Dow Jones: LLR exits majority stake in VectorLearning to Providence Equity, but reinvests in minority stake

Tom Paine

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Philadelphia's LLR Partners exited from its majority stake in online education company Inc., selling it to PE giant Providence Equity Partners, Dow Jones' LBO Wire reported late last week (subscription required). No financial terms were disclosed.

Scott Perricelli / LLR website
But the firm is reinvesting a portion of its equity in a minority stake in the newly recapitalized company, Dow Jones says, citing LLR partner Scott Perricelli. LLR followed a similar strategy in 2013, when it sold a majority of its stake in Care2Learn, one of two original units of VectorLearning, to Relias Learning LLC. It rolled its remaining equity stake into Relias. In November of this year,  Bertelsmann SE agreed to acquire Relias for an amount Dow Jones reported was in the "hundreds of millions" of dollars.

VectorLearning currently operates RedVector and Target Solutions, which provides online training for firefighters and emergency medical services providers.

LLR also owns stakes in three other education companies: Orbis Education (training and education services in nursing), Brightside Academy (urban operator of early child-care education centers) and Avenues: The World School (a private school operator).

LLR first invested $24 million in VectorLearning in 2011 through its LLR Equity Partners III LP fund. VectorLearning will continue looking for new vertical opportunities in online professional training, Dow Jones quotes Perricelli as saying.

In addition to VectorLearning and Relias, LLR had three other exits in 2014, all from Philadelphia area companies. Quintiq was acquired by Dassault Systemes for around $336 million, Pet360 was acquired by PetSmart for $130 million plus a potential $30 million earnout, and King of Prussia-based Maxwell Systems was acquired by Oregon-based Viewpoint Construction Software (terms not disclosed).

Links 12/31/2014: "The Interview" is coming to Comcast VOD; Payoff for Advanta investors

Ten Huge Multi-Tenant Data Centers that Came Online in 2014 (Data Center Knowledge)

Uber Shuts Down in Spain After Telcos Block Access to App (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

“The Interview” is coming to on-demand services for Comcast, Time Warner Cable and more (Washington Post)

Analytics-based U.S. tech firm Inovalon files for IPO (Reuters)
Maryland healthcare tech firm.

Philadelphia 2015: A Look Ahead
(Region's Business)

Finally, payoff time for Advanta investor (Philadelphia Inquirer)

CEO Duncalfe on how Monetate targets your Internet ads
( Philly Deals)

2014 year-end notes: Yellowdig, Walnut Street Labs, Neat Company, MEG, RevZilla & more

Tom Paine

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Here I try to catch up with some items I've been following in 2014, including a few cases where people took time to talk with me and I didn't get anything written up (apologies):

Yellowdig's Wharton app

Yellowdig, whose founder Shaunak Roy I spoke with in August, is collaboration software for the classroom that is meant to complement, not replace, a school's existing LMS (learning management system), which I think is an important distinction. Now, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Wharton, which was piloting the product, has officially signed on as a user. Its also in pilot at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Columbia University's business school.

Coworking and incubation tech hub Walnet Street Labs emerged this year as a real factor in energizing the tech community in West Chester and beyond. It hosted a Startup Meetup every single week this year, with a lot of spectacular speakers. It held a year-end wrapup meetup this morning to get feedback and plan for 2015. And they're expanding -full third floor and 33% more space:

Philadelphia's The Neat Company announced that their unique combination of cloud-based application, mobile, desktop software, and hardware scanning solutions will be featured on the upcoming season of NBC and Donald Trump's hit reality show "The Celebrity Apprentice," airing on Monday, January 5, 2015 from 8-9 p.m. ET. "The Celebrity Apprentice" pits 16 business-savvy celebrity contestants against each other as they try to raise money and awareness for a charity of their choice.

Wharton connections come into play, by chance?

MEG (for Mobile Engagement Gateway), the mobile marketing tool developed by Stuzo Labs, an offshoot of Philadelphia social media design shop Stuzo, continues to make progress in its limited rollout starting in the Philadelphia area. MEG is an easy to install mobile marketing automation platform for small businesses thats adds valuable functionality to mobile websites, often with little or no customization.

MEG was one of the presenters at the November Philly New Tech Meetup. Jed Singer, VP of Product Marketing for MEG, wrote this piece, 'What Is Mobile Marketing Automation?' also in November.

Aaron McLean, a pioneer in the Philadelphia tech scene, joined Stuzo in September as Partner, with a focus on bringing MEG to scale.

MEG features a number of standard widgets that can be added to mobile apps, including Facebook and Twitter feeds, polls, share, call, and message buttons, email signups, and many more, downloadable at no cost. Other custom applications can be developed by Stuzo staff. Users will also be able to utilize iBeacon technology in retail environments.

