Philly Tech Tidbits 7/12/2010

Our state-controlled liquor monopoly is more innovative than you might think. Oracle has recognized the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board as one of its 2010 Retail Excellence Awards honorees. The company says the PLCB uses Oracle Retail solutions "to help to improve inventory turns, increase multi-channel revenues, improve product availability and reduce costs associated with retail operations". Meanwhile, the Liquor Control Board has started testing self-serve wine kiosks in two central Pennsylvania grocery stores, using equipment from Conshohocken-based Simple Brands.

Internet Capital Group said it had purchased an additional 5% of King of Prussia-based ICG Commerce for $14.4 million, bringing its total ownership stake to 81%, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported. ICG indicated in May when it last increased its stake in the company to 76% that it would seek to purchase the remaining 5% not owned either by itself or employees, and this apparently accomplishes that. Both this and the previous deal value ICG Commerce at just under $300 million. There has been some speculation that ICG Commerce could be considering an IPO.

Huntingdon Valley-based email marketing firm AWeber released results of a survey it conducted of 2500 small businesses regarding email marketing and social media marketing efforts that highlights the increasing relationship between the two tools. According to the study, "almost 70 percent of small business marketers are employing some sort of social media tactics and a majority (77 percent) indicate that integrating email marketing and social media is either 'very important' or 'moderately important' ".

Wharton's Supernova Conference will be held in Philadelphia for the first time this year (in the past its been in San Franciso). Described as being focused on "the transformation of computing, communications, business, and society in the Network Age", Supernova appears to be half unconference and half a more tradtional conference structure. Speakers include Comcast's David Cohen, First Round Capital's Josh Kopelman, and Philly CIO Allen Frank, though it is much more than a local conference. It takes place on
July 29-30 at Wharton's Jon M. Huntsman Hall.

A recent Bloomberg Business Week piece on "virtual world" website Second Life discusses the experiences of Tim Allen, IT Director of Web Technologies for Wharton Research Data Services at Penn, who created a eBay type store for virtual items on Second Life before selling it to focus on his day job.

Richard Kahn, CEO of Middletown, Delaware-based interactive agency was named one of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneurs of the Year in the Philadelphia area last month. eZanga was ranked among the fastest growing companies in the Philly Metro area last year by Inc. Magazine.

Mason Wendell, Co-Owner and Principal Designer & Developer of Canary Promotion + Design since 2001, has joined Drupal/Alfresco shop Zivtech as Creative Director of a newly created design department. Megan Wendell will remain at the helm of what will now be called Canary Promotion.

GSI Commerce's interactive agency TrueAction apparently let eight employees go, according to the Times Leader of Wilkes Barre, although it is not clear where they were located.