Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (10/24-10/30 2011)

I talked to PlaySay founder Ryan Meinzer about the venture's move to DC, its VC funding and product plans.

I look at some of the recent Venture news in the Philly area, including funding for DuckDuckGo, Philly-based Q&A startup Quewey, and Conshohocken-based SaaS insurance vendor Unirisx.

On the heels of Digitas Health co-founder & CEO David Kramer's retirement announcement, Publicis says it will integrate Digitas Health and Razorfish Health, both of which are Philly-based, into its New York-based Publicis Healthcare Communications Group.

NBC Sports officially announces it will move its headquarters to Connecticut (hope they have a good backup power supply), including Versus, which has been primarily Philly-based and will be renamed the NBC Sports Network in January. So much for the hope of having the next ESPN in the area.

And two of the hottest tech companies in the Philly area, Radnor-based QlikTech and Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare's parent Quality Systems both report strong quarterly results, and Quality Systems approves a stock split.


Daily Links 10/31/2011: appMobi introduces MobiUs to accelerate Mobile HTML5 Development

Your Response to Occupy Wharton (Wharton Journal)
Continued debate over Occupy Philly's conflict with some in the Wharton community over U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's cancelled speech.

Analysis: Too many start-ups chase too little cash (Reuters)

Interactive Ads: Cable’s Future May Already Have Passed (Bloomberg Business Week)

Cable Is Holding Web TV at Bay, Earnings Show (New York Times)

NBCUniversal to Invest Millions to Enhance Local News at 10 NBC TV Stations (Hollywood Reporter)
Including WCAU in Philadelphia.

McDermott addresses questions over SAP BusinessObjects 4.0, HANA (SearchSAP.com)

MobiUs Accelerates Mobile HTML5 Development, Aims to Kill Mobile Flash (ReadWriteWeb)
New browser released by Lancaster-based appMobi.

TicketLeap Ticket-scanning comes to iPhone with Launch of iOS App (PR Web)

Exclaim Mobility Acquires SmrtGuard Mobile Security Cloud-service Applications (BusinessWire)

Once Hot Startup SimpleGeo Sells For A Loss To Urban Airship (Silicon Alley Insider)
First Round Capital was an investor in SimpleGeo.

Newspaper Next, Five Years Later (Recovering Journalist)

Philly daily newspapers in search for new home (Philly.com: Philly Deals)


Comcast cranks up its research labs to quickly create new video products (Denver Post)

Here's How Much VCs Actually Care About Their Investments Making Money (Business Insider)
Article features a look at David Nevas of Edison Ventures.

Motorola to cut 800 jobs (Marketwatch)
Including some in its Horsham-based Home business segment.

Philly Tech News VentureWatch: 10/28/2011: DuckDuckGo, Quewey, Quiq and more

Tom Paine

The amount of funding for Gabriel Weinberg's search engine DuckDuckGo was $3 million, according to an SEC filing. The main investor was prominent New York-based VC Union Square Ventures, joined by several individual investors. DuckDuckGo has only a miniscule sliver of the overall search market, but its different model-not algorithm driven, no user tracking-has gained some traction. Union Square Ventures' Brad Burnham wrote in a blog post: "We invested in DuckDuckGo because we became convinced that it was not only possible to change the basis of competition in search, it was time to do it". Weinberg, who said he held off on taking funding as long as possible, will use the funds to finally hire some other employees and expand infrastructure.

Unirisx, the Conshohocken-based provider of a SaaS platform for the Insurance industry, recently raised another $1 million in debt-based financing, in addition to $1.4 million in debt-based financing it raised earlier this year, according to an SEC filing. Investors raised $7 million in equity in 2009 to acquire the company. Past investors have included Jaguar Capital Partners, Permit Capital LLC and MIM Capital. The highly respected former Harleysville Group CIO Akhil Tripathi is CEO, and Zurich Financial Services is a major client. Unirisx started as a spinoff from Unisys' British subsidiary.

Quewey, a Philadelphia-based business oriented Q&A site, has apparently raised $250,000, according to a filing hot off the press. They haven't launched in Beta yet, but you can see their blog here.

Blue Bell-based Quiq, Inc., which provides a system enabling perscriptions to be dispensed directly to patients in a physician's office, has raised over $2 million, according to SEC filings shown by FormDs.com.

OpenDesks' (Conshohocken) recently released iPhone app for locating temporary work spaces in 133 cities around the country got a nice mention in the New York Times (at the bottom of the article) .

The New Jersey Technology Council has named mVisum a finalist for its Early-Stage Company of the Year Award, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports. mVisum, which is based in the Rutgers-Camden Technology Campus, allows medical professionals to securely receive, review, and respond to patient data recorded at the point of care.


Daily Links 10/28/2011: Publicis to merge Digitas Health, Razorfish Health into larger group

Publicis merges digital agencies into larger group (InPharm)
Philly-based digital agencies Digitas Health and Razorfish Health are to be merged into the larger Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG).
Publicis Press Release. This comes shortly after the announcement of David Kramer's retirement.

SunGard Announces Third Quarter 2011 Results (Business Wire)

SAP hiring 'a few hundred' here, more in 2012 (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

Sprint Said Near Deal With Clearwire for New Multiyear Agreement (Bloomberg)

Comcast commits to bring more broadband to Innovation District (Mass High Tech)
Does Comcast have similar plans for parts of Philly?

Google TV Software Update Ready, but New Hardware Will Have to Wait (All Things Digital)

Cablevision Shares Plunge
Nears 52-Week Low After Disappointing Quarter
(Multichannel News)

Lockheed Reports Flat Space Revenue (Space News)


PlaySay: Moved to DC, raised VC funds, launched Facebook platform at TechCrunch Disrupt

Tom Paine

PlaySay, the Philly-born startup that helps people learn languages on mobile devices and which went through the GoodCompany Ventures incubator program in 2010, has since migrated down I-95 to Washington, DC. It has received $550,000 in VC funding from Novak, Biddle Venture Partners (it had also raised some angel funds). Founder Ryan Meinzer tells me via phone there were several good reasons to locate in DC: to be closer to its financial backers (Novak Biddle is based in the Maryland suburbs), because the Federal government and the many international organizations there are important clients for the language learning market, and because of the international orientation of the area and the supply of linguistics talent located there.

