Philly’s venture funds capitalize on momentum

Philly’s venture funds capitalize on momentum

By: Sara Warden

2 min read March 2020 — According to a recent report by the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) and Pitchbook, Philadelphia’s 2019 venture investment of $2.5 billion puts the city in seventh place nationally as a VC giant. And as more and more funding flows into Philadelphia, venture capital investment shows no sign of slowing down.

 

In 2019, 225 deals were recorded in Philadelphia, totaling just over $2.5 billion, up just slightly in number of deals since 2018, but notably, deal value has skyrocketed. In 2018, Philly’s VC deals were worth just under $1.5 billion. Across all stages, median deal values have increased, with angel and seed investment in 2019 coming in at a median $1.2 million compared with $600,000 in 2018, early VC doubling to $3.8 million from $1.9 million in 2018 and late VC reaching $7.5 million from $4.2 million in 2018.

The most active investor is Ben Franklin Technology Partners of southeastern Pennsylvania, according to the report, having funded 356 deals. It is a leader in seed capital investments with over $200 million invested over 35 years, launching over 2,000 companies. It is not just volume that counts, but also value. In a record for a Philly-based company, the largest funding round in 2019 was for food delivery service goPuff, which raised $750 million.

But despite this momentum, Philadelphia still has a way to go before it can catch up to VC hubs such as San Francisco, the report says. “Deal size inflation for Philly—though broadly consistent with the YoY persistence of rising valuations across the US—has yet to push median deal sizes to levels reached elsewhere,” the report said. “For example, the median for an early-stage deal in Philadelphia was $3.8 million—roughly half the US median.”

So what are Philadelphia investors doing about it? One lawyer, Ajay Raju, is setting up three new VC funds in the city to capitalize on its success. “There is no shortage of talented founders with great ideas and road maps who are designing the future,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The three companies – 215 Capital, Backswing Ventures and Togo Ventures – will target different investors and aim funds at different sectors. 

215 Capital will be an exclusive, subscription-only Series A pledge fund with just 100 investors and a focus on technology, whether in software as a service or real estate technology. Togo Ventures will focus on the pharma industry, from digital health to clinical trials. And Backswing will be “sector agnostic” to bridge the gap for anything in between. 

“We are geography-agnostic and return-devout,” Raju told the Inquirer in an interview, but admitted that Philadelphia has plenty of opportunities ripe for investment and entrepreneurs hungry for capital to realize their ideas. “Philly’s innovation ecosystem needs capital and plenty of it,” he said.

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://www.sep.benfranklin.org/

https://gopuff.com/home

https://www.215capital.com/

https://www.backswingventures.com/

https://philadelphiapact.com/

https://pitchbook.com/

 

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

Palm Beach Returning to its Gaming Roots

By: Sara Warden

2 min read February 2020 — IBM developed the first PC in Boca Raton and now the city is making a new effort to bring back the gamers. In 2021, Misfits Gaming Group will consolidate its North American presence with a new, $1.35-million, 18,000-square-foot headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

 

The Misfits organization owns teams that compete in League of Legends, CounterStrike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and Super Smash Bros. Founded in 2016, Forbes estimates the company’s value at $120 million and global esports revenues are estimated at $1.1 billion in 2019.

The Misfits Gaming Group will set up two Florida-based franchised esports teams, the Florida Mayhem and Florida Mutineers, through which it will run several large-scale esports events throughout the year, in addition to college tournaments and community events. These events can rake in millions, with eye-watering prize money. The winners of the Dota 2 esports tournament walked away with over $3 million each, as did the 2019 winners of the Fortnite World Cup. In comparison, the 2019 winners of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, took home $2.9 million each.

One of the reasons Misfits chose Boca Raton for its new HQ is the business-friendly environment Florida provides – not to mention the generous tax breaks provided by the authorities. Local and state authorities will provide over $200,000 in grants and tax refunds in exchange for creating 30 new jobs with average salaries of $95,000.

“[Misfits] falls within a targeted industry sector for not only our county efforts, but state efforts as well,” said Kelly Smallridge, president and CEO of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board in an interview with Esport Observer. “Also, the fact that the jobs are high paid, much higher than the average of the county, which is $53,000.”

Florida is a surprisingly logical state in which to expand an esports empire. According to Enterprise Florida, the state has the nation’s third-largest tech industry and is a leader in high-tech employment, ranking No. 1 in the Southeast. Florida’s universities are one of the region’s largest producers of STEM graduates – in fact it is one of the largest generators of graduates entirely. And West Palm Beach has one of the highest concentrations of IT employees in the state.

