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Phila. Early Stage Venture Showcase report

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania paid for the lunch and the Greater Philadelphia Venture Investors paid for the beer.

I didn’t eat the former and the latter won’t be served until after this blog gets posted, but that’s how Bruce Luehrs, a partner in Emerald Stage2 Ventures, which is a member of GPVI, described the financing of the Early Stage Venture Showcase.

The event, which was held in Ben Franklin’s headquarters building at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, began before noon Thursday with a box lunch and will conclude at 4:45 p.m. with what is described in its programs as a “Wine, Cheese, Networking” session, which I presume is where the beer will be served.

It featured presentations to investors by 14 information technology, physical science and clean technology companies in one room and seven life sciences companies in another. There were fewer life sciences companies because each had 25 minutes for its presentation, as opposed to the 15 minutes given the other companies.

None of the life sciences companies were drug developers because, as Jennifer Hartt, Ben Franklin’s director of investments for life sciences, explained, “Angels don’t do drugs.” That was a reference to angel investors’ reluctance to invest in drug developers because the companies can take so long to get their products to market, not to the investors’ personal habits.

Ninety people registered to attend, about 50 to 60 of whom were investors, according to Terry Hicks, the vice president of Ben Franklin’s investment group.

Many of the presenters in both tracks were companies in which Ben Franklin had invested already. At least two, according to a few quick Google searches, were based in the University City Science Center, the event’s third host.

While most of the companies were there to meet investors and most of the investors were there to learn about companies, at least one investor was there to meet other investors, too.

That was John Ryan, the founder of Wayne-based SunGard Data Systems and an éminence grise of the local angel community, who said angels always want other angels to co-invest with them.

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Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing