Switch Philly: a roundup after the first major, paid Technically Philly event

The speakers at the first Switch Philly, held Oct. 6, 2010, from left: Deana Zelenka, Zecozi; Steve Barsh, Packlate; Geoff DiMasi, P'unk Ave; Josh Marcus, Azavea; Greg Wilder, Myna Music

As I first shared last month, we at Technically Philly last week hosted Switch Philly, a tech demo event that we hope to host with some regularity and served as our first major, paid event.

It is the first in a series of events that a big part of making TP a sustainable business.

On the night of one of the most meaningful playoff baseball games in the sport’s history, we welcomed 170 people into the historic Levitt Auditorium of Gershman Hall at University of the Arts to hear five local companies pitch their latest, greatest innovation in just seven minutes, with no PowerPoint presentations allowed — though we made an exception.

That crowd included Councilman Bill Green, Inquirer columnist Mike Armstrong, RobinHood Ventures co-founder Ellen Weber, Genacast Ventures Managing Partner Gil Beyda, Independents Hall co-founder Alex Hillman and dozens more venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, journalists community leaders and more.

It was — for a tech business demo event — fast-moving, crowded and inspiring for the continued acknowledgment of this region’s technology community. We hope to have our next in early 2011.

Below, find a roundup of the successful event, including video, media coverage and more.

Media coverage:

The Companies

  • Find previews of four of the five companies and their presentations here
  • Azavea, the GIS-software firm based in the Callowhill neighborhood, will present sustainably-minded mapping and direction application CommonSpace.
  • P’unk Ave, the Passyunk Square-based web development company, will share innovative content management system Apostrophe.
  • Orpheus Media Research, the Old City tonal research project, will share music comparison software Myna.
  • Zecvozi, the stealth Northern Liberties sustainability tracking company, will launch at the event.
  • Packlate, the West Conshohocken discount vacation planning startup, will share its new deal-finding search engine.

The Sponsors

A big thanks to our sponsors: First Round Capital, Genacast Ventures, The University City Science Center,MCD Law Partners, VC Deal Lawyer, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Corzo Center for the Creative Arts, and University of the Arts.

The Video

The live stream was brought to you by First Round Capital.

Takeaways

  • For simplicity, we just gave 6 p.m. as the start, planning to get the event underway at 6:15 p.m., a time we mostly stuck to. It still might be valuable to have a doors-open time and an event time.
  • We should have a discount ticket sale price early on, a more expensive online later and even more expensive at the door. Our $11 top price at the door this round was fine, but not much more unless real additional value added.
  • We should close online ticket sales early on the day of, so we can have an accurate door list.
  • We want to have more interaction, perhaps using a Twitterfall displayed or a Q&A segment or something like it
  • Our after party at Tavern on Broad was good, but we should probably have it some place that can be quieter and better for discussion and networking.
  • Our media coverage was wonderful and part of our attempt to continue the conversation about switching how Philly’s tech community is viewed. We could have greater outreach among bloggers, TV and other media we didn’t hit to do more.

Do you have other thoughts for us?

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  • http://jamesondetweiler.com/blog Jameson Detweiler

    Do you think that the bar would have been better if the game wasn’t going on? It’s definitely not my top choice, but it’s hard to find somewhere in walking distance to host that many people, especially if we grow.

    Other than that, next time I actually want to have time to plan what I’m going to say. Setting up live-streaming day of was scary stuff.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com Christopher Wink

    I think you’re right, in that the Phillies game affected the general atmosphere and that walking distance was chiefly important, but if we are a large enough group, thinking about perhaps a bar with a separate room that we could take over might be worth thinking about.
    -cgw

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