Floor plan of renovated innovation hub on the second floor of the Science Center building at 3401 Market St. (courtesy of Environetics)
PHILADELPHIA (December 11, 2013) – 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/