It’s not quite the $150,000 offered to Y Combinator companies, but DreamIt Ventures is dangling some cash of its own to its startups in an attempt to keep them nearby and ensure the accelerator program stays competitive.
The Philadelphia-based organization, which recently launched a New York class, said it is teaming with venture fund Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania to launch DreamIt Plus, a program for graduating startups that allows them to potentially receive up to about $60,000 in total funding. The money, along with additional support from Ben Franklin, is designed to help startups that are still looking to lock up their Series A round of funding.
If DreamIt startups can get any lead angel funding for their team, Ben Franklin will match the funds up to $30,000. DreamIt has reached out to a handful of local angels to help, including Ed Harvey, Fred Kielhorn, Dave Kurtz, and Gabriel Weinberg. In exchange for the money, startups will be part of Ben Franklin’s portfolio and must remain in the Pennsylvania area. The offer will be good for companies in DreamIt’s upcoming fall class, which is currently taking applications, and may extend to qualifying companies in the current New York class provided they move to Pennsylvania.
Kerry Rupp, managing director of DreamIt, said the Plus program came about because many teams were not from the area but were willing to stick around because of the connections they had made. By offering an incentive, DreamIt can keep them working in the area and can also use the money as a way to appeal to new startups.
The additional money seems to be an acknowledgement that even among the accelerator programs, there’s growing competition to get good candidates and with the money flowing to Y Combinator, competitors like DreamIt need to step up with more support. New World Ventures, an early-stage fund in the Midwest, recently partnered with Chicago incubator Excelerate Labs to offer Excelerate startups $50,000 in convertible debt with no discount or cap. The money can be a motivator it seems. Y Combinator saw its applications jump by 40 percent after SV Angel and Yuri Milner made the offer and ended up with a class of more than 60 startups, up significantly from the most recent class of 44.