PlaySay officially launched at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2011 in September.
PlaySay's platform is now on Facebook; if you search for a non-Facebook web presence for it right now you won't find it. (PlaySay may have one soon, though it will likely be of secondary importance.) PlaySay built its app, which it describes as a "language learning layer on Facebook", using HTML5 tailored for the iPad. An Android app will come later, but currently PlaySay is focused on optimizing its UI for the iPad. Available now only for Spanish, PlaySay allows users to match images to words and combine them together to learn phrases, and share them with others. A key product development goal is to enhance the social gaming aspect within the Facebook platform. PlaySay plans to monetize utlilizing Facebook credits to enable user access to premium features.

In addition to the Facebook app, PlaySay is working on smartphone apps which leverage relationships with other information providers. In September it announced a content licensing deal with McGraw-Hill Professional, one of the largest publishers of language learning books and materials. It looks like one iOS app from the McGraw relationship is already live. Some similar arrangements with other partners may be in the works.

Meinzer, who is from central Pennsylvania (Hershey, Lancaster) and attended Temple, saw the need for PlaySay when he went to work in Japan and needed to learn Japanese quickly. He started making digital flashcards for himself so he could start learning several new words every day. PlaySay currently has six employees, including an expert in linguistics. Meinzer says English as a Second Language may be the next market segment PlaySay enters in addition to Spanish. Some have questioned the choice of Facebook as a platform, though Meinzer believes it is best for creating the type of immersive experience he wants. Some early feedback has suggested that the UI is not yet as intuitive as some users would like.

Rosetta Stone is a big player in the market (though it has struggled lately), but Meinzer looks at newer startups such as Voxy, MindSnacks (which went through the DreamIt Ventures program), and Livemocha as being his most direct competitors.


Daily Links 10/27/2011: QlikTech reports 50% growth, small profit

Safeguard Scientifics consolidates life science, tech portfolio management (Med City News)
Kevin Kemmerer resigns, Jim Datin has taken over management of the technology portfolio in addition to life sciences portfolio. Surprising, seems sudden; looking for more explanation.

QlikTech Announces Third Quarter 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)
Revenue grows 50% to $75.5 million, small*(GAAP) net profit. Americas revenue up 71%.

Quality Systems, Inc. Reports Record Fiscal 2012 Second Quarter Results; Board-Approved 2:1 Stock Split Effective Today (Business Wire)
Continues to report strong top line and bottom line growth. Quality Systems' primary business is NextGen Healthcare of Horsham.

InterDigital Rises as Sales Top Estimates, Sale Talks Continue

Comcast/NBCU Deal Lawyers: Online Video Competition Was Key Concern
Attorneys for Comcast, FCC, Verizon give personal takes on merger conditions and impact on over-the-top services.
(Broadcasting & Cable)

Comcast Moves NBCU Local’s Shopping Guide To DailyCandy (paidContent)

Time Warner Cable Slumps as Profit Misses Estimates on Subscriber Losses (Bloomberg)

Time Warner Cable continues big bet on broadband (Gigaom)

Motorola Mobility's Home Sales Drop 10% In Q3
Set-Top Shipments Decline 3% Year Over Year
(Multichannel News)

CardioNet, Inc. Board of Directors Announces the Resignation of Randy Thurman as Chairman of the Board (Business Wire)

Marketing continues for Philadelphia Media Network tablet despite exec's departure (NewsWorks)

SAP Updates Business One Application for Small Companies (PC World)

Instem Chosen for Global Deployment of Provantis SaaS; Roche Consolidates Preclinical Software Systems (Business Wire)

Kenexa to Transfer to the New York Stock Exchange (Business Wire)
Also indicates higher guidance for Q3 results.

Heartland Payment Systems Reports 55% Increase in Third Quarter Adjusted Earnings per Share
Board Authorizes $50 Million Share Repurchase Program
(Business Wire)

CDI Corp. Reports 2011 Third Quarter Results (PR Newswire)


Daily Links 10/26/2011: SAP officially reports results, ponders share repurchases

SAP Profit Rises After Damages Provision for Oracle Is Cut (Bloomberg)
Some uncertainty about outlook for next year.

Strong cash flow prompts SAP to mull share repurchases (Reuters)

SAP mulling dedicated cloud sales force to push on-demand products (V3.co.uk)

Workday Aims at Enterprises With Cloud ERP as IPO Approaches (PC World)

A Bad Day for the Salesforce Kool-Aid (All Things Digital)

KofP prodigy in $1.5B Oracle cloud software deal (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

Safeguard Scientifics Announces Third Quarter 2011 Financial Results (Business Wire)

Comcast Launches HD, Full-Screen Versions Of TV Guide Network In Freedom Region
Rollouts Should Be Completed By End Of Q1
(Multichannel News)
The Freedom Region includes the Philly area.

Netflix Now 33% Of Peak Downstream Internet Traffic In U.S.: Study
Streaming Video Overall Represents 60% of Peak Downstream Bandwidth Usage, According to Sandvine
(Multichannel News)
Another reason I think Netflix may face crunch; cheap bandwith for streaming is not infinite.

Daniel B. Burke Dies at 82; Helped Engineer Capital Cities-ABC Deal (New York Times)
Father of NBCU CEO Steve Burke, and brother of former J&J CEO James E. Burke.

Clearwire Soars; Sprint Discloses Tentative Deal On LTE (Eric Savitz/Forbes)
Not a financial agreement, but rather an agreement to determine mutual tech specs for LTE.

