Saturday Highlights 1/131: NBC spikes Super Bowl ad sales; DreamIt Athena kicks off

New FCC definition of high-speed Internet may affect Comcast-TWC deal (LA Times)

Google: Strong net neutrality rules won’t hurt the future rollout of Google Fiber (Washington Post)

NBC scores a record haul from Super Bowl ad sales (LA Times)

DreamIt Ventures Kicks Off Its Program for Women (TechCocktail)

NEC aims at Big Data 'sweet spot' with new SAP Hana tool (PCWorld)

Video Of The Week: Gabriel Weinberg on Search and Privacy (A VC)

NJ Company Roundup: Marketsmith, Heartland Payment, Universal Display, Datapipe and SITO Mobile

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor,

Marketsmith founder Monica C.  Smith | Courtesy NJTC

Marketsmith: The direct response and technology-based marketing company Marketsmith, which was #135 on the “Inc. 500” list for 2014, acquired 48-year-old marketing communications agency Brushfire. The agency will become a unit of Marketsmith, but will continue to operate under its own name.

According to NJ Biz, Marketsmith, which was located in Parsippany, is moving into Brushfire’s Cedar Knolls-based headquarters. The firms will offer clients marketing services, including analytic and creative capabilities.

Brushfire, an established  integrated marketing communications agency founded in 1966, has extensive experience in advertising; public relations; social media and experiential marketing; and digital, interactive and in-store merchandising.

Heartland Payment Systems: Heartland Payment Systems, a large payment processor based in Princeton, says it is the first payment processor to offer a comprehensive merchant security breach warranty. The warranty, called “Heartland Secure,” available for no charge initially and for a monthly fee after a year, protects businesses against loss if they install and implement EMV, Heartland's end-to-end encryption technology and tokenization product.

According to Michael English, executive director of product development at Heartland, "By combining EMV, encryption and tokenization, Heartland eliminates clear text-card data from the merchant’s point-of-sale system and network. As we have seen in recent breaches at major retailers and restaurants, it is difficult to maintain a secure network. Through encryption and tokenization, a merchant eliminates clear text-card data, so if their network is breached, there is no card data to steal and monetize."

Universal Display: Universal Display Corporation (Ewing) and LG Display (Seoul, Republic of Korea), said they had signed an OLED technology license agreement and supplemental material purchase agreement that run through Dec. 31, 2022.

Under the license agreement, Universal Display granted LG Display nonexclusive license rights under various patents owned or controlled by Universal Display to manufacture and sell OLED display products. LG Display agreed to pay Universal Display license fees and running royalties on its sales of these licensed products over the term of the agreement. Additionally, Universal Display will supply phosphorescent materials to LG Display for use in its licensed products.

Datapipe: Datapipe (Jersey City), a company specializing in managed hybrid IT solutions for businesses, announced that it has acquired GoGrid (San Francisco and Amsterdam, Netherlands), a company specializing in multi-cloud solutions for big-data deployments. In a release, Datapipe said that GoGrid’s proprietary orchestration and automation technologies are unique in the market, providing one-button deployment for big-data solutions that speed the creation and realization of new cloud projects.

Robb Allen, CEO of Datapipe, noted that “Datapipe customers will achieve significant value from the speed at which we can now create new big data projects in the cloud. This acquisition advances Datapipe’s strategy to help our enterprise clients architect, deploy and manage multi-cloud hybrid IT solutions. ”

New Jersey Fiber Exchange: The New Jersey Fiber Exchange (Montville), a data-center consulting and colocation company, announced that it was building a new data facility  to provide direct connectivity to international submarine cable systems. NJFX is partnering in this project with Tata Communications to provide colocation and other data-center services to global enterprises and carriers.

The highly secure, Tier III data center in Wall Township is expected to go live in 2016, and will be open to carriers, enterprises, carrier-neutral operators and cable companies. Carriers and enterprises using the NJFX location will also have access to Tata Communications’ global connectivity, which operates on an advanced global subsea cable network, enabling them to connect to various locations around the world.

SITO Mobile: SITO Mobile, (Jersey City), formerly called “Single Touch,” a mobile engagement platform provider, said it had entered into an asset purchase agreement with Hipcricket, a mobile engagement and analytics company, for $4.5 million in cash, to acquire almost all its assets.

