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 ( – 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, 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)