After more than 130 Philly companies applied, the quest for a $100,000 investment from one of the world’s best-known angel investors has narrowed to eight semi-finalists. Steve Case — AOL founder and champion of tech cities not named Silicon Valley, San Francisco and New York — will make the investment on Sept. 29 after spending the day touring the Philly tech scene.
The eight startups competing for the cash are:
- SmartPlate – A plate that instantly analyzes the nutritional value of everything you eat.
- Scholly – An easy way to find scholarships.
- I’m Sorry to Hear – Funeral planning online made easy.
- Bynder – Mobile learning management system for emerging markets.
- WhoseYourLandlord – Platform to review a landlord and find your home.
- Wash Cycle – Sustainable commercial laundry service.
- Life.Io – Solution that motivates and rewards users for tracking and improving health.
- Focus Food – urban, aquaponics farming on rooftops and in old warehouses.
The demos will be held at 4 p.m. at the National Constitution Center. At the event, Case will be interviewed on stage by Kimberly Weisul editor-at-large of Inc. magazine. Derek Anderson of Startup Grind will moderate the pitch competition. Celebrity judges include sports media personality Stephen A. Smith and Amy Stursburg of Blackstone Charitable Foundation.
Although there can only be one grand-prize winner, Case told me last month that “the goal is to get them all funded” — meaning investors will not be shy offering cash to runners up.
That will end a long day for Case who will be riding his Rise of the Rest bus to a number of Philadelphia tech destinations (and a few fancy restaurants.)
There is also a $10,000 student speed pitch contest which will take place on the bus with roughly 10 students pitching. Case, Amy Stursberg and Steven Tang, president & CEO of the University City Science Center, will serve as judges.
“Cities like Philadelphia will rise. They have a stronger startup ecosystem than most people perceive,” said Case. “Most people around the country don’t know what’s happening in Philadelphia, so we hope to attract more national media attention and investor attention.”
Read more at http://www.phillymag.com/business/2015/09/22/100000-from-aol-founder-down-to-8-finalists/#WcrvJDZULvFRJTjA.99