Philly Steps Out Of Shadows And Into Start-Up Spotlight

By Diane Mastrull
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Several philadelphia startups believe the “city of brotherly love” has embraced entrepreneurship. After a recent evening of networking and a panel discussion featuring the founders of several Philly start-ups, one entrepreneur remarked “It truly felt like we are in the Silicon Valley of the East aka the ‘City of Brotherly Change

The Philadelphia Inquirer

The contest offered no prize money, no guarantee of an investor to help propel their young businesses to the next level.

Yet nearly 100 of the Philadelphia region’s early-stage companies entered this summer’s inaugural Stellar StartUps competition presented by the parent company of the Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, which yielded winners in six categories.

Headlined by serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist Josh Kopelman, the awards event Thursday night at the new Pennovation Center in West Philadelphia sold out, and the waiting list grew to 30 people.

It affirmed what Kopelman, also chairman of Philadelphia Media Network’s board of directors, asserted to an enthusiastic, multigenerational audience of 150 who paid $65 each to get in: “The Philadelphia community has embraced entrepreneurship. And our start-up community has never been more vibrant or active as it is today.”

Nobody keeps track of its size in any quantifiable way. But there’s no denying the momentum, said Michael Petrie, co-owner of finalist (but not winner) Social Detection Inc., an Old City company that has developed a comprehensive people-search engine to aid investigators in uncovering insurance fraud.

“It truly felt like we are in the Silicon Valley of the East aka the ‘City of Brotherly Change,’ ” Petrie wrote in an email after an evening of networking and a panel discussion featuring the founders of homegrown start-ups Scrub Daddy Inc., PiperWai LLC, and Replica Creative that, he said, “helped answer the inner question of ‘How can I?’ “

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