Philly As A “Smart City” For Entrepreneurs

Philly As A Smart City For Entrepreneurs
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Mayor Michael A. Nutter will join leading venture investor Josh Kopelman and University of Pennsylvania President Dr. Amy Gutmann to open the new West Philadelphia headquarters of First Round Capital, a 10,000-square-foot facility that will also house several start-up companies and space for more than 20 entrepreneurs to develop new business ideas.  First Round Capital, one of the most active early-stage venture capital firms in the country having helped to fund and start more than 200 companies since it was founded in 2004, announced its move to Philadelphia in August.

“First Round is already making its presence felt in this city, making new investments, generating excitement, and helping spread the word about what is happening in Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “With more and more young, talented people living in the city, new ideas coming out of our world-class universities, and the next generation of entrepreneurs choosing to make Philadelphia their home, this city is increasingly seen across the country as a smart choice for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors.”

Earlier this year the Nutter Administration worked with City Council to make changes to the tax code to encourage investment firms to locate in the city, bringing Philadelphia into line with other major American cities.  This change, accompanied by additional reforms to the Business Income and Receipts Tax to support small businesses and job creation, are establishing Philadelphia as an increasingly attractive city for investment and the growth of start-up companies.  The Nutter Administration is committed to supporting the development of this entrepreneurial ecosystem with continued efforts to make it easier for businesses and capital to succeed in Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is increasingly the place to be if you are an entrepreneur, an innovator, or an investor,” said Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital.  “I look forward to helping entrepreneurs and startups succeed in Philly as part of an ecosystem that will allow the next generation of exciting, innovative companies to grow and stay in this city.”

Just this week Philadelphia-based company Perceptual Networks announced that it had raised $1 million in funding.  The firm’s partners cited Philadelphia’s quality of life, educational institutions, talented people, and the arrival of Josh Kopelman and First Round Capital as reasons for locating their business in Philadelphia.

Bob Moul, CEO of appRenaissance and President of Philly Startup Leaders, said, “Having Josh and First Round Capital move into the city is clear validation that Philly is becoming not only a viable place but a desirable place to be an entrepreneur and build a startup.  This is the third most active VC in the country that can source deal flow from wherever they choose and they’ve chosen Philadelphia for their headquarters. Josh is a highly regarded role model for entrepreneurs and I have no doubt his increased involvement in the community will have a tremendous positive impact.”

Earlier this year Josh Kopelman was named as one of the top ten ‘angel investors’ in the United States by Newsweek magazine, and was ranked sixth on Forbes 2012 “Midas List” of the top 100 tech investors.  He has been an active entrepreneur and investor for more than twenty years, co-founding the company Infonautics Corporation while still a student at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.  In 1996 Infonautics went public and in 1999 Josh left to found the website Half.com which he sold to eBay one year later.  In late 2003 Josh helped to found TurnTide, an anti-spam company that created the world’s first anti-spam router. TurnTide was acquired by Symantec just six months later.

In addition to being an active investor, Josh has served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Comcast Interactive Capital and is an inventor on ten U.S. Patents for his work in Internet technology. Josh has been recognized as one of the “10 Most Influential People in Philadelphia Technology” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, one of the “76 Smartest Philadelphians” by Philadelphia Magazine and as one of forty individuals under the age of forty who have made the biggest impact on the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

“Philadelphia is rich in all of the assets that make a city attractive to investment and entrepreneurialism,” said Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  “Since America’s founding, Philadelphia has been at the heart of ideas and innovation in this country.  The new generation of founders, entrepreneurs and innovators are going to play a major role in the next phase of our history.  The arrival of First Round is an exciting step towards that future.”

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