Philly Tech News VentureWatch: 8/19/2011

Tom Paine

With companies such as QVC, GSI Commerce, Urban Outfitters and Monetate, the Philly area has a strong E-commerce ecosystem. And it is a sector that seems to be generating a good deal of startup activity, with a particular recent emphasis on "social shopping".

ChoozOn, a startup with offices in King of Prussia and Bellevue, Washington, recently reported raising $3.2 million. ChoozOn provides its members with a single platform where they can track deal and coupon offers available to them, and also offers social tools for members to communicate with each other about deals.

ChoozOn was founded by ex-Yahoo execs; one of them, Nick Weir, formerly Yahoo’s VP of Data Strategy, is a ChoozOn co-founder and its CEO, based in King of Prussia. Although ChoozOn is still in Alpha, it currently has 40 employees and expects to have about 50 by year end. King of Prussia houses what a company spokesperson told Philly Tech News by email is "a significant part of our business and product development team", which also includes June Oakes, Director of Product Management. The spokesperson also said that ChoozOn opened a King of Prussia office in part because Nick was already located in the area and also because it provides excellent access to key East Coast markets.

                                                ChoozOn CEO Nick Weir

Snipi, the Philadelphia-based social shopping app which helps users track down and compare price infomation, recently reported raising $530,00 out of a total offering of $1.5 million, according to an SEC filing. I hadn't really heard that much about Snipi in a while.

Keystone Edge's Joe Petrucci has a piece on co-founder Brandon Yoshimura and his Philly/Wilmington-based startup Loffles, which provides awards to consumers for watching promotional videos. The Loffles team has been coached by Morgan Lewis' Stephen Goodman and has raised $500,000 in seed funding.

Villanova grad and ex-IBM E-commerce developer Todd McNeal has a new startup, Snapline. It helps retailers reach and taget customers using Facebook data and other demographic sources. Consumers can opt in through Facebook Connect. Snapline features a SaaS platform built using Python and other open stack tools. McNeal, who does some of his work out of Indy Hall, said in a conversation with Philly Tech News that he hopes to get some testing done with major e-retailers during the Holiday season and then use those results as a basis for ramping up.

Two area startups seek to make it easier to manage clinical trials. Philadelphia-based myClin, founded in 2008 by James Denmark, helps physicians and their staffs to facilitate patient particiapation in clinical research. MyClin uses Amazon Web Services, among other tools, in its cloud stack. GreenPhire, of King of Prussia, just announced in an SEC filing that it had raised $1.5 million. GreenPhire, founded in 2007, has a system for managing electronic payments to clinical trial participants.

GreenLight Technologies of Flemington, NJ (not too far down the road from Washington Crossing), announced it had closed Series A expansion funding led by Storm Ventures; the amount was not disclosed. GreenLight makes GRC (Governance, risk management, and compliance) solutions that run in environments like SAP and Oracle.


Sprint considering Clearwire buyout; Comcast reported involved in talks

Sprint Said in Talks About Clearwire Buyout (Bloomberg)
Confusing article. Its not clear what kind of transaction they are considering or how Comcast would be involved. I had been under the impression that Comcast really didn't want to sink any more money into Clearwire.

A deal for Clearwire could be a wireless tipping point (Gigaom)