Quorum plays matchmaker for Philly investors, clean energy startups

Sometimes startups need an angel investor to turn an idea into a moneymaker.

That’s the idea behind the University City Science Center’s Quorum program, which connects entrepreneurs with investors. The Science Center kicked of a new track for clean energy startups Wednesday.

You can think of it as a middle school dance.

On one side of that darkly-lit gym are clean energy startups. Take Malvern, Pa.-based, Momentum Dynamics.

CFO John Hammerschmidt says the company, which makes wireless charging pads for electric vehicles, has had a lot of success courting investors — in Silicon Valley.

“And yet here in Philadelphia it seems that if you’re not a biotech company or a banking-slash-investment company, then the Philadelphia investment community doesn’t really take an active interest in you,” said Hammerschmidt.

The other side of the dance floor — the local investment community — doesn’t disagree.

“There are a lot of great ideas out there,” said Tucker Twitmyer, managing director at EnerTech Capital. “[But] there is a limited amount of capital for sure.”

While local startups are itching for local dance partners, Twitmyer says investors are just looking for the hottest date.

“What we’re interested in,” Twitmyer said, “is the types of businesses that can really change the world, [that can] make a fundamental difference. And that’s asking quite a bit.”

Investing locally is secondary to investing wisely, he said.

This was Quorum’s first matchmaking event for clean energy companies. The event was hosted at the Philadelphia Navy Yard’s Energy Efficient Buildings Hub.

With three more dances scheduled for the rest of the year, the hope is that startups and investors start tying the knot.

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