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Philly founders are growing their startups with these 3 summertime resources

Pennovation, PGW, Temple and Venture for America are all supporting local biz growth through accelerators and pitch days.

The Pennovation Accelerator's 2023 cohort. (Courtesy photo)

Philly’s tech ecosystem is busy supporting founders this summer.

Here are three opportunities that have recently brought local founders funding, mentorship and networking experience as they build their companies.

Pennovation Accelerator Pitch Day

Pennovation’s annual accelerator concluded with a pitch day at the end of July. After participating in the six-week accelerator, the nine companies in the 2023 program pitched to a panel of judges and other members of the Pennovation community in hopes of winning funding and other perks.

Judges named two winners. The overall winner determined by the company’s final pitch, engagement with the overall program and company growth over the last six weeks. The best pitch winner was determined by the pitch judges’ scores.

The overall winner of the competition was Medicratic, a company that applies data and machine learning to medical admissions and education. Founders Tanner Mitton and Alexander Thomson say they are taking a holistic, equitable and timely approach to the residency match process. Medicratic won a $7,000 cash prize and a Pennovation Center Resident Desk membership for up to four members for six months. This company also won promotion at the PCI Ventures at Pennovation showcase, and marketing through Pennovation Works.

Cohort member Pocket Scribe won the best pitch award. Founders Nikhil Illa and Jennifer Rooney created an AI tool that makes note taking more efficient for physicians. Pocket Scribe received $3,000, the same Pennovation Center Resident Desk membership, and similar promotion through the Pennovation Showcase and marketing through Pennovation Works.

The other companies making up the 2023 cohort are Blossom, Sonura, Guthrie AI, LCKR, Orble, Vertige and BactTest.

Energy Innovation Lab Pitch Day

Philadelphia Gas Works’ (PGW) and the Temple University Small Business Development Center’s (TU SBDC) Energy Innovation Lab is hosting a pitch day on Thursday where three energy companies will present to a panel of judges.

The Energy Innovation Lab was launched in 2021 to support energy companies trying to bring efficiency and affordability to underserved communities. Applications for this second incubator cohort were open this spring.

Three Philadelphia region-based companies will present this week:

  • Haylon Technologies, which developed software that allows battery packs to switch between complementary battery cell chemistries
  • LiTrans, which developed a platform that generates clean fuel on-site, on demand to reduce fossil fuel usage
  • Hydropore, which developed technology that stores electricity and produces hydrogen from water sources, creating a cleaner way to produce fuels

The winner of the pitch day will be accepted into the incubator and receive a stipend up to $30,000, mentoring and business support services.

Venture for America Accelerator Cohort

Venture for America’s alum-focused latest accelerator cohort is made up of six companies from around the country. One Philly founder, Mamadou Ndiaye Jr., who previously worked at Conshohocken-based software company Jornaya as a VFA fellow, was accepted this year for his company RE:LINK.

The VFA alum’s company helps creators build collector communities and resell their work through the marketplace Timbuktoo.

VFA’s three-month accelerator provides a zero-equity $2,500 stipend and networking opportunities with peers, mentors, experts and investors. The program also hosts an in-person Demo Day in Baltimore where companies have the chance to win up to $10,000.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Philadelphia Gas Works / Pennovation Center / Venture for America / Temple University
Series: Power Moves
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