Daily Links 11/30/2012: More on HP's Autonomy debacle

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Insight: How a desperate HP suspended disbelief for Autonomy deal (Reuters UK)

M&A The HP Way – Why the Autonomy deal was doomed, and what can’t be done to save HP (Josh Greenbaum/Enterprise Irregulars)

SaaS now replacing legacy apps as well as extending them, Gartner says (Computerworld UK)

One-Third Of SAP's Sales Are Now Through The Channel (CRN)

Unisys unveils new cloud application migration service (CloudPro)

NBCU gets some love from Wall Street: Retrans and network turnaround shift sentiment (Variety)

Scoop: Key pricing and launch details of Redbox Instant revealed

Network Giants Argue In Appeals Court: Aereo Should Be Treated Like A Cable Company (TechCrunch)
First Round Capital was a seed investor in Aereo.

GE Plans Silicon Valley Venture Stakes Along With Hiring (Bloomberg)

MetroPCS Climbs After Analyst Says Sprint May Counterbid (Bloomberg)

Google Acquires Shopping Locker Service BufferBox (All Things D)
Small potatoes, but interesting as a clue to Google's e-commerce ambitions. Competes with Amazon, Conshohocken-based ShopRunner.


Daily Links 11/29/2012: Zucker named CNN President; Cable Biz Services revenues continue to soar

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The Series A crunch is hitting now. Have we even noticed? (PandoDaily)

CNN Names Jeff Zucker President
(Ad Age)

Workday Posts Strong Start As Public Firm
Workday post-IPO financial results exceed expectations and it sets lofty goals for market share gains against Oracle and SAP.
(Information Week)

AWS fattens EC2 cloud for big data, in-memory munching
Data Pipeline service links data sources, automates chewing and spitting
(The Register)

Analyst, SAP dispute over reported support discounts reveals murky picture (Computerworld)

Accenture Acquires Octagon Research Solutions as Competition Heats Up in Pharma (HfS Research via Octagon Research website)

Cable's Cut of the Biz Services Pie to Eclipse $7B (Light Reading Cable)

Rajant Teams with Northrop Grumman for Exclusive Distribution Rights for a Series of Risk-Reduction Exercises in the U.S. Army Network Integration Evaluations (NIE) (Business Wire)

Carter Validus Buys Philly Enterprise Data Center (Data Center Knowledge)
The data center is under long-term lease to Vanguard, the Business Journal reports.

Nine Mercer County tech firms win aid (Times of Trenton)

Instem Releases New Version of OmniViz Data Mining and Visual Analytics Software (Business Wire)


Highlights last week on Philly Tech News (11/19/2012 to 11/25/2012)

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Posts from Philly Tech News:

Eddystone-based InsPro Technologies is the latest high growth insurance software company in the Philly area, having just been named to the Deloitte Fast 500 as #140. I spoke with CEO Robert Oakes.

The Neat Company opened an additional office location in Center City that could eventually house 140 more employees. I spoke with CMO Kevin Garton about Neat's commitment to Philadelphia, among other things.

Retirement plan administration managers Ascensus (Dresher) and ExpertPlan (East Windsor) agreed to merge. The larger partner, Ascensus, cited the value of ExpertPlan's web-enabled technology platform.

I looked at the changing relative fortunes of SAP and HP over the past two years.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners announced it was investing $1.5 million in eight early stage companies.

In news from other sources, HP took a $5 billion writedown from its $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy two years ago, claiming accounting malfeasance. Former Automomy CEO & founder Mike Lynch strongly disputed HP's allegations. Black Friday sales surpassed $1 billion online for the first time, according to comScore data. Comcast's NBC won the November ratings sweeps for the first time in nine years.


Daily Links 11/28/2012: Workday signs on DuPont; Roberts in group meeting with President

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Jeff Zucker Nearing Deal to Run CNN (Report) (Hollywood Reporter)

Comcast's Roberts Among Execs Talking Budget With President (Broadcasting & Cable)

Va Beach/Kings/Arena Details worked out (WAVY)
Comcast-Spectacor would co-manage arena. More funding from state sought.

Humax's take on an IP-connected TV box for Comcast passes through the FCC

Workday Sales Beat Estimates on Corporate Cloud-Computing Demand (Bloomberg)

Workday’s First Earnings Report Beats the Street (All Things D)

SAP Predictive Analytics goes GA, with a visual twist (SAP Watch)

Google buys Cambridge online marketing firm (Boston Globe)
This one's for real.

New SevOne appliance ratchets up the density

Tierney vs. Tierney: What's in a name? (Philadelphia Daily News)

Red Tettemer’s Annual Facebook Swag-athon Commences (MediaBistro: Agency Spy)

Amazon Supply: Changing the Face of MRO? (Spend Matters)

U.S. Federal Reserve Beige Book: Philadelphia District (Text) (via Bloomberg)
"The overall outlook appears less optimistic relative to the views expressed in the last Beige Book."


