Drexel University and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania have created a $10 million fund to invest in university spin-offs. They will also join Safeguard Scientifics to support entrepreneurs based out of the shared workspace, Innovation Center @3401 or ic@3401.
The ic@3401 is itself a partnership between the University City Science Center and Drexel.
Initially the Drexel Ventures Ben Franklin Seed Fund will invest in companies that are faculty-led, have licensed technologies from the university and have participated in a Drexel commercialization program. Over time, there are plans to extend eligibility to companies led by Drexel alumni and students.
Ben Franklin President and CEO, RoseAnn Rosenthal said: “Linking our capabilities with Drexel and the ic@3401 community gives entrepreneurs fantastic new opportunities to leverage each organization’s unique assets, while strengthening the region’s robust engine for innovation.”
The center also houses the DreamIt Ventures accelerator and its classes of technology and health tech startups, recipients of the Drexel-Coulter Translational Research program and Drexel’s ExCite Center.
ExCite includes cool programs like the Entrepreneurial Gaming Studio and Shima Seiki Haute Technology Laboratory, which is all about the convergence between knitting and wearable technologies. About 30 early stage tech, digital health and business service companies are based at ic@3401.
Safeguard Scientifics became a sustaining member of ic@3401, which means it will help to recruit and mentor member companies and bring in new industry collaborators.
Stephen Tang, CEO of the Science Center, said of the partnerships: “It allows us to draw on our collective assets and expertise to attract and support a critical mass of high-growth startups and a diverse set of members.”