Hipcricket reported revenues of $26.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2014, and currently holds 21 U.S. patents for technology inventions. To facilitate the sale, Hipcricket filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, along with a motion seeking authorization to approve bid procedures under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"As a result of this transaction, if approved, SITO Mobile will become one of the largest pure-play, publicly traded companies in the mobile marketing and advertising space," said Jerry Hug, CEO of SITO Mobile. The agreement provides that SITO Mobile will offer employment to all of Hipcricket's employees.

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of NJTechWeekly, and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This article originally appeared in NJTechWeekly, and is republished here with her permission.

Links 1/30: CHOP spinoff Spark Therapeutics' shares up 117% after IPO; McCord to plead guilty to federal campaign finance charges (video)

Today's huge IPO news (no, not Shake Shack)
CHOP spinoff Spark Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ONCE) up 117% in first day of trading. Spark uses gene therapy to seek solutions for "orphan drugs" for rare diseases.

PA Treasurer Rob McCord to plead guilty to federal campaign finance charges (Allentown Morning Call)

McCord bio from official website for gubernatorial campaign.

SAP Looks to Xerox for R&D Inspiration (Bloomberg)

NetSuite passes halfway stage to $1 billion run rate (Diginomica)

Comcast now has more than half of all US broadband customers (Ars Technica)

Comcast apologizes after man’s name changed to profanity on billing statement (Philadelphia Inquirer)

eBay Enterprise Expands Magento Infrastructure with IBM Cloud (Data Center Knowledge)

Links 1/29/2015: SnipSnap snapped up for $6.5 million; McCord resigning as PA Treasurer, reported under federal investigation

Slyce Snatches Up Mobile Couponing App SnipSnap For $6.5 Million (TechCrunch)

Comcast/TWC Extend Merger End Date to August (Multichannel News)

RESPECTING OUR CUSTOMERS (Comcast Voices/Comcast Corporate Blog)

FCC redefines advanced broadband as 25 Mbps; Republicans blow a gasket (PCWorld)

Pa. Turnpike claims software fraud, wants $45M (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Hewlett-Packard will refund N.J. $7.5 million but will not deliver on social services contract (
Report from earlier this month.

Pa. Treasurer Rob McCord resigning from post (PennLive)
Returning to private sector.
Perhaps not so straightforward:

Here's the story:

Performant Financial Corporation to Acquire Premier Healthcare Exchange, Inc. (CNN Money)
Based in Bedminster, New Jersey, Premier Healthcare Exchange had funding from Edison Partners. It will be acquired by Performant for $130 million; $108 million in cash and $22 million in stock.

Sarah Cannon and Syapse Launch Precision Oncology Clinical Service to Expand Targeted Treatment Options for Patients (Business Wire)
Syapse has backing from Safeguard Scientifics and has a Philadelphia office.

An informal conversation with Luka Mucic, CFO SAP (Denn Howlett/Diginomica)

The SAP Fort Knox ( Vinnie Mirchandani / Enterprise Irregulars)

Amazon to Break Out Web Services as Separate Category This Year (Bloomberg)

Uber gains PUC approval to operate in most of Pa. (except Philly) for 2 years (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Uber taps Metromile to let UberX drivers pay-per-mile on their car insurance (VentureBeat)
Two First Round Capital portfolio companies team up.

Auditor finds no pay-to-play conflict in N.J. pension investment (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Who are New Jersey's real business leaders?

Tom Paine

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I was looking over's "The NJBIZ Power 100: The most powerful people in New Jersey business" for 2015. I wonder if this is an actual reflection of the state of business in The Garden State, and if so perhaps its a reason why its not in the greatest shape.

The majority of people named are various public officials, attorneys, and lobbyists. Most of the business executives run regulated utilities or other organizations with state ties. Besides a sprinkling of major Pharma execs and a few Jersey mainstays such as Campbells, I see little evidence of business leadership being represented. I only count perhaps four tech execs and two who I would call successful tech entrepreneurs. Nobody directly from the VC or PE communities I can spot.