Don’t look now, but AWS might be a billion-dollar biz (Gigaom)

Daily Links 10/25/2011: NBC Sports, including Versus, moving to Connecticut

NBC Sports may move its Phila., N.Y. operations to Conn. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

It's official: NBC sports coming to Connecticut (Connecticut Mirror)

Tech bubble 2.0, revisited (FT Blogs)

Who’s next on Oracle’s hit list? (Gigaom)

Dell Boomi gets a business rules engine (Computerworld)

Dell Boomi AtomSphere Fall Release Harnesses Power of World’s Largest Integration Cloud to Simplify Integration Complexity (Business Wire)

Modelling market for SAP heats Up (IT-Director.com)

Mainframes pump up profits at Unisys
Bucking Uncle Scrooge Sam
(The Register)

Cross Atlantic Capital Partners Completes Its Most Recent Investment in Rootstock Software (Business Wire)
Saleforce.com also invests. See my post on Cross Atlantic's investment in Rootstock from June.

What I learned from raising venture capital (Gabriel Weinberg's Blog)
DuckDuckGo's reported funding is $3 million (actually, one dollar less), according to an SEC filing.

After Dismal Earnings Outlook, Netflix Loses $2.3 Billion In Market Cap (TechCrunch)

Netflix and the economics of nonrival goods (Felix Salmon/Reuters Blogs)

Who Will Own Your Living Room? (Silicon Angle)

AMETEK Announces Strong Third Quarter Results (PR Newswire)
Raises guidance for full year.

AMETEK Acquires EM Test (PR Newswire)
Continues to be acquisitive.

Nokia Maps plus HTML5 equals offline mobile maps (Gigaom)

Industry's First Integrated Wireless Receiver Gives U-Verse TV Customers More Freedom to Easily Watch TV Anywhere, in Any Room in the Home
(AT&T Press Release)

Health IT Wins More Venture Capital in 2011
Venture capital for healthcare software and IT services hit $207 million in the third quarter of 2011, a 14% increase compared to Q3 2010.
(Information Week)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News

New Jersey Tech Weekly's Esther Surden contributed a piece she wrote on her website on the recent New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) Executive Leadership Summit in Jersey City and Synchronoss Technologies CEO Stephen Waldis' keynote address.

USA Technologies Chairman & CEO George Jensen Jr. does resign, and yes, as I had speculated, it was the Yahoo message board for USAT that he was posting messages on.

Ben Franklin Technology Ventures of Southeastern Pennsylvania announces $1 million in funding for six ventures.

I reported on a new business accelerator, Novotorium, that is set to open with a November 1 launch party at its Langhorne offices.

And I take a look at the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree report on VC funding in the Philadelphia area.


Daily Links 10/24/2011: Oracle buys RightNow for $1.5 billion, Workday raises $85 million

Oracle Buys RightNow for $1.5 Billion to Add Cloud Services
Big day for Montana.

Oracle Targets Salesforce with Latest Buy: RightNow for $1.5 Billion (Silicon Angle)

Exclusive: Aneel Bhusri’s Workday Raises $85 Million at a Whopping $2 Billion Valuation (All Things Digital)
Perhaps the biggest emerging threat to SAP.

SAP and United Nations Population Fund Unveil Interactive Analytics as Population Grows Beyond 7 Billion (PR Newswire)

Just How Much Damage Did Netflix Really Do To Itself? (All Things Digital)
Earnings due today.

Netflix loses 800,000 US subscribers in third quarter (Gigaom)
Share price down almost 20% after close.

Netflix Q3 Top Ests, But Shares Hit By Weak Q4 Outlook (Forbes: Tech Musings)

UberMedia Launches Chime.in Interest Network: New Social Media Platform for Connecting and Engaging Around Interests (Marketwire)
Comcast Ventures described as "strategic funding partner"; First Round Capital already an investor in UberMedia.

On the Call: Verizon CFO on non-FiOS areas (AP via Bloomberg Business Week)
Says it will serve those areas with fixed LTE.

Unisys more than triples profits, earns $79M (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Amazon’s Online Drugstore Soap.com Adds Groceries To The List (TechCrunch)

MobileMD Gets Connecticut HIE Deal (Health Data Management)
MobileMD is based in Yardley.

Sidera Expands at 401 North Broad in Philly (Data Center Knowledge)


Cantor cancels Penn speech, Occupy Philly still protests (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Venture Capital in the Philadelphia Metro Area
(Jennifer Knudson/Philly Fed Research Rap) (pdf)

Jobs's final plan: an ‘integrated’ Apple TV (Washington Post)

Philly VC Deals flat vs. last year; longer term funding may be concern

Tom Paine

Venture Capital investment in Philly Metro area companies was just under $120 million in the third quarter of 2011, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree report based on data from Thomson Reuters, released Wednesday. This was more than the $89 million reported in Q2, but less than the $124 million reported in the same quarter last year. Total investment for the first three quarters of 2011 was $337 million, compared to $334 million for the first three quarters of last year. Thirty-six deals were reported in the quarter.

In terms of individual investments, there were no surprises; all the large deals had previously been announced. ISGN, the Bensalem-based mortgage processing technology business, was the largest recipient, raising $30 million. Boston-based OpenView Venture Partners' trio of area investments, Monetate, NextDocs, and Xtium, which I wrote about here, accounted for about $31 million (though I believe these numbers don't reflect another $5 million invested in Xtium).

Other IT-oriented investments included Instamed ($5.5 million), GreenPhire ($1.5 million), Lightning Gaming of Boothwyn ($1 million), Cross Current Corporation of Doylestown ($800,000), Vita Products of Philadelphia ($700,000), and Sanovia of Philadelphia ($500,000). PlaySay, which the report says raised $250,000, has since moved to Washington DC and now has raised a total of $550,000 from Bethesda, MD-based Novak Biddle Venture Partners. AssetVUE and MobileReactor LLC both recently raised $200,000 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, as was announced ealier this week. Connectify raised an unspecified amount from an investment firm related to the US Intelligence comunity, and recently launched spare space rental site Storably is also reported to have raised funds.

Some angel investments and other larger private equity investments may not be included in the MoneyTree report.

Nationally, VC investment was up 31% over the prior year"s third quarter. Software investments reached $2 billion, the highest level in nearly a decade.

The biggest concern going forward is whether the current level of funding can be maintained. Venture Capital fundraising hit an eight year low in the third quarter, dropping 53% from the prior year, according to the National Venture Capital Association, and VC investments are far outpacing fundraising as many firms are working downs funds they had previously raised.


