New venture capital firm Juno Capital, an offshoot of talent agency Juno Search Partners, will host a pitch competition early next year to give early-stage startups the chance to join its portfolio and compete for a $10,000 investment.
Cofounders Mikal Harden and Vicki Sack launched the investing arm earlier this fall as a “thank you” to Philly and its business community, as Dylan Foley, the firm’s VP of strategy and third full-time member, told Technical.ly in September.
“They gained a lot from Philly and its business community and see this as their way of giving back and helping others find success,” he said.
And now, the company is putting out a call for early stage startups to apply for Innovate Philadelphia, a pitch event slated for February. Juno is looking for “mission-driven disruptors who are solving health, social, environmental and economic issues.”
Further application criteria include that the companies must be early-stage, for-profit enterprises with a current valuation at or below $5 million. They also must be located within 75 miles of Philadelphia, able to prove some degree of traction or have gone to market, and show post proof-of-concept with contracts, revenue, strategic partnerships or in another way. Applications for the pitch event will be open Nov. 16 through Dec. 16.
From the group of applicants, 15 companies will go through a phone screening, and a final five will be invited to present at the live pitch event on Feb. 5.
“The final five companies will virtually pitch their company to our panel of judges for the chance to join our portfolio of companies and secure a $10,000 investment,” the event page says.
Currently, Juno Capital has three startups in its portfolio: One, social media monitoring company LifeBrand, has also found success from a recent StartEngine competition and a glowing review from “Shark Tank’s” Kevin O’Leary. It’s joined by HR tech platform Employee Cycle, whose founder Bruce Marable is known for sharing his best practices from HR pros with listeners of his company’s podcast, and clinical-stage biotechnology company ImmunoGenesis.
“Our city is one rich in history and brimming with resources and talent to support the startup community,” Harden wrote in a blog post announcing the VC firm’s formation in September. “And so, we’re doubling down on our love and investment by providing working capital for other eager entrepreneurs with big ideas, lots of passion and tenacity.”