The state is also a pioneer in connectivity, essential for any industry built around fast internet connections. The state has 61,000 total fiber miles, the third-most extensive statewide network in the United States. It also has 275 data center locations, the fourth-highest density among all U.S. states. 

Misfits certainly sees this potential in Florida, and in November launched a $10 million esports and gaming incubator and seed fund. “As the first esports and gaming-focused startup incubator and seed fund offering the resources of our caliber in North America, our goal is to create infrastructure for supporting and developing emerging business talent,” said Ben Spoont, CEO and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming Group in a press release. “We want to help invest in the kind of ideas that will move our industry forward.”

To learn more, visit:

https://misfitsgaming.gg/ 

https://www.ibm.com/

https://www.bdb.org/

https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/competitive/en-US/events/world-cup

Spotlight On: Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO, Independence Health Group

Spotlight On: Daniel J. Hilferty, CEO, Independence Health Group

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — The business community is responsible in a great way for the environment and success of any city. That is the case of leading health insurance company in the Philadelphia region Independence Blue Cross, which for decades has provided families with health security and stability. Under CEO Daniel Hilferty’s leadership, the company has tripled in size, serving about 8 million people nationwide. Hilferty shared with the Invest: team the company’s recent efforts toward innovation, while also addressing community challenges like the opioid crisis and healthcare affordability. 

 

 How is innovation transforming the way healthcare is designed, delivered and experienced? 

At Independence, innovation is in our DNA. Our members expect us to keep pace with the latest technologies and innovations. We also want to drive new ways of thinking throughout the region, which ultimately make this a better place to live, work, and play. We are very proud of our role in creating an innovative environment in the Philadelphia area. 

Here’s an example: We foster the innovation process by leading organizations, including our customers, through design thinking sessions, innovation events, and projects that promote out-of-the-box solutions. Now, all this work will take place in the new, state-of-the-art Center for Innovation located at our Center City headquarters on the West Market Street corridor, where our campus is located. The Center for Innovation is a phenomenal two-story space connected by an open staircase that has a very modern feel to it. This amazing physical space matches the strategic focus that we have always put on innovation.

Independence also develops partnerships to create solutions to some of the toughest healthcare challenges. For instance, the technology developed by Quil, our joint venture with Comcast, will change the way that people use technology in their journey to good health. Think about how confusing it can be to go through a medical procedure. What do you do before you go to the hospital? Or when you’re home recovering? Quil is going to lead you through those types of journeys and create a better, and healthier, experience.  

Independence also uses technology, research, and data analytics to help our members get and stay healthy. Take our work with Relay Network, also a national company based in the Philadelphia region. Together, we developed a personalized, HIPAA-compliant mobile communication program called IBXWire. It’s a great way to connect with our members. We send reminders about care gaps and flu shots and the type of information that is important but maybe isn’t at the front of your mind. By using this platform, Independence has created an effective way of communicating that helps members retain control and make better decisions about their healthcare. 

Finally, we celebrate and foster the spirit of innovation in our region. The most recent example is our support of the first ever B. PHL Innovation Festival that took place in October 2019. The festival was designed to build Philadelphia’s reputation as the most innovative city on the East Coast – a true place of choice for people looking to inspire new ideas, make connections, and ignite new ways of doing things.

How is Independence continuing to address crises, such as opioids, and how is it impacting the way that insurance companies do business?

Opioid abuse is the worst drug crisis in American history. At Independence, we are keenly focused on doing whatever we can to reverse this tragedy. Independence was one of the first insurers in the country to restrict first-time, low-dose opioid prescriptions to a five-day limit, except for patients with cancer or on hospice care. We also require prior authorization on all long-acting opioids. And it’s having an impact. We have seen an almost 60 percent decrease in the strength and quantity of opioids used by members with noncancer pain in four years.

We’ve also partnered with other experts to raise awareness and remove barriers, like the stigma of addiction. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation launched an effective public awareness campaign called Someone You Know that features people impacted by the opioid crisis telling their stories. We’re in our second year. Our Independence Foundation has also worked on a regional study to evaluate the effectiveness of “warm hand-off” programs that connect overdose survivors immediately with recovery programs.  

