The views expressed in this post are solely those of the author.
With all of the talk about building local tech ecosystems, sometimes founders conclude that it must be easy to launch a high-flying startup from anywhere. There is certainly nothing easy about it. But it is possible.
The likelihood of success increases when the city you’re building in has made entrepreneurial advocacy a high priority. In Philadelphia, the expectations for creating a robust tech ecosystem have grown every year. Philly was recently ranked as the 6th best U.S. location for VC returns and it ranked 6th among the top cities in the U.S. for deals.
For aspiring founders coming to Philly, here are 5 tips for building your startup:
Philly is a place that loves its own. As a newcomer, getting to know the startup community quickly is the best way to establish a supporting network. Technically Philly provides a great overview of what is happening in tech in the Philadelphia region. Attend the meetups. There are a wide variety of them ranging from general topics to more specific ones focused on makers, healthcare, etc. There is usually a handful of startup-related events happening every night in Philadelphia.
Build relationships with investors before you need them
Getting investors requires an investment of time by you. Some of the most active investors based in Philly include can be found at the StartupPHL website.
Leverage the local government
Very few cities have a dedicated person for the startup community. Philadelphia happens to be one of them.
Tell them what you think
Build thought leadership around what you are working on. Track and publicize your progress through social media. Be transparent and open and give the community a chance to help guide your growth. Philly loves its own!
Resources abound, so take full advantage
Below is a ‘start list’ of websites and organizations to follow. By no means is this exhaustive but these can help connect you into more sources.
Founders Factory Accelerator
Dreamit accelerator (@dreamit)
Ben Franklin Technology Partners (@bftp_sep)