Stuzo Labs, founded by Gunter Pfau, was a early pioneer in building apps on Facebook's platform. It was sold to Dachis Group in 2010 but was bought back in 2013. Stuzo is essentially running two separate businesses now, but Pfau told that he expects them to meld back together again at some point in the future.

MEG launched a a new website in December.

RevZilla, the Philly-based ecommerce site for motorcycle gear, placed #586 on this year's Inc. 5000. It reported revenue grew from $6.4 million in 2010 to $58.6 million in 2013. RevZilla also expanded into a second, larger building at the Navy Yard during 2014.

Late last year I wrote about a new cloud scheduling app for restaurants and caterers, Schedule Cloud for One Touch, created by Philly restaurateur and entrepreneur Greg Dodge and his business partner Frank O'Dea and developed by Pearl River, NY-based Superior Technology Solutions. The app, rolled out in September 2013, is now actively used by over 3,000 staff members for hospitality giants such as Restaurant Associates, Wolfgang Puck and Universal Studios in a multi-city roll-out including New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington DC.

Given the success of Schedule Cloud for One Touch, O’Dea and Dodge are already planning next steps for the platform. “One year out, we’re turning a profit, and growing—very positive for a start-up,” says co-founder Dodge.

Dodge is founder of Philadelphia-based Brookwood Consulting Group and currently operates Philadelphia’s Zavino Wine Bar, with two locations.

The Art Institute of Philadelphia and OKI Data Americas (Mount Laurel) are partnering on the installation and use of the new C941dn LED digital color printer. With this collaboration, The Art Institute of Philadelphia becomes the first school of higher learning within North America to adopt a C941dn and integrate it into select curricula. As part of the relationship, The Art Institute of Philadelphia has full use of the C941dn for three years, during which time the school plans to further integrate the device into its curriculum to take advantage of the printer’s diverse capabilities.

Links 12/29/2014: Über files compliance plan with PA PUC; MSNBC says it will widen its scope

New Jersey Adopts New Software (Tax) Regulations. (PR Newswire)

MSNBC to widen its scope and make other changes, its president says (LA Times)

Tax software CEO Jeff Westphal talks inspiration (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Vertex is probably the largest global software company based in the Philadelphia area that few people pay attention to.

SAP in 2015: Seven Predictions
(ASUG News)

Job of the Week: SAP subsidiary National Security Services seeks chief information security officer (Washington Post)

Uber files compliance plan with PUC
(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

After raising $1.1B, Xiaomi is now worth $45B (Gigaom)

Horsham-based chip equipment maker SSEC acquired by Veeco Instruments for $150 million

Tom Paine

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In one of the larger tech deals in the Phily area of 2014, New York State-based Veeco Instruments announced in early December it had acquired SSEC (Horsham) for $150 million in cash. Founded in 1965, SSEC (Solid State Equipment Holdings LLC) is part of the remaing legacy of the area's once considerable semiconducter-related industry.

SSEC says on its website that it "holds to the philosophy that the integrated circuit industry is still in its infancy." SSEC "designs and manufacturers single-wafer wet etch, clean and surface preparation equipment targeting high-growth segments in advanced packaging, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and compound semiconductors," writes the trade publication Semiconductor Today. Veeco’s chairman & CEO John R. Peeler said "SSEC extends our compound semiconductor and MEMS footprint, and represents a stepping stone to the high-growth advanced packaging market.” MEMS is a hot area; MEMS appplications are largely being driven by consumer devices, but industrial IoT applications are expected to be major drivers in the future.

SSEC's  WaferEtch(TM) TSV Revealer
Based in Plainview, NY, Veeco (NASDAQ:VECO) had revenue of $332 million and a net loss of $42 million in 2013. Veeco has actually shrunk in recent years, partly as a result of a 2010 divestiture. It is now focused on higher-growth markets of supplying process equipment to the LED, solar, data storage and wireless industries.

Veeco is forecasting SSEC’s revenues to be $65 million in 2015, and it expects it to provide earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, equity compensation, and other non-recurring items (adjusted EBITDA) of greater than 20% of sales in 2015.

SSEC was recognized on the 2013 Inc. 5000 with 2012 revenue of $80.4 million, up from $47.7 million in 2009. It would appear that its revenue has gone down since then, given Veeco's 2015 forecast, but such cycles are not unusual in the semiconductor industry.

Rich Richardson has been the longtime chairman of SSEC and Herman Itzkowitz the CEO. Summit Partners made the last reported investment in SSEC in 2011. SSEC has 44 employees listed on LinkedIn, most of them in the Philadelphia area.

