science center in the news

Philly start-ups pivot and scramble, trying to survive and thrive amid pandemic

November 20, 2020  |  The Philadelphia Inquirer

There are flickers of hope in entrepreneur-land — even amid a pandemic and an economic maelstrom not seen in decades.


Take entrepreneur Mark Surkin, who cofounded Dineable, a catering platform for virtual events. Dineable’s business took off — after the pandemic started.


It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Dineable last year won a spot in the 2020 class of the Global Start-up Accelerator, sponsored by the University City Science Center, among others.


Before COVID-19, Dineable had built an early business model and software to help event managers and meeting planners. “We spent 2018 building it, and planned to expand in January 2020,” Surkin said. “We were working through the accelerator program, and they helped us pivot” to virtual catering.


Through start-up space at the Science Center at 3401 Market St., he met Eamon Gallagher, who sits on the Global Start-up Accelerator advisory board.


The accelerator “kept helping us, powered through, and that set an example for our business,” Surkin said.

Now going on eight months, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how entrepreneurs meet-and-greet investors, raise money, and conduct business securely and safely, said Cynthia Suteri, spokeswoman for the Keiretsu Forum MidAtlantic, which introduces founders and funders.


“We just wrapped up our latest investor expo, and the consensus among angel investors, venture capital and private equity folks is a newfound sense of stability,” Suteri said, even as growth has fallen.


Read more at the Philadelphia Inquirer.