 

We’ve also worked closely with local, state and national leaders to elevate the importance of this epidemic. We have a moral imperative to end this crisis. People who are suffering are not faceless. They are our family, friends, business colleagues, neighbors. It’s personal.

What are some of the unique challenges and opportunities provided by the Philadelphia healthcare landscape?

People in the Philadelphia area are extremely fortunate to have access to some of the best hospitals and health systems in the country. At Independence, we have a long history of effectively working with area hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers, and that collaboration is only getting stronger.

But we have a lot of work to do. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Pennsylvanians were more likely to report skipping or delaying healthcare, including skipping dental care or check-ups, not filling a prescription, or relying on home remedies and over the counter drugs instead of visiting the doctor, due to cost, compared to other states. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association identified 10 common health conditions, including hypertension, major depression and high cholesterol, that have the greatest impact on Americans’ quality of life. We need to work to address these fundamental and chronic health problems.   

We can also do better when it comes to containing costs. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, our state faces higher healthcare costs without demonstrating higher quality of care than the rest of the United States. 

 

Healthcare must be affordable. We have to lower the overall cost of care, especially when it comes to prescription drugs. More than 23 percent of every healthcare premium dollar is spent on prescription drugs. To keep prices in check we need increased transparency, competition and consumer choice, and affordable access to generic and biosimilar drugs in a timely and cost-conscious manner. Drug costs are the fastest-growing costs in healthcare, led by injectable drugs. 

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

IBX: https://www.ibx.com/ 

 

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

Philly Zoo Embraces the Festive Spirit with LumiNature

By: Sara Warden 

2 min read December 2019 — During the Christmas season, electricity usage skyrockets as homes, businesses and local authorities light up the streets with Christmas displays and twinkling lights sure to make even the coldest hearts feel festive. This year, Philadelphia Zoo is getting in on the action with its inaugural LumiNature festival. 

 

After two years of planning and a $3.5 million investment, LumiNature will take place from Nov. 20 to Jan. 5, featuring 12 immersive displays containing over 600,000 lights inside the zoo’s boundaries. “LumiNature will transform the Zoo from its daytime magic into a winter wonderland, immersing guests in a joyous multimedia light and music spectacular,” said Philadelphia Zoo’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Shearer in a press release. “We will shine a light on the world’s elusive big cats and flamboyant peacocks, …all through the artistry of lights, media, sound and nature itself.”

Tickets start from a very affordable $19 for the night tour of the zoo while the animals slumber, where guests can see, among other displays, “lit flamingos … on their own 25-foot tree, a 35-foot polar bear made out of 23,000 pounds of recycled car doors … and all four seasons,” according to Shearer. The event, presented by JP Morgan Chase, promises 200 festively lit penguins, 45 completely custom LED light structures and a 21-foot snake. “LumiNature is set to be the most unique and memorable holiday-season light extravaganza in the entire Philadelphia and tri-state region,” added Shearer.

The intention is for LumiNature to be an unmissable family experience each year at Christmas. The event is also expected to attract visitors from out-of-town, just to see the fantastical light and sound show. Hilton hotels partnered with the event to offer Hilton Honours Members a special gift when attending LumiNature.

Hot chocolate and mulled wine will be on offer to guests as they stroll through the zoo, admiring the 12 difference displays. Here’s what the event organizers say guests should expect:

  • Wonder of Slumber: A beautiful and dreamy setting of lit orbs and giant illuminated flowers.
  • The Dreamery: A wishing well of sorts with a wave of the hand, bubbles, lights, and steam.
  • Snake Awake: Slither through brilliant purples, blues and greens as a giant snake slithers along beside you…
  • Frog Fantastical: Color washes throughout the trees and water-like images appear on the path before you.
  • Color me Chameleon: A kaleidoscope of color fills this festive plaza inviting guests to shop for their favorite light up items at the Zoo’s very first glow bar.
  • Big Cat Stalk: As you meander through this path of tall illuminated ‘grass’, the stalking eyes of these frisky felines will appear and disappear making you wonder if you are what they are dreaming of.
  • Evergreen Dreams: Situated in this lovely outdoor hang out are some surprising trees that come to life as they sing and welcome you to LumiNature.
  • Seasonbration: Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall all have a point of view that comes to life via lights, music, and special effects.
  • Northern Lights: A 35-foot polar bear named Polaris made entirely from white recycled car doors transforms into a gigantic screen that shares the magnificence and diversity of our planet. 
  • Flamingo Fancy: Guests will be surprised as they walk along brilliantly lit 8-foot pink “flamingos” when they encounter the most whimsical tree within LumiNature: a 25-foot beauty made entirely of lit flamingo lawn ornaments!
  • Peacock Spectacular: Standing before giant, lit peacock feathers, people can get the most unique holiday picture of the season. 
  • Penguin Peace on Earth: Hundreds of illuminated penguins will fill the zoo’s lawn to bid guests farewell and wish them a very special holiday season in true zoo fashion.