Lights out for local Jersey Shore TV station (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Bankruptcy judge: Aereo can sell its TV stream tech—with some caveats (Ars Technica)

Pa. program funds university-industry research (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Philly Tech People News 12/28/2014: News on Comcast execs; Director of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics at Penn Medicine named

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Comcast signs Smit through 2019; WSJ: Angelakis ranks high among CFOs; Burke's NBC News issues (Philly Tech News)

Vertex Hires Executive to Lead Expansion in Latin America (Business Wire)

Echo Therapeutics Announces Scott W. Hollander as President & Chief Executive Officer (PR Newswire)

Rackspace Appoints Kevin Costello to Board of Directors (Marketwire via CNN)
Costello served as President of Ariba before and after its acquisition by SAP.

Jason Moore Named Director of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics at Penn Medicine (Penn News)

University of the Sciences president steps down (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Court allows Aereo to auction TV streaming technology assets (Reuters)

Nextdoor, with Comcast Ventures as one of its investors, partners with Philly, while EveryBlock expands to new cities

Tom Paine

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Nextdoor, the localized bulletin board service that announced partnering with Philadelphia last week, has huge ambitions.

In late 2013, it raised $60 million from John Doerr, Tiger Global and others to bring its total funding to over $100 million at a probable valuation of over $500 million. Another investor in that round was Comcast Ventures.

I don't see anything in the announcement that suggests that Nextdoor is offering Philadelphia something unique to that service that couldn't be found in other communities it is available in around the country. It is essentially a bulletin
board that can create separate communities for neighborhoods with cities or counties, and group messages by various topics within those communities. The feature it did add in September that may be particularly helpful to Philadelphia is Nextdoor for Public Agencies. This allows government agencies to communicate with residents on Nextdoor targeted to selected neighborhoods. Before this, residents could only communicate with other verified residents in a neighborhood.

No money is being exchanged in either direction, Philly reported, citing a City spokesperson.

Meanwhile, Comcast has expanded its back from the dead, wholely-owned EveryBlock to Houston, Boston, Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia, all cities served by Comcast Cable. Though different in stylistics, both services are trying to serve the same function towards the same basic goal - generating local revenue, though there doesn't seem to be too much of that yet. From what I've seen so far, EveryBlock seems to be preseeded with more local information, while Nextdoor is basically just a bulletin board, though that may not be true everywhere.

That Comcast owns Everyblock while Comcast Ventures has a stake in Nextdoor is not surprising. Comcast Ventures has its own investment strategy, though there might be a chance that the two might fit together in some manner down the road.

Interestingly, Nextdoor's CEO and co-founder is a Philly native, Nirav Tolia, though he grew up mostly in Odessa (Friday Night Lights) Texas. From there he headed to Stannford and a somewhat controversial but successful Silicon Valley career.

Links 12/26/2014: One view of Enterprise market in 2015; FCC proposal could bring Aereo back to life

The Enterprise In 2015 (TechCrunch)
Outlook of Emergence Capital, which invested in Salesforce, SuccessFactors, Veeva Systems, and Box.

Comcast’s secret hotline for special cardholders really exists. But it’s not much different from the regular one. (Washington Post: The Switch)

How David Gregory Lost His Job
(The Washingtonian)

FCC proposal may set stage for Aereo comeback (SNL Capitol Connection)

TechCelerator Companies Graduate From Business Bootcamp (State

The state of consumer fintech
(Tanay Jaipuria/Medium)

Indian E-Commerce Is on Fire. What Will Amazon and Alibaba Do About It? (Re/code)

Grants worth $115,000 to aid two Bethlehem tech firms (Penn Business Daily)

In case you haven't seen it, Santa is a Jerk in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Today in Philly Tech history 12/16/2014; Transistor invented at Bell Labs 67 years ago (Some say 12/23/47)

Tom Paine

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Souce: Wikipedia

Sixty-seven years ago (December 16, 1947), the transistor was invented at Bell Labs in New Jersey when researchers William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain were able to use germanium crystal to create an amplifier that boosted an input signal by 100 times. Some cite the date as December 23, when it was first demonstrated to Bell Labs officials. The three would share the Nobel Prize for physics in 1956.

Michael Kanellos, in a piece for ReadWriteWeb , writes that "the center of the computing industry, by rights, should be King of Prussia, Pennsylvania", given the proximity of Bell Labs, companies like Sperry Rand (which grew out of the ENIAC project at Penn and later merged with Burroughs to form Unisys) and TV and radio manufacturers such as RCA and Philco who were doing advanced electronics research. Also important were RCA's research lab in Princeton, and Western Electric (AT&T's manufacturing arm) facilities in Allentown and Reading. A couple of other pioneering companies I would mention are Kulicke & Soffa and Technitrol (now Pulse). In addition, the engineering and scientific resources of schools like Penn, Princeton and Drexel were valuable assets.

