A look back at Pennovation’s banner year

“This year we’ve gone from being a site to now a place” said Anna Papageorge, VP of Penn's Facilities and Real Estate Services.

The Pennovation Center. (Courtesy photo)

The Pennovation Center officially opened its doors on a brisk fall Friday in 2016, amid a flurry of confetti and a cool lil robot aiding its ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The University of Pennsylvania’s tech transfer hub — announced in 2014 as the nucleus of its research and innovation — kept busy in 2017: it nabbed a slate of drone companies, a Penn-focused venture firm and Allevi (formerly known as BioBots).

In March, Gov. Tom Wolf dropped by the 58,000-square-foot space and was impressed by robotics startup COSY, which had just raised a $2.35 million seed round. Corporate types have also been keeping in touch: Hershey’s rented some office space inside the center and Comcast joined forces with Penn’s Center for Innovation (PCI) for the Comcast-Pennovation Challenge.

“We are pleased with the progress and evolution of the Pennovation Works community,” said Anna Papageorge, Vice President for Penn Facilities and Real Estate Services. “This year we’ve gone from being a site to now a place—a place of innovation activity. A place where ideas go to work.”

Between Pennovation and Pennovation Works (the 23-acre, more long-term development from Penn in Grays Ferry) there are 151,000 square feet of leased space, with 64 companies and a workforce of 266 based out of both projects.

“In 2018, we are looking forward to growing our community with new innovators taking residence in the recently renovated office building and in the additional space at the center,” said Papageorge. “A feasibility study for the 69,000 square feet Lab Building on site has been completed and is being reviewed for future development. We will continue to expand upon the program offerings and amenities on site, and networking for new companies as the ecosystem develops.”

Here’s a look back — in pictures — at what the hub was up to in 2017.

Companies: Pennovation Center / University of Pennsylvania

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