Philly Tech TidBits 11/27/2012: Lehigh Valley Tech gets new look; Coworking grows in burbs & more

Tom Paine

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Lehigh Valley Tech, the hyperactive organization behind Lehigh Valley Tech Meetup, the recent Lehigh Valley Startup Weekend and other events and activities in that area, has received a rebranding and new look courtesey of Philadelphia branding agency At Media. The agency launched its "Brand Refresher" contest in June, and Lehigh Valley Tech was the winner out of over 100 applicants. At Media provided a new logo and business card design, as well as an ample supply of business cards.

Lehigh Valley Tech's original homemade logo emphasized the transition from the area's steel industry legacy. The new logo retained some of the old color scheme including Bethlehem Steel's trademark International Orange shade, but aims to present a more modernistic and forward looking appearance.

Lehigh Valley Tech's old (left) and new (right) logos

Lehigh University launched a new professional master's program in technical entrepreneurship this spring. The one year program, which utlizes many assets within the University's ecosystem, is designed to be more relevant to students with an entrepreurial bent who otherwise might leave school altogether to go it alone. The inaugural class has 15 students, and Lehigh's goal is to grow enrollment to 30. Also, Lehigh's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity and Innovation has opened a new Creativity and Innovation Lab, including 3-D printers, power tools, routers, modeling clay and plastic parts. Presumably Lehigh has these types of tools within its Engineering school but the new resources and lab space are dedicated to the Baker Institute. Since the launch of the Baker Institute in 2010, enrollment in entrepreneurship courses at the University has grown from 193 to 524 students.

Reworkwc Interior

Coworking is expanding in the burbs. Reworkwc, founded by Tom Hudzina, opened a few months ago in downtown West Chester. Also in downtown West Chester is Central Casting, a private (not open to the public) shared coworking setup between what member John Young describes as "four programmers and a seamstress sharing a lease". Young also said they learned alot from Philly's Indy Hall. "We think Indy Hall is great -- one of the best coworking space(s) in the country. Alex Hillman has his head in the right place, and he knows perfectly well that the hard part, and the important part, is community," Young wrote in an email to me.

Skylight Coworking opened early this month in the center of Phoenixville, which is just west of King of Prussia. Individually owned and operated by founder Shannon Coghlan, Skylight features 2,000 square feet, a conference room and kitchen. Skylight is also building an events schedule, including its "Geeks with Talent" show on January 24.

I've provided a helpful map for those who get lost beyond City Line Avenue.

View REWORKWC in a larger map

NextFab Studio, Philly's high tech prototyping workshop, is in the process of relocating from its original 3711 Market Street location to a larger facility at 2025 Washington Avenue. The old location closed to the public on November 15, and the new place is scheduled to open to the public on December 29, with a grand opening party on January 17. The Washington Avenue space will be five times larger than its space at 3711 Market.


Daily Links 11/27/2012: Time for Oracle to buy HP?; Comcast's Syfy bets big on 'Defiance'

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Time for Oracle to buy HP? (Uneasy Empires)

Autonomy founder's open letter to HP demands a lot of answers (ZDNet)

OS/2 a quarter century on: Why IBM lost out and how Microsoft won (The Register)

Salesforce.com Revenues Surge, But Should You Ignore Losses? (Information Week)

Amazon’s dead serious about the enterprise cloud (Gigaom)

With 'Defiance,' Comcast's Syfy Bets $100M On Convergence Of TV And Videogames (Forbes)

Cyber Monday was biggest online sales day ever, with 30 percent growth (San Jose Mercury News)

Bentley’s Pivot from a Product to a “Hybrid” Services Company (Directions Magazine: All Points Blog)


Daily Links 11/26/2012: First Round Capital launches new holiday e-commerce website for portfolio companies

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First Round Capital Rounds Up E-Commerce Deals From Its Portfolio Companies On New Website (TechCrunch)

NBCUniversal and DirecTV near new distribution deal
(LA Times: Company Town)

NBC, Verizon Strike TV Everywhere Deal
Deal covers TV stations, cable nets and the Internet
(Broadcasting & Cable)

Why the Cost of Sales Gap is Shrinking between SaaS and Legacy Software Vendors (Sandhill.com)

Michael Hinkelman: Green and powerful (Philadelphia Daily News)
Viridity Energy's Audrey Zibelman.

SAP Moves Upstream (IDC Insights: Intelligent Oil & Gas)

NextGen Healthcare and Microsoft Corp. Join to Deliver Consumer-Based Healthcare Information Technology Solution
New Mobile Application Designed for Windows 8 Platform
(Business Wire)

Will Surescripts Become De facto NwHIN? (Chilmark Research)
NextGen Healthcare partners with Surescripts for its open HIE solution.

Bright House Buys Telovations (Multichannel News)

Sprint launches 11 new LTE markets; maintains small-city focus
Philly said to be on the list to launch in a few months.

