Early Stage Digital Health Companies In Philadelphia Get Boost With $6 Million Funding Initiative
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Independence Health Group and Safeguard Scientifics team up to foster healthcare IT innovation
PHILADELPHIA, PA — Partnering to fuel Philadelphia’s innovative digital health ecosystem, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (“Ben Franklin“); Independence Health Group (“IHG”), the parent company of Independence Blue Cross; and Safeguard Scientifics (“Safeguard”) (NYSE: SFE) today announced their intentions for a $6 million funding initiative over a four year period to grow technology-driven, early-stage healthcare startups.
Responding to a burgeoning economic vitality in digital health, Ben Franklin, IHG through a subsidiary, and Safeguard each intend to pledge $2 million to launch the funding initiative and will identify, vet, and allocate funds to augment the Philadelphia region’s continued growth and development in digital health. In addition, each will source new opportunities, extend guidance and support to the emerging seed-stage companies as they grow, and maximize the impact of the capital committed to the companies and their communities. Startup companies will receive funds based upon the quality of their business model, the technology’s viability, and a strong vision from the management team. Ben Franklin will lead the due diligence process and day-to-day fund management on potential opportunities.
“Joining with these leaders who bring domain knowledge and expertise strengthens Greater Philadelphia’s position to support one of its most thriving technology sectors. Such a collaboration enhances and multiplies the quality of assessment, feedback and opportunity available to the region’s digital health entrepreneurial talent, promoting development of solutions to benefit our community while offering companies even more resources to start, stay and grow here,” said Ben Franklin President and CEO, RoseAnn B. Rosenthal.
“Independence Health Group is committed to developing and supporting the next generation of digital health entrepreneurs and helping our region become a global center for health care innovation,” said Daniel J. Hilferty, President and CEO of IHG. “At our core is the belief that innovation is always knocking at the door. We want to champion healthcare entrepreneurship in our region and could not have found better partners for turning game-changing ideas into real world applications that will improve our members’ well-being.”
“Founded more than 60 years ago, Safeguard has helped hundreds of companies reach their potential in several strategic verticals over the decades,” said Safeguard’s President and CEO, Steve Zarrilli. “Our pragmatic approach has put Philadelphia on the map for entrepreneurs seeking capital. While we will always focus on our traditional ‘sweet spot’ of Series A and Series B financings, we believe that it’s also important to put a stake in the ground and allocate resources to a broader spectrum of opportunities to support the full ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. Safeguard recognizes an opportunity to spur growth in the Philadelphia region, and this seed capital will ultimately build a pipeline of opportunities potentially suitable for future rounds of financing from Safeguard.”
Ben Franklin, IHG and Safeguard have demonstrated a clear commitment to healthcare innovation in the Philadelphia area, having previously announced their respective involvement in the Health Care Innovation Collaborative, which was initiated in 2015 by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Council for Growth.
About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin is the most active early stage capital provider for the region’s technology sectors. Ben Franklin combines best practices of venture capital with a public-spirited purpose: leading the region’s technology community to new heights, creating jobs and changing lives for the better. Ben Franklin is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. www.sep.benfranklin.org
About Independence Health Group
Independence Health Group, through its subsidiaries, serves nearly 10 million people in 27 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in southeastern Pennsylvania. In addition to a growing consumer business, Independence Health Group serves employer groups ranging from small businesses to national corporations. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Independence Health Group is a diversified company offering a wide range of services including commercial, Medicare and Medicaid medical coverage, third-party benefits administration, pharmacy benefits management, and workers’ compensation. Independence Health Group and Independence Blue Cross are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more, visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx.
About Safeguard Scientifics
Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE: SFE) provides capital and relevant expertise to fuel the growth of technology-driven businesses in healthcare, financial services and digital media. Safeguard targets companies that are capitalizing on the next wave of enabling technologies with a particular focus on the Internet of Everything, enhanced security and artificial intelligence, which includes predictive analytics and machine learning. Safeguard typically deploys between $5 million and $25 million over the course of its partnership with a company, initially investing in a Series A or B Round and opportunistically in a Seed Round. Safeguard has a distinguished track record of fostering innovation and building market leaders that spans more than six decades. For more information, please visit www.safeguard.com or follow us on Twitter @safeguard.
Except for the historical information and discussions contained herein, statements contained in this release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially include, among others, our ability to make good decisions about the deployment of capital, the fact that our partner companies may vary from period to period, our substantial capital requirements and absence of liquidity from our partner company holdings, fluctuations in the market prices of our publicly traded partner company holdings, competition, our inability to obtain maximum value for our partner company holdings, our ability to attract and retain qualified employees, market valuations in sectors in which our partner companies operate, our inability to control our partner companies, our need to manage our assets to avoid registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, and risks associated with our partner companies, including the fact that most of our partner companies have a limited history and a history of operating losses, face intense competition and may never be profitable, the effect of economic conditions in the business sectors in which Safeguard’s partner companies operate, and other uncertainties described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s ability to predict or control. As a result of these and other factors, the Company’s past financial performance should not be relied on as an indication of future performance. The Company does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or other information contained in this press release.
For Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Director, Marketing and Communications
For Independence Blue Cross
Public Relations Manager, Corporate Communications
For Safeguard Scientifics
Vice President, Corporate Communications