Verizon ditches $2 fee after customer uproar (Reuters)

Google Testing New Email Subscription Ad Format (TechCrunch)
Huntingdon Valley-based AWeber among those testing it.

Exton-based Scala sees 20% growth in 2011, fine tunes leadership team for future growth

Tom Paine

Exton-based Scala, a leader in digital signage software solutions, closed 2011 with its revenue up about 20% for the year, CEO Tom Nix told me in a phone interview. He declined to give a revenue figure. Nix, who joined Scala in 2010, was named CEO this past September.

Earlier this month Scala announced new leadership appointments which appear to be largely a vote of confidence in the existing management team, although several will take on different roles:

Oscar Elizaga becomes Senior Vice President, Americas. He was previously Vice President, EMEA, India & Latin America for Scala.

Jeff Porter, who formerly led the Experts Group at Scala, becomes President of Scala’s SignChannel division. SignChannel is Scala's entry level, self-service SaaS offering for the small & medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment.

Peter Cherna is now Senior Vice President, Technology. He was previously VP, R&D at Scala. Peter leads development in areas such as predictive analytics, social media, and mobility.

Dave Palermo, who joined Scala earlier this year, is Vice President, Global Marketing. Dave was previously with
SunGard Availability.

Also, Frank Larsen is the new Vice President of EMEA.

These are the first major changes Nix has made since taking over as CEO. In October, Marcy Patzer joined Scala as Senior Director of Retail Strategy. reflecting an increasing emphasis on this segment. Nix expects retail to grow from about 20% of Scala's revenue to 35% over the next few years.

Other priorities for the year include mobile apps: one example is to make it possible for users to interact
dynamically from their smart phones or tablets with larger digital displays. Scala may look to bring in some mobile app development talent this year. Also, Scala plans to introduce its CxO Dashboard offering for the enterprise software market in the Spring. Another important growth area is helping advertisers manage the delivery of their messages via digital signage.

ABI Research shows spending in the global digital signage market, including software and hardware, is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $4.5 billion by 2016. As hardware costs have declined sharply, a major barrier to deployment has eased and leading software providers like Scala are left in a potentially strong position.


Philly Tech News: 2011 Highlights

Tom Paine

There were two fundamental strategic moves by Comcast in 2011: the closing of the NBCU joint venture deal with GE in January, and the startling announcement in December of a plan for it and several other cable companies to sell their wireless spectrum to Verizon Wireless and set up a reselling and cooperative relationship with the wireless carrier, including an "innovation joint venture" that would reportedly be based in Philadelphia. The proposed Verizon Wireless deal could dramatically alter the traditional competitive delineation between the Cable and Telco worlds, and is likely to draw close regulatory scrutiny and, if approved, will probably carry tight limitations on the extent to which they can cooperate. The move reflected recognition of the reality that Cable needed to have a hand in the wireless game, not so much for the so-called "quadruple play", but because through 4G LTE wireless will be an important piece of the "TV Everywhere" and broadband puzzle. Clearwire, in which Comcast had invested, clearly hasn't worked as a stand alone entity, and the cable companies didn't feel they could achieve (nor did they need) the neccessary scale to be competitive on their own in wireless.

As expected, with the NBCU joint venture in place Comcast moved to reorganize its sports properties, putting Versus and Comcast's regional sports networks under the NBC Sports umbrella. Versus, to be renamed the NBC Sports Network on January 2, will move from Philadelphia to Stamford, Connecticut where NBC Sports will be based. Comcast paid dearly to maintain its Olympic rights, extend and enhance its NFL and NHL rights, and gain the US Spanish language rights for the World Cup. Legendary NBC Sports head Dick Ebersol lost out on a power play and left, to be replaced by Mark Lazarus, although he did return to consult on the Olympics and Sunday Night Football.

Comcast Interactive Ventures was renamed Comcast Ventures and left Philly for San Francisco with an expanded scope, although it retains a Philadelphia office.

SAP AG, which has its North American headquarters in Newtown Square, closed 2011 by announcing the $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors, making a major entry into the Cloud space as its own internal efforts were slow to penetrate the market. SuccessFactors CEO Lars Dalgaard will manage his company as an independent entity within SAP in addition to being responsible for SAP's overall Cloud strategy, including its Business ByDesign and OnDemand platforms.

SAP's other big push for the year was the rollout of its HANA in-memory data processing platform, which is now intended to be not just a real-time analytics tool but an environment for running its ERP suites and a possible replacement for relational database management systems all together. An SAP executive recently predicted that it could be the #2 player in the database management market by 2015, through HANA and its Sybase products. While analysts are impressed by HANA's potential, there is skepticism by some on how far along the offering is and how easy and affordable it is to deploy.

Federal judge Phyllis Hamilton threw out the $1.3 billion jury verdict awarded in November 2010 against SAP in Oracle's TomorrowNow lawsuit, reducing the amount to $272 million and insisting upon a new trial unless Oracle agrees to accept the lesser amount. SAP also pled guilty and paid a fine in a criminal case against TomorrowNow.

Oracle missed earnings estimates for its quarterly results released in December, a shock because it rarely falls short, sending many other enterprise software stocks downward and raising questions about what to expect from SAP's quarterly results to be announced in January. And Cloud vendor Workday, considered by many to be the biggest emerging competitive threat to SAP, is said to be planning a 2012 IPO.

The SAP/Oracle soap opera extended to HP, as former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, who was pushed out in early 2010, ended up running HP before getting a quick and expensive pink slip there in October as the company seemed to be without direction. Apotheker replaced Mark Hurd at HP, who had been forced out under a cloud of scandal and ended up becoming a top lieutenant to Larry Ellison at Oracle. Meanwhile, SAP's top cloud architect, John Wookey, abruptly left SAP in the Spring and landed later in the year at Salesforce, where he will be responsible for its Rypple acquisition (to be renamed SuccessForce, for whatever reason). Musical chairs in the enterprise software business never stop.

