What Philly needs to get its own Techstars chapter

Techstars' Jenny Fielding spoke at a local IoT meetup, and gave some tips for luring the accelerator to Philly.

If Philly wants to have its own chapter of Techstars, the heralded startup accelerator program, it needs to keep linking the tech scene with the academic community. It needs to keep luring its millennial population to stay in the city.
Those were just two of the tips that Jenny Fielding, Techstars’ managing director and leader of its fintech and Internet of Things (IoT) accelerators in New York, shared with an audience of 75 on Wednesday during this month’s Philly IoT Meetup.
In case you didn’t know, Leonid Kravets and Michael Marks host a monthly, specialized meetup to talk about the IoT scene in Philly, and for this month’s edition the duo got Fielding and Rick Bullotta, cofounder of ThingWorx and managing partner at NextBigThing, to share their insights on this subset of the tech scene.

In a quick phone call on her way back to NYC, Fielding praised Philly for its recent vibrancy. “It’s a great place to build a company: great housing, interesting downtown an a burgeoning tech scene,” she said. “It has the makings of a place that can thrive as a tech hub.”
Techstars, already present in seven U.S. cities and London, is certainly interested in tapping into the city’s startups, she said. In 2014 the accelerator set up camp at NextFab to hear pitches from IoT startups. This year, it held 30-minute one-on-one sessions with Philly entrepreneurs. They’re certainly encouraged to apply. But why hasn’t a Philly chapter been established?
Fielding says the main reason behind that is because she lives in NYC, and the program relies on native stakeholders to lead the charge.
“The way Techstars works is that people like me within the communities work to bring the project together,” Fielding said. “If someone from Philly was interested in setting a Techstars chapter here and could make it work, it could be possible.”


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