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March 7, 2009

The New York Times ran an article on New York City’s digital startup business landscape. Jenna Wortham dives into a few of the loosely organized start-up groups and calls out new digital leaders, some which I did not know were from NYC: Pingg, Gilte Groupe andTheLadders.

I’m excited to see New York City reclaim its place in the digital world after the dot-com bust, and speculate that this new era of successful ventures will grow as more startups call NYC home. VC’s are already beginning to recognize the potential of the Big Apple and will invest more there, creating draw for new ideas and quality talent. As the article suggests, it will just take one major IPO to spin off a whole new generation of serial entrepreneurs with the resources to create a strong digital startup ecosystem.

This made me think of the potential of Philadelphia’s startup community. The Greater Philadelphia area has had its ups and downs, but has never been recognized on the level of Silicon Valley or New York. There have been some big wins (half.com) and some very big losses (VerticalNet). However, I feel the new technology and startup scene in Philadelphia is more vibrant than ever.

Technically Philly serves as one of the major hubs for this new “viral ecology.” It reports on startups of all sizes like myYearbook, ListenLogic and TicketLeap as well as the greater business community, VCs and support groups. Local co-working leader IndyHall is the place to grow your business idea and work with other independents and entrepreneurs. Philly Startup Leaders is fostering the startup community with events and resources. VC’s likeSeventySix Capital and Comcast Interactive Capital (among many others) invest in startups while other firms like LLR and LVP also focus on established but growing companies (usually biotech). We are lucky to have university resources like Temple’s IEI, Drexel’s Baiada Center and Wharton’s SBDC. Vibrant (and fun) groups like Ignite Philly, Refresh Philly and local #140 Conference meet-ups make the environment even more accessible to newcomers.

It’s not just the Philadelphia community that is making progress, the City is taking a leadership role too. Mayor Nutter has made a committment to smart technology inside the government and recently announced tax breaks for technology companies focusing on design and video games. This is important news and a good start. It is part of what the Philadelphia business community has been demanding for years.

We have the right ingredients, not to mention the gritty aggressive enthusiasm that Philadelphia is known for. Will we climb to the ranks of Silicon Valley, New York and Boston? Who knows. But Philadelphians are taking pride and re-positioning themselves in an increasingly competitive and creative digital world. We are in an exciting time for entrepreneurs, and I am proud to see Philadelphia become more of a major player every day.

About the Author

Evan Urbania

Evan Urbania is the CEO and Co-Founder of ChatterBlast Media. He can often be found cycling, reading obscure tech blogs, teasing the office dog or getting bored with new social media apps.

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