SunGard Data Systems announced in August it would sell its Malvern-based Sungard Higher Education unit, which provides ERP systems to colleges and universities, to PE firm Hellman & Friedman LLC for $1.775 billion. Hellman & Friedman in turn will combine it with Virginia-based competitor Datatel. The deal, which is expected to close early next year, raises questions as to whether there might be a further breakup of Wayne-based SunGard.

Radnor-based QlikTech, the in-memory business intelligence software vendor which did its IPO in July 2010, saw its share price actually decline 5% so far in 2011 despite continued strong growth. It expects revenue for the year of $315 to $320 million, up close to 50% over last year, though it has been operating barely at a breakeven level. Ewing, NJ-based Universal Display, a pioneer in the OLED technology market, is up 13% for the year and has a market value of $1.6 billion, though it was a bumpy year as the stock was constantly buffeted by rumor and speculation as to what deals it might have in the works. Quality Systems Inc., parent of Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare, continues to show strong growth as government subsidies for physicians who adopt Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) kick in, though some were concern about the impact of NextGen co-founder and Quality Systems President Patrick B.Cline's announced resignation earlier this year.

Shortly after eBay veteran Josh Kopelman joined its board, King of Prussia-based GSI Commerce was acquired by eBay in March for $2.4 billion. GSI Commerce founder Michael Rubin ended up with a new holding company called Kynetic (in which eBay has a stake), which includes Amazon Prime competitor ShopRunner, flash sales sites Rue La La, and its sports merchandising business.

King of Prussia-based wireless technology developer InterDigtal put itself up for auction in July after Nortel's
big patent sale set off a goldrush for wireless patents, but after a huge initial bump for its stock nothing has
happened yet despite rumors (that revived in December) that Google, Apple and others were looking at it. InterDigital's stock is slightly higher on the year. Google did swallow up Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, although the deal awaits European regulatory approval. In addition to Moto Mobility's wireless technology, the deal would also include its Horsham-based set-top box business, which may contribute to Google's emerging TV strategy. Some observers still believe that Google will ditch the hardware manufacturing part of the business some time after the deal is approved.

French advertising giant Publicis expanded its digital marketing presence by acquiring Hamilton, NJ-based Rosetta Marketing for $575 million in May. Later in the year Publicis reorganized its health marketing business , combining Philly-based Digitas Health and Razorfish Health and some other Publicis units based in Yardley under its New York-based Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. Digitas Health co-founder David Kramer retired. Rosetta, which also has a sizable healthcare presence, remains independent within Publicis.

Boston-based OpenView Ventures Partners made a big splash into the Philly VC scene, investing $10 million plus
in each of three area ventures: Monetate, NextDocs and Xtium. Gabriel Weinberg's solo startup, search engine DuckDuckGo, gained significant publicity and traffic and a subsequent $3 million funding round led by prominent
New York VC firm Union Square Ventures. "Internet Of Things" startup ThingWorx of Exton raised $5 million from
Safeguard Scientifics, and Lancaster-based appMobi, which grew out of streaming radio app FlyCast, emerged as a significant player with its HTML5-based mobile app development platform. RJMetrics, which at the beginning of 2011 moved from Camden into larger Center City offices, announced at the end of the year they were expanding again into even larger Center City offices.

Some ventures left town: genome analysis startup BioNanomatrix (now BioNano Genomics) moved its headquarters from Philly to San Diego after raising $23 million, though they still have some staff here. Coursekit, which started at Penn, got funded and moved to New York, and two brothers both moved their startups: PlaySay founder Ryan Meinzer got funding and moved to DC, while CityRyde co-founders Timothy Ericson and Jason Meinzer got funded and moved the company, which has been renamed Zagster, to Cambridge, MA. Unified Communcations provider Alteva was acquired by a small New York state telco, although the bulk of Alteva's business remains in Philly for now.

VC fundraising (the amount raised by VC firms nationwide) hit its lowest level in eight years in the third quarter of 2011, although some say those numbers don't fully account for increased seed and angel funding. But sounding a note of caution, First Round's Capital's Kopelman recently said, “I think 2012 will look more like 2008 than 2011".

Teen social network myYearbook, which was backed by First Round, was acquired by Quepasa for $100 million, mostly in Quepasa stock. The combined company, based in New Hope, looks more like myYearbook than Quepasa, but it does give the company a publicly traded stock vehicle. Other significant exits in the area during the year included Safeguard portfolio company Portico Systems (McKesson, $90 million), Sashi Reddi's AppLabs (CSC), and MobileMD (Malvern-based Siemens Healthcare).

Philly Startup Leaders got a revived sense of direction when Dell Boomi's Bob Moul was named President.
Moul, along with Rick Nucci, led Boomi's growth and its acquisition late last year by Dell, which has made Boomi
a centerpiece of its Cloud strategy. Now having left Dell, Moul has immersed himself in the Philly startup scene. DreamIt Ventures started a New York program, but despite some concerns its Philly program seemed as strong as ever this year, and with Comcast's help it was able to bring five minority-founded ventures into its 2011 class. A new business accelerator, Novotorium, launched late this year in Langhorne. And Philadelphia Media Network's Project Liberty aims to be an incubator for new media startups. Technically Philly's Philly Tech Week drew a big response, as have the monthly demo sessions held by Philly Tech Meetup. And New Jersey Tech Weekly, a new website covering the Garden State, added to the area's tech coverage.

Yardley-based Journal Register CEO John Paton's "Digital First" strategy was credited with turning around that troubled chain, and he went on to head up the larger MediaNews chain. Philadelphia Media Network's Droid tablet introduction appears to have fizzled out, however. Comcast, as one of its commitments growing out of the NBCU joint venture deal to team up with some non-profit local news organizations, entered into a working relationship with WHYY.

