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December 1, 2015 | Flying Kite Media
The startup stars are aligning in University City, where a quartet of major players has announced several new partnerships aimed at boosting the burgeoning community of entrepreneurs.
First up, Drexel University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania are teaming up to create the Drexel Ventures Ben Franklin Seed Fund, a $10 million early-stage seed fund that will support spin-off companies from the university. The fund will initially invest in enterprises that have licensed technologies from the university and have already taken advantage of Drexel's extensive commercialization programs. Its candidate pool will eventually be expanded to include startups founded by alumni and students.
Concurrent with the launch of the new fund, Ben Franklin will join Drexel and theUniversity City Science Center’s efforts to strengthen the offerings at Innovation Center @3401 (ic@3401). Ben Franklin will establish a physical presence at the collaborative workspace on Market Street, providing member companies a variety of services and support including industry consulting, market analysis and access to capital.
At the same time, Safeguard Scientifics is joining ic@3401 as its first "sustaining member." The Radnor-based private equity and venture capital firm specializes in healthcare and technology companies, and will help to recruit and mentor member companies while bringing in new industry collaborators, providing critical resources and offering perspectives on the evolving economic landscape.
"Together the Science Center and Drexel have built a strong foundation for startups at ic@3401," explains Science Center President and CEO Stephen S. Tang. "Adding Ben Franklin to the partnership and Safeguard Scientifics as a sustaining member strengthens the ecosystem that is in place at ic@3401 and allows us to draw on our collective assets and expertise to attract and support a critical mass of high-growth startups and a diverse set of members."
Drexel President John A. Fry is also excited about the partnerships.
"Teaming with a visionary organization like Ben Franklin, a group with a proven track record of fueling Philadelphia’s innovation economy, will not only empower our entrepreneurs, but also attract others to University City and serve as a model for the type of partnerships that will form the foundation of the Innovation Neighborhood," he enthuses.