IBM and Google to Discuss the Future of the Cloud at Wharton BizTech Technology Conference (PR Web)


Black Friday sales online top $1 billion for 1st time: comScore (Reuters via CNBC)

Investors pick Horsham as medical tech HQ (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

Vanguard Proves It Pays to Advertise
Investment Management Firm Insists Every Penny Deliver on Marketing
(Ad Age)

Philly Tech People News 11/25/2012

Publicis Healthcare appoints Shannon Boyle as SVP, human resources
Boyle takes responsibility for managing human resources for Digitas Health, Publicis Life Brands Medicus and Medicus International

Solve Media Creates First Security Advisory Council for Online Advertising (Marketwire)

David Zinczenko Departs Rodale (MediaBistro; Fishbowl NY)

TMG Health Names Director of Medicaid Services
(PR Newswire)

Wrapp Names Aaron Forth Global Chief Operating Officer (Marketwire)


A brief tale of relative value: SAP vs HP

Tom Paine

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On November 1, 2010, Léo Apotheker, who had been deposed as CEO of SAP earlier in the year on Superbowl Sunday, became CEO of HP. At the time HP's market value was in the $100 billion range, while SAP's was around $60 billion. Some gave thought to the idea that HP should try to acquire SAP (or achieve a merger of virtual equals between the two). Apotheker did move on one large acquisition, as HP announced in August 2011 it would acquire Autonomy for a price that would end up being $11.1 billion. Although Apotheker would be removed as CEO a month later, under successor Meg Whitman (who was on HP's board when the deal was first approved) the Autonomy acquisition was completed.

What a difference two years make. Today HP's market value after the apparent Autonomy debacle is $24.4 billion, although its bounced back some since the Autonomy news broke, and SAP's is $91.9 billion. And I doubt anyone in Walldorf is thinking about snapping up HP, although there might be some small pieces they might look at in a possible breakup scenario.


Highlights last week on Philly Tech News (11/12/2012 to 11/18/2012)

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Hamilton, NJ-based billing system vendor Billtrust received a $25 million investment
from Bain Capital Ventures

Avantor, the Center Valley, PA specialty chemical manufacturer run by former Rohm & Haas CEO Raj Gupta and owned by New Mountain Capital, filed suit in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey against IBM, claiming it botched a SAP ERP implementation at Avantor and used what it asserts was inappropriate off-the shelf IBM software. Avantor claims "tens of millions" of damages resulted. SAP was not named in the suit.

American City Buiness Journals, publisher of the Philadelphia Business Journal and similar titles in other cities, announced it had acquired Streetwise Media, which publishes online websites covering tech and other local news in Boston and DC. Radnor-based TL Ventures was an investor in Streetwise.

In news from other sources, reports persist that Arris is a possible buyer of Horsham-based Motorola Home, and one unverified analyst report suggested that Arris technology would be used in a new Apple TV product, and that Comcast might be testing the potential impact of an Apple TV offering on its internet network. The Inquirer's Bob Fernandez noted how rising sports broadcasting rights fees are increasingly driving the price of cable TV subscriptions. And Comcast's NBCU was reported to be cutting about 450 jobs across its different units.

Michael Dell discussed the important role Dell Boomi plays in Dell's emerging software strategy. SAP is adding features to its HANA in-memory platform that will bring it closer to its goal of hosting ERP applications on HANA.


Retirement plan administrators Ascensus (Dresher) & ExpertPlan (East Windsor) to merge

Ascensus emphasizes ExpertPlan's technology platform

Tom Paine

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Ascensus, a Dresher-based retirement plan solutions provider, announced late yesterday it had entered into an agreement to merge with ExpertPlan, which is headquartered in East Windsor, New Jersey. Ascensus describes ExpertPlan in its press release as a "leading provider of micro and small plan recordkeeping and administrative services for approximately 16,000 plans with a particular focus on providing web-enabled technology services." Terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of this year.

Ascensus had been placed on the auction block by its PE owner, J.C. Flowers & Co., earlier this year, but the company failed to attract strategic buyers and Flowers backed off from a deal with one PE firm and decided to hold on to the company, PE Hub
reported last month
. The publication estimated that Ascensus produces $25 million to $35 million EBITDA, and was expected to fetch over $300 million.

Founded in 1999, ExpertPlan has grown its revenue from $12.6 million 2008 to $26.3 million in 2011, according to its entry in the 2012 Inc. 5000, which also said the company had 133 employees. It has grown through acquisitions as well as organic growth. Funding has come numerous sources including Bridge Partners, Mel Mel Baiada's BaseCamp Ventures, Seacap Ventures, Gamma Investors, Meridian Venture Partners, Paddington Venture Capital, Liberty Ventures, and Milestone Ventures.

ExpertPlan CEO Julian N. Onorato is a Drexel engineering graduate who joined the company from ADP. Robert Guillocheau is Ascenscus' President & CEO.


Daily Links 11/21/2012: NBC wins November Sweeps; News Corp takes 49% stake in YES Network

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NBC Wins November Sweeps for First Time in Nine Years (Bloomberg)

News Corporation Completes Deal for 49% Stake in YES Network (New York Times: Media Decoder)

Microsoft Reportedly Plans Stripped Down Xbox Set-Top Box To Compete With Apple TV, Roku (TechCrunch)

FCC chairman backs Dish Network plan to compete with wireless giants (Washington Post)
With caveats.