Liberty Media completed a financial restructuring and split-off in September which leaves QVC as the primary asset of Liberty Interactive, which is now an asset-backed stock as opposed to a tracking stock as it was previously. This move makes it more likely that Liberty can be more aggressive in expanding and building around QVC, including possibly acquiring the 70% of HSN (Home Shopping Network) it does not own. Liberty Media continues to own a broad collection of assets include Berwyn-based TruePosition Inc. and the Atlanta Braves.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of IMS Health and other Philly-area pharmacuetical data gatherers by striking down a Vermont law that would have restricted their ability to collect and use data on physicians' prescribing behavior for marketing purposes.

Malvern-based USA Technologies booted its CEO after he was found to have been posing as an investor on the Yahoo
message board for his company and touting its stock. And Nokia Navteq's Malvern operation, which grew out of, was saved from closure by a Utah company that acquired it and formed a new company named Radiate Media .


Health IT Tools Reduce Readmissions At Philadelphia Hospitals (Information Week)

SAP Steps Up Mobile, Cloud And In-Memory Commitments (Information Week)

Watch Out Yammer And Jive, Google Is About To Enter The Social Enterprise Space (TechCrunch)

On Business ByDesign positioning (Jonathan Reed)

Why Our Startup is Doubling Down on Philadelphia (RJMetrics Blog)

Safety issue for Fisker batteries? (Delaware Online: Delaware Inc)

Program grooms tech startups
GrowLab accelerates firms' growth
(Calgary Herald)
Philly startup leaves for Vancouver-based incubator.

New Ways to Captcha Bots
Startups pitch alternatives to the squiggly lines sites use at log-in
(Business Week)

2011 Holiday Pharma Fun in Social Media – Sort of… (Roska Healthcare Advertising Blog)

Video: 2011 Philly Startup Leaders Founder Factory

PHILLY STARTUP LEADERS Founder Factory (Video: Lubektin Global Communications)

Stream TV launching glasses free Ultra-D 3DTV tech at CES, again (Engadget)
Stream TV is based in Philadelphia.

Verizon To Launch a Home Media Server In 2012, Plans To Eliminate Set-Top Box (TechCrunch)

2012 prediction: The slow death of coax begins (Gigaom)

OpenView Venture Partners raises $99 million towards 3rd fund; More to come?

Tom Paine

The Boston Business Journal reports that Boston's OpenView Venture Partners has raised $99M for its 3rd VC fund.

OpenView has invested heavily recently to the tune of about $40 million in three Philly area ventures: Monetate, NextDocs, and Xtium. Dow Jones's Venture Wire reported a couple of weeks ago that OpenView's target for this fund was $150 to $200 million, although if I understand its Form D correctly , this fund is not yet closed so they may still be seeking to meet those targets.

The Boston Business Journal article notes that OpenView often likes to relocate its portfolio companies to the Boston area, although there has been no indication yet of that happening with the companies mentioned above. OpenView has also become much more active recently on the PR front, and its OpenView Labs includes about 20 professionals who provide expertise and assistance to portfolio companies. At Boston prices, that can add up to a lot of overhead that needs to be spread over considerable volume.

Prior to this raise, OpenView has had about $250 million under management.


Daily Links 12/22/2011: Safeguard Scientifics makes two investments, including West Chester software firm Hoopla

Workday Is Said to Plan to Raise as Much as $500 Million in a 2012 IPO (Bloomberg)
Workday is considered by many experts to be the most threatening Cloud-based challenger to SAP.

Is there a cloud bubble? (Fortune Technology)

Safeguard Scientifics Adds Crimson Informatics and Hoopla Software as New Technology Partner Companies (Safeguard Press Release)
Hoopla Software is based in West Chester.

Phorum National Cloud Computing Conference to be Held in Philadelphia (

Motorola Mobility Acquires Video Guide Startup SetJam (TechCrunch)

Verizon Preps FiOS TV Media Server (Zatz Not Funny!)

What's next for Rue La La, fast-growing 'flash sale' specialist based in Boston? (Boston Globe)


Oracle Is Getting Crushed This Morning (Business Insider)
Oracle down 14.5%, SAP down 6%.

Oracle CEO glosses over poor quarter by lashing out at competitor (ZDNet Blogs)

Oracle earnings - an aberration or a trend? (ZDNet Blogs)

Tech spending fears hit VMware, SAP, Salesforce, others (San Jose Business Journal)

SAP, Google Gearing up Google Apps, Business ByDesign Integration (PC World)

Comcast treated Tennis Channel unfairly, FCC judge rules (LA Times)

Comcast Ventures' Banse Says Women `Work Harder' (Video: Bloomberg via Washington Post)

Acquisio Acquires ClickEquations from Channel Intelligence (Acquisio Press Release)

First Round Capital's Holiday Video is out

Daily Links 12/20/2011: Feds to probe Verizon Wireless/Cable deal; Will AT&T look at Dish?

Verizon Wireless Probed by U.S. Over Cable Deals (Bloomberg)
The beginning of what is likely to be a long road.

AT&T Ends Bid for T-Mobile (New York Times: DealBook)

Dish Now In Center Of Wireless Universe As AT&T Deal Falters (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Lessons from managing 125,000 iPads
SAP was an early advocate for and adopter of the iPad. Its CIO shares what he's learned
I think the author was off on the number of iPads by a factor of several times. (Update: The article has been edited to show the correct number of iPads at SAP is 12,500.)

Oracle Falls Short on Weak Software Sales (All Things Digital)

Oracle Sales, Profit Miss Estimates as Clients Cut Spending (Bloomberg)

10 Biggest ERP Software Failures of 2011 (PC World)

Can Tom Rutledge bring innovation back to Charter?

Pitch-a-thons give startups in second-tier cities investor love (Reuters)


Highlights: Last Week on Philly Tech News (12/12 to 12/18 2011)

I profiled Center City-based virtualization monitoring and backup software provider PHD Virtual Technologies and its CEO, Thomas Charlton.

