Drexel University, the University City Science Center and DreamIt Ventures are on a mission to support innovators and entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region and have formed a strategic partnership that creates a hub for start-ups to test their wings and the capital that will support their continued growth.
Drexel – Science Center Collaboration
Drexel and the Science Center have collaborated to form a 17,500-square-foot innovation hub that will serve as a launching pad for companies by offering business incubation and accelerator spaces and services to support idea generation, innovation and growth as well as support for later-stage companies.
The innovation hub, which will officially open in April 2014 on the second and third floors of the Science Center building at 3401 Market Street, will include a suite of flexible workspaces designed to foster collaboration throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It will also house the world headquarters for DreamIt Ventures, a global business accelerator that is well-versed in helping start-ups take flight.
“This partnership not only supports Drexel’s and the Science Center’s shared vision for University City, it’s a major step forward in accomplishing Drexel’s goal of creating an innovation nexus on our campus,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “It also marks an important step in creating a path to success for burgeoning entrepreneurs to follow.”
The goal of Drexel and the Science Center’s collaboration is to support emerging technologies. It builds on Drexel’s strategic plan and the mission of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center; and the Science Center’s long and successful tradition of supporting startups and convening communities around innovation and entrepreneurship through programs such as its Port business incubator and Quorum, the entrepreneurs’ clubhouse. The ExCITe Center, which opened on the first floor of the 3401 Market Street. building last fall, has already become a hub for Philadelphia’s technological innovation community. Just up the street, at 3711 Market Street, the Port has been developing successful models of business incubation since 2001, which will now be extended to the 3401 innovation hub.
“The Science Center and Drexel University share an innate strength and experience in emerging technologies,” said Dr. Stephen S. Tang, president and CEO of the Science Center. “This partnership leverages that strength to create an environment where tech entrepreneurs can connect, collaborate and thrive – ultimately strengthening Philadelphia’s role as a supportive environment for tech startups. And we are pleased to be able to strengthen our long-term relationship with our friends at DreamIt, by offering them a permanent home on our campus.”
“We are putting another stake in the ground to create our Innovation Neighborhood and illustrate how committed we are to supporting entrepreneurs in the Philadelphia region,” said Drexel’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations and Economic Development Keith Orris. “We want to support start-up companies, help them grow and keep them here in Philadelphia.”
Tying things together further is the presence of DreamIt Ventures and its track record of successfully launching start-up companies. The DreamIt team works hands-on with entrepreneurs from around the country and the world to rapidly validate, de-risk or disprove the assumptions underlying their businesses. DreamIt helps entrepreneurs achieve in three months what typically takes companies 12-to-24 months to achieve on their own. DreamIt operates accelerators in Austin, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and Tel Aviv. While the group has launched more than 125 start-ups since 2008 -74 in Philadelphia alone- locating DreamIt’s headquarters in the Innovation Neighborhood will give DreamIt’s portfolio companies an even better chance of succeeding.
“DreamIt’s choice of Philadelphia for its global headquarters is yet another sign that Philadelphia is committed to becoming a more welcoming and supportive city for startups and entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “The City and PIDC through Startup PHL are proud to play our role, in partnership with great institutions such as Drexel University and the Science Center, in providing the capital and business growth opportunities that will lead more start-ups to stay in Philadelphia.”
As a way to further solidify this partnership and foster innovation, the Science Center and Drexel are investing in DreamIt’s $30 million fund to support these promising ideas and thinkers. Drexel’s $3 million investment in DreamIt Fund II recognizes the benefits of the Fund investing small amounts of money in a large number of startups for large ownership positions relative to the money invested. The investment further enables the Fund to participate in the follow-on funding rounds of those companies participating in DreamIt’s accelerator programs.
“DreamIt Fund II and our new headquarters in Philadelphia further position the region as a technology startup hub,” said David Bookspan, founder of DreamIt Ventures. “This exciting partnership between three world-class organizations is an important step in bringing additional capital to Philadelphia to support our growing startup community. DreamIt now offers companies more capital than any other major accelerator.”
DreamIt will host its semi-annual Philadelphia-based accelerator programs at the 3401 Market St. location and will give participating companies the option to work in the adjoining office space after graduating from the boot camp.
The innovation hub will also be open to entrepreneurs throughout the region. For more information about the Drexel – University City Science Center partnership visit: http://drexel.edu/corporaterelations/drexel-ventures/overview/. To find out how to get involved with DreamIt visit: http://www.dreamitventures.com/
About DreamIt Ventures:
DreamIt Ventures is a seed stage accelerator and start-up fund, with the goal of helping exceptional teams build exceptional companies. DreamIt provides aspiring entrepreneurs with access to seasoned entrepreneurs and subject matter experts to help them validate and de-risk their ideas; a uniquely assigned, seasoned entrepreneur as a mentor; pre-seed funding; top tier accounting and legal services, a rigorous and creative working environment, and access to capital. DreamIt was founded in 2008 by three successful technology entrepreneurs who want to create the same type of opportunities that they were fortunate to have had themselves for the next wave of entrepreneurs. Since kicking off in Philadelphia with their traditional accelerator program, DreamIt has expanded to Austin, Baltimore, New York, and Israel; built a thriving healthtech accelerator program, been named the third best accelerator program in the world by Forbes Magazine in 2012; and launched 127 companies with an enterprise value greater than $385, including: SCVNGR, Parse,ly, SeatGeek, Adaptly, MindSnacks, ShowMe, AppAddictive, LearnBop, Take The Interview, Cloudmine, ElectNext, SnipSnap, Charlie, Cloudamize, Vantageous, Winston, PeerActive, and TrendKite. DreamIt alumni have collectively gone on to raise more than $100M in follow on funding. More information about DreamIt Ventures is available online at www.dreamitventures.com, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
About The University City Science Center:
The University City Science Center is a dynamic hub for innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology development in the Greater Philadelphia region. It provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center was the first, and remains the largest, urban research park in the United States. Since it was founded in 1963, graduate organizations and current residents of the Science Center’s Port business incubators have created more than 15,000 jobs that remain in the Greater Philadelphia region today and contribute more than $9 billion to the regional economy annually. The Science Center is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. For more information about the Science Center, go to www.sciencecenter.org.
About Drexel University:
Drexel is a comprehensive national research university ranked among the top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. With 25,500 students, Drexel is one of America’s 15 largest private universities. The University has built its global reputation on core achievements that include: leadership in experiential learning through its cooperative education program; a history of academic technology firsts; and recognition as a model of best practices in translational research initiatives. Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel now engages with students and communities around the world via three Philadelphia campuses and other sites that include Drexel University Sacramento, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and international research partnerships in several countries around the globe. Drexel Online is one of the oldest and most successful providers of online degree programs. Drexel is one of Philadelphia’s top 10 employers, and a major engine for economic development in the region. For more information, visit www.drexel.edu.