Led by new owner Marvin Weinberger, Venturef0rth is raising a seed fund to make small ($25,000) investments in tech companies that choose to work out of the space. The incubator will also offer mentoring and short-term leases with a deferred payment option that lets startups pay fees when they’re ready.
"These companies leave the city because they have nowhere to go."
Though the offer is open to any company, Weinberger is targeting graduates of DreamIt Ventures and DreamIt Health (former Venturef0rth owner Elliot Menschik runs DreamIt Health). As of last year, roughly two-thirds of Philadelphia DreamIt Ventures (not Health) companies had left the city.
“These companies leave the city because they have nowhere to go,” Weinberger said.
DreamIt Ventures’ new headquarters at University City’s ic@3401 should help with this — at least a few of the companies that recently graduated from DreamIt Health, like RistCall and Haystack, have continued to operate out of ic@3401, where they were headquartered during the accelerator.
Funding is also another reason DreamIt startups leave.
In a move that speaks to DreamIt’s growing interest in retaining those companies, the accelerator is aiming to tackle that issue by creating a fund that invests in its graduates. DreamIt partner Karen Griffith Gryga told us earlier this month that she’s still in the process of raising that fund.
Weinberger, who runs ecommerce startup American Certified, said he has $100,000 “soft-committed,” meaning that no papers have been signed yet. He hopes to raise $250,000.
He describes his hope for the new seed fund and program like this: “Some of these companies, we’re going to be the bridge that keeps them alive.”
Since taking over Venturef0rth, Weinberger has announced or been kicking around several new initiatives, like the seed fund, a live music component to events and a new event series centered around local tech media.-30-