has moved into a much better place, both literally and figuratively. The new media incubator announced its next trio of participants this week. Rumble
, StartUP Production
are all startups that have a good reason to be smack in the center of operations at Philly.com
, helmed by Interstate General Media
IGM, formerly known as Philadelphia Media Network, has moved from the iconic white tower at 401 North Broad to the old Strawbridge and Clothier building on Market Street between 8th and 9th. Project Liberty is a collaborative effort by Interstate General Media, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
, which provided $250,000 in overall funding, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
, Dreamit Ventures
(which just announced expansion to Austin) and Drexel University
Joining Project Liberty is Cory Donovan, who relocated to Philadelphia from Virginia this past winter when his wife moved north. He takes on a newly created 20 hour per week post as Project Manager.
Mark Block, VP of External Relations for IGM, says, "We as a partner and The Knight Foundation agree there was room for improvement." SnipSnap
, which made up the first round of entrepreneurs at the incubator, experienced a number of challenges that have informed changes in the program's location, format and management.
"We addressed issues on a number of fronts," says Block. "The incubator sits in the exact center of the floor, with access to all divisions of the company. It's a fully open space, and an open environment." Block adds that participating Drexel Co-op students are seated between the IT Department and Project Liberty, becoming a liaison. Donovan's day to day presence is in contrast to the initial cycle, where guidance was only intermittently available.
Donovan and Block go way back, having attended Johns Hopkins for business school together a decade ago. "It's important that an institution that includes The Inquirer and philly.com provides resources for up and coming companies," says Donovan. "At the end of the day, our goal is that companies stay here in Philadelphia."
Of Donovan's previous work experience as the Executive Director of the Roanoke - Blacksburg Technology Council
, Block says, "Cory's expertise comes into play. He knows the kinds of contacts and resources these companies are going to have to reach out to."
Rumble, whose founder Al Azoulay is from the Middle East, combines social sharing with mobile media. StartUP Production's Zaahah is a social search engine, developed by James Sisneros, and Transout’s tapCLIQ breaks ground in the fast growing area of mobile advertising.
: Mark Block, Cory Donovan, Project Liberty
: Sue Spolan