A few interesting area events this week not on Philly Tech Week's Calendar

Princeton Tech Meetup Tonight (April 23) at 7pm at the Princeton Public Library. Four spots open right now, according to its Meetup page.

Philly FileMaker User Group Tuesday, April 24th, at 6:00 PM. at IT Solutions in Fort Washington. Presentation on the new FileMaker 12.

Cloudforce Social Enterprise Tour Wednesday, April 25, Washington DC. Features keynote from Vivek Kundra, EVP of Emerging Markets at salesforce.com and former CIO of the United States.

State of .NET - The Road to Windows 8 Microsoft Malvern on Thursday, April 26 from 2:00-5:00.

System Center User Group Microsoft Malvern on April 26 from 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Best of Microsoft Management Summit 2012 review and see live demos of next generation Windows Server "8", Hyper-V 3.0, and Windows 8.

PhillyForce April Meeting April 26, 6 to 8 pm, at LiquidHub in Wayne. How MEI (West Chester), maker of electronic bill and coin acceptors, uses the Boomi Platform to Integrate Salesforce and SAP ERP.

Delaware Tech Meetup Thursday, April 26 at 7:00pm at
the The coIN Loft in Wilmington. Focus on EdTech.


NJ Tech Startups Dominate Awards at NJTC Venture Conference

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor, NJTechWeekly.com

The 2012 NJTC Venture Conference, held in late March in Somerset, was dominated by young technology companies, although some life sciences firms were in the room.

New Jersey tech startups took home many honors at the conference, where a number of companies reported they made excellent connections with the venture community. Several angels and VCs told NJTechWeekly.com it was one of the best events at which to find good N.J. companies to fund. The award winners:

  • DocView Solutions of Cherry Hill was named best marketing/e-commerce company. The firm's tablet- and smartphone-based system uses predictive modeling and data analysis to notify a clinician proactively when a patient's health baseline is changing, thus preventing many hospital readmissions.

  • Newark-based Allweb Technologies was best information technology company. The firm has a cloud-based identity- and password-management system that uses fingerprint matching and two-step user authentication.

  • ATC Labs, also of Newark, took home the best communications company award for its technology that can increase bandwidth utilization via compression and processing technology.

  • The best advanced materials/nano company was Natcore Technology of Red Bank. The small, publicly traded firm is developing a black silicon solar technology that will increase solar cell output.

  • Veracity, a Glen Rock designer and developer of transmission, stage and display products for network video and surveillance applications, won best electronics company.

  • Voted both the people's choice and the company most likely to succeed was SpeechTrans (Lyndhurst), the instant translation firm that offers both apps and landline over-the-phone capabilities.

  • The best healthcare/IT company was SpectraMD of Princeton, whose intelligent solution aggregates and analyzes data for more cost-effective and better healthcare outcomes.

This year’s program included the usual expo and five-minute pitches along with a luncheon panel discussion, but it added a new twist. Companies were asked to make one-minute elevator pitches in the morning as well as to give longer presentations and answer questions later.

According to one angel we spoke with, the one-minute pitches were an excellent way for the funding community to quickly figure out which companies interested them so they could find them on the floor and devote greater attention to them.

However, some entrepreneurs we spoke to worried such short pitches would discourage people from finding them at the longer presentations. Indeed, at some points the longer presentations were discouragingly sparsely attended, as one presenter noted.

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


NJTC Panel Looks at “Strategic” Corporate Venture Investing

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor, NJTechWeekly.com

Are entrepreneurs and follow-on investors well served by the investment fund arms of such companies as AOL, Google, Condé Nast, SAP, Time Warner and Home Depot? That’s the question a panel discussion on corporate venture investing, moderated by Raymond Thek, vice president of the Lowenstein Sandler (New York; Roseland, N.J.) Tech Group, attempted to answer at the 2012 NJTC Venture Conference in late March in Somerset.

Introducing the topic, Thek said in the past 15 months he has been on the other side of many deals with such companies, and this trend is a new one. “I’ve never seen anything like it in 20 years,” he noted. While companies in the life sciences used this strategy in the past, it is now widespread across industries.

The panelists thought early-stage investing with so-called “strategic investors” is a good idea for entrepreneurs if the company’s fund objectives and strategic interests align with the entrepreneur’s goals and the value the strategic company adds is very specific. However, deals need to be balanced, with nonstrategic investors also at the table to provide a counterweight to the sometimes more powerful entity. Also, the panelists advised, look for a strategic investor who can offer you something you can’t get elsewhere, like industry contacts.

Young companies should realize many strategic investors may not spend the time to get the right sales director into the right spot at the company and provide other, more hands-on help VCs might offer. Also, if a strategic investor is around at the initial round, “you may not have someone working that hard for you on the follow-on rounds,” said Peg Jackson of Gridley & Co. (New York).

Gil Beyda, founder and managing partner of Genacast Ventures, operates a seed-stage fund that is a Comcast (Philadelphia) offshoot. It’s not technically a “strategic fund,” he said, since companies in which it invests don’t necessarily have to have anything to do with Comcast’s interests.

His view is that more large firms are looking at creating their own venture funds as an integral part of their strategy. Some see this as a road to acquisition, while others view it primarily as a financial-management tool allowing them to diversify their financial stream. Most look at it as a way to identify new sectors, technologies and trends occurring in the industry and be on the cutting edge or bleeding edge.

Jackson added that large companies are getting into venture funding because “technology is having such a big impact on their businesses in so many ways.” Firms are looking at their investment arms as a way to maintain a formalized team and a structure, to know what’s coming down the road in technology. The good news for investors who get involved with them: while it used to be an informal arrangement, strategic companies have now formalized these groups and offer professionally structured term sheets, which they didn’t do before, she said.

Strategic investors are funding small slices of disruptive technologies to be at the top of the curve, before their businesses can be disrupted, Sasank Aleti of LLR Partners (Philadelphia) pointed out. Getting technology to market goes much faster now, so you can see the impact of disruptive technology much sooner, he said.

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