Daily Links 10/21/2011: Questions asked about Fisker Automotive

Ben Franklin expands start-up incubator
Addition is expected to help create up to 200 technology jobs in three years.
(Allentown Morning Call)

Cantor speech at Wharton abruptly canceled (Politico)

What if Gartner is right? (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

Salesforce hires Bruce Richardson - this is a big deal (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

SAP And Oracle: Get Real About In-Memory Analysis
(Information Week)

Car Company Gets U.S. Loan, Builds Cars In Finland (ABC News)
Fisker Automotive received a $529 million loan guarantee from the Federal government to produce electric cars in Delaware, but right now they are only being built in Finland. The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Delaware production plans have been pushed back to mid-2013, though Fisker takes some dispute with that. Conshohocken-based A&I Ventures has a small stake in Fisker.

Bernstein Research: Cable Deal Could Be T-Mobile 'Plan B'
Analysts say deal with Comcast, TWC for spectrum could be just the ticket
(Multichannel News)

Inside Comcast’s massive IP VOD network (Gigaom)

Comcast No Longer Choking File Sharers’ Connections, Study Says (Wired: Threat Level)

Verizon's FiOS TV Subscriber Growth Slowed in Third Quarter (Hollywood Reporter)

Verizon Profit Doubles on Smartphones; User Gains Fall Short (Bloomberg)


Daily Links 10/20/2011: Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey shows signs of improvement

Philly Fed Manufacturers See Improvement in October (Business Wire)

Philly Fed factory activity highest since April (Reuters)

Dell Looks in Mirror, Sees Hip Silicon Valley Startup (Wired: Wired Enterprise)
"Boomi engineering team with[sic] remain in Philadelphia, but some sales staff will work out of the new Silicon Valley Research and Development Center", article says. Dell Boomi's Bob Moul responded to my tweet wondering if there might be a gradual shift of Boomi activity towards Silicon Valley, tweeting: "not in the plans - just signed lease to double space in Berwyn. Cool bldg in Santa Clara tho... :-)"

Integration Key to Dell's New Approach to IT (IT Business Edge)

Would Janney have really left city without deal? (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

David Kramer Retires as CEO of Digitas Health and Razorfish Health at end of 2011 (Press Release via Philly Ad Club News)

Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire BNI Video
Acquisition Will Advance Cisco's Videoscape Service Provider Video Strategy
(Cisco Press Release)
Comcast Ventures was a "founding investor" of BNI Video.

BNI Video Seeks Scale With Cisco (Light Reading Cable)

U-verse TV Loses Momentum, Broadband Stalls
AT&T Adds 176,000 TV Subs and Just 3,000 Net Wireline Broadband Customers
(Multichannel News)

Analysts Size Up Third-Quarter Pay TV Subscriber Trends (Hollywood Reporter)

SAP Loses ByDesign VP, Gains Global On-Demand Head (Accounting Today)

SEPTA smart card contract delayed
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

Siemens and Synthes Launch Software for Preoperative Planning of Trauma Surgery (Medgadget)

The Bigger the Risk the Bigger the Reward (SevOne Blog)
On SevOne being ranked #2 on Deloitte's 2011 Philadelphia Fast 50.

PayChoice: Next generation of payroll/HR software technology set to deliver (Business Wire)


New startup accelerator, Novotorium, takes shape in Bucks; to launch next month

Tom Paine

Novotorium, a startup accelerator (a term it prefers over incubator) based in Langhorne, Bucks County, is preparing for a November 1 launch.

Novotorium comes from the vision of Mike Krupit, an experienced executive and entrepreneur. A native New Yorker, he worked in Silicon Vallley for a while before arriving on the Philly tech scene, working at Josh Kopelman's Infonautics in its early days and then becoming a key exec at CDNow, helping to manage its transition as CEO after it was acquired by Bertelsmann. The accelerator itself will be located in space leased by Voice Systems Engineering (where Mike had previously served as Chief Innovation Officer), in the old Lenox China Building. Gary Baron, President and CEO of VSE, will be funding the launch through his Baron Innovation Group. There is no public financing involved at this time.

Novotorium has a different business model than many incubators. Applicants
will be accepted for three month periods, which may be extended on a quarterly basis to up to 18 months, in which they will have free use of the space. There will be no upfront seed funding or stipends, but neither will there be an upfront equity stake for Novotorium or its partners or any fees. The ventures will get assistance and coaching from both Novotorium's own staff and its outside partners. Krupit plans to emphasize substantive product and market development work rather than "pitch coaching", he said in a phone interview with Philly Tech News. He is looking mostly for ventures that are either technology-driven or service businesses with a technology orientation.

He also has a preference for startups which have some operational track record or at least a prototype or beta test experience, rather than just being concepts on whiteboards. He says he hopes to have taken on 12 ventures by the end of next year, with perhaps 6 being active at any one time. Applicants will be accepted on a one by one, rolling basis, rather than in classes. After about six months he would like to see most ventures get $15,000 to $50,000 of funding, though there is no guarantee that will happen. If Novotorium makes a funding offer that the venture turns down, it may be asked to leave the incubator.

In addition to Krupit, Novotorium's staff consists of Chuck Hall (marketing & business development), Alberto Janza (technology), and Maria Collins, focused on communications, design, and UI issues. Several outside partners are lined up, but Krupit is not ready to name them.

Novotorium's floor layout emphasizes an open format designed to encourage collaboration. It features Herman Miller furniture, high speed wireless and wired Internet, big whiteboards, a conference room, casual meeting spaces, an Innovation Bar, full kitchen, professional gym, big screen TV and Wii. It also has data center facilities. They currently have 3,000 square feet, with the ability to quickly more than double that. Krupit also points out that its location provides good access to Philly, King of Prussia, Princeton and New York City.

As to whether there could be some bubbles emerging in the incubator/accelerator space, Krupit shares those concerns, but feels the riskiest area is in initial seed funding, which Novotorium is trying to minimize by focusing on startups with some track record.

