Can’t find early-stage capital in Philadelphia? Then hop on a bus to New York.
That was what 20 startups did last Thursday, as part of a trip organized by entrepreneurship organization PACT and law firm Morgan Lewis with help from the New York City Venture Capital Association. Each startup had 10 minutes to pitch a room full of New York City investors (and their fellow startups), followed by cocktails and networking. At 6 p.m., it was back to Philadelphia.
It was the first time PACT has done something like this, said PACT head and investor Dean Miller. He hopes to do it again but to another city like Washington, D.C. The trip highlights a push to take advantage of the Amtrak corridor: most recently, PACT and Technical.ly Philly co-organized a regional investor panel during Philly Tech Week.
New York City investors are familiar with Philly startups. Tribeca Ventures recently invested in Amber-based LeadiD, while FirstMark Capital has invested in Boomi and its alumni startups like Bob Moul‘s Artisan and Rick Nucci‘s stealth-mode startup Guru.
SETVI, a startup on the trip that sells a platform for pitch decks, said that while they think they made valuable connections with some investors, the most useful part was meeting other entrepreneurs and talking about their struggles with using Powerpoint and Adobe Reader for their pitch decks. Some entrepreneurs had technical difficulties during their pitch, said SETVI’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Stewart. It was a perfect opportunity to get them interested in trying SETVI’s product.
In a similar vein, Miller said he was most struck by the spirit of camaraderie between the startups on the trip.
There was at least one downside to having such a large group: it resulted in less VC face time, said Ryan Mendoza, VP of Engineering for participating company Graphene Frontiers.
Investors from these firms were present:
- FirstMark Capital, who has invested in Boomi and Artisan
- DreamIt Ventures
- Milestone Venture Partners
- Contour Venture Partners
- Edison Ventures
- First Round Capital
- Innovation Ventures
- Metamorphic Ventures
- Quotidian Ventures
These 20 companies pitched. Miller said he reached out to entrepreneurship organizations like Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, Benjamin’s Desk and Philly Startup Leaders to find candidates for the trip. They came from as far as Harrisburg and Delaware.
- CibosApp, an app that features sports scores on relevant tweets
- Exert Co, a Wilmington, Del. body coolant spray
- Fwd, a Bryn Athyn-based tool for businesses that appears to be pre-launch
- eventuosity, a University City-based event planning tool for families
- Graphene Frontiers, a University City Science Center-based company that manufactures graphene and has received grants from the National Science Foundation
- Grovara, a company that distributes healthy food internationally
- HealthSignals, a King of Prussia company that offers tech solutions for senior living
- inControlAds, a Northern Jersey company that aims to give consumers more relevant ads
- Miria Systems, a Norristown-based company that build apps for accounting, finance and HR
- mLeads, a Rittenhouse Square-based company (at coworking space Benjamin’s Desk) that helps companies manager their leads
- Motyx, a Wayne-based company whose app SaveOn aims to be the Kayak.com from groceries
- One Green Apple Academic Solutions, a Malvern-based edtech company
- Prepaidian, a Wilmington, Del.-based provider of prepaid debit cards
- Return Logic, a Harrisburg-based company focused on when customers make returns
- SETVI, a University City Science Center-based company that offers a mobile platform for pitch decks
- SnipSnap, a Center City mobile couponing app that is raising a $3 to $5 million round this spring
- Socialie, a Rittenhouse Square (Benjamin’s Desk) mobile marketing startup
- SocialLadder, a Rittenhouse Square consumer engagement mobile app that recently won PACT’s startup competition at Phorum
- Squareknot, a Center City startup that appears like a Github for projects of all kinds, which has received investment from Gabriel Investments
- Glass-U, a University City company that sells foldable sunglasses and has received investment from the Dorm Room Fund