So with all these pieces in place, why did the Philadelphia/New Jersey region fail to become what Silicon Valley is today? Although I doubt its so simple, Kanellos cites the often-told story of William Shockley departing for Palo Alto (where he was raised, actually), and others who followed him west, as being a critical turning point. Shockley's erratic personality drove away many who worked for him, but several of those people went on to found Fairchild Semiconductor and then Intel.

Just a few links 12/24: "The Interview" is streaming; 45 Philly cab companies sue Uber

Sony Plans to Stream “The Interview” On Its Own Site — and On Google’s Play and YouTube. (Re/code)

As Comcast merger enters final phase, deal may be on thin ice (Gigaom)

Uber sued by 45 Philadelphia taxi companies (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Comcast signs Smit through 2019; WSJ: Angelakis ranks high among CFOs

Tom Paine

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In an SEC filing today, Comcast said that Neil Smit, President & CEO of Comcast's Cable business, has signed up until 2019, with a salary hike and additional financial inducements.

If the merger with Time Warner Cable goes through, he is going to be managing an expanded empire.

Meanwhile, the Inquirer's Bob Fernandez reports that Comcast"s vice chairman and CFO, Michael Angelakis, was rated as the third most effective CFO by the Wall Street Journal, based on Comcast's return on invested capital, operating margin, dividend growth, and share buybacks over the last three years.

Brian Roberts' other top lieutenant, Steve Burke, is receiving heat for his management of NBC News, but he is typically stereotyped as the guy from Comcast who doesn't understand the news biz, which overlooks his early experience with ABC.

Philadelphia Magazine reported last month that Burke's Rittenhouse Square home was finally sold or was under contract after being on the market for a long time, but I'm sure he can still get pretty good digs when he's in town.

Center City-based Cloudamize, helping customers manage Cloud spending, ramps for growth

Tom Paine

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Cloudamize, not to be confused with another Philly startup, Cloudmine (though both are MissionOG portfolio companies), is looking at a large market opportunity.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon's massive public cloud computing service, is estimated to be closing in on a $5 billion annual run rate, growing at 40%. Many large enterprises, medium-sized companies and startups have migrated all or parts of their information processing to it. But the need to optimize AWS spend, which is usually more complex than one can analyze on a spreadsheet, is becoming greater as the amount spent grows.

Khushboo Shah / Cloudamize website
Cloudamize, founded by Khushboo Shah and out of the 2012 Philly DreamIt class, addresses the preplanning would-be AWS users need to do before deciding to move work to a public cloud, and then measures the cost effeiciency of their AWS usage on a monthly basis by putting actual detailed usage stats through a SaaS application that shows how that workload can be optimized in terms of performance and costs. Measuring AWS usage and performance is not a simple univariable analysis, but often involves measuring a complex mix of resources.

Shah hold a PHD in Electrical Engineering from Southern Cal and was working for a Princeton firm when she began formulating the ideas behind Cloudamize. After completing the DreamIt program, she launched it on a shoestring, and in
September 2013 received $1.2 million in VC funding from Philly-based VC firms MissionOG and Gabriel Ventures. It now has 17 employees, mostly in Philadelphia but a few in India and elsewhere, and plans to add about 5 more over the next couple of months.

In November, Cloudamize added two senior execs, Jonathan Kanarek (HP, Tenduit) as chief operating officer and Gabrielle Smith (Amazon Web Services) as vice president of sales and business development. In October, Cloudamize said it had tripled its customer base over the past six months. It demonstrated the enhancements that have driven its growth at AWS re:Invent, AWS' big user conference, in November.

It also extended its addressable market to cover Microsoft's Azure, which is considered the second largest public cloud provider. Next year it plans to add a couple of more public cloud providers, and then add a private cloud platform (my guess: something related to VMware) into the mix to begin analyzing hybrid cloud issues for customers, Shah told me in a phone interview.

Cloudamize helps customers pre-plan moving workload to the public cloud, then monitors their monthly usage on AWS to optimize workload and costs. "Today when customers think about moving to the cloud they need to first understand the cost prior to moving their infrastructure," Shah said. "They need to figure out their existing infrastructure and application inventory and understand what it will look like and how much it will cost when they move that to the cloud. Today this exercise is done manually and it's pure guesswork. We automate that via a SaaS application. We collect over a half a million data points per workload per day and map existing infrastructure and applications to the cloud. We provide TCO (total cost of ownership) and performance analytics that defines cloud migration roadmap based on their data and hence the guesswork is eliminated."