Novotorium’s launch event will be on Tuesday, November 1, 2011, from 5-8 p.m, at its headquarters in Langhorne. You can sign up on TicketLeap here. You can begin the application process online here.


Daily Links 10/19/2011: Digitas/Razorfish Health CEO David Kramer to retire by year end

Digitas/Razorfish Health CEO Kramer to Retire by Year’s End (MediaBistro: AgencySpy)

Checkpoint slashes 3Q, annual outlook; shares dive (AP via Business Week)
Philly-based company now plans 1,000 employee reduction vs. 200 in prior plan; CEO cites sudden downturn of business in Europe.

MyYearbook.com tops business growth list (PhillyBurbs.com)

NJ Transit Starts Tap-And-Pay Smartphone Option With Google (Bloomberg)

Early stage companies target health sector at Philadelphia conference (Med City News)

NetSuite Boosts Global Capabilities of Its SaaS Business Software (PC World)

Risks and Opportunities with SAP's Platform Economics (Frank Scavo/The Enterprise System Spectator)

Lingering questions about SAP’s cloud portfolio (SAP Watch)

The 2011 FinTech 100 Ranking: 4. SunGard (American Banker)

U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book: Philadelphia District (Bloomberg)


USA Technologies acknowledges Jensen was posting on Yahoo message board

USA Technologies Comments on Resignation of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Jensen (Business Wire)

See my earlier post, More on USA Technologies CEO George Jensen's suspension: Message Board Wars.

USA Technologies' Jensen resigns

USA Technologies Chairman & CEO George R. Jensen, Jr resigned on Friday, according to an SEC filing by the company. USA Technologies had said earlier last week that he had been suspended due to postings on an Internet message board and his resignation was expected in the near future.

No further explanation has been given about what Mr. Jensen may have posted on Internet message boards. The filing details his separation agreement, which includes about one year's salary and some other benefits.

See More on USA Technologies CEO George Jensen's suspension: Message Board Wars.

Ben Franklin announces funding approved for six ventures

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania today announced it had approved funding for six ventures, including three in digital technology, two that are medically oriented, and one that might be considered to be in the"green tech" area. The investments totaled slightly more than $1 million. BFTP's press release is shown below:

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania Approves More Than $1 Million For Six Early-Stage Companies

October 17, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA (www.sep.benfranklin.org) – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) recently approved $1,025,000 million for six early-stage companies.

“These companies demonstrate the determination of entrepreneurs to start and run businesses even during the most difficult economic circumstances,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President & CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Companies approved for funding:

AssetVUE - Bristol – Bucks County – Approved Investment: $200,000

AssetVUE provides hardware, strategies, support, assembly and upgrades for data centers. The company has developed an inventory management and migration system based on RFID technology used primarily within the Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) framework. The tool enables data center operations teams to make decisions related to IT asset management and monitoring, IT asset security and, migration of IT assets from an existing to a new facility.

Once assets are in place and validated, AssetVUE ensures those assets stay where they belong with real-time asset tracking and activation of security check points (e.g. located at the doors of the data center, warehouse, shipping dock, or IT staging area).

AssetVue is led by Sean Cotter, President; and Gary Aron, Vice President of Business Development.

Essential Medical, LLC – Wayne – Montgomery County – Approved Investment: $250,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $250,000)

Essential Medical is developing innovative products for use in cardiac catheterizations in leg arteries.

The company is led by Greg Walters, President and CEO.

MobileReactor LLC (dba OneTwoSee) – Devon – Chester County – Approved Investment: $200,000

OneTwoSee products and services allow TV viewers to use mobile devices to play along with their favorite shows and other viewers in a fun and meaningful way, while providing advertisers with a sophisticated platform for reaching those viewers.

MobileReactor, LLC is led by Chris Reynolds, CEO; Jason Angelides, COO; and Stu Farber, CTO.

Novetas Solutions – Philadelphia – Approved Investment: $200,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $300,000)

Novetas Solutions processes and markets recycled glass that is crushed through a patent-pending grinding process. The company’s main product, New Age Blast Media, is an alternative, expendable abrasive used for blast cleaning and preparation of surfaces for subsequent painting or coating.

The product has been sold in the US since 2008. Glass grit is becoming a preferred expendable abrasive due to growing health concerns related to traditional blasting media (e.g. crushed coal slag), better productivity, and improved final quality results.

Novetas Solutions is led by Paul Mellon, Jr., President and CEO.

Real-Time Tomography – Villanova – Montgomery County – Approved Investment: $150,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $425,000)

Real-Time Tomography develops state-of-the-art image processing and image reconstruction solutions for the next generation of 2D and 3D medical imaging systems. Real-Time’s software imaging products are cost-effective and provide efficient solutions for manufacturers of medical imaging systems. These solutions can easily be adapted to optimize new and existing systems, accelerating manufacturers’ products time to market.

Real Time is led by Susan Ng, President and CEO, and Peter Ringer, CTO.

TicketLeap, Inc. – Philadelphia – Approved Investment: $25,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $500,000)

TicketLeap, Inc. is an e-commerce company that enables event organizers to sell tickets to their events online. Services include event registration, event promotion, and virtual box office software.

The company also provides barcode scanning, instant credit card swiping, customized ticket design, and ticket tracking services.

TicketLeap, Inc. is led by Christopher Stanchak, Founder & CEO; Tim Raybould, CFO; and Keith Fitzgerald, CTO. Christopher Stanchak previously worked at GSI Commerce, a global
e-commerce leader, where he managed the National Hockey League's online operations.

* * * *

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning model for technology innovation, and a catalyst for Stimulating Entrepreneurial Potential. For more than 28 years, we have invested in innovative enterprises and created commercialization pathways and partnerships that generate wealth through science and technology. We offer entrepreneurs and established businesses the Capital, Knowledge and Networks to compete in the global marketplace. We have invested more than $150 million to grow more than 1,700 regional enterprises across all areas of technology.

Ben Franklin’s programs and partnerships with universities, corporations and investors strengthen the region’s innovation infrastructure. Together with partners across the region, we are fostering the formation of a Greater Philadelphia energy cluster…Power Valley. We are the commercialization partner for the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) national energy hub, and the founding partner of the Energy Commercialization Institute (ECI). We are founding partners of The Nanotechnology Institute (NTI), Emerald Stage2 Venture Fund, and numerous other programs and initiatives.