 

To find out more, visit:

 

https://philadelphiazoo.org/luminature/

Spotlight On: Johanna W. Clark, Co-Managing Shareholder, Orlando Office, Carlton Fields

Spotlight On: Johanna W. Clark, Co-Managing Shareholder, Orlando Office, Carlton Fields

By: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read December 2019 — Orlando, known for its thriving tourism industry, is growing quickly and diversifying its economy to attract new companies to the region. Sectors like construction and technology are seeing healthy growth and with that comes the need for a knowledgeable legal team. In an interview with Invest: Orlando, Carlton Fields Orlando office co-managing shareholder Johanna Clark talks about the impact the growing economy has had on the firm’s legal practices, efforts to help the business community in the region, and outlooks for the legal sector heading into the new year. 

 

What are the benefits of being located in the Orlando market?

The Orlando market is unique as it is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Orange County leaders project growth of over 1,000 new residents per week. Business is also booming. Carlton Fields’ Orlando office is centrally located in the heart of the Business District. We are in the SunTrust Center and our new office offers a more modern and efficient workspace to better serve our clients in this growing region.

 

From what types of industries are you getting the most demand?

 

Technology is a growing sector of Orlando’s economy and our attorneys are handling a lot of tech-related client needs. The gaming company Electronic Arts recently announced plans to move its headquarters from Maitland to downtown Orlando’s Creative Village. On top of that, with universities like Full Sail and the University of Central Florida in the area, there is an influx of great gaming-related talent coming to Orlando. To meet client needs, we have a team of attorneys who specialize in electronic gaming. Our attorneys help our tech-based clients with cybersecurity, as well as licensing, labor and employment, mergers, or any type of technology issue. They help companies and tech-based entrepreneurs navigate this developing aspect of the law. The same is true with the growing construction industry in the region. The influx of new businesses is impacting our practice areas. 

 

What are some of your focus areas in the Orlando market?

Our main goal is to attract, train and retain attorneys. We have a culture that seeks to develop young lawyers into exceptional professionals. As Orlando continues to grow and its economy continues to diversify, we are keeping an eye on the incoming businesses. Many new companies are arriving and we want to know how we can best serve their needs. We also provide free business and legal resources online for entrepreneurs and startups where they can get information to develop their companies through LaunchToThrive.com. That is how we can gauge the changing business climate in the region. As lawyers, our priority is to offer our services to help companies thrive in the Orlando area and beyond.

 

What is your outlook for the region’s legal sector and economy?

 

The forecast for Central Florida is superb. New businesses and high-paying jobs are coming to the region. Our local leaders are doing a great job attracting companies to the area. Orlando is a great place to live and work. From a business perspective, the outlook for 2020 is exceptional. From a legal perspective, it will also continue to be a booming area. Companies need help and deals need to be done, and lawyers help make that happen. With so much development and construction, there will be a demand for representation in litigation matters as well.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Carlton Fields: https://www.carltonfields.com/ 

Why Orlando is an ideal city for esports hub

Why Orlando is an ideal city for esports hub

By: Yolanda Rivas

Over the last few years, Orlando has been increasing its presence in the esports scene. Already home to numerous simulation, training and tech companies, there’s no doubt about the City Beautiful’s potential as a main driver in the gaming arena.

One of the pillars in Orlando’s gaming scene has been Full Sail University. The institution opened The Fortress last May, which is the largest esports arena on a college campus in the nation. Since then, it has attracted several major events like an NBA 2K League competition and a qualifying event for the Red Bull Conquest.

“When we were planning and building The Fortress, we knew, like other facilities on campus, it would need to function as a professional-caliber facility since we are educating our students to work in the real world,” said Full Sail President Garry Jones in an article from the Orlando Sentinel. 

Although the esports boom is just starting and there’s only a handful of arenas in the country, these events represent a boost to the economy, especially with the presence of teams and fans attracted by the tournaments. 