Cloudamize markets primarily to SMEs (small & medium-sized enterprises) who have a few hundred to thousands of servers. It relies mostly on channel partners for sales. Pricing can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.

There are competitors, several having 'cloud' in their names (Cloudyn, CloudCheckr, Cloudability), and some have raised more money to this point, but Shah believes her product is distinguished by the granularity of the data it collects and bases its analyses on, and the degree to which it is productized in a SaaS application.

When I asked Shah if AWS was receptive to companies like Cloudamize, she responded that under Jeff Bezos' leadership at Amazon delivering value to customers has always been emphasized, and AWS was no different. It has been quite helpful, she said. That is different from some enterprise vendors I know of who aren't known for going out of their way to help customers reduce how much they spend with them.

Shah expects that Cloudamize will be seeking its next round of financing some time during 2015.

Starbucks To Square: It's Over (ReadWrite)

Philly Tech People News 12/21/2014: Unisys names Peter A. Altabef new CEO

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Peter A. Altabef  / LinkedIn

Unisys Names 20-Year Channel Executive Veteran As New CEO (CRN)
Peter A. Altabef was most recently CEO of Micros Systems, acquired by Oracle earlier this year for approximately $4.6 billion.

Quality Systems, Inc. Names Zachary J. Sherburne Global Chief Information Officer (Business Wire)
Quality Systems is the parent company of Horsham-based NextGen Healthcare.

QVC Promotes Mathias Bork to CEO of QVC Germany (PR Newswire)

BoardEffect names Todd Gibby Chief Executive Officer (BoardEffect website)
Somewhat dated but certainly still of interest. Gibby, a Wharton MBA, had been CEO of Intelliworks. Previously, at Blackboard, he was responsible for the company’s worldwide operations
Wistar Institute CEO Russel Kaufman stepping down (Philadelphia Business Journal)

JPMorgan Exec Named Commonfund CEO (ThinkAdvisor)
Catherine Keating is also currently chairwoman of the Villanova University Board of Trustees.

Syfy Promotes Chris Regina to SVP (Multichannel News)
Syfy is an NBCUniversal network.

NetSuite Grabs Microsoft Dynamics GM for CMO Role
(Ad Age)

Scrappy software upstart hires long-time Salesforce exec (Fortune)

eBay enterprise CTO Brent Peters joins Aims to scale the hit SaaS platform for an IPO (PandoDaily)

Brownstein Group Hires Danielle Rossi as Vice President, Director of Brand Strategy & Integrated Marketing (Brownstein Press Release)

Saturday Highlights 12/20/2014: SaaS economics pushes Salesforce towards bigger deals; DISH, Comcast SportsNet reach deal

Three ways enterprise software is changing (PC World)

DBMS Legacies are Very Sticky
(Merv Adrian/Gartner Blogs)

Oracle: Time for some respect (Vinnie Mirchandani/Enterprise Irregulars)

SaaS economics push Salesforce towards bigger deals (Diginomica)

DISH, Comcast SportsNet reach deal in regional dispute (Reuters)

Links 12/19/2014: First Round's return from OnDeck investment; Xerox unit handling SEPTA smart card project sold to French company

'We certainly made a lot of money,' says VC who backed OnDeck Capital (New York Business Journal)
Report: First Round Capital (approximate 5.5% stake) made 74x its investment.

Hollywood is still obsessed with breaking the internet (The Verge)
Why is the MPAA meeting with a senior Comcast engineer?

FCC Considers Extending Broader Pay TV Rules to OTT Providers (Variety)

Radnor-based Peak Equity Partners Sourced and Co-led Acquisition of Postgres Database Leader EnterpriseDB
(Business Wire)
EnterpriseDB is based in Bedford, MA. NewSpring Capital and Milestone Partners, both also of Radnor, teamed up with Peak Equity on the transaction.

DuPont CEO on what's driving the company into the future (Fortune)

Xerox to Sell I.T. Outsourcing Unit to Atos for $1 Billion (NY Times: DealBook)
The acquisition includes the Xerox unit implementing SEPTA's long awaited smart card system.

Rent the Runway, a Designer Fashion Start-Up, Raises $60 Million (NY Times: Bits)

Oracle's Larry Ellison talks cloud catch-up game with (ZDNet)

Are SaaS Companies Just Misunderstood?

Philly Tech News Quotes & Tweets 12/18/2014

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"One of the biggest things you have employee representatives that are actually on the board of directors. Think about an American board with all these external power brokers [also] actually having employees that are voted to board seats [and] they have the same vote as the external directors. You have to really have patience and the temperament to listen."

Bill McDermott, to the Philadelphia Inquirer, on being CEO of SAP SE.