Ben Franklin is part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partnership.

For additional information, please visit www.sep.benfranklin.org, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.

Highlights: Last Week on Philly Tech News

I looked at which Philly-area companies show up on the 2011 Information Week 500.

A roundup of some of the major recent events at VC Firm First Round Capital.

A Utah firm acquires Nokia Navteq's Malvern operations, forming a new company named Radiate Media and retaining many jobs in Malvern.

And I report on CEO George Jensen's suspension at USA Technologies (he has since resigned), and explore some history on a Yahoo message board that might be relevant to it.


Daily Links 10/17/2011: What will happen to Daily Deals market; too many small startups?

SAP boosts third quarter profit on TomorrowNow loss writedown
Currency fluctuations hit operating profit
(Computerworld UK)

Cloud impact: SAP changes upgrade and maintenance policies (ZDNet Blogs)

Supply Chain Consultants, Reflecting Its Evolution and Growth as a Software Provider, Changes Name to Arkieva (Business Wire)

Is Boston spawning too many start-ups, and starving growth companies for talent? (Boston Globe: Innovation Economy)
Does the same question apply to the Philadelphia area?

How Critical Is TV Everywhere?
It May Be the Future of Pay Television — But Not All Are Sold
(Multichannel News)

Jonathan Storm: Peacock looking plucked as NBC cancels shows (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Scoop: Skype founders gunning for Netflix with Vdio (Gigaom)

Hulu Owners May Seek IPO for Video Website After Halting Auction (Bloomberg)

Why SEI shares lag the market (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

AMETEK Acquires Reichert Technologies (PR Newswire)
One of Ametek's largest deals in a while.

Are daily deals really dying? (GSI Commerce Blog)

Microsoft's plan for bringing its BI tools to iOS, Android, and Windows 8 devices (ZDNet Blogs)


Synchronoss Exec Speaks to C-Level Peers at NJTC Conference

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor, New Jersey Tech Weekly

At the two-day New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) Executive Leadership Summit in Jersey City last month, keynoter Stephen Waldis, chairman, president and CEO of Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (Bridgewater), addressed his fellow C-level executives, explaining his philosophy that “controlled growth over time is the most sustainable” growth and provides the most long-term value.

Later in his speech, Waldis, whose firm has grown from startup to thriving N.J. public company, discussed why much of the firm’s R & D occurs outside N.J. The company chose to locate its global R & D facilities in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, near Lafayette College and Lehigh University, schools with excellent engineering programs. The R & D labs are attractive to engineers from Penn State University as well, Waldis said. Synchronoss employees appreciate being able to work with cutting-edge technology in an area where the cost of living isn’t as high as in New York and New Jersey, Waldis said. He added that the company has acquired developers overseas who are skilled in a certain state-of-the-art software set Synchronoss needed but for which it couldn’t find the talent in the U.S.

At the beginning of his talk, Waldis focused on his company’s growth strategy. Synchronoss, whose flagship ConvergenceNow and ConvergenceNow Plus+ software platforms automate subscriber activation, order management and service provision from any channel to any communications service across any network or device, has grown about 25 percent year over year since its inception. The firm operates using a software as a service (SaaS) business model and gets paid per transaction/customer activation.

When Synchronoss was poised for growth, a key management tool the company used was acquiring a “marquee customer” who could prove the value of the software services. That customer was AT&T Inc. Synchronoss wound up being the company that handled activation of the Apple iPhone via the iTunes store, no small feat. After the company proved its value and its product’s ease of use to AT&T during the iPhone launch, it was able to take that experience and apply it to all its customers. This has led to its acquiring business from other carriers. Recently Verizon Wireless said it would be partnering with Synchronoss to have all new connected devices activated on their new 4G network via the company’s innovation lab as a way to accelerate many more devices on their networks faster and provide a better experience for consumers. Waldis emphasized that Synchronoss examines every aspect of its ongoing operations every year, including ensuring that the person at the top, he himself, has the skills needed to achieve the company’s objectives. He said that its board of directors—populated with individuals who have more business and telecom experience than he does—conducts an annual audit of his abilities and skill level. Synchronoss is equally tough on its managers and execs. As a result, Waldis said, he has drastically changed the kinds of functions he performs and has had to give up control of many tasks he likes to do. However, by ceding control, he has focused on larger issues and helped the firm grow.

While many small businesses start out by employing friends and family—which can be great at the beginning—the latter are not always best for a company’s long-term growth, Waldis added. He told a story about one of his firm’s first executives. That individual was excellent when the company was small but couldn’t handle the multitasking involved in running a larger company and had trouble keeping the many balls in the air. His point to fellow executives: at every stage of growth, make sure your executives’ skill sets and abilities are compatible with your company’s objectives.

Waldis shared that he had learned a lot from working with Apple on the iPhone release because Steve Jobs and other employees were relentless in their focus on the customer’s experience. They needed to know exactly what would happen as a result of each action a customer might take. Innovative companies don’t introduce products that are only 80 percent ready to go, Waldis said; they focus on the remaining 20 percent, even though it’s the hardest part to execute.

The Leadership Summit included a CEO of the Year award ceremony, which took place on the second day. Honored were Steven Abramson, president and CEO of Universal Display Corp. (Ewing), named Public CEO of the Year; John Bailye, CEO of EKR Therapeutics Inc. (Bedminster), named Private CEO of the Year; and Caren Franzini, CEO of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (Trenton), Not-for-Profit CEO of the Year.

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of   New Jersey Tech Weekly , and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This article originally appeared in New Jersey Tech Weekly.


