Wayne Kimmel is the Managing Partner of SeventySix Capital, a venture capital firm that invests in “passionate, smart, and nice” entrepreneurs and their innovative startup businesses. Founded in 1999, SeventySix Capital has backed over 40 consumer-facing companies that have gone on to become preeminent names in the health care and technology spaces. The firm has completed a number of successful exits: Seamless, Take Care Health Systems, NutriSystem, and several other companies in SeventySix’s portfolio have gone public or have been acquired by multinational organizations such as IBM, Intel, Walgreens, and Aramark.
Named one of the region’s “Top Innovators” ( Philadelphia Magazine, 2012), Wayne is one of the most active philanthropists in the Philadelphia area. He serves on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Jewish Federation of North America, and the Einstein Healthcare Network—where he also acts as Chairman of the network’s Development Committee.
Earlier this month, Wayne and his firm made news with the announcement of Philadelphia’s Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC): a collaboration between Microsoft Corp., SeventySix Capital, the University City Science Center, and Wexford Science & Technology. The MIC is Philadelphia’s first, as well as the third location in the U.S. overall.
Q. Jon Powell joined SeventySix Capital last November as the firm’s second managing partner. How has it been working with Jon?
WAYNE KIMMEL: I’m so excited to welcome Jon Powell into SeventySix Capital as a partner. Jon comes from the physical world, where he has worked with these incredible brands and retailers. You know, what’s interesting is that it really ties into the overall thesis of SeventySix Capital: the digital worlds and the physical worlds are converging.
Q. Tell us more about that.
A. We’re really focused on this idea of convergence. What’s happening? People don’t leave their houses today and leave their physical products at home. We believe there are incredible, interesting, new things to do in the physical world, which brings together and introduces everything that’s happening in the digital world.
Q. How did you partnership spark the Microsoft Innovation Center collaboration?
A. Jon and I worked together to bring something really special to the City of Philadelphia. We’re bringing the Microsoft Innovation Center to Philadelphia. We have partnered with the Science Center here in Philadelphia to bring that here. It will be open in time for the Democratic National Convention in July, this summer, and it’s an incredible thing that we are doing together. We think that it’s one of these things that will not only help us in our business for SeventySix Capital—and for the Science Center, our partner—but we believe it will really help the whole city of Philadelphia.
We want to inspire young people to do great things. We want that 8-year-old girl from West Philadelphia to see it’s possible to be the next great CEO of whatever kind of company she wants to run. We want people to think big. We want people to think that they can be great. That’s what it’s all about. Jon Powell and I are about making the world a better place, and one of the ways we do it is venture capital. One of the other ways we do it is we just try to help people.
Q. How will the MIC impact Philadelphia and the startup community here?
A. Philadelphia is on its way up, and it’s been on its way up for a while. We’re so excited to help bring Microsoft to Philadelphia—to bring a Fortune 50 Technology Company into this town is a huge deal for Philadelphia. I think it’ll be an incredible catalyst to keep things moving, and really be this incredible spark to move things even faster, here in the Philadelphia area and this whole entrepreneurial community that we have here. We have incredible universities. We have incredible health systems here. We have incredible entrepreneurs. We have incredible corporations that want to support entrepreneurship. We have the governments here who are also looking to help entrepreneurs and foster this incredible entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I am so excited about the next 10 years—what’s going to happen here in Philadelphia. We will not be that city that people just go through, from D.C. to New York. People will want to stop here and spend more time here in Philadelphia. This town is ripe to be the next place, and I am one of those people who want to help it be that place. I’m so excited for the work that John and I have done to bring the Microsoft Innovation Center here, to partner with the Science Center on this, to bring it here, to really do incredible things for the overall entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Philadelphia area. And we’re just getting started.