SEC chair: No 'drop-dead date' for equity crowdfunding rules - Dan Primack/Fortune

Rutledge: OTT is ‘Playing With Fire’ - Tom Rutledge, CEO of Charter Communications, at UBS Global Media & Communications conference in New York.

“No venture capitalist would give us money. We raised all the money privately. I was thrown out of Sequoia three times, US Venture Capital three times,” -Marc Benioff as quoted by Business Insider.

First Round Capital Holiday Video 2014

Its here:

Links 12/17/2014: OnDeck Capital IPO, with some strong local interest, raises $200 million, rises sharply after offering

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OnDeck, a Lender to Small Businesses, Raises $200 Million in I.P.O. (New York Times)

OnDeck Capital Prices IPO Above Range As Stock Leaps (Investor's Business Daily)

Shares rose as much as 37% post-offering, valuing OnDeck at as much as $1.7 billion.
First Round Capital was an early investor in OnDeck; Sapphire Ventures (formerly SAP Ventures) participated in later rounds. Pre-IPO, SAP Ventures held about 10%, "entities affiliated with First Round Capital, 5.5%", according to

WealthCloud, LLC Closes a Seven-Figure Strategic Investment Targeted to Accelerate Growth (Business Wire)
Conshohocken-based investment management platform runs on Salesforce's cloud.

Oracle Profit, Sales Top Estimates Amid Shift to Cloud (Bloomberg)

Oracle posts stronger-than-expected Q2 earnings, revenue results (ZDNet)

2014 Year in Review: Evaluating SAP, Part II (ASUG News) Connects To Microsoft SharePoint (Information Week)

DoD releases new federated cloud procurement policy (Federal Times)

Broadcasters try to block Aereo asset sale, $90M tax transfer (Gigaom)

Time Warner Cable, Boingo turn on Hotspot 2.0 (Gigaom)

Comcast deserves a fair shake
(Inquirer OpEd/Varsovia Fernandez, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce)

Why broadband execs are telling Washington and Wall Street different things on net neutrality (Washington Post)

Analytics Showdown: Should Apps Be Simpler, Or Smarter? (Information Week)

If You Build It: The Rise Of The Mega Data Center (CRN)

Philadelphia getting another Healthcare IT headquarters; Safeguard Scientifics-backed venture

Tom Paine

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Philadelphia is getting another healthcare IT firm headquarters, and that firm is getting a new CEO, it announced this morning. 

The company is Safeguard Scientifics-backed Dabo Health, currently based in San Francisco. The design and engineering team will remain in San Francisco.

Robert V. Stanek
The new CEO is Robert V. Stanek, who is no stranger to the Philadelphia healthcare scene as he previously headed Newtown Square-based Catholic Health East, a system consisting of 35 acute care hospitals and numerous other healthcare facilities and services. It employs about 54,000

Dabo Health's previous CEO, Camilo Barcenas, will now serve as Founder and Chief Development Officer.

Safeguard has not publicly announced its investments in Dabo Health, but a company spokesperson told me by email that it had deployed a total of $1.5M in the company since November 2013, which has been reflected in its quarterly statements. That apparently represents the bulk of its financing to date, which CrunchBase shows as $2 million. (Correction: Dabo Health says it has raised approximately $8M to date.)

Currently completing a pilot project at Mayo Clinic, Dabo Health "is an innovative platform that uses a social media format to provide easy access to information and metrics that helps nurses, physicians, and front line staff have the information needed to improve quality of care," the company said in its release. “Dabo Health has developed a highly innovative and differentiated online and mobile visualization platform for providers and payers to make key performance metrics accessible and actionable, while identifying best practices to improve care quality and reduce costs,” said Mr. Stanek.

Stanek indicated that "Dabo Health will be in the position to pursue additional funding in 2015."

Dabo Health currently has approximately 20 employees. Specifically for the Philadelphia office, Dabo Health plans to ramp up to approximately 10 employees in the short-tern and grow from there. It is currently investigating multiple sites in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Veeva Systems, coming off strong quarter, announces several growth initiatives

Tom Paine

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Many analysts and would-be analysts have had little idea of what Veeva Systems (NASDAQ: VEEV) actually does, often comparing it with healthcare IT firms such as Cerner, Epic and AthenaHeath that provide hospital IT and EHR systems. But Veeva"s latest quarterly results (Q3 2015) released on November 25 gave investors more reason to take notice. Earnings were 9 cents per share, up 50% from the year-earlier quarter and beating consensus by one cent. Revenue rose 52% to $83.8 million, about $5 million above the average estimate.

Veeva also raised its revenue guidance for the full year by 3%, now from $310.7 million to $311.7 million, up from $210 million last year.