Philly Startup Leaders took what should be a major step forward by naming Bob Moul, who recently left Dell Boomi, as its President. And Mike Krupit's Bucks County-based business accelerator, Novotorium, which I wrote about in late October prior to its launch, announced a number of partnering organizations and individuals who will provide assistance to its ventures.

Salesforce took a small swipe at SAP's recently annnounced SuccessFactors acquisition by acquiring Cloud HCM player
, to be run by former SAP exec John Wookey, and promptly announced they would rename it SuccessForce. And SAP made a bold prediction, saying it would be the #2 database vendor by 2015, meaning it would have to pass IBM, Microsoft and Teradata by then.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts paid a $500,000 fine to the FTC for violating an antitrust provision requiring him to report significant increases in the number of Comcast shares he held; Federal officials say the reporting violation was inadvertent and Roberts reported it as soon as he became aware of it.
Comcast's NBC signed a 9 year extension with the NFL for an estimated $1 billion per year; in addition to retaining its Sunday night slot, it adds a Thanksgiving night game, some better playoff dates, and three Super Bowls. NBC may also bid on an expanded Thursday night package which would air on the soon to be rebranded NBC Sports Network cable channel (now Versus). Reports indicate that the proposed "innovation joint venture" between Comcast, other cable companies and Verizon Wireless would be based in Philadelphia, if the proposed arrangement passes regulatory scrutiny. And Comcast-Spectacor's proposed South Philly entertainent complex, slated to open this spring, will now be called Xfinity Live! rather than Philly Live!, doubling down on the brand name no one understands.

Four Philly area corporate IT execs were named to Comupterworld's 2012 "Premier 100" IT Leaders. And one Philly area resident who runs a small IT consulting firm created a storm with an article he contributed on Forbes titled "If I Were A Poor Black Kid".


SAP 2011 results analysis – The Awful Economy Is Really Going To Hurt Financial Analysts (John Appleby/People, Process and Technology)

SAP Spells out Vision for HANA-driven Software Architecture (PC World)

The Woman Who Saves Cable Networks (New York Times)
On Bonnie Hammer, chairwoman of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.

Philly Area IT consultant's post on Forbes creates controversy

Gene Marks, a resident of the Philly suburbs who runs a consulting firm focused on CRM for small businesses
and has been a long time blogger and contributor to several publications, got quite a reaction with this piece he contributed to Forbes: "If I Were A Poor Black Kid". It has created a bit of an uproar on the Web. While no doubt Marks' intentions were good (though perhaps self-promoting; as a Forbes contributor he gets paid by the click), the article to some reflected a presumptuous, out of touch attitude and a lack of understanding of the practical difficulties inner city kids might face.

His commentary has provoked a number of responses, both satirical and reflective, of which some of the best are linked to below:

If I Were A White, Male Middle Aged Forbes Columnist… (Color Lines)

If I Were A Poor Black Kid (Modeled Behavior)

A Muscular Empathy (The Atlantic)

If I were the 99% I'd try to be the 1% (The Economist)

Trolling The Internet With 'If I Were A Poor Black Kid' (Forbes)


Daily Links 12/16/2011: Salesforce makes HCM acquisition; will rename SuccessForce

Salesforce Makes A Rypple With New Acquisition (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Salesforce snubs SAP with Rypple flip (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

SAP Sees No Further Big Cloud Buys After SuccessFactors - Report (Dow Jones via

Dell Resurrects Venture Capital Arm (Wall Street Journal: Digits)
Something to keep an eye on, given Boomi's central role in Dell's emerging Cloud strategy.

Revenue Cycle Management: Healthcare's Next Frontier?
NextGen parent QSI acquires small claims processor ViaTrack to bolster position in burgeoning RCM market.
(Information Week)
NextGen Healthcare is based in Horsham.

Xfinity rebranding raises doubts among experts (Philadelphia Inquirer)

FTC hits Comcast CEO Brian Roberts with $500,000 fine (LA Times: Company Town)
Apparently just a technical oversight, and anyway, what's $500,000 when you rule the world?

Cablevision Stock Hits 52-Week Low After COO Resignation (Hollywood Reporter)

What's Next for Cablevision? (Light Reading Cable)
Some suggest Comcast could be interested in Jersey, Connecticut pieces of Cablevision if it were to be put up for sale, but most doubt that will happen any time soon.

Cox To Sell Wireless Licenses To Verizon Wireless For $315 Million
MSO and Wireless Carrier Will Resell Each Other's Residential and Commercial Products
(Multichannel News)

Penn State receives $10 million commitment to engineering research (Penn State Live)
Some good news on another difficult day for the University.


Philly Area IT Execs named to Computerworld's "Premier 100" IT Leaders for 2012

Computerworld recently named its "Premier 100" IT Leaders for 2012. Computerworld usually represents the interests of the corporate CIO/CTO community, and these selections are reflective of that.

Those from the Philadelphia business community recognized are David Ballai, CIO and vice president of commercial solutions, Reed Technology & Information Services Inc. of Horsham (a LexisNexis company); Carol J. Dow, Chief technology officer and principal of global investment systems, Vanguard, Valley Forge; John South, Chief security officer, Heartland Payment Systems, Princeton; and Jimmy Z. Wang, Vice president and CIO, Teva Pharmaceuticals - Americas, North Wales.

Also named were Michael F. Fabiano, Vice president, strategic initiatives, NBC News, NBC Universal (Comcast); and Walt Oswald, Corporate vice president and CIO, Motorola Mobility, which has its cable tech business based in Horsham.

They will be honored at IDG's Premier 100 IT Leaders Conference, being held in March in Phoenix.


Daily Links 12/15/2011: Comcast's priorities: Philly Live! now Xfinity Live!

