Launching a startup in Philadelphia? You’re not alone.

June 7, 2011

Sonja Sherwood from the Philadelphia Business Journal sent out a survey question to the Philadelphia Tech community. Along with Lucinda Holt from ClickEquations and Farid Naib from DDC, The Philadelphia Business Journal published Patricia Tawadros’s (Xercel’s CEO) response.

What is the single best thing about Philadelphia’s startup climate? The single worst thing?

Patricia Tawadros
President & CEO
Xercel Inc

The sense of true community. We’re in a growth phase as a tech industry, and it’s inspiring to see the amazing ventures that have been launched. And, Philly Startup Leaders has fostered a robust tech ecosystem. Members share their knowledge, make introductions and offer moral support; no one expects anything in return, but the cheering is audible when a fellow entrepreneur succeeds. Investors have embraced our community and respond with educational opportunities, mentoring programs and funding. The single worst thing: Exposure. Philly Startup Leaders is working to eliminate this, and as its new director of marketing and public relations, I’m excited to be launching my startup in here today.


Lucinda Holt
ClickEquations Inc.

The best thing about Philly for a startup is the talent. There are really great people here, in a tight-knit community. We also have many software engineers, and there’s less competition for them than in other regions. That means they’re easier to recruit and they’re more likely to stick with you. The worst thing is, unfortunately, also the talent. There are fewer tech-savvy sales, marketing and business development professionals here. And although there is a lot of technical talent, it can be hard for startups to compete with the big companies — particularly in a difficult economy, when people look for stability.


Farid Naib

of the startup model. The region also has a vibrant early-stage capital scene. The worst thing is the lack of a centrally located (i.e. Center City) incubator. While the region does have incubators, they tend to be in University City or in the Navy Yards, leading to a gap in downtown Philly. There is also a less robust Round B and C capital scene in the area, making follow-on investments to seed or A rounds difficult.


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