A new East Coast accelerator is seeking 10 to 12 technology companies to help seed-stage entrepreneurs and investors find each other.
The companies it is seeking offer software as a service and develop disruptive technologies that can scale quickly and could include digital health. Currently, prospective companies are invited into the program rather than having to apply. The accelerator has recruited 100 mentors to date and hopes to have a network of 150 to 200 seed-stage companies within two years.
“We’re handpicking these companies from a chunk of a niche,” said Brad Denenberg, the founder and executive director of Philadelphia-based Seed Philly.
Although it does not yet invest money in companies, it does provide selected entrepreneurs with shared office space, classes and events, and guidance on growing their companies. It seeks to help connect companies with investors, mentors and service providers online and in person. It also provides access to its online community directory as well as to aggregated data collected from Seed Philly members and companies, access to a research library and a company profile accessible to all members of the Seed Philly community.
“We found there are a lot of different silos of information in the city,” said Denenberg. “We meet with companies every day who say, ‘We can’t find anyone to invest $50,000.’ We see investors every day who say, ‘I need someone to invest in.’ Maybe if that communication gap is solved, that funding gap would disappear.”
Denenberg said the company’s goal is to provide a blueprint for seed-stage companies to use to develop their businesses.
He added that he wants companies to think of the accelerator as a “community clubhouse” where participants spend three days a month.
Later this year, Seed Philly is launching Seed Philly Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund to invest in proof-of-concept stage companies. It will make eight to 10 investments per year of approximately $100,000 each and focus only on a few targeted industries. Startups seeking larger investments will be directed to partners that are later-stage investors.
It is aiming to raise $3 million to $4 million after the shared office space has reached full capacity and has beta tested its community directory.
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