Philly Fed Manufacturers See Improvement in Business Activity (Business Wire)
Outlook suggests modest expansion, but growing cost/pricing pressures.

Philadelphia-Area Manufacturing Increased to 10.3 in December (Bloomberg)

Philly Live!? No, Xfinity Live!
( The Insider)

NFL signs TV rights deals with Fox, NBC and CBS
The broadcast networks will pay a total of nearly $28 billion in fees over nine years under the new contracts, which take effect after the NFL's 2013 season.
(LA Times)

mHealth: Seemingly Stuck in Neutral (Chilmark Research)

Microsoft Bows Out of the Clinical Market (Chilmark Research)

SAP Business ByDesign takes on two-tier ERP (SearchSAP)

University accuses Oracle of extortion, lies, 'rigged' demo in lawsuit
Montclair State has elaborated on its case against Oracle over an ERP project gone wrong

First Take: IBM Acquires Emptoris (Spend Matters)

FinTech 2012 (A VC)
Could be of interest to some Philly area FinTech people.

SAY Media Acquires Tech Blog ReadWriteWeb Dan Frommer joins as editor (Ad Week)
First Round Capital owns a stake in SAY Media.

CardioNet, Inc. Reaches Preliminary Agreement on Shareholders Litigation (Business Wire)

CardioNet, Inc. Announces the Launch of its Next Generation MCOT™ Device (Business Wire)


SAP: We'll Be No. 2 Database Player By 2015 (Information Week)

What a Large Enterprise CIO Would Think of the SAP Cloud Position (ZDNet Blogs)

SAP Influencer Summit: a qualified success (ZDNet Blogs)

Comcast expands IPv6 services into four more states (Network World)

NFL signs TV deals worth billions with Fox, NBC and CBS (LA Times: Company Town)

TaskRabbit Raises $17.8 Million, Brings in Eisner as Adviser (All Things Digital)
First Round Capital was early backer.

Daily Links 12/13/2011: Comcast in deal to distribute BBC

BBC strikes 'breakthrough' US news deal with cable giant Comcast (The Guardian)

Jive Software Raises $161.3 Million in Initial Public Offering (Bloomberg)

SAP promises innovation will help it compete in cloud space (

Making its Case: SAP HANA Coming to TIBCO, Tableau and Jive Software (Silicon Angle)

Gartner Has First Ever IaaS Magic Quadrant Report (ReadWriteCloud)

Philadelphia Technology Park Partners with Sunesys to Expand Connectivity Network in Southeastern Pennsylvania Region (Business Wire)
Sunesys is based in Warrington.

CDI to cut 200 jobs, narrow outsourcing services (MarketWatch)

Falcone’s LightSquared Said to Disrupt 75% of GPS in Tests (Bloomberg)

Dish May Partner With T-Mobile If AT&T Acquisition Fails (Bloomberg)

Verizon Said Not to Have Talked Netflix Offer (Bloomberg)

The Five Stages of Telecom Transition (Werblog)
By Wharton Prof and Telecom policy analyst Kevin Werbach.

Motorola Mobility Licenses FourthWall's EBIF, Mobile Device Software
Motorola Package Interactive TV Technology With Medios Service Management Suite
(Multichannel News)

ChoozOn Named Newcomer of the Year by TechFlash
The World’s First Personal Shopper for Deals Brings Brands and Consumers Together
I wrote about ChoozOn's King of Prussia operations in August.

GSI spinoff’s family values on display at office: Slideshow (Philadelphia Business Journal)


Daily Links 12/12/2011: Report: Planned Comcast, TWC, Bright House & Verizon Wireless “innovation-technology joint venture”would be based in Philadelphia

Mobile Mashup
Cable operators can’t be true wireless carriers. Will a patchwork of partnerships and Wi-Fi cover their bases?

(Multichannel News)
Comcast, TWC, Bright House & Verizon Wireless “innovation-technology joint venture” will be based in Philadelphia, article says.

Comcast Has A Huge New Venture Fund, And This Woman Is Running It (Silicon Alley Insider)
On Amy Banse.

SAP taps NetBase for deep social media analytics (Gigaom)

More Acquisitions in Software? Aaron Levie Believes So.
Interview with founder of Box.

BI visualisation is just "eye candy": Pentaho (Computer Business Review)
Takes a poke at QlikTech.

IT services firm Epam eyes U.S. IPO in first quarter: sources (Reuters)
Although most of its operations are in Eastern Europe, Epam is based in Newtown, Bucks County.

Quality Systems, Inc. Acquires ViaTrack Systems
Acquisition Expands Electronic Data Interchange Services for Inpatient Market
(Business Wire)
Quality Systems' principal business unit is NextGen Healthcare of Horsham.

3 New Digital Solutions For Capturing and Sharing Content (Mashable)
Mashable covers DreamIt Ventures Philly Demo Day.

Cross Atlantic Capital Partners Leads Series A Funding for Sagence Group (Business Wire)


Cheaper way to deal with the waste heat at data centers? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co analyst Craig Moffett on Verizon/Cable deal (Bloomberg Radio)
A definite listen if you follow the business.

Can Comcast Be As Mighty As Google? (Philadelphia Magazine)

Notable quotes about SAP's $3.4 billion acquisition of SuccessFactors (Sandhill)

Netsuite's Zach Nelson: SAP was forced to make SuccessFactors cloud move
Who wants to start a multiyear project in this climate, asks combative CEO
(Computerworld UK)

SAP gets colorful cloud exec by buying valley company (San Jose Mercury News)

SAP delays launch of new community - provides no insights (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

New Jersey map irks some, amuses others

Joe Steinfield, a 22 year old Rutgers grad from Westfield, NJ, posted this themed, descriptive map of New Jersey on Reddit early this week, and it quickly went viral on the Web. (Click twice on it to expand).

