I’m happy to announce the official launch the of the Philadelphia chapter of InSITE!
As President of the new chapter, I’d like to share how are chapter began and what our plans are in the near-term. I was a fellow with InSITE New York when I moved to Philadelphia this summer to complete my PhD studies at Penn. The InSITE New York experience was so enriching that I didn’t want it to end. So I brought it with me. The chapter’s founding has not been without hurdles, but as soon as the idea for InSITE Philly was out there, I saw enormous support and enthusiasm.
First and foremost, this chapter would not have been possible without the support from our national board, especially Sage Ramadge and Paul Tumpowsky. They provided guidance, resources, and tools to establish InSITE Philadelphia and extend the InSITE fellowship even further. Second, this chapter was built entirely as a team effort. One of the first people to come on board, Rob Pietroforte (VP Sourcing), was instrumental in finding Philly startups that InSITE could have a significant impact on. Our next two team members, Jimmy Zhu (VP Recruiting) and Jack Taylor (VP Operations) interacted with InSITE New York in their previous venture capital roles before coming to Wharton. Jimmy spearheaded a formal and organized recruiting effort, attracting nearly 100 people to our infosessions for only 18 spots. Jack has developed training, programming, and a long-term strategy for InSITE Philly. James Hopkins (VP Partnerships), who was previously at Alibaba and is currently studying at Wharton and Penn Law, has helped us build our relationships with venture firms in Philadelphia.
One of the relationships we’ve developed is with Rittenhouse Ventures. Rittenhouse Ventures has come online as a lead sponsor of the chapter and is contributing two exciting portfolio companies to the first batch of projects. The companies, Life.io and Kynectiv (formerly DecisionSim), are in the life insurance and personal health spaces respectively, and reflect the city’s strong roots in medicine and healthcare. Rittenhouse’s Jayson Tischler, a Wharton alum, has been an incredible resource for the chapter. This semester our programming includes coffee chats with Comcast Ventures William Crowder and Dreamit’s Karen Gryga. Mentortech’s Brett Topche has also been a great advisor. We look forward to connecting with more area VC mentors in the near future.
And finally, we come to heart and soul of InSITE Philadelphia – our start-up work. I’m pleased to announce the exciting new companies Philadelphia will be working with in the coming year:
Havenly: simple, stylish, and affordable online interior design services
Life.io: helping life insurance companies better connect to their customers
STRIVR: immersive virtual reality performance training
Kynectiv: optimizing healthcare decision making
Quickfra.me: a real time marketplace for on-demand video content creation
Each of these companies brings something new and unique to their respective markets. Our fellows are excited and proud to be working alongside their CEOs. Look for future blogposts throughout the year from our Philly fellows about their work and our programming!