There is no Marc Lore (ex-Quidsi, now, Chris Sugden (Edison Partners), Jim Preuninger (Amber Road), Stephen Waldis (Synchronoss), N. Robert Hammer (CommVault) and Thai Lee (SHI), just to name a few. Nor are any of the brilliant researchers at the universities and research labs working on breakthroughs in areas such as photonics and quantum computing represented.

Follow up: NJ ranks at bottom of job growth list (The Daily Journal)

Links 1/28/2015: Spark Therapeutics increases proposed IPO deal size by 48%; LiquidHub Accelerates Growth with Acquisition of Two Salesforce Partners

It's electric: [CHOP spinout] Spark Therapeutics increases proposed IPO deal size by 48% to $130 million (Renaissance Capital)

CommScope to Buy TE Connectivity Unit for $3 Billion (New York Times: DealBook)
Though legally domiciled in Switzerland, TE Connectivity's corporate offices are in Berwyn.

LiquidHub Accelerates Growth with Acquisition of Two Salesforce Partners (Business Wire)

Behind the deal: how ClosedWon went from tech tidbit to takeover target (Albuquerque Business First)

Tons of AT&T and Verizon customers may no longer have “broadband” tomorrow
(Ars Technica)

Activist Elliott Said to Plan Push for Informatica LBO, Sale (Bloomberg)
What Informatica does around Master Data Management (MDM) is important to several other software and SaaS vendors.

Cloud ERP: 9 Emerging Options (Information Week)

IBM may be preparing for a round of job cuts (Computerworld)

Links 1/27/2015: Google Fiber set to announce expansion to four major Southeastern markets; McDermott to Fortune: "We’re going to win this thing"

Google Fiber Nears Expansion Announcements (Multichannel News)
Could mean more competition for Comcast in Nashville and Atlanta, as well as Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham if the TWC merger goes through.

These four lucky cities are now officially getting Google Fiber (Washington Post)
Announcement on Google Fiber's blog.

Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is no longer viewed as inevitable (LA Times)

Wireless biz should look past Freewheel's limitations and into Dolan's beady eyes (FierceCable)

Q&A: Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP (Fortune)

SAP On Cloud HR: Q&A With Mike Ettling (Information Week)

New SAP Hana tool aims to put Big Data insights within closer reach (PC World)

CloudBees Raises $23.5M Funding Round Led By Lightspeed Venture Partners (TechCrunch)
South Jersey entrepreneur and investor Bob Bickel was an early advisor to and investor in CloudBees.

The Real Deal: Bruce Richardson on Why Salesforce Nation is very different (Deal Architect)

A defiant Lyft to launch in Philly Friday (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Apple Pay Is Coming To Nearly 200,000 Vending Machines And Parking Meters [via Malvern's USA Technologies] (Business Insider)

Big News from Brick Startup CardCash: $6m Additional Funding and an Alliance with Walmart

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor,

CardCash founders Elliot Bohm, CEO, and Marc Ackerman, COO. |
 Courtesy CardCash

CardCash, the Brick Township-based startup that operates as a gift-card exchange, has recently secured an additional $6 million in debt financing from Sterling National Bank (Montebello, N.Y.), and has entered into a partnership with Walmart.

The current round of funding comes on the heels of $6 million in equity financing from Guggenheim Partners, a global financial services firm, and a partnership with InComm, a provider of connectivity and integrated point-of-sale technology solutions to retailers.

Counting the funding from Sterling National Bank, CardCash has secured close to $15 million in financing over the past year.

Since Christmas day, users have been able to visit the Walmart CardCash website to exchange gift cards from more than 200 retailers, airlines, and restaurants for a Walmart card.

Recipients who exchange their unwanted gift cards through the CardCash website can receive a Walmart card worth up to 97% of the value of the original gift card. Walmart cards are one of the most sought-after cards in the CardCash gift-card exchange marketplace, according to a CardCash spokesman. And Walmart cards never expire.

Elliot Bohm, who cofounded CardCash in 2008 with Marc Ackerman, spoke to about both developments.

“The debt financing came in perfect timing for the holiday season. There is an influx of gift cards that are going to be coming through our doors post-holiday. We just needed to finance our inventory of gift cards.” And Sterling National Bank stepped up, he said.

It was no small feat “to get a national bank comfortable to lend against an inventory of gift cards,” he added.