While a case can be made that the map is biting, politically incorrect and perhaps insensitive to some, I think it on the whole is an excellent piece of satire. Having never resided in New Jersey but at both ends of it, I have traveled most of its highways and byways and find the map an insightful and accurate portrayal, in a stereotypical kind of way. Also, it highlights the fact that New Jersey is a much more diverse place than many who hardly ever get off the Turnpike or Parkway realize it is.

Steinfield, who works as a part-time research assistant at Rutgers, says he really didn't want all the attention the map has generated.


Charlton leading Philly startup PHD Virtual to rapid growth, gets more funding

Tom Paine

Thomas Charlton is an interesting man, who has moved quickly and with a sense of purpose throughout his career. For those who think they need a top MBA or Engineering degree to approach the pinnacles of the Tech and VC worlds, Charlton has neither. Growing up in the Harrisburg area, Charlton attended Harrisburg Area Community College and took some courses at Shippensberg, but then moved into the business world and out West.

He began his management career at US Surgical selling surgical staples, ultimately becoming responsible for the Western Area Business Unit with revenues of $220M. He then jumped into tech, although he had no real background in it, becoming CEO of and turning around a company called Tidal Software, which later was acquired by Cisco. He became a Venture Partner with the huge VC/PE firm Insight Venture Partners (over $2 billion under management) in 2004, and since then has been mostly involved in running Insight portfolio companies. Coming back East and settling in Philadelphia, he looked for tech companies to run there but had difficulty finding any, so commuting from Philly he took on assigments managing Insight portfolio companies in Atlanta and Toronto, the later being VoiceGenie which was acquired by Alcatel in 2006.

After VoiceGenie, Charlton finally found a suitable role in Philadelphia. With backing from Insight, he became CEO in late 2006 of Israel-based Shunra Software, which provides tools for emulating and monitoring application performance in a network environment, and moved its US headquarters from New York to Center City Philadelphia. After nine quarters of successive growth under Charlton's leadership, Shunra returned to profitability. Charlton then took on another challenge, becoming Chairman & CEO in early 2010 of PHD Virtual Technologies, which specializes in backup and monitoring software for virtual computing environments, relocating its headquarters from Mount Arlington, New Jersey to Center City, and getting $4 million in funding from Insight and virtualization systems provider Citrix Systems. PHD Virtual had been a company with interesting technology but perhaps a lack of commercial focus. What Charlton appears to do very well is to bring in the right people, package and market the technology, and sell it. He says many of his top salespersons are people like himself, who came from totally different, non-technical backgrounds.

In October, PHD Virtual reported what it says was "its fifth consecutive quarter with year over year quarterly growth (in bookings) of 50% or higher". The company says it now has 70 to 80 employees (they are currently hiring), slightly less than half of whom are in Morris Plains, NJ. Insight and Citrix last month announced another round of investment in PHD Virtual, which Charlton says was for $4 million.

PHD Virtual provides backup and monitoring systems for both VMware and Citrix environments. Charlton says PHD Virtual sales are roughly similar between Citrix and VMware installations right now, although since VMware is the larger player it probably offers more growth potential for PHD Virtual. Its software products start off in the range of a few thousand dollars, but sales within a single enterprise can reach into the hundreds of thousands. PHD Virtual's poducts include no hardware components, which is different than some of its competitors. Competition includes Liquidware Labs, who recently brought PHD Virtual's co-Founders on board, publicly traded Quest Software, Veeam, and VMware's own products in that area.

Although virtualization products make Cloud environments possible, Charlton is somewhat of a skeptic about the Cloud, seeing major barriers to adoption of Cloud technologies within large enterprises though they are more likely to be used within smaller entrerprises or departments. Charlton sees a good deal of organizational resistance from IT people, and not without reason. People underestimate, he says, the complexity of replacing legacy computing environments.

Charton agrees that there is a hole in the ecosystem for Enterprise IT technology in the Philly area. It is interesting that Boston- based OpenView Venture Partners, which was originally an offshoot of Insight, has become so active here with its investments in Monetate, NextDocs, and Xtium, although an OpenView spokesperson says there is no financial interrelationship between it and Insight. See this interesting inteview OpenView Labs did with Charlton early this year. I don't see any other area companies in Insight's portfolio other than PHD Virtual and Shunra, although it was an investor in Primavera Systems. Charlton says he and other PHD Virtual people are starting to get more involved in the Philly Tech community. He has not had overwhelming problems recruiting the kind of talent he needs in Philly.

When I asked Charlton whether PHD Virtual could be a double, triple or home run, he said "home run, definitely". He points to the size (estimated by IDC to be $19 billion in 2014) and growth of the virtual technology market and the multiples the publicly traded companies in it command.

Charlton also is Chairman of another Philly-based company, Goliath Technologies, which he describes as being a more personal investment vehicle to which he plans to add more acquisitions over time.


DuPont cuts full-year 2011 outlook; shares down

Time to Say Goodbye to the Cable Guy: Why You’ll Buy TV on the Web in 2012 (All Things Digital)

The Key To A Successful SuccessFactors Acquisition For SAP (Josh Greenbaum/Information Week)

Talking with Jeff Jordan (Fortune: Term Sheet)

Entrepreneurs Flock to last month's Rutgers Entrepreneurship Conference

Alan Skontra
@alanskontra on twitter.

On a Monday in mid-November, Rutgers University welcomed an estimated 1500 entrepreneurs, investors, inventors, professors and students to its third annual Entrepreneurship Day conference. The event featured Steve Wozniak, the legendary co-founder of Apple, as its keynote speaker.

This year the conference took inspiration from the Startup America Partnership LLC, an initiative founded by the leaders of Dell Inc., FedEx Corp. and other prominent companies to support small, early-stage firms with seed money, strategic planning, employment recruiting and management advice. The initiative, first presented at the White House earlier this year, includes plans to open chapters in all 50 states. Rutgers is helping to form the New Jersey chapter.