Utah firm acquires Nokia Navteq's Malvern operations; forms Radiate Media

Tom Paine

A Salt Lake City-based company, Matchbin (now Radiate Media), has acquired Nokia Navteq's Traffic.com operations in Malvern, it announced yesterday. Nokia had announced on September 29 that it would close the Malvern office, as I reported. Chris Rothey, former head of NAVTEQ Media Solutions, will become Radiate Media’s new chief executive officer. Radiate Media will continue to provide traffic content solutions through an ongoing arrangement with Navteq. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Radiate Media's press release says it has "has over 230 employees located in Malvern, Pa., Salt Lake City, Utah, and other offices across the United States". Joe DiStefano reports in the Inquirer that Radiate Media’s President and COO Hal Widlansky (previously CEO of Matchbin) says all 191 engineers, technicians, sales people, and other Traffic.com workers in the Malvern office are now employees of the combined Matchbin-Traffic.com. But Navteq said at the time the shutdown was announced that 300 employees in Malvern would be impacted, so its not clear what will happen to the other 100 or so employees.

The headquarters of the combined company was not specified, although its CEO and about 80% of its employees are located in Malvern.


DreamIt-Backed CloudMine Lets App Developers Bypass The Backend Pain, Focus On Their Product (TechCrunch)

Without Dennis Ritchie, there would be no Jobs (ZDNet Blogs)

USA Technologies CEO suspended amid probe into Internet posts

Tom Paine

Malvern-based USA Technologies, a provider of cashless payment solutions for vending machines, said yesterday in a filing with the SEC that chairman and CEO George Jensen had been suspended pending a probe into internet posts he had made, the nature of which have not yet been specified.

The company says it expects Jensen will resign his positions as chairman, CEO and board member "in the near future". Chief Operating Officer Stephen Herbert is serving as interim CEO.

Jensen has served as CEO of USA Technologies since 1992. The company says whatever it was he did will not impact its historical financial results.

USA Technologies (NASDAQ: USAT) shares are down 15.5% to $1.20 so far today.

More as it develops.


Daily Links 10/13/2011: TruePosition says standards manipulated by competition

What We Are Seeing (A VC)

CLWR Soars 16%: Pre-Announces Q3 Revenue, Profit Upside (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)

Liberty Media Unit (Berwyn-based TruePosition) Says Standards Manipulated By Competitors (Forbes)

First Azure-hosted Microsoft ERP service due in Fall 2012 (ZDNet Blogs)
Thats a year from now.

Dell Puts Recent Acquisitions to Work (PC World)

Connectify Brings Iridium Global Network Connectivity to Wi-Fi-Enabled Devices (PR Newswire)
The Philly-based company recently received funding from an investment firm connected to the US Intelligence community.

Waste Management Announces Strategic Investment in Recycle Rewards (PR Newswire)
I am still skeptical about Recycle Rewards'(Recyclebank"s) economics; it has been a close call in several communities and there are some who have chosen not to renew.

Deal With Time Warner Brings the CW to Netflix (New York Times: Media Decoder)



First Round Capital Roundup 10/12/2011

What's new in the world of First Round Capital

Tom Paine

Two of First Round Capital's most recent investments are in Pantheon, a San Fransisco-based SaaS platform for Drupal sites, and Kiwi Crate, a subscription service that delivers hands-on crafts and activities for young children (see Josh Kopelman's blog post on Kiwi Crate and the subscription business model ). Seth Goldstein, co-founder of Turntable.fm, was among the other investors in Kiwi Crate.

One venture that is perhaps a bit different than First Round's typical portfolio company is California-based DNAnexus, which today announced a $15 million funding round led by Google Ventures and TPG Biotech, with First Round participating. DNAnexus is focused on delivering a cloud-based solution for "big data analysis" of DNA to both the commercial and academic communities. First Round Capital led a $1.55 million round in the company in 2009, a fact that I had entirely missed up to now. First Round's Rob Hayes is on the DNAnexus board.
Simultaneously with the funding announcement, DNANexus announced a technology collaboration with Google to provide access to "the most comprehensive archive of publicly available DNA data through a hosted Sequence Read Archive (SRA) site". It will maintain the database previously managed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is phasing out support of the SRA due to Federal budget cuts. DNAnexus will use Google Cloud Storage to host the database and provide continued access for medical research.

Looking for more FRC activity in the Philly area? Josh Kopelman recently tweeted: "Cool stealth mode #FRC Philly company is looking for interns. Office is near @upenn. Any @Wharton students interested? If so @ message me". No word on what type of company this might be yet. The only other active Philly-area based companies in First Round's portfolio that I know of now are Lifeshield Security, Monetate, PackLate, and Relay Network, which is still in somewhat of a stealth mode. New York-based Solve Media has an office here. Am I missing any?

Kopelman also tweeted that GrubWithUs, the Chicago-based website that lets people plan and join in dinner get-togethers at restaurants, was now available in Philadelphia, although there is no indication of that yet on the GrubWithUs site.

TaskRabbit's founder, Leah Busque, is stepping down as CEO, it was announced today, to be replaced by former Hotwire CEO Eric Grosse. Busque will remain in a key role; though it hasn't been exactly determined, it will likely be product-focused. Boston-based TaskRabbit, which helps users find people to whom they can souces out errands, raised a $5 million Series A round from Shasta Ventures and First Round in May.

Mobile payment processor Square, which raised $100 million in June with a +$1 billion valuation, says it is now processing payments at a $2 billion annual rate. Twitter Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey is founder and CEO of Square. Meanwhile, web-based banking startup BankSimple, which also has a Twitter pedigree (BankSimple co-founder Alex Payne) announced it will be going live next month. The company will also be moving its headquarters from New York to Portland, Oregon.

On demand car service Uber recently launched in Chicago and Seattle, but nothing happening in Philly yet.

New York-based LiveIntent, which delivers display ads within emails, last month closed $8 million in Series B funding lead by Shasta Ventures, with other earlier investors including FRC participating in the round. Another adtech venture in First Round's portfolio, Yieldex, raised $10 million led by Triangle Peak Partners and Hearst Interactive Media, along with previous investor Amazon, bringing the New York firm's total funding to about $22 million.