Salesforce CEO on SAP, Oracle: We're the 'customer company' (ZDNet)

Autonomy Founder Says HP Accounting Claim Doesn’t Add Up (Bloomberg)

In Hewlett’s Claims About Autonomy, Legal Costs Could Pile Up (New York Times: Dealbook)

SAP maintenance revenues: another turn of the screw? (Dennis Howlett/Enterprise Irregulars via ZDNet)

Mastering SAP HANA data modeling for maximum performance (SearchSAP)


The Neat Company adds new Center City Philadelphia office location, with room for up to 140 employees

Tom Paine

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The Neat Company, which provides scanning products and services for items such as receipts and business cards, announced yesterday that it had opened a second office in Center City Philadelphia that essentially will serve as a call center for inside sales and customer service, configured for up to 140 employees. The new office is located in the Ten Penn Center building at 1801 Market Street. Neat's headquarters, located at 1601 Market Street, houses about 80 employees, and 40 are already working in the new office. Neat expects that employment at the new location will grow to exceed 100 people over the next several months. Neat moved its headquarters from West Philly to Center City last year.

The expansion reflects two factors, Neat's Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Garton told me in a phone interview. One is a strategic decision by the company is to take all sales and customer service-related functions in house, where some had previously been outsourced, and to make a long-term commitment to centralizing all its operations in the US, and in particular the city of Philadelphia. (The company does contract out manufacturing of its NeatDesk and NeatReceipts hardware products and most of that is done in China.) "While some companies decide to move sales and customer service teams offshore, we felt it was important to support local jobs and stay in Philadelphia", Garton said in a prepared statement. Neat will receive some tax credits related to job training for adding jobs in the city.

The second is the continuing growth of Neat, accelerating since the introduction of its cloud and mobile offerings (NeatCloud and NeatMobile) in July. The new products open the potential for Neat to significantly expand its customer base, and favor the use of a more direct channel with customers and prospects. Garton says Neat ran out off space long before it expected.

Garton declined to reveal how the cloud and mobile offerings were selling so far, but did say more details and additional product enhancements would be announced at CES 13 in January.

In an interview last December with the Philadelphia Business Journal, Neat CEO Jim Foster said he expected 2011 revenue to exceed $65 million, and estimated that revenue growth this year would be 40%. He also said the company had been profitable in 2010 and 2011.

Neat's principle investors have been Edison Ventures and MentorTech Ventures. It was founded in 2002 by Rafi Spero and his father, serial entrepreneur Les Spero, who are still major shareholders.


Ben Franklin Technology Partners SEP invests $1.5 million in 8 companies

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Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania announced today it had approved funding of $1.5 million to be invested in eight early stage companies. Details are in the press release below:

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania Approves $1.5M for 8 Early-Stage Companies

PHILADELPHIA, PA (www.sep.benfranklin.org) – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) recently approved $1,535,000 in funding for 8 early-stage companies.

Companies approved for funding:

Alencon Systems, Inc. – Plymouth Meeting – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $400,000

Dedicated to making clean energy truly competitive with today's conventional energy generation methods, Alencon designs alternative energy conversion and harvesting systems.

Alencon’s systems are both highly modular and scalable, and are capable of generating up to 100MW of power. The technology succeeds by incorporating economies of scale and higher levels of reliability.

The company is led by John Bunce, CEO; and Oleg Fishman, Ph.D., Founder & President.

Clutch Holdings, LLC – Lafayette Hill – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $200,000

Clutch Holdings has created a mobile phone application, “Clutch,” that stores the individual’s store loyalty information, such as points and gift cards, so that they no longer need to carry around cumbersome plastic cards for each store.

The app allows customers to more easily manage, redeem, purchase and manage their assets, as well as buy gift cards for others. Merchants are able to research consumer behavior, better communicate with and market to their customers, and reduce the cost of producing and distributing cards.

Clutch is led by Ned Moore, CEO; Andy O’Dell, Founder & CCO; and Dan Guy, Co-Founder & CTO.

Digital Life Technologies – Bala Cynwyd – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $225,000

Digital Life Technologies has created the GoNow™ eWallet Card, which can be programmed to become any credit, debit, gift or loyalty card in an eWallet, thus eliminating the need to carry multiple plastic payment cards. The card is programed by an eWallet on any smartphone and works at 100% of ATM's and POS terminals, both contactless and magnetic stripe.
The GoNow™ has a secure element that stores data in the card itself, and can be used instead of, or in addition to, the secure element in a phone or the Cloud. The card allows banks, technology companies and others launching eWallets to overcome key obstacles that have slowed adoption in the U.S. market, including scarcity of contactless payment terminals and control of secure data.
The company is led by Doug Spodak, Founder, President & CEO; Ron Fridman, CTO & SVP - Operations; and Joe O’Neill, VP - Business Development.