In his keynote, Wozniak gave a detailed account of his childhood, during which he first began experimenting with electronics; his college years; the founding of Apple; the invention of the Apple II personal computer; and the breakthrough success of the company. He also shared anecdotes about his partner, the late Steve Jobs.

Touching on the concept of disruptive innovation, Wozniak said that while most large, successful companies want to protect their market share, making only conservative or cosmetic changes to their products, Apple is an exception. Many recent Apple products, such as iTunes and the iPad, have revolutionized the marketplace. He closed with some advice for the entrepreneurs and students in the audience. As someone who taught himself how to build computers, Wozniak advocated for personal learning and developing an expertise. “You've got to be able to write the book,” he said, suggesting that innovation can happen even when there's no existing manual to guide the way.

Erich Spangenberg, CEO of the IP Navigation Group (Dallas), and Dipanjan Nag, executive director of the Rutgers Office of Technology Commercialization, spoke about the disruptive innovation fund Rutgers is starting, which NJTechWeekly discussed in October. The concept behind disruptive innovation involves finding technologies that change the existing standard. Spangenberg cited as an example the development of digital music, which has come to replace compact discs.

“The goal is to invent something that has never been done before, that completely changes the marketplace,” Dr. Nag explained. Spangenberg said the fund is actively looking for investment opportunities and encouraged audience members to contact him with their ideas. Michael Pazzani, vice president for research and economic development at Rutgers, discussed the $400 million the university receives annually in research funding, citing ongoing wireless communications, genetics and agriculture projects at the university.

The conference also featured a pitch competition sponsored by the international technology law firm SNR Denton. Ten companies were given the chance to present their business ideas to a panel of judges. Among them were PowerFlower Solar, which produces a deployable solar generator usable in combat zones and disaster areas, and New York-based ScanAvert Inc., which has developed a smartphone application providing food ingredient information to consumers with dietary and medical restrictions. The Rutgers Laboratory for Computational Imaging and Bioinformatics, led by Anant Madabhushi, is developing sensor technology to detect breast cancer in women and help prescribe the lowest-risk treatment possible. It won the pitch competition and $2,500 prize.

Entrepreneurship Day closed with a networking session in which more than 60 new firms exhibited posters in a showroom and attendees could discuss their entrepreneurial aspirations with participants.

Alan Skontra (@alanskontra on twitter.)

Alan Skontra writes for New Jersey Tech Weekly, and also contributes to the Hudson Reporter newspaper, hMag Magazine and Patch. Originally from New Jersey, he grew up in Virginia and studied government and international politics, and later nonfiction creative writing as a graduate at George Mason University. He returned to New Jersey in 2009 and now resides in Hoboken. This article originally appeared in New Jersey Tech Weekly in November.


Daily Links 12/8/2011: Verizon Ditches DirecTV LTE Plans for Cable

G.E.-Microsoft Venture to Create ‘Windows’ for Health Care (New York Times: Bits)

Microsoft, HP team to sell public and private cloud services (ZDNet Blogs)

HCM is the new Cloud apps frontline - buyers beware! (BusinesCloud9)

Enterprise software's maintenance model faces triple threat (ZDNet Blogs)

CDI Corp. Announces Strategic Plan to Enhance Long-Term Growth (PR Newswire)
To let go 200 employees.

Verizon ends satellite deal, FiOS expansion as it partners with cable (Washington Post:
Post Tech)

Verizon Ditches DirecTV LTE Plans for Cable (Light Reading Cable)

Verizon And RedBox Planning Major Partnership For Early 2012 Launch (TechCrunch)

Comcast elevates cable systems chief Neil Smit (LA Times: Company Town)

When Will Comcast Demand Our Firstborn?
The NBC 10/WHYY partnership is great for the cable giant. For Philly, not so much.
(Philadelphia Magazine: The Philly Post)

NBC Sports Network Plans a Long Game Against ESPN (Ad Age)

Fisker Karma deliveries still parked at zero (Yahoo! Autos)
Fisker is supposed to begin producing one line of automobile in Delaware some time next year.

New Co-Working Space Opens at Science Center Port Business Incubator (Business Wire)

Analysis: Venture capital funding doubles for online retail (Reuters)


Daily Links 12/7/2011: Datatel/SunGard Higher Ed deal gets regulatory approval

Jive IPO Gets Boost Following Billion-Dollar Cloud Deals: Tech (Bloomberg)

Comcast: No plans for usage-based broadband pricing (Gigaom)

Universal Studios Hollywood Plans ‘Harry Potter’ Attractions (Bloomberg)

Comcast Names Neil Smit Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable Communications (Business Wire)

Exclusive: Verizon to take on Netflix with Web service (Reuters)
Verizon joins the crowd; service would be "limited" but available beyond its traditional footprint.

Verizon CEO: We looked at buying Hulu (CNET News)

Datatel and SunGard Higher Education Combination Clears Regulatory Review
Companies Prepare to Close Transaction in the First Quarter of 2012
(Business Wire) Service Cloud joins Dell's CRM package (ZDNet Blogs)

Uber Gets $32M From Menlo Ventures, Jeff Bezos And Goldman Sachs (TechCrunch)
First Round Capital was an early investor in Uber, though it doesn't appear to be in on this round.
Another FRC portfolio company, Fab, has just raised $40 million at a $200 million valuation.

AstraZeneca to cut 1,150 more jobs
(Philadelphia Inquirer: PhillyPharma)

VC says 'lots of money' going into HIT (Government Health IT)


Coursekit, founded at Penn, now in New York, officially launches

Tom Paine

Coursekit, the Social Learning Management System (SLMS) startup founded by three Penn students who raised $1 million, dropped out of school and relocated to New York, announced its launch last week . Coursekit says it has piloted its offering at 30 universities, including Penn and Princeton.