A recent report from WalletHub ranked Orlando as the fourth-best city for gamers and No. 2 for gaming environment. The study compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 23 key indicators of gamer-friendliness.

Spotlight On: HBK CPAs & Consultants, James Bartolomei, Principal

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — Technology is disrupting every industry in the world. From healthcare to banking and finance, numerous companies are reinventing themselves to be at the forefront of technology and innovation. In the accounting and finance segments, these innovative tools are rapidly transforming customer experience and data management. The Invest: Philadelphia team recently sat down with HBK CPAs & Consultants Principal James Bartolomei to get his insights about the performance of Philadelphia’s financial sector.

In what ways is technology disrupting the accounting and finance industry?

Technology is disrupting every industry. Innovation and technology allow companies to get creative and find ways to improve processes and, more importantly, customer experience. The biggest challenge faced by the financial industry is to improve customer experience while protecting sensitive data. To assist our clients in this area we recently developed a cybersecurity offering, which has been well-received. 

With the rapid and dynamic change in technology, businesses can be eliminated and displaced very quickly today. This represents a big challenge as the value one thought was built up in their business could vanish. This is why it is vitally important for business owners to build wealth both inside and outside their businesses. Our firm combines tax and accounting services with our wealth management services to help deliver on this objective and minimize risk for our clients.

What are the services and industries where you’re seeing the most demand?

We have seen increased demand from clients looking for our advice about the effects of the federal tax reform, especially because of the substantial changes in the privately-held business area. Clients are concerned that their accountants and tax advisers fully understand the new tax law and how it impacts them. There are significant changes to the way small businesses are taxed under this new law.

Philadelphia’s real estate and biotech sectors are growing. We have numerous clients in the real estate sector and we have seen a substantial uptick in activity and development, especially in rental properties. In the biotech sector, we have seen a high amount of activity in the medical technology segment.

What is your outlook for Philadelphia’s accounting and finance sectors?

We are continuing to see growth in the Philadelphia market. We are relatively new to the market and we are expanding our client base and attracting good, young talent. We have hired a number of recent college grads over the last two years with great results. Philly is one of the strongest and youngest markets in the United States and the outlook is great for HBK and the local financial services sector. 

 

 

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

HBK CPAs & Consultants:  https://www.hbkcpa.com/

Miami A Bridge for US-Latam Tech Investment

Miami A Bridge for US-Latam Tech Investment

Writer: Sara Warden

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — It seems that more and more US cities are being labeled tech hubs every day, but Miami-based companies see a unique opportunity in the state that cannot be provided elsewhere. Instead of locking themselves into one market, Miami can provide startups a launch pad into the vast untapped Latin American market, and tech startups are flocking to the city in droves to take advantage of these opportunities.

Possibly the most famous is SoftBank Group, a Japanese investment firm that has set up roots in Miami to gain access to Latin America’s infant venture capital market. SoftBank has pledged $5 billion to the Latin American market, with some of that amount already invested to date. In fact, by the first half of 2019, these kinds of investments in Latin America have almost reached the $2.4 billion invested in all of 2018 – and it could not be done without Miami.

“This is the kind of capital that has never been seen before in Latin America,” Andre Maciel, a managing partner at SoftBank Group told Bloomberg.

About 70% of Miami’s population is composed of Latinos, providing the city with a unique workforce that can capture the attention of untapped Latin American entrepreneurs from a US base. “Part of our secret sauce is that we’re a city built by immigrants. Miami is a very young city, but we have the grit and resiliency of those people. Miami is a startup in and of itself. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, you can make it here,” Felice Gorordo, the CEO of eMerge Americas told Forbes.

But Miami is not just a base for investment in other regions. It also has the credentials that make it one of the best places to invest in the US. It comes seventh nationally for venture capital investments and in the first half of 2019 alone, around $1.54 billion was invested in South Florida tech companies.

SoftBank also made a multimillion-dollar investment at the end of 2018 in ParkJockey, making the company Miami’s first unicorn and one of the most valuable parking companies in the world. Building on the sharing economy model, ParkJockey allows landlords to rent parking spaces to large-scale companies like Uber and Lyft. The reception to this technology says “a lot about the ability to build a business in Miami and take it to significant size,” founder Ari Ojalvo told the Miami Herald.