Finpago (Does business as EasyCopay) – Villanova – Delaware County
Approved Investment: $75,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $100,000)

EasyCopay allows customers to quickly, efficiently and automatically pay for all of their out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions.
Customers enter their preferred card of choice for payment at EasyCopay’s website, where payment information is stored safely and securely. The company then automatically charges the card on file when a customer’s prescription is filled by his or her pharmacy, so they may pick it up without waiting to pay.

Finpago is led by Fred Hawkins, Founder & CEO; and Pamela Bufe, VP - Pharmacy Sales.

Power & Energy Inc. – Ivyland – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $250,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $130,000)

Power & Energy manufactures ultra-high purity hydrogen purifiers that are used in semiconductor fabrication processes for LED lights, power semiconductors, solar panels and fuel cells.
The company has also developed a new hydrogen analyzer technology and a high efficiency steam reformer that converts natural gas and liquid fuels like gasoline, diesel, propane and ethanol into a stream of pure hydrogen gas, with less than 100 parts per billion of carbon monoxide, to cleanly power fuel cells.
The company is led by Dr. Peter Bossard, CEO & CTO; and Noel Leeson, President & COO.

Snipi, Inc. (Does business as Sidecar Technologies) – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $110,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $275,000)

Snipi has created an online marketing platform called Sidecar, which allows retailers to engage their customers through each phase of the purchase cycle – acquisition, conversion and retention. The company combines services that would traditionally need to be met by four different types of vendors, to offer paid search, comparison shopping, on-site personalization and personalized email.

Because Sidecar is data-driven and fully automated, client companies enjoy a more efficient and cost-effective marketing solution.

The company is led by Andre Golsorkhi, CEO & Founder; Mark Adelman, Director of Product Development; and Dave Galgon, Director of Operations.

Vistar Media, Inc. – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $200,000

Vistar has created the first ad server and real-time ad exchange platform for digital place-based media (Digital Out of Home, or DOOH media) that markets directly to consumers where they live, work and play—such as in malls, doctor’s offices, elevators, gyms, airports, taxis, etc.

The technology is based on screens that present engaging, digitally-delivered video that entertains and informs customers as they go about their daily routines.

Vistar’s technology also provides clients with real-time reporting and campaign analytics, so that they can measure the effectiveness of their marketing strategies.

The company is led by Jeremy Ozen, President; Michael Provenzano, Founder; and Mark Chadwick, Co-founder and CTO.

WizeHive, Inc. – Bryn Mawr – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $75,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $400,000)

WizeHize is an online Software as a Service (SaaS) platform where people can upload, share and collaborate on information such as files, tasks and ideas, to facilitate communication among many sources and users.

Used by organizations such as universities, businesses and marketing agencies, WizeHive helps them improve their bottom line by improving online engagement with customers and prospects, and automate antiquated business processes otherwise being handled manually, through email chains, or cumbersome back end systems.

The company is led by Michael Levinson, Founder & CEO. Levinson is also a Founding Partner of Dreamit Ventures, a successful entrepreneurial accelerator for IT enterprises. Ben Franklin is a founding sponsor and institutional investor in Dreamit. Other WizeHive leaders include Alan (Mike) Carson, Founder & CTO; Jeff Thomas, VP – Sales & Marketing; and Claudia Piccirilli, COO.

* * * *
About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning organization for Stimulating Entrepreneurial Potential, through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation. For thirty years, Ben Franklin has grown technology companies and partnerships through Capital, Knowledge and Networks that help innovative enterprises compete in the global marketplace, generating wealth and supporting regional economic growth. Ben Franklin has invested more than $165 million to grow more than 1,750 regional enterprises, across all areas of technology. It has launched university/industry partnerships that accelerate scientific discoveries to commercialization. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

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


Daily Links 11/20/2012: HP takes $8.8 billion charge on alleged Autonomy accounting fraud

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HP reports $8.8 billion 'impairment charge' due to allegedly fraudulent Autonomy accounting (The Verge)

What Exactly Happened at Autonomy? (All Things D)
Only $5 billion of impairment charge was related to Autonomy.

Leo Apotheker: Due Diligence of Autonomy Was Meticulous (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

A Year Ago, Oracle Said Autonomy CEO's Mike Lynch 'Has A Very Poor Memory Or He’s Lying'
(Silicon Alley Insider)

Salesforce Matches Estimates on Larger Software Deals (Bloomberg)

Oracle, SAP fight for market share in India as enterprises become more reliant on technology (Economic Times of India)

SAP should be clearer on cloud migration, says User Group (Computer Business Review)

SAP discounts maintenance: Blip or start of trend? (ZDNet Blogs)

Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell: 'Cable companies are at the mercy of content companies' (The Verge)
Fortunately for Comcast (perhaps), its both.

The silver lining in Delaware's Fisker plan (NewsWorks)


Eddystone-based InsPro Technologies latest Philly-area insurance software growth story

140th on Deloitte Fast 500

Tom Paine

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In case you haven't noticed, the job of automating many tasks in the traditionally information and paper intensive insurance industry is a booming business in the Philly area. iPipeline is perhaps the hottest startup in the region, having received a $71 million VC investment earlier in the year. InstaMed has also gained prominence as a processor of healthcare payments. AdminServer sold out to Oracle a few years back, and its founders have a new startup, Adminovate, based in Philadelphia. Others to watch include Unirisx and Bethlehem-based Adaptik, which focus on property and casualty insurance. Given its extensive industry presence, Philadelphia has a deep pool of talent with an understanding of both the insurance business itself and its technology needs.