Coursekit is built around a disarmingly simple user interface featuring a social networking stream for communications among students, professors and others who may have involvement in a class. Its approach is to use "guerilla marketing" (my words) to avoid the enterprise sales process and seek course by course adoption. The product is free to both students and professors, as well as schools; monetization will come from other revenue streams to be developed. One question I had which hasn't been answered yet is about security. For example, one of the functions on Coursekit's dashboard is to report grade information. I assume, but don't know for sure, that is only meant to include assignment grades, not full course grades. Even so, there are a number of issues that have to do with both school policies and legal statutes concerning privacy and security that have to be met or else Coursekit will have some problems in that area. Another issue for Coursekit and some other newcomers is that they are largely stand-alone products that don't integrate well with other university systems, as some administrators desire. But at the course level, professors want the best tools and the freedom to try out new solutions.

Coursekit is taking on, among others, Blackboard, the largest established player in the LMS market that is seen by many as inflexible and out of date. Blackboard, which is based in DC, is now showing its newly released "Blackboard collaborate" product on its website. Blackboard, which had been a publicly traded company, was recently acquired by PE firm Providence Equity Partners for $1.64 billion. Providence Equity is usually considered a smart strategic rebuilder of assets with considerable experience in the higher ed space. Also out there are open source solutions like Moodle and Sakai, which appears to be widely used at Rutgers and is also replacing Blackboard at NYU. And Pearson, a major higher ed player, recently introduced a free LMS called OpenClass.

Monetization remains an issue, and an opportunity. In a brief phone interview with Philly Tech News, co-Founder & CEO Joseph Cohen said that a key opportunity is the electronic distribtion of course materials, such as ebooks, through the Coursekit platfom.But that opportunity may take a while to develop (though it is something Pearson is actively promoting for OpenClass). Institutions could also use the platform for other services like recruitment, retention, and student services. Advertising is said to be off the table for at least a year for Coursekit, a Fast Company article reports.

Cohen founded Coursekit at Penn along with co-Founders Dan Getelman and Jim Grandpre. Investors include Founder Collective and IA Ventures. The company has 80 ambassadors, whom it calls campus founders, at the schools where it is piloting. Penn has continued to be a major focus of development, with numerous classes tying out the software. Cohen and Getelman started working on the project in June 2010, originally to replace printed course syllabi. The project expanded late last year, as Engineering sophomore Jim Grandpre joined in, and the funds were raised in May of this year. Coursekit was part of the TechStars NY accelerator program, and recently moved into its own digs in Tribeca, if I understood correctly over a patchy phone line in my conversation with Joseph.


Daily Links 12/6/2011: SuccessFactors to acquire Jobs2web

SuccessFactors (SFSF) to Acquire Jobs2web - A Multi-Channel Interactive Recruiting Marketing SaaS Company (PR Newswire)
SuccessFactors makes acquisition on heels of being acquired by SAP, for $110 million in cash. This acquisition is really moving into Kenexa's territory.

The cloud shopping list: Assessing the next SaaS takeover targets (ZDNet Blogs)

SunGard Promises 99.9% Uptime For SAP Cloud Apps (Information Week)

ERP: Overcoming the Limitations (Quintiq News)
Quintiq's US headquarters is in Radnor.

Channels in the Cloud (Dell Boomi Blog)

Pasco Plans Overseas Acquisitions on Yen, Digital-Map Demand (Bloomberg)
Bloomberg reports that in October, Pasco acquired 70% of Philadelphia-based Keystone Aerial Surveys Inc., which provides mapping data for Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine. Keystone has its own air force of 18 planes.

Keystone Aerial Surveys Purchases SimActive Photogrammetry Software (Press Release via Directions Magazine)

New Content Sharing Network Spling Launches, Announces $400K Series A (TechCrunch)

Cable firms branch out into home-security services
Comcast, Time Warner Cable and other cable companies are using the broadband in their subscribers' homes to offer home-security systems.
(LA Times)

NBC-Owned TV Stations Select Four Non-Profit Content Partners (Multichannel News)
In Philly, WCAU teams up with WHYY. I wonder what WHYY purists will think of that.

With a Click of the Remote, Impulse Purchases (New York Times)
History Channel and FiOS try to sell items instantly via TV. I'm sure they can sell a lot of toy UFOs that way.

Comcast testing personalized social TV experience (Lost Remote)

Charter Communications Says Interested in Possible Verizon Wireless Pact (Bloomberg)

Raising cash at Comcast on eve of 'brutal' PA Society weekend ( Philly Deals)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (11/28 to 12/4 2011)

Obviously, the two biggest news items of the week were the deal between several cable companies and Verizon Wireless, which on the surface may look like a simple sale of wireless spectrum, but in fact raises a number of issues which I believe will face intense public and regulatory scrutiny; and SAP's Saturday announcement of an agreement to acquire Cloud/SaaS Human Capital Management vendor SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion. On the Veizon Wireless deal, Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett emailed the New York Times: “This is a REALLY big deal. Maybe the most significant deal the industry has ever seen. And that’s a pretty amazing thing to say for a deal where less than $4 billion changes hands.” On the SAP deal, I put together a post highlighting the views of leading enterprise software analysts on the SuccessFactors acquisition.

As TechCrunch reported, Malevern-based AboutOne raised $1.6 million in a round led by Golden Seeds and has a new partnership with Microsoft.

Dell Boomi enhanced its services with the announcement of its Cloud-Based Master Data Management Solution.

Clearwire got a major lifeline from Sprint in the form of a $1.6 billion financing deal; but it doesn't matter much to Comcast since they've gone in a different direction and will be phasing out its marketing relationship with Clearwire, though Comcast will still own a small stake in the company for now.

In Philly Tech People News, former TruePosition Inc. EVP Fred Beckly has joined New Hope-based Quepasa Corporation (myYearbook's parent) as General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business Affairs. And Katy Theroux, a top exec with New Jersey-based standards and solutions organization GS1 US, was elected the first female Board Chairman of Philadelphia's Peirce College.