Catching up with 7 promising startups from the Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator

Apply for the upcoming cohort of the accelerator by Nov. 1.

PSL Accelerator grad LocalStove at the Entrepreneur Expo at Philly Tech Week 2016 presented by Comcast.

(Courtesy photo)

This is a guest post by Rachel Zydyk of Philly Startup Leaders.

On-demand haircare startup TresseNoire styled Olympic darling Simone Biles’ mom.  Ecommerce company Return Logic closed a $600,000 seed round. Sponsored WiFi company GuestNet landed a big customer.

That’s just a preview of where the most recent class of Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator grads are at now.

The accelerator will be back for a fourth year this January. Get more info about the program and apply by Nov. 1.


Last winter, seven startups got accepted into the accelerator out of 70 applications and were matched up with a local entrepreneur who served as their mentor. In addition, the full cohort met once a week at coworking space Benjamin’s Desk to learn about topics such as finding product market fit, gaining traction and finding their first few customers from local tech leaders.

We asked them to talk about their experience.


What’s the most exciting thing that has happened since the accelerator?

Alan Jacobson, GuestNet: “We’ve partnered with a gym franchise in N.J. that will be using our technology to advertise to their members. This partnership will increase our monthly key performance indicators by over 1000 percent.”

Alexander Gilbert, RedQueen Gaming: “We’ve finished building the core technical component of our company and have started using it in the field. We’ve also opened our first round of funding and are halfway to our goal!”

Peter Sobotta, Return Logic: “Closed our seed round, delivered our MVP, gained initial traction.”

Rachel Benyola, AnneeLondon: “We re-branded based on survey data collected and are thrilled to provide our products to a larger pool of bikers.”

Steven Finn, LocalStove: “For LocalStove, our beta launch at the end of April and all that’s happened since. We’ve on-boarded a few dozen cooks, sold hundreds of amazing meals and met some very interesting Philadelphians.”


Regina Gwynn, TresseNoire: “We’ve seen sales increase from Q1 to Q2 of 2016, along with being accepted into the Google for Entrepreneurs Exchange program in a few weeks. That along with styling Soledad O’Brien and Nellie Biles (Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles’ mom!)”

What was the best part of the accelerator?

What was the common denominator of all the answers for the best part of the accelerator? The people.

GuestNet: “I have to say that our favorite part was the showcase at the end of the year. This was a great experience. “

Return Logic: “Networking with peers and mentors. Sharing collective knowledge and experiences to help each other succeed.”

AnneeLondon: “The best part of the accelerator was the speaker selected for each week. The experts garnered by PSL were incredibly insightful and willing to connect our companies to their networks. AnneeLondon built several strategic relationships via the accelerator.”

LocalStove: “The best part of the accelerator was the rest of the cohort. A lot of us were going through similar issues and being able to talk them out with companies at a similar (read: early) stage was infinitely helpful.”

dlux (formerly LUXTECH):  “The weekly mentorship sessions and the opportunity for each of the companies to help each other out.”

What was the biggest thing you learned during the accelerator?

GuestNet: “Learning how to focus on one metric and execute. It is imperative to find this key performance indicator and work tirelessly to move it 5-10 percent each week.”

RedQueen: “There is nothing quite as important as the people you will meet on the quest to make your company succeed. Philadelphia has a great group of passionate people who are willing to help you if you reach out to them.”

Return Logic: “Run short, inexpensive experiments. Double down on what shows promise. Rinse and repeat.”

AnneeLondon: “I learned that you have to take people’s advice with a grain of salt. Know your audience so that you can assess advice from their perspective because they may not know much about your industry or your customer.”

dlux: “Stay flexible and don’t take it personally! It helps in travel, in personal relationships and in work.”

TresseNoire: “We learned about how to determine ‘good’ and ‘bad’ customers and how to prevent attracting more of the bad!”

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