Like all serial entrepreneurs, Zikria Syed knows the value of finding the right environment and the right resources to promote early enterprise growth. At ic@3401, his company, VitalTrax, is at work on a cloud-based platform that helps clinical trial teams more effectively recruit patients and communicate with them throughout the course of a trial.
"ic@3401 is a phenomenal work environment for startups and young companies," he says. "There is help with meeting people, and with connecting with the right people."
Syed's last two companies were located in the suburbs, where "it cost my businesses many more times to grow than at ic@3401. It was harder to make good hires," Syed explains. "And it wasn't as much fun as an energized, urban environment. There's significantly more access to talent in the city. You are not isolated." And he has leveraged this advantage to good effect.
Within 12 months of joining ic@3401, VitalTrax was selected as the recipient of the first investment from a new digital health fund that is putting $6 million to work to grow technology-driven, early-stage healthcare startups in the Philadelphia region. The fund is a partnership among Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA, Safeguard Scientifics, and Independence Blue Cross. BFTP and Safeguard are both community partners at ic@3401.
A collaboration of the Science Center and Drexel University, ic@3401 is the largest group of early-stage, funded companies in Philly; a place where members can tap into the creative minds of academics and entrepreneurs.
VitalTrax's first customer is The One Health Company, a contract research organization, graduate of the Science Center's Digital Health Accelerator, and a fellow ic@3401 member.
ic@3401 members benefit from administrative support, networking opportunities, and events that facilitate interaction with other tech providers. "It's more than a co-working space," Syed says. "You find motivation and inspiration from the people at other tech and healthcare companies. I love being in the middle of this vibrant community — I don't miss my suburban office at all!"