Daily Links 10/12/2011: Verizon denies interest in Clearwire

Verizon denies Clearwire talks, eyes LTE devices (Reuters)

Intel Abandons Plans to Get Its Processors Into Televisions (Bloomberg)

IBM launches platform-as-a-service effort, beefs up cloud focus (ZDNet Blogs)

LevelUp app aims to keep coupon users coming back (CNN Tech)
Originally available in Boston and Philly, SCVNGR's LevelUp launches today in New York and San Francisco.

SCVNGR Unveils QR Code Payment System (Mashable)

Hot New York Ad Startup MediaMath Is Looking At Raising A Big Round (Business Insider)
Safeguard Scientifics is a major backer of MediaMath.

Verizon Opens Door To 'Smart Home'
Home-Security Monitoring Features Not Currently Part of Offering
(Multichannel News)
Developed with Motorola Mobility.

Universal Dumps $60 Home Video Rental Plan (All Things Digital)

S&P: TE Connectivity to replace Cephalon (AP via Business Week)
TE Connectivity has its operational headquarters in Berwyn. Frazer-based Cephalon's acquisition by Teva will be completed on Friday.

eBay Officially Launches X.Commerce Developer Platform (Mashable)

Datatel Adds SaaS Deployment Option to Industry-Leading Datatel Colleague (Business Wire)
Not sure if this is really SaaS or not.
Datatel is working torwards completing its announced acquisition of SunGard Higher Education.

Daily Links 10/11/2011: Comcast Sports Group Launches Regional Online Fan Shops in partnership with Dreams, Inc.

SAP extends service cover on ERP product through to 2020 (Microscope)

Latest SAP Mobile Apps Show Progress for Sybase Platform on HTML5 (Read Write Web)

SAP Buying Up IPads, Confident in Apple After Jobs’s Passing (Bloomberg)

Box.net ropes in SAP Ventures for latest venture round (Gigaom)
Brings total raised in Series D round to $81 million.

QlikTech Introduces Social Business Discovery in Launch of QlikView 11 (Business Wire)

Heartland Payment Systems Acquires School-Link Technologies—becomes the Leading K-12 School Nutrition and Point-of-Sale Provider (Business Wire)

Kenexa Boosts Q3 Guidance; Shares Spike Higher (Forbes: Tech Musings)

Interdigital Rallies On Report Of New Interest From Some Bidders (Forbes: Tech Musings)

Arris To Buy BigBand For $53 Million
Arris Looks to Bulk Up on Video With All-Cash Deal
(Multichannel News)
Two important Comcast tech suppliers.

Dreams and Comcast Sports Group Launch Regional Online Fan Shops
New Engagement Builds Upon Successful Partnership with NBC Sports
(Business Wire)

DirecTV Launches DVR-Shifting Nomad (Zatz Not Funny!)

Hosting.com Boosts Cloud Footprint, Security With NeoSpire Acquisition (CRN)
Denver-based Hosting.com was previously HostMySite of Delaware, which acquired Hosting.com in 2009; Hosting.com still has operations in Delaware.


Daily Links 10/10/2011: Netflix rescinds Qwikster decision

Netflix Abandons Plan to Rent DVDs on Qwikster (New York Times: Media Decoder)
But no change on price increase.

Gov. Markell salutes Archer Group at opening of expanded Wilmington office (The Archer Group)

Sprint's solo LTE plan ignores Clearwire assets (Computerworld)

Slow VC Fund-Raising Portends Hard Winter For Start-Ups (Wall Street Journal: Venture Capital Dispatch)
Also, another set of numbers from Thomson Reuters and National Venture Capital Association (pdf).

vcopious Secures Venture Financing and Announces New Customer: SIEMENS Corporation (PR Newswire)
Emerald Stage 2, Benjamin Franklin Technology Partners, MAG, and Silicon Valley Bank are the investors; no word on how much.

ADERANT Acquires RainMaker Software (Business Wire)
RainMaker Software is based in Blue Bell.

Almac and Greenphire Form Alliance to Deliver Direct-to-Patient Stipend Payments Through IXRS® (Business Wire)

Comcast Welcomes NANOG and ARIN to Philadelphia (Comcast Voices|Official Comcast Blog)

Comcast-Spectacor Completes High-Definition Upgrade to Scoreboard HD Control Room at Wells Fargo Center with Sony Electronics Technology (PR Newswire)

HSN Brings QR Codes to TV Shopping (Mashable)


Philly Area Companies on 2011 InformationWeek 500

Tom Paine

While I usually focus on the area companies that are generating cutting-edge technologies for enterprises and their users, attention should also be paid to those enterprises who do the best job of utilizing that technology. One perspective on this comes from InformationWeek, which last month published its 2011 version of the InformationWeek 500, what it says is an "annual ranking of the most innovative companies employing information technology in their businesses". Some of the local firms on the list may surprise you.

The IW 500 ranks the top 250 and then provides the remaining 250 unranked. The top ranked Greater Philidelphia region companies are:

15 Vanguard (Valley Forge)

53 Penske Truck Leasing (Reading)

56 Lehigh Valley Health Network (Allentown)

80 University of Pennsylvania Health System (Philadelphia)

129 Harleysville Group (Harleysville); two weeks ago agreed to be acquired by Nationwide.

195 Heartland Payment Systems (Princeton)

209 Teva Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. (North Wales); its acquisition of Cephalon was just cleared by FTC on Friday, with some divestiture requirements.

232 Christiana Care Health System (Wilmington)

Others named to the IW 500 but not ranked in the top 250 include Aramark (Philadelphia), CDI Corp (Philadelphia), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Philadelphia), New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co. (West Trenton), Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (Philadelphia), and VWR International

Also with significant operations in the Philly area are Boeing (17), PNC Financial Services (32), and Verizon Wireless (90). SAP did not make it, but its Califiornia-based Sybase subsidiary did (38). Comcast is not on it, though the case could be made it belongs on it despite its faults. Roseland, NJ-based payroll processing giant Automatic Data Processing, which last week announced it was entering the Cloud-based Human Capital Management market, ranked 7th.

InformationWeek also profiles how the University of Pennsylvania Health System's Penn Medicine is using electronic medical records to help find candidates for clinical trial participation. Also featured are IT innovations at Lehigh Valley Health Network , Christiana Care Health System, and Vanguard.