Show/Hide Navigation

There Has Never Been a Better Time to Start a Company in Philadelphia.

And we're hoping to make it even better through our partnership with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) to manage their Startup PHL Seed Fund.
This Fund co-invests alongside First Round Capital in those technology startups who meet certain requirements. The most important are that you are a Philadelpia-based seed stage technology business who will remain headquartered in Philadelphia for at least the next 18 months.
Learn more about why to Start Up in Philly

What We Look For

Exceptional Entrepreneurs

Your Business plan is wrong. It's a prediction of the future that is out of date as soon as you hit save, print or send. Things change. Competition. Timing. Costs. Pricing. We'd much rather invest in someone who can collect market feedback and adapt to change than someone who is convinced they can predict the future.

Internet Enabled

We tend to focus on companies and markets where we have a strong experience base and ability to add value. This tends to focus us around internet-enabled businesses (both consumer and enterprise) with a clear distribution strategy. [Note: We reject more companies for this reason than any other.]

Capital Efficient

We are big fans of capital-efficient companies. Advances in software development (SaaS, OpenSource, Cloud) have made it much cheaper to get a company started. And that helps companies get to market - and succeed or fail faster.

New Business Models

We look for companies that are able to leverage advances in distribution, technology or marketing to change industry economics or invent a new business model.

Solve Big Problems

We seek to fund companies that provide a unique solution to an existing urgent need. And we typically avoid companies that try to change consumer behavior or create a new consumer need.


Entrepreneurs must know what they are talking about - and have a clear understanding of their marketplace, their competitors and the financial dynamics of the industry. But they also should be willing to say the words "I don't know".


We value simplicity and clarity - if it takes more than 5 minutes to get us excited about your business, you might be trying to do too many things... And watch out for the Domino Rally Business Models.

Executors & Repeats

While we fund both beginner and repeat entrepreneurs, we have a bias towards proven management, with emphasis on repeat entrepreneurs who are strong executors.

Shrink a Market

We love investing in technologies and business models that are abe to shrink existing markets. If your company can take $5 of revenue from a competitor for every $1 you earn - let's talk!
Still interested in speaking with us? While we accept business plan submissions from everyone, we've found that the most effective introduction is from someone who knows you and knows us. We place a much higher priority on deals that are referred/endorsed by people we know and trust. That includes people employed by existing First Round Capital portfolio companies, lawyers, accountants, entrepreneurs, bankers and recruiters.

Don't know anyone in common? Please click here to apply to the Startup PHL Seed Fund.


Do I need to be headquartered in Philadelphia when I apply - or can I move to Philadelphia after I receive funding?

You don't need to be located in Philadelphia when you apply. We're perfectly fine funding companies that commit to move to Philadelphia after they receive our investment.

If I'm already talking with First Round Capital - or have already met with First Round Capital - should I apply to Startup PHL separately?

No. Startup PHL is a co-investment fund which invests alongside First Round Capital in qualified Philadelphia-based companies. If First Round Capital chooses to invest, you'll qualify for Startup PHL funding - and if First Round Capital has declined to invest, then the Startup PHL will not be able to invest as well.

I know that First Round Capital invests nationally - do you plan to apply the same investment criteria/standards to Philadelphia-area companies that you use everywhere else?

We admit it: Philadelphia holds a special place in our hearts... and we want Philly's tech ecosystem to flourish. And we believe that there are many incredible entrepreneurs hard building amazing companies in Philly. We hope (and expect) to find entrepreneurs and ideas here in Philadelphia that can operate (and compete) at the same level as entrepreneurs anywhere else. So we plan to use the same investment standards for Philadelphia entrepreneurs that we use for the rest of the country.