Veeva has been highly valued in some eyes (high P/E and Price to Sales ratios) and its stock has been under pressure from skeptics and shorts because of that. But the latest results were reassuring and the stock took an upward bounce.

California-based Veeva started with a CRM for Life Sciences sales & marketing built on top of Saleforce's SaaS platform, and succeeded in replacing many legacy installations from Oracle's Siebel Systems and Cegedim (whose CRM business has since been acquired by IMS Health in October). It then expanded into the R&D regulatory content management function within Life Sciences with Veeva Vault, a proprietary multi-tenant SaaS platform. Also, it introduced Veeva Network, a healthcare provider data-oriented offering.
Veeva Vault and Network combined have grown to 15% of total revenue in Q3 2015, up from slightly more than 10% in Q1. Veeva watchers see this as a key indicator of the company's long-term growth potential. Vault and Network are designed to work with Veeva CRM in an integrated manner, not as separate silos.

Veeva is of interest to people in the Philadelphia area for three reasons: Its eastern office, based in Radnor, is home to its US marketing & sales operations, serving its many life sciences customers in the Mid-Atlantic region; It also was a home base for building Veeva Network, which was facilitated by the acquisition of Fort Washington-based AdvantageMS in 2013; It is big on partnerships, and it has partnered with several of the leading Life Sciences technology companies in the area, thus becoming central to the ecosystem in the area. Its President and co-founder, Matt Wallach, is a native of the area and is based here, and Veeva has over 100 employees in the area shown on LinkedIn.

The pace of change is accelerating at Veeva, as reflected by several recent announcements by the company:

Veeva opened its first two European data centers, in Germany and in the UK. These will support growth, and make it easier to comply with local regulatory issues and lessen any concerns raised by US data security policies. In addition to supporting Veeva Vault and Network, the new data centers will also run Veeva CRM on the platform.

Veeva introduced its Veeva Network Healthcare Professional and Healthcare Organization data offering into the European market. Previously, this had been available only in the US. Veeva is delivering the Network Provider Database for the U.K. today; France, Germany, Italy, and Spain in the first half of 2015; and other markets to follow.
Tim Slevin
To lead Veeva’s rapidly expanding global data business, the company has recently appointed a team of renowned industry veterans. Tim Slevin was bought in to Run Veeva Systems’ Global Data Solutions Business. Slevin had been founder of Healthcare Data Solutions (HDS), a company with some Philadelphia connections, which was named to the INC 5000 three consecutive years, and ranking among Deloitte’s Fast 500. Guillaume Roussel and Francesca D’Angelo took the helm at the Network Data team in Europe early Q4 2014.

In addition, Vital Therapies became the latest significant Veeva Vault customer.

Links 12/16/2014: NBC launching live stream of shows; Comcast will allow Roku owners to stream HBO, Showtime

Comcast Feels Heat Over Home Hotspots (Multichannel News)

Comcast Will Finally Let Roku Owners Stream HBO, Showtime (Re/code)

NBC is launching a live stream of its shows (The Verge)


This software entrepreneur uses predictive analytics to kill cold calls (Fortune)

Unisys Names 20-Year Channel Executive Veteran As New CEO (CRN)
Was most recently CEO of Micros Systems, acquired by Oracle earlier this year for approximately $4.6 billion.

SAP Business ByDesign and the journey to HANA (Diginomica)

Rowan breaks ground on new $63M business school with goal of doubling enrollment (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Links 12/15/2014: SevOne signs STAR Campus lease

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BT Chooses EE Over O2 in $19.6 Billion Mobile Deal (Re/code)
More telecom consolidation across the Atlantic, as well.

Who Will Make Money in the IoT Gold Rush? (Sandhill)

Majesco to Merge With Cover-All (Insurance & Technology)
Cover-All Technologies is based in Morristown, NJ. Last week, Majesco acquired Agile Technologies of Bridgewater, as it attempts to build a powerhouse in P&C software.

DigitalOcean Displays 'Meteroic' Rise As Web Host (Information Week)

SAP CEO is telling a winner's story (


IT provider with Delaware roots (SevOne) signs STAR Campus lease (Delaware Online)

Microsoft’s Azure Is Starting to Close the Gap With Amazon’s Cloud Service (Gigaom)

OpenStack Is Huge In The Open-Source Cloud—But Maybe Not Huge Enough (ReadWrite)

With M&A In Mind, SurveyMonkey Snaps Up $250 Million More In Funding (TechCrunch)

Oracle Rising; Morgan Stanley Ups to Buy on Better Cloud Computing Prospects
(Barron's Tech Trader Daily)

PhillyDeals: Local firm amid an exploding wearable-technology market (

Comcast Backs Internet Measurement Hackathon (Multichannel News)

T-Mobile teases 'Uncarrier' reveal as supercharged LTE goes live in New York (PC World)
Live in Philly also.

