Ben Franklin Announces Project Liberty Digital Incubator Inaugural Class

Posted on January 4, 2012 in News & Announcements

Philadelphia Media Network welcomes the three selected companies to their headquarters for a six month residency beginning today

PHILADELPHIA (January 4, 2012) – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania today announced the selection of three inaugural startup companies for the Project Liberty Digital Incubator.  An effort among Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), the
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ben Franklin, Dreamit Ventures and Drexel University, the Project Liberty Digital Incubator is designed to stimulate the establishment and growth of digital media startup companies in the Philadelphia region.  The incubator, operated by Ben Franklin, will be hosted in PMN’s headquarters, parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia SportsWeek and Philly.com.

CloudMine, ElectNext and SnipSnap have been selected to make up the inaugural group of startups participating in the incubator. The three startups were chosen from a number of companies that responded to a call for applications in September.

“The Project Liberty Digital Incubator is a tremendously innovative way to stimulate new digital media enterprise formation,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and CEO of Ben Franklin. “Ben Franklin is happy to work with these young, talented, entrepreneurs who are bringing new energy to our community,” she added.

“Through experimenting with more than 200 news and information projects, we’ve found the most successful have benefited from the nurturing of outside advisers. We’re looking forward to seeing these projects benefit from the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, and ultimately produce models that help strengthen both community news and information here in the fourth largest media market and throughout the country,” said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia program director for Knight Foundation.

“The Delaware Valley is fortunate to have a very active entrepreneur and technology community that is pursuing a range of innovative ideas and products,” said Gregory Osberg, Publisher and CEO of Philadelphia Media Network.  “This unprecedented incubator within a media company provides an opportunity for startups to test the viability of their concepts and make the refinements necessary to bring their products to market.  Philadelphia Media Network applauds Ben Franklin Technology Partners for incubating a culture of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking and we are pleased to have them as a partner,” he added.

The CloudMine platform eliminates the need for mobile app developers to build custom backend solutions for their mobile apps.  Mobile app developers can concentrate on building a great product rather than being distracted by expensive, repetitive server-side components.  https://cloudmine.me

ElectNext is like eHarmony for elections, enabling voters to cast an informed vote in every election, all the way down the ballot. Rather than selecting candidates based on political party or guesswork, voters can choose candidates based on knowledge with the capability to access that information any time, any place, with minimal effort.  http://www.electnext.com

SnipSnap is the first mobile application to let consumers save, scan, share, and redeem printed coupons on their smartphone. A user will simply snap a picture of the offer from a free-standing insert, direct-mail piece, newspaper, or other medium, and the app will scan all of the printed text and images. Once scanned, consumers can easily search and retrieve the coupon, and the app notifies users when an offer is nearing its expiration date or when the consumer has entered a business where it can be redeemed.  http://snipsnap.it/

The Project Liberty Digital Incubator is made possible through a $250,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to Ben Franklin, operator of the incubator.

“The Project Liberty Digital Incubator provides a unique opportunity for Drexel co-op students to experience the fast-paced world of high-tech startups, entrepreneurship and digital media applications,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “This is complementary to our mission as a leading academic institution for experiential education,” he added.

“Dreamit is pleased to partner with these organizations to keep the entrepreneurial ecosystem thriving in Philadelphia.  The Project Liberty Digital Incubator creates a great post-Dreamit path for our alumni to continue to grow their companies here,” said Kerry Rupp, Managing Partner of Dreamit Ventures.

These companies will receive a range of benefits from the incubator, including mentoring and strategic business counseling from Ben Franklin.  Philadelphia Media Network, providers of the first Android Tablet bundled with digital media products in the United States, will provide the startups with free office space, utilities, software, and administrative support, as well as provide access to Philly.com – one of the nation’s leading regional news and information portals — as a platform for launching their new products.  In addition, Drexel University will provide graduate and undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to work with and move freely between the startup companies and PMN’s established media business.  DreamIt Ventures, a nationally-renowned Philadelphia-based startup accelerator program, provides a source of applicants for the incubator.

 


 

About Philadelphia Media Network

Philadelphia Media Network, Inc. (PMN) is the owner of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia SportsWeek, and Philly.com. With its multiple brand platforms and integrated print and digital products, PMN is the region’s largest media network and the industry’s technological leader and innovator. The Philadelphia Media Network reaches an average weekly audience of 2.2 million adults – more than the combination of the three evening television news shows or the combination of those radio stations ranked in the top ten during drive-time programming.  www.philly.com

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.  www.knightfoundation.org

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning model for technology innovation, and a catalyst for Stimulating Entrepreneurial Potential.  For more than 28 years, we have invested in innovative enterprises and created commercialization pathways and partnerships that generate wealth through science and technology.  We offer entrepreneurs and established businesses the Capital, Knowledge and Networks to compete in the global marketplace.  We have invested more than $150 million to grow more than 1,700 regional enterprises across all areas of technology.  www.sep.benfranklin.org

 


 

CONTACTS:

Mark Block
Vice President, External Relations, Philadelphia Media Network, Inc.
(o) 215/854-5640, (c) 202/494-0450, mblock@phillynews.com

Marc Fest
Vice President/Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
(o) (305/908-2677, fest@knightfoundation.org

Jaron J. Rhodes
Manager, Marketing and Communications, Ben Franklin Technology Partners/SEP
(o) (215) 972-6700, ext. 3214, jaron@sep.benfranklin.org

InfraScanNupatheSELECT Greater PhiladelphiaMorphotekDell BoomiInstaMedDVIRCMODAMonetateNeat CompanyPennsylvania BIOClear AlignNFTEBioNano GenomicsScience CenterPhilly Startup Leaders