Philadelphia Mayor Michael A Nutter announced today that the city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has created a joint two-tiered investment and grant making initiative called “Startup PHL”. Philadelphia is looking to spur more innovation and encourage startups to move to the city of brotherly love.
In a video Nutter talks about Philadelphia being home to the most important startup of all , the United States of America. Now 200 years later Nutter is looking to attract more founders to the city.
To do this Philadelphia is issuing an RFP for a private investment firm to match and manage a $3 million dollar investment from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation to establish the Startup PHL Seed Fund. The RFP deadline is December 7th. Those startups receiving investment from the Startup PHL seed fund will either need to be in Philadelphia or relocate to Philadelphia to meet a yet to be established residency requirement.
The other $500,000 will come in the form of grants. For that, the City’s commerce department has put out a call for ideas. They’re looking for “innovative, exciting proposals for ideas and programs that support startups and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia” In a release they said: “the goal of this fund is to make grants to proposals that enhance collaboration in the startup community; attract new entrepreneurs from both within and outside the city; foster networks for entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other, mentors, talent and investors and ultimately lead to more business and job creation in Philadelphia.”
In the government/private partnership for the Startup PHL seed fund the private firm will handle all of the investment decisions. Longtime Nutter aide Luke Butler says he hopes that the seed fund will start making it’s first investments as early as summer 2013.
It’s obvious that this is a “startup community” initiative as much as it is a technology investment initiative. It’s evident that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Return of Community” is starting to pop up in other cities.
“We have broader goals than a return on investment, but we’re hoping to leverage a relatively small public investment that generates more private capital that highlights this important sector and conveys momentum here,” Butler said. “The tech sector is an important part of our economy in that it’s going to be a driver of job creation and is [a way of] keeping college grads here,”
New York, Boston, Austin, Seattle and Baltimore all have government/private partnerships in one form or another to drive early stage investments in startups and keep them in their cities. Las Vegas has a $350 million dollar private initiative from Hsieh to revitalize the downtown area through startups, tech, education and real estate to make downtown Las Vegas a more serendipitous place for entrepreneurs and recently relocated Zappos employees.
Local startup investor and supporter Brad Dennenberg of Seed Philly told nibletz in regards to today’s announcement:
“Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards putting Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem on the national map. Philly is now one of just a few cities in the country with city-backed funding, proving the area’s dedication to growing and retaining high growth (and high paying) companies. With the cost of launching a minimum viable product now lower than ever before, this fund should make a significant impact in a short period of time. I couldn’t be more excited! “
While technology is typically the focus in startup initiatives like this Butler says they want to hear everything.
“If you have an idea, an organization or individual, that supports growing business, jobs in the city, we want to hear it, whatever it is,” he added Technically Philly Reported.