Uber pressures regulators by mobilizing riders and hiring vast lobbying network (Washington Post)

PetSmart to Sell Itself to Investor Group for $8.7 Billion (New York Times: DealBook)
PetSmart's deal in August to acquire Plymouth Meeting-based Pet360 for $130 million plus a potential $30 million earnout was apparently for cash - at least the upfront portion - so former Pet360 equity holders don't seem to gain much by the premium paid for PetSmart.

Philly Tech People News 12/14/2014: First Round's Morgan will head advisory board to NY State venture fund; Sparta Systems' Martinson named NJBIZ Exec of the Year

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First Round Capital partner Howard Morgan will head up a voluntary advisory board for newly established $50 million venture fund for the State of New York.

Human Resources Executive Online reports that Rudy Karsan, who sold Kenexa to IBM for $1.3 billion in 2012, left IBM this summer, and is now running his own firm, Karlani Capital, which is based in Philadelphia. Philly Tech News added a few more details.

Sparta Systems' CEO, Eileen Martinson, Named NJBIZ Executive of the Year (PR Newswire)

Michael Gausling of Originate Ventures
(Keystone Edge)

Famed sports agent Leigh Steinberg partners with Philadelphia entrepreneur (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Anaplan hires SAP veteran as EVP operations (Business Cloud News)

Former SAP COO Mike Morini Joins KidoZen (The VAR Guy)

Renowned Population Health Experts Make Up Advisory Board for Intel-GE Care Innovations™ Validation Institute (Care Innovations)
Advisory Board will be chaired by David B. Nash, MD, MBA, founding dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH) and professor of Health Policy at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

InterDigital Principal Engineer Named IEEE Fellow (Globe Newswire)

PA SERS Board Unanimously Selects New Chief Investment Officer; Reports Investment Performance (PA SERS Press Release/pdf)

Janney Montgomery Scott Names Cliff Booth and Joe Culley as Co-Heads of Investment Banking (Business Wire)

Enradius Digital Marketing Launches Philadelphia Office (PR Newswire)

Jodi Robinson Joins Charter (Multichannel News)

Foundation poured for new Comcast tower

Around 2am this morning (or last night, depending on your perspective), the foundation for the new Comcast tower started being poured, according to Comcast-owned NBC 10. Sixteen million pounds of cement were used, delivered in 400 truckloads of concrete.

NBC 10 has photos.

See the video from NBC 10:

Saturday Highlights 12/13/2014: Comcast to pay $50 million to settle Philly-area class-action suit

Comcast to pay $50 million in class-action suit (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Exploring the Inc. 5000 List with Qlik
( blog)

INC. 5000 Meet the 10 Companies Proving Why It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Inc.)

'Pretargeting' Can't Work on Inferences Alone (Ari Jacoby/Ad Age)
Ari Jacoby is CEO of New York and Philadelphia-based Solve Media.

Wholesale providers add more dark fiber to their service diet (FierceTelecom)

Links 12/12/2014: NY State launches $50 million venture fund; Comcast expands hyperlocal EveryBlock service

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CenturyLink bulks up its cloud, buys Cognilytics (ZDNet)
Cognilytics does SAP Hana implementations.

CenturyLink expands high-speed gigabit Internet in Seattle to 20K homes (Geekwire)
CenturyLink advancing on two different fronts.

East Beats West In IT Rivalry, Investors Say (CRN)

Comcast Expands Reach Of Hyper-Local Info Service (Multichannel News)

New Relic’s IPO Spikes 31% In Initial Trading (TechCrunch)

Chinese Tech Giant Baidu to Invest $600 Million in Uber, Says Report (Wired)

The 30 Most Successful UPenn Alumni Of All Time (Business Insider)
Interesting list, although I'm not sure I agree with some selections. One who I didn't realize went to Wharton was John Sculley.

New York State Will Start $50 Million Venture-Capital Fund (Bloomberg)
First Round Capital's Howard Morgan will lead a voluntary advisory committee, and the fund will be managed by Brian Keil, a former managing director of a $250 million venture-capital fund sponsored by NBC Universal and General Electric Capital Corp (before Comcast acquired NBCU).

N.J.'s $118 million canceled social service contract did not protect state's interests, auditor says (

Princeton Scientists 3D Printing LEDs Into Contact Lenses (Medgadget)

Marin County Board OKs $14 Million for Civic Center Computer Program (TechWire)
Replaces scrapped SAP implementation.