But another emerging player earning attention is Eddystone (Delaware County)-based InsPro Technologies, which serves the Health and Life insurance industries. InsPro was just named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500, ranking 140th in the US, with revenue growth of 694 percent from 2007 to 2011. It should rank about 7th on the Philly Fast 50 when Deloitte releases that.

View Larger Map

InsPro markets an integrated, comprehensive enterprise SaaS suite for companies marketing life and health policies, both to groups and individuals. When I asked CEO Robert Oakes whether there was overlap between what InsPro and iPipeline does, he replied that "iPipeline covers only a portion of what we do", and I don't think he was boasting. InsPro's technology platform is built around Java, is database agnostic, and uses thin clients as end-user devices. They provide hosting via Wayne-based SunGard Availability Services.

InsPro only has 15 customers, but they are among the big players in the insurance industry, and InsPro competes against companies such as Oracle. Its two largest customers accounted for 48% of revenue in the first nine months of this year. Revenue almost doubled in the 3rd quarter of 2012 from the prior year to $3.4 million. InsPro is still operating at a loss of over $1 million per quarter as it continues to invest in building out its software. Professional services fees account for about half of its revenues, indicating that considerable customization goes into its customer installations. InsPro had $2 million in the bank as of the end of September and shortly thereafter in October entered into a agreement with Silicon Valley Bank for a $2 million credit facility. It has about 110 employees.

InsPro has raised almost $30 million since 2007 according to SEC filings I can locate. Investors include Radnor-based Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, legendary tech investor Warren "Pete" Musser, and as of late 2010 Independence Blue Cross. Oakes indicated to me that one more substantial equity raise is in the works, after which the company should be over the hump in terms of funding. He suggested that revenue growth of 50% per year over the next two years is achievable.

InsPro Technologies was one of those consulting firms that eventually morphs into a software company. It was founded by Oakes in 1986 as Atiam Technologies, changing its name in 2009 to reflect that of its software suite. Health Benefits Direct acquired Atiam in 2007 for $3 million, and in late 2010 Health Benefits Direct changed its name to InsPro Technologies Corporation, having divested some other insurance related offerings. InsPro Technologies Corporation is thinly traded over the OTC Bulletin Board (ITCC), although the majority of its value lies in its preferred (not publicly traded) shares.

Oakes says the Affordable Care Act, as (and to what extent) it is implemented, should benefit InsPro's healthcare business by placing more emphasis on supplemental forms of coverage that some of its customers market. Oakes also see new product iniatives that should add to the life insurance side of the business as well.


Daily Links 11/19/2012: E-commerce valuations stalling?

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This Is The Blog Post Everyone Is Passing Around To Explain Why Cisco Just Spent $1.2 Billion (Silicon Alley Insider)

Most E-Commerce Froth Since 2000 Stirs Up Investor Doubts: Tech (Bloomberg)
E-commerce valuations stalling?

Akamai to Acquire CDN Software Vendor Verivue
Investors in Verivue Include Comcast, Arris
(Multichannel News)

Cable pioneer John Malone says sports costs are out of control (LA Times: Company Town)

GetGlue + Viggle Is a Big Bet Based on Small Numbers (Peter Kafka/All Things D)

Bristol, another Tennessee town is getting Gigabit broadband

Bentley Systems and Siemens Initiate Strategic Collaboration to Unify Product and Production Lifecycles with Factory Infrastructure Lifecycles (Business Wire)

Inventors' workshop expands to S. Phila. (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

Lehigh University opens new 'innovation lab' to boost entrepreneurship offerings (Easton Express-Times)


Philly Tech People News 11/18/2012

SAP Names Bob Calderoni to Global Managing Board  (PR Newswire)

Grossman Joins Twitter; Grego Named New Editor-in-Chief of 'B&C' (Broadcasting & Cable)

NBC promotes Don Nash, Alexandra Wallace at 'Today (LA Times: Company Town)

Comcast promotes Buzzelli to SVP of business services in Northeast (Communications, Engineering & Design Magazine)

Elemica Appoints New CEO to Accelerate Growth of Cloud-Based Supply Chain Solutions
Technology Industry Veteran John Blyzinskyj Brings Strong Background in Strategic Growth of World Leading Enterprises

John Scott joins Andesa Services as Chief Technology Officer (Business Wire)

HeartSine Technologies Appoints Declan O'Mahoney New Chief Executive Office (Business Wire)

G’Day, Grant McDougall, Rosetta’s Technology & Telecommunications Managing Partner (Rosetta Currents)

Cadient Group Appoints Chris Mycek Chief Customer Officer
(Philly Ad Club News)

Announcing our newest hires (Garfield Group)

Jenn Hermann Joins MedRisk as Director of Data Analytics (Business Wire)


About half of cable-TV bills go to sports (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Cisco Acquires Enterprise Wi-Fi Startup Meraki For $1.2 Billion In Cash (TechCrunch)

American City Business Journals acquires Streetwise Media, which had backing from TL Ventures

Tom Paine

American City Business Journals (parent of the Philadelphia Business Journal and similar publications around the country) yesterday announced it had acquired Streetwise Media, publisher of online journals BostInno in Boston and InTheCapital in DC. The websites cover education, political and lifestyle, in addition to local business and technology news. Terms were not disclosed.

