What 7 Companies Got Out of the Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator

A comedy club really is a great stand-in for a pitch room: under the bright, hot spotlight, seven startups pitched their stuff on Tuesday at Helium Comedy Club, as part of the finale of this year’s Philly Startup Leaders accelerator program.

The room had gravitas: from government officials like Mayor Jim Kenneyand Councilman Allan Domb, to corporate giants like Comcast and IBM, reps from stakeholders like Ben Franklin Technology Partners, reporters from a handful of outlets and low-key angel investors. The seven startups to emerge from the 12-week program pitched their companies to a hefty representation of the local tech ecosystem.

“One of my wishes in life is to make this room more diverse,” said Kenney, who stopped by for a quick intro and gave the companies his “blessing.”

“You make our city great and you’re going to continue to,” Kenney said.

It was also the first big, semi-public event helmed by PSL’s new executive director, Kiera Smalls. The former marketing manager at bike-share program operator Bicycle Transit Systems said she witnessed startups working “extremely hard” to craft clear pitches.

“We’re looking forward to staying in touch and helping them along their journey,” Smalls, 28, said. “They’ve already committed to supporting future founders and startups and the overall PSL community.”

For the early-stage companies to come out of the accelerator program — which takes no equity and gives no investments (which is usually what “accelerator” signifies) — the running question we had was: what did the experience yield?

Here’s what the founders had to say.

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