On February 26, 2024, the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT), in conjunction with PitchBook, released its 2023 Philadelphia Venture Report. The report covers dealmaking trends across sectors, stages, exits, and fundraising. The findings portray a resilient region that remained strong despite a nationwide slowdown in VC dealmaking in 2023, particularly in the pre-seed and seed funding stages. In 2023, Greater Philadelphia accumulated $2.4 billion in investment across 403 deals, maintaining its position among the top five most active regions nationally for venture deals. The report stated that the region’s closure of 151 early-stage deals across all industry sectors, which was just below the 2021 high-water mark, surpassed peer regions that experienced a more dramatic decline in early-stage deals.

Among other highlights included in the report:

  • Greater Philadelphia solidified its leadership in life sciences, securing six of the top 10 deals of the year in that space, emphasizing the region’s strength in key sectors, such as cell & gene therapy.
  • Also within the life sciences industry, the biotech and pharma sector captured $845.2 million across 38 deals, accounting for six of the 10 largest deals for the region overall, including ArriVent Biopharma ($155M), Dispatch Biotherapeutics ($113M), Fore Bio ($75M), Synnovation Therapeutics ($69.9M), VintaBio ($64M), and Aro Biotherapeutics ($41.5M). See page 8 of the report for the top 10 list.
  • Greater Philadelphia also closed nearly 100 enterprise tech deals, almost a quarter of the total deal volume.
  • Emphasizing investors’ interest in the region’s startup ecosystem, 170 startups raised their first round of venture capital in 2023, a figure well above pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels.

PACT partners with regional organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia (the Chamber), to develop strategic and innovative initiatives that encourage entrepreneurial growth in Greater Philadelphia. Its annual Philadelphia Venture Report, which was sponsored in part by the Chamber, is one of those initiatives.

In addition to the Chamber, the 2023 Philadelphia Venture Report was sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, BioAdvance, DLA Piper, EY US, Life Sciences PA, NewSpring Capital, Penn MedicineUniversity City Science Center, and Wells Fargo.

Read the full report to learn:

  • How robust pre-seed and seed financing activity in recent years paved the way for resilience at the early stage.
  • The surprising knock-on effects of valuation trends in Philadelphia during the recent boom.
  • Resilience across diverse sectors and the contributing features of the Philadelphia metro area.

What Makes Greater Philadelphia Different?

Relating some features that distinguish the Greater Philadelphia region to competing metros, PACT President and CEO Dean Miller said, “Compared with many of the top hubs (the Bay Area, New York City, and Boston), Philadelphia has a far better cost of living and cost of doing business. Compared with many second- and third-tier venture ecosystems, Philadelphia is far bigger in all aspects, with talent and technology chief among them. We have one of the largest populations of undergraduate and graduate students in the country that are increasingly drawn to stay in Philadelphia.”

What to Watch

“Cell & gene therapy continues to be a growing area within life sciences and one in which Philadelphia has established itself as a world leader,” Miller added. “The mRNA technology developed at Penn that led to the awarding of a Nobel Prize to Drew Weissman, M.D., Ph.D., and Katalin Karikó, Ph.D., holds significant promise for new products beyond the COVID-19 vaccine that the technology has unlocked for our global society. For the past six years, Philadelphia’s life sciences companies have raised around $1 billion per year. That is a significant amount of funding, even in the challenging time period of the last 18-plus months for the sector. Philadelphia is far from a ‘one-trick pony.’ but this sector holds great promise for our region and for mankind,” Miller said.

Sharing Greater Philadelphia’s VC Story

“PACT’s 2023 Philadelphia Venture Report is a valuable resource to the Chamber as we amplify the region’s strengths to entrepreneurs, funders, startups, companies looking to locate or expand here, and talent,” said Claire Greenwood, Senior Vice President, Economic Competitiveness, for the Chamber. “We want to ensure the Greater Philadelphia region is recognized as a worldwide leader in life sciences and a rapidly emerging ecosystem for technology and communicate that the discovery and innovation emanating out of Philadelphia is well worth investing in.”

For information on the Chamber’s efforts to strengthen the region’s innovation economy, visit the Select Greater Philadelphia website and join us in amplifying PACT’s 2023 Philadelphia Venture Report by sharing it with your professional networks.