There are a couple of interesting angles to this. One is that ACBJ obviously has intentions to expand the Streetwise Media concept to at least some of the other markets its publishes in. Could Philly be one of them?

The other local connection is that Radnor-based TL Ventures last year led a $1.3 million seed round in Streetwise Media. Carolyn Harkins of TL Ventures, who is also CEO of Harkins Venture Advisors and Managing Director of Penn Mezzanine Partners, served on Streetwise's board.

ACBJ is a unit of Advance Publications, which also publishes many daily newspapers and owns the Conde Nast magazine group, in addition to cable tv and broadcasting interests. Advance Publications has cut back several of its dailies to three days per week print schedules in recent months.


Daily Links 11/16/2012: Michael Dell on Dell Boomi

Michael Dell's Grand Plan (The VAR Guy)
Dell: Boomi up to over 1 million integrations per day, from 300,000 one year ago.

Dell bolsters enterprise cloud ambitions with Gale Technologies buy (ZDNet)

Amazon cloud inspectors approve SAP's biz apps
Tech giants see cloudy sky, forecast rain of doubloons
(The Register)

SAP confirms to reach more than 20 billion euro in 2015 sales (Reuters)

SAP's Snabe: No need for 'Grexit' plans (CNN)

LifeAire Systems wins Ben Franklin Venture Idol (Ben Franklin Technology Partners Northeastern Pennsylvania)

Announcing the 2012 Venture Summit Mid-Atlantic 100 Top Private Companies (AlwaysOn)

Television in the cloud: Comcast guru says X1 will be here in weeks (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Netflix CEO: Amazon Losing Up to $1 Billion a Year on Streaming Video (All Things D)

Time Warner Cable Opens $82M Data Center in Charlotte (Data Center Knowledge)

Business Journal parent acquires Streetwise Media (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Operates BostInno in Boston and InTheCapital in Washington.

Springs-based ISS acquires New Jersey company (Colorado Springs Gazette)
Mount Laurel-based Xpect Software LLC.

QVC US mobile orders increase 142pc in Q3 (Mobile Commerce Daily)


Daily Links 11/15/2012: Report discusses Apple TV, Arris involvement, & potential impact on Comcast network

Over the top: the new war for TV is just beginning (The Verge)

Arris: Jefferies Gauges Apple Television, Google ‘Home’ Prospects (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)
Projected purchase price of Motorola Home keeps shrinking; Arris technology could show up in Apple TV. Possible impact of Apple TV launch on Comcast's (largest Arris customer) net examined.

Advanced Video Ad Startup Banks VC Cash (Light Reading Cable)
Comcast a customer.

Billtrust Funded to Help Move Business Transactions Into the Digital Age (Wall Street Journal: Venture Capital Dispatch)

Negative November Philly, New York factory gauges
Philly Fed November Business Outlook Survey.

SAP unveils more than 30 new apps for HANA (ZDNet)

20 startups said to buy SAP HANA in-memory database
SAP hopes grassroots approach can help seed a robust HANA ecosystem

Higher ed's high-tech headache (Robert L. Mitchell/Computerworld Blogs)

Enterprise Technology Parks Partners with Recovery Networks to Provide IT Disaster Recovery to Customers Affected by Hurricane Sandy (Business Wire)

Corbett Administration Accelerates Technology Commercialization, Helps Grow Industry Statewide (PR Newswire)

Pennsylvania's eHealth Collaborative exceeds federal goal for participants (Pittsburgh Business Times)


Highlights last week on Philly Tech News (11/5/2012 to 11/11/2012)

I profiled Wayne-based SaaS CRM vendor PipelineDeals, which aims to take a slice of market share away from Salesforce.com.

Radnor-based NewSpring Capital has filed a preliminary response to a lawsuit filed against it in July by the co-founders and former executives of Clifton Heights-based ProfitPoint, which provides stored value loyalty programs for retailers. The plaintiffs say NewSpring forced their removal and then conducted a smear campaign against them; NewSpring says they reached a settlement to remove the co-founders after serious fiancial irregularities at ProfitPoint were discovered.

Philly Tech News contributor Esther Surden covered the NJ tech community's efforts
to help New Jersey recover from Sandy
in NJTechWeekly.com.

In news from other sources, incoming Lockheed CEO Christopher Kubasik was forced to resign over a close personal relationhip with a subordinate. Lockheed employs close to 10,000 in the Philly area. Lockheed also announced job relocations and some possible reductions in South Jersey, although its Advanced Technology Labs in Cherry Hill will not be touched.

