Philly Tech News VentureWatch 1/20/2013: Hoopla HQ goes West, Quintiq triples Radnor space, Real Food Works raising funds & staffing up

Tom Paine

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Hoopla, the gamification platform currently oriented to the platform that encourages (hopefully) friendly competition and goal attainment among sales and customer service teams, has officially announced it has established a new Silicon Valley headquarters in San Jose, CA. Originally based in West Chester, Hoopla has received funding from Safeguard Scientifics and CEO and founder Mike Small, a long-time Philly area tech executive, tells me by email that "we are doing all software development in West Chester and will continue to expand that office in the coming year."

Quintiq, the supply chain planning & optimization software firm with dual headquarters in the Netherlands and Radnor, announced in December that it had tripled its office space in the Radnor Financial Center. “The accelerated demand for our software is not surprising when you consider that our solutions are helping organizations such as Walmart improve their productivity and profitability. Quintiq has a history of steady growth and we’ve decided that now is the time to invest in expanding our North American footprint,” said Quintiq CEO Dr. Victor Allis in a statement. The company said it "currently reports an average annual growth rate of approximately 40%", which means based on past reports its revenue may be approaching $100 million. LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital acquired a reported 48% stake in Quintiq in 2011, and it is a potential future IPO candidate.

OpenX, the Los Angeles-based online advertising technology platform, has raised another $22.5 million, with Samsung's venture unit coming on as lead investor in this round. SAP Ventures (which participated again) and First Round Capital (early stage) are among its existing investors. OpenX, which now has 260 employees, has raised a total of $70 million to date. Last year OpenX acquired King of Prussia-based LiftDNA (now operating as OpenX Lift), founded by former myYearbook ad tech exec Vadim Telyatnikov, which provided it with an important supply-side platform. In late 2011, OpenX said it had a $100 million annual run rate and that it was profitable.

Conshohocken & New York-based Real Food Works is raising capital and staffing up. Real Food Works, which provides subscription-based meal plans featuring healthy meals with an emphasis on plant food, was founded by area serial entrepreneur Lucinda Duncalfe (Infonautics, Destiny Software, TurnTide, ClickEquations). New executive additions include another Infonautics veteran, Mike Krupit, as Chief Operating Officer, ex-Inhabi CEO David Friedman as Head of Technology and David Navarro as Philadelphia Operations Manager. An SEC filing shows that Real Food Works has made an offering to raise up to $1,000,000, of which $50,000 has been committed. Wharton professor, startup veteran and angel investor Leonard Lodish is listed as a Director on the filing. Real Food Works is currently rolling out its delivery service to the Philadelphia area and plans to expand to some other major markets later in the year.

Curalate, which made a remarkable pivot to reach an apparently booming market in little more than a year, received $3 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates, First Round Capital, and Penn-affiliated MentorTech Ventures, the same firms that participated in its previous $750,000 seed round. Originating as Storably, which allowed people to rent out things like spare storage space or parking spaces, the startup realized quickly it wasn't gaining traction and switched to a different
business model built around analyzing brand presences on Pinterset. Much of what is pinned on Pinterest is based on visual images, not textual information, meaning measurement requires identifying and matching similar images with each other. Curalate is looking to expand its "visual search" model to other platforms. Curalate founder & CEO Apu Gupta recently told the Philadelphia Daily News that his company currently has 14 full-time employees (most based in Philly) and "now have hundreds of brands on the platform." Meanwhile, more competition is on the way.

Philadelphia-based social media-oriented ecommerce platform Sidecar (AKA Snipi) raised an additional $1.5 million, according to a recent SEC filing. Sidecar, which last raised $2.52 million in late 2011, has numerous investors including Innovation Ventures, NextStage Capital, Gabriel Investments, MAG Fund, ARC Angel Fund, and GSI Commerce and Kynetic LLC founder Michael Rubin. They are a quiet company, however; I have found it difficult to discover much about what Sidecar is actually doing beyond the broadest description.

Colin Devroe, until recently Director, Strategy & Technology at business video website Viddler in Bethlehem, says he will be slowly unveiling details about his new startup, named Plain, over the next few weeks on his site. For now, however, details are mostly a mystery, so you will have to stay tuned.

A group of Penn freshmen have launched a new startup, Textbook Friend, which enables students to
easily buy and sell used textbooks directly between each other. Textbook Friend is already working with students at Drexel University, Temple University and the University of the Sciences to expand to those institutions, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports.
Meanwhile, out in West Chester a recent WCU alum, Kehinde Roberts ('12) has launched LogicPad, a social learning management platform currently in use at WCU and by some students at other institutions. LogicPad will also soon be launching a direct student-to-student textbook sales app, Roberts tells me.