Ben Franklin Commits Grant and Support to Philly Startup Leaders’ Founded in Philly Accelerator

Support to increase the development of underrepresented founders in the Philadelphia region

PHILADELPHIA (June 11, 2020)—To increase the Philadelphia region’s support and development of companies led by underrepresented founders, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern has committed a grant of $150,000 for Philly Startup Leaders’ (PSL) Founded in Philly accelerator, along with a commitment of Ben Franklin’s staff time, network, and other support resources. Ben Franklin will increase its contribution to $250,000 if other investors match this pledge. Its commitment will supplement grants from the City of Philadelphia and goPuff already announced.

PSL will utilize Ben Franklin’s grant to develop and support emerging technology companies led by underrepresented founders, to further develop the region’s pipeline of high-growth investment opportunities. Companies selected for support will be consistent with Ben Franklin’s investment thesis of technology-based ventures located within the five-county Philadelphia region. PSL will deploy the funds as grants to qualified companies that complete PSL’s accelerator programming.

“We’ve heard the stories of underrepresented founders getting shut out of funding opportunities in this country. Our current climate calls for an honest, intentional look into why and what needs to be done to rectify it,” said Kiera Smalls, Executive Director of PSL.”The connectedness of the PSL network is what helps make Philly’s tech community inviting. We are thrilled to partner with Ben Franklin on this initiative. Together, we can make sure our ecosystem continues to grow in ways that are equitable, and truly move the needle on building an inclusive community for current and founders.”
“Ben Franklin’s history of support and partnership with Philly Startup Leaders, and our alignment of goals for the Philadelphia region, make us proud to help PSL do this important work,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and CEO of Ben Franklin. “PSL’s accelerator programming has informed a number of Ben Franklin investments, making it a trusted source of early-stage investment pipeline for our region.” Recent Ben Franklin investments in PSL accelerator companies have included CampusESP, RedQueen, Habitat, RoundTrip, Orai, Employee Cycle, and Wearwell.


Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia region’s Partners with a Purpose. Nationally ranked among the most active seed and early-stage investors, Ben Franklin works to help high-growth innovative enterprises plant and nurture their roots, creating both immediate connections and lasting economic growth. As a 501(c)(3), Ben Franklin has supported more than 2,000 companies to deliver an impact of more than $5 billion and 32,000 jobs in the Philadelphia region. Whether in tech, life sciences, manufacturing, or industries and breakthroughs still yet discovered, we work each day to raise our community of innovation higher, to benefit present and future generations of Pennsylvanians. We are part of a statewide network of Ben Franklin organizations that work to catalyze growth throughout Pennsylvania by providing resources that foster innovation and success for both startup companies and established businesses. Follow us on Twitter at @bftp_sep.

Philly Startup Leaders is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help current and future founders succeed in Philadelphia. Philly Startup Leaders envision Philadelphia to be a place where everyone can achieve their entrepreneurial potential as part of a collaborative and innovative startup community.