the hair industry for women of color a hugely underserved market. Users send in a sample of their hair to be analyzed and Myavana recommends products based on the results. Mitchell said her user base has grown 25 percent since joining DreamIt and she’s about to launch a partnership with Essence Magazine.