“Miami has a tremendous tech talent pool, and we’re fortunate to be located in this burgeoning tech market,” said Taunia Kipp, says Executive Vice President of Corporate Marketing & Communications at Kaseya, an IT management software company, on Refresh Miami.

Kaseya is one of the most recent success stories for a Miami-based tech firm. Last month, the company attracted a $500 million investment from San Francisco-based investment firm TPG. Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola said in a press conference that the Miami growth will not stop as the company heads for an IPO within the year. “We want to open up people’s eyes to the talent that is here—and that it can be scaled,” Voccola said.

Another IPO that’s on the cards could be Buenos Aires-headquartered firm Technisys. In May, it closed a $50 million funding round. And when it wanted to establish a footprint in the United States, Miguel Santos, one of the three founders told Forbes that there was no question that Miami should be the location. “We are here to stay and the plans are big. The next stage is probably a public offering in say, three to four years,” he said.

To learn more about our interviewees, visit:

https://group.softbank/en/

https://www.technisys.com/

https://www.kaseya.com/

https://www.parkjockey.com/

https://www.emergeamericas.com/insights/

Spotlight On: Bret Perkins, Vice President, External & Government Affairs, Comcast Corporation

Writer: Yolanda Rivas

2 min read SEPTEMBER 2019 — The Comcast Technology Center just received one of the development industry’s biggest awards: the 2019 Urban Land Institute’s annual Global Awards for Excellence. The Philadelphia building won the recognition along with 11 other projects from around the world. The $1.5 billion development was designed for namesake tenant Comcast, which has 4,000 employees in the tower. The American telecoms company has had an enormous impact on Philadelphia’s economy and the Invest: Philadelphia team sat down with Comcast Corporation Vice President of External & Government Affairs Bret Perkins to explore the company’s impact and future plans for the Philadelphia region.

What impact will the Comcast Technology Center have on Philadelphia’s economy over the long term?

Comcast has had an unwavering commitment to the city of Philadelphia for over 55 years, and the addition of the Comcast Technology Center to our campus is the latest example. We have approximately 4,000 engineers, software developers, and technologists developing next-gen products in the Comcast Technology Center, and we are recruiting and trying to retain world-class technology talent here in Philadelphia. The fact that we have invested and built this campus in Philadelphia is a statement unto itself and gives a sense of what we think about this city, which is our home. This is a space where we can recruit, retain and grow a talent base to build world-class products. 

The Comcast Technology Center is also the new home of NBC10 and Telemundo62, providing them a state-of-the-art studio to deliver the best news to the Philadelphia community.  The top floors are occupied by Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia, which will offer five-star accommodations with magnificent views, fantastic restaurants, and will deliver an unparalleled experience…all contributing to and supporting the success of Philadelphia.

 

How does Comcast support the local startup community?

LIFT Labs and our team that does entrepreneurial engagement is our front door to the startup community around the country. LIFT Labs in Philadelphia is particularly unique because we have a space that is really intended to be a convening spot for the startup and entrepreneurial community. It’s about us working with the startup community and entrepreneurs to help them build their businesses, but also for us to learn from them. We also have the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars, which is designed to support connectivity, media and entertainment startups. Our inaugural Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator took place in summer 2018, and eight out of the 10 companies that participated ended up with some sort of proof of concept partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal. The participants get to meet with mentors and coaches who are world-class in everything they do. This a way for us to help build this ecosystem and partner with startups. 

 

What impact will the 3,500-seat esports arena have on the city? 

Comcast Spectacor and The Cordish Companies recently announced they will build the first purpose-built facility of its kind in the country dedicated to esports. It will also be the home of the Philadelphia Fusion, our Overwatch League esports team. This is a great development for the city. It will bring additional energy and become a hub for esports. There are a number of businesses that have built up around esports, such as N3rd Street Gamers, an amateur and semi-pro esports network. Our dedicated esports arena is part of a huge investment we are making in the Philadelphia Sports Complex, which includes the $250 million renovation of the Wells Fargo Center; the creation of Pattison Place, an $80 million, Class-A office tower; and Fusion Arena, which is a $50 million investment. That is a significant amount of investment in Philadelphia and another vote of confidence in our home city.

 

To learn more about our interviewee, visit:

Comcast Corporation: https://corporate.comcast.com/ 

LIFT Labs: https://lift.comcast.com/ 

Comcast Spectacor: http://www.comcastspectacor.com/  

Fusion Arena: https://fusionarenaphilly.com/