The Washington Post did an interesting profile of Paoli-based DuckDuckGo. Oracle acquired project portfolio management vendor Instantis, which may have some overlapping fit with Oracle Primavera, which does much of its business from Bala Cynwyd. Ewing, NJ-based OLED technology provider Universal Display saw its shares plunge after reporting disappointing results and reducing its outlook. And the US Supreme Court heard Comcast's appeal asking it to remove class action status from an antitrust suit against it claiming Comcast engaged in monopolistic behavior in the Philadelphia area.

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Daily Links 11/14/2012: Air Force cans ERP project after $1 billion

Apple opening Willow Grove store, expanding at King of Prussia Mall (Philadelphia Business Journal)

SAP plans to add 'mission-critical' features to HANA in-memory database
SAP is getting HANA ready for large-scale ERP deployments

SAP bolsters cloud portfolio with Financials OnDemand

SAP goes big on Windows 8 with six new apps (Computerworld)

Air Force scraps massive ERP project after racking up $1B in costs (Computerworld)
Oracle won initial software contract over SAP; CSC served as systems integrator. Of course, SAP has had its own issues with the Army ERP project, which might indicate that its the customer who is the ultimate problem, not the software.

Salesforce.com's Complexity Brings CIOs, Partners Together (CIO.com)

Trident Capital Update and Areas of Investment Interest (Trident Capital Blog)

Google Fiber is live in Kansas City, real-world speeds at 700Mbps (Ars Technica)

Philadelphia Becomes Epicenter for Information-Sharing in the Manufacturing Industry (News from Rockwell Automation)


Deal of the day: Billtrust (Hamilton NJ) raises $25 million from Bain Capital Ventures

Tom Paine

Billtrust, a Hamilton, NJ-based provider of SaaS outsourced billing services, announced this morning that it had received a $25 million investment from Bain Capital Ventures. This brings the total investment in Billtust to $30 million; Edison Ventures had led a previous round. Matt Harris, managing partner of Bain Capital Ventures, will join Billtrust’s board of directors. Billtrust says its revenue grew ten fold over a five year period.

Billtrust says the capital will be used for strategic acquisitions. It provides electronic billing services for both consumers and businesses, but in the press release Bain Capital Ventures' Harris emphasized that "Billtrust is the first company we have seen that is so well positioned to dominate the enterprise market."

Founded 11 years ago, Billtrust is led by CEO Flint Lane. Hamilton is located outside
of Trenton.

Billtrust Press Release (pdf)


Avantor, headed by ex-Rohm & Haas chief Gupta, sues IBM over troubled SAP implementation

Tom Paine

Avantor Peformance Materiala, based in Center Valley, Pa (near Bethlehem) filed suit last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey against IBM over what it claims was a botched SAP implementation.

But there was not a critical word I could find in the suit about SAP. Rather, the focus was on IBM's Express Life Sciences Solution, off the shelf software that runs on SAP ERP, and what Avantor claims was IBM's faulty and negligent project management and implementation.

 Rajiv L. Gupta 

Avantor, which changed its name from Mallinckrodt Baker in 2010, was acquired in that year from Covidien by an affiliate of PE firm New Mountain Capital for $280 million. Former Rohm & Haas Chairman & CEO Raj Gupta, a senior advisor with New Mountain, is Chairman of Avantor and until earlier this year also served as CEO. Advantor manufactures high-performance chemicals and materials used in biotechnology and pharmaceutical production, microelectronics and photovoltaic manufacturing, and laboratory applications.

The complaint over the implementation includes claims for fraud and breach of contract, and Avantor said in a press release it is seeking "tens of millions of dollars in damages" from IBM. Avantor says it "is now largely operating at pre-SAP implementation service levels". The SAP system went live on May 2, 2012.

Its worth noting that Rohm & Haas partnered with IBM for years to implement and upgrade SAP ERP when Gupta was CEO there, so he presumably had experience with the process. Gupta left Philly-based Rohm & Haas after its $15.3 billion acquition by Dow in 2009.

Avantor claims that IBM repeatedly assured its management that its off the shelf Express software package would met Avantor's needs without customization, but this turned out not to be the case after the system went live. The suit also asserts that IBM assigned "incompetent and reckless consultants" to the project who made "numerous design, configuration and programming errors". Avantor says post-launch problems "brought Avantor's business to a virtual halt", and that shipments in May dropped approximately 75%.

"IBM met its contractual obligations and delivered a solution that Avantor continues to use in its operations", IBM said in an emailed statement on Friday as reported by Reuters. "We believe the allegations in the complaint are exaggerated and misguided and are surprised that Avantor chose to file suit".

Mallinckrodt Baker was headquartered in Phillipsburg, NJ, prior to its acquisition by New Mountain and still has major operations there. In 2010, it had 1400 employees and revenue of $480 million, and it said its goal was to triple revenue (pdf) to $1.5 billion in five years.

(Case # 3:2012cv06961) can be accessed through PACER (registration required, fees may apply).