Posted on 26. Oct, 2015 by Jesse Brooks
“Philadelphia is not Silicon Valley …and we shouldn’t’ try to be.”
That quote from Juliana Reyes of Technical.ly Philly sums up an important and valuable perspective on a rapidly growing industry in our region.
Within the city of Philadelphia, a rising number of start-ups and entrepreneurs are creating technology that changes the way people and businesses interact and solve problems. It’s a scene that’s more collaborative than competitive, and it isn’t hard to experience it first hand. Attend one of the many tech events in Philadelphia and you will meet a talented group of people who are familiar with one another and share a common passion.
Working as an IT recruiter for the past year, I’ve had the chance to speak with many of the people that are in that growing scene, and they are often as talented as they are mission-driven. For example, Ather Sharif, Founder of EvoXLabs, is creating an improved and enjoyable web experience for people who are visually impaired. EvoXLabs also hosts an annual hackathon for Philly area schools and students who are creating products that target people with a broad range of disabilities.
Scholly creator, Christopher Gray, famously launched his product on the show Shark Tank that helps students more easily find and apply to college scholarships. Most of us dreadfully remember that stressful time. Imagine how much easier Scholly is making the lives of students in our city schools and around the country find the support they need to attend college.
Beyond pioneering products that help the lives of Philadelphians, the tech scene is also building a strong industry culture of inclusiveness and diversity. Groups like Girl Develop It, Lesbians who Tech, and The Item are ensuring that our local tech scene is on the cutting edge of creating a diverse and welcoming industry.
The City of Brotherly Love is creating a regional tech industry in the spirit of its name. This landscape is not the dramatized, cut-throat, competitive industry seen in shows like Silicon Valley and articles about Amazon. Philadelphia is building a culture in our tech scene that believes collaboration, mission, and diversity lead to more innovation, talent, and industry growth.