‘The engine is Humming’: These VC Firms Made the Most Philadelphia-Area Deals Over the Past Decade

A new report from PitchBook and the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology dissected the region’s past year in venture capital investments (hint: it reached record highs), but it also revealed new data on the top investors across Greater Philadelphia over the past decade.

The leader, in terms of number of deals, comes as no surprise — Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The local arm of BFTP, one of four state-backed seed funds, invested in 356 companies from 2010 to 2019.

The next most active investor, BioAdvance, made 83 investments in the same time frame. Radnor-based BioAdvance was founded in 2003 with funding allocated from Pennsylvania’s tobacco industry settlement and invests in early-stage life sciences companies.

Here’s the full list from the PACT and PitchBook report:

BFTP: 356

BioAdvance: 83

Robin Hood Ventures: 77

Dreamit Ventures: 49

Keiretsu Forum: 32

Osage Venture Partners: 31

By Scott Nissenbaum’s count, the number of BFTP investments included in the report actually seemed a little low. Nissenbaum, BFTP’s chief investment officer, said gathering venture capital investment data can vary in methods and criteria, meaning individual reports can differ. But he said BFTP’s internal numbers show it completed at least 164 deals in the past three years alone.

Based on the report’s total, BFTP averaged about 35 deals a year.

“That’s a lot,” Nissenbaum said, adding it also represents the kind of fertile ground that exists in the Philadelphia ecosystem for investors.

“It says there are so many more opportunities out there for capital beyond the market to get engaged here,” he said. Since BFTP is a nonprofit that’s charged with promoting economic development as well as generating returns through investments, it cooperates more than it competes with other investors, both outside and inside the region.

“That’s sort of this weird role we serve in that we’re a 501(c)(3) that actively wants to help other partner organizations make money,” he said. “When the region grows, everyone grows.”

Read the full article here.