Startups
Entrepreneurs / Funding

4 Penn startups to watch in 2017

This according to a student-run “innovation fund.”

The Penn Innovation Fund team. (Photo courtesy of Jason Shein)

Penn’s Weiss Tech House Innovation Fund, a program founded in 2003 that gives non-dilutive grants to student-founded startups, just relaunched to feature more support services for its companies, including mentoring from local tech leaders and Penn alumni, free legal services and office space.

Run by a team of students, the Innovation Fund awards about 20 grants between $500 and $5,000 to Penn students startups every year. Think of it as a Dorm Room Fund or Rough Draft Ventures that invests smaller amounts, doesn’t take equity and isn’t affiliated with a major venture firm. The capital comes from donors, said Innovation Fund manager Jason Shein.

More than half of its funded companies are still running or have been acquired, according to the Innovation Fund team. Its portfolio companies have won the Penn President’s Innovation Prize and the Y Combinator Fellowship, as well as raised funding from angels like Marissa Mayer and Mark Cuban.

So far, the Innovation Fund has funded these four companies this academic year, according to its blog post:

Sanguis: Empowers patients to monitor their health with portable, inexpensive, and at-home blood count testing.

Twine Labs: Provides people analytics software that helps Fortune 500 companies reduce employee turnover through internal mobility. (See our coverage of Twine here.)

SolutionLoft: Provides an on-demand scripting platform that gets customers the data they need.

Bright Idea: Offers free LED upgrades in exchange for a share of future customer savings.

Apply for funding here.

The Innovation Fund hosted a relaunch event last Friday featuring Red and Blue Ventures’s Brett Topche, Penn entrepreneurship professor Jeffrey Babin and Twine Labs cofounder Joseph Quan.

Read the whole blog post about the relaunch here.

It bears mentioning that Penn students looking to build a business have a lot of avenues for capital: there’s the Dorm Room Fund, Red and Blue Ventures , the Innovation Fund for grants and a brand new venture firm we’ll be writing about shortly.

Before you go...

Please consider supporting Technical.ly to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, Technical.ly has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services
Engagement

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!

Trending

Here’s how the global tech outage impacted many of the vital systems across the mid-Atlantic region

Inside Philly City Hall’s new $6.85M lighting system, with hundreds of LEDs that dance with color

Why Benefits Data Trust fell apart despite millions from philanthropy and government contracts

Ready to start marketing your startup? 3 crucial questions all founders should ask

Technically Media