Once they were able to get a national bank onboard, it was a “no-brainer” to take the money as debt financing, Bohm told “We didn’t want to give away any more equity in our company.”

Walmart seemed like a perfect fit for the CardCash model, Bohm said. While it took several months of discussions to develop the alliance, “we saw ourselves as offering a product that they would go for.”

Walmart and CardCash will each derive advantages from the partnership. “In customer’s eyes, Walmart has almost a cash equivalent. You can buy almost anything at Walmart, from basic necessities to luxury items to gifts,”  Bohm said. At the same time, “CardCash has much experience offering cash for gift cards.”

“When we wanted to power the exchange for a brand, Walmart seemed like a perfect fit.” Walmart, he explained, has a very large footprint and allows customers to use the gift cards both online and in stores.

The Walmart payout is higher than the cash payout at CardCash, he noted. For customers who want to receive cash, the company urges them to continue using CardCash’s website. “But customers who shop at Walmart, and that’s most of America, can take advantage of the higher payout.”

“We expected many customers to be very interested in this, and…I can tell you, it was received very, very positively.” The alliance has generated a great deal of traffic to the website, but the website is been able to handle the increased number of hits, Bohm told us.

The Walmart alliance has also created a big marketing wave in the media, he said. “The way the media is talking about it is definitely something very unique for us.”

Bohm talked a bit about the company’s growth in Brick Township, noting that the startup has more than 100 employees there and expects to grow further in 2015. “It’s a great place to work and we are definitely hiring,” he said. He added that the company has opened a small Silicon Valley office for business development.

In July, CardCash completed the acquisition of Plastic Jungle (San Mateo, Calif.), a company backed by more than $25 million in venture capital (investors included First Round Capital). As part of the deal, acquired Plastic Jungle's technology infrastructure, business partnerships and domain name, “”

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of NJTechWeekly, and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This article (with one small addition) originally appeared in NJTechWeekly, and is republished here with her permission.

Philly Tech People News 1/25/2015: Oracle names Panetta to board

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Oracle names former CIA director Leon Panetta to its board (Gigaom)

Liberty Global Exec Joins Comcast’s John Schanz at Helm; Brings Global Reach to Program

Dataram Announces Appointment of Dave Moylan as Interim CEO (Business Wire)

Certara Appoints Gavin Nichols as President of Technology and Head of its Software Business Unit (Business Wire)

Craig Warznak Named Director of Corporate Development for Day & Zimmermann (Marketwire)

Mike Rowbotham Appointed Vice President of Strategy & Innovation for AmeriQuest Business Services (PR Web)

Mike LaJoie Appointed Chairman Of Guavus (Multichannel News)

Philly Tech News Quotes & Tweets 1/23/2015

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Ebay CFO Bob Swan during this week's earnings call, following announcement of job cuts and plans to shed Ebay Enterprise: "It will get worse before it gets better."

“In reality, it’s not a billion-dollar company, never was.” -Fab CEO Jason Goldberg to Fortune Magazine this week. It was widely publicized to be valued at $1 billion or more after a financing round.

"We're not ready for a third tower but when we signed the original lease, it was for 75 percent of the building and we have decided to take the remaining 25 percent." - Comcast SVP David Cohen, talking about Comcast's revised plans to take up all office space in new tower.

“Whether we go against Workday in the HCM space, Salesforce in the CRM space… or more traditional competitors that you know well, I don’t think there’s a better positioned company in the business software industry.” - SAP CEO Bill McDermott during this week's earnings call.

Links 1/22/2015: Google entering wireless business through resale; Box prices at $14 per share

Verizon FiOS Drives Sub Growth In Q4 (Multichannel News)

Verizon hints at OTT product; reports Internet of Things revenue (CED Magazine)

Google to enter wireless business (San Jose Mercury News)
By reselling Sprint & T-Mobile service.

Google The Pay-TV Nemesis: Overbuilder, 'OTT' Player? (Investor's Business Daily)

Google Spends $16.83M on Lobbying: Consumer Watchdog (Multichannel News)
Sightly surpasses Comcast, according to organization's figures.

FCC Commissioner argues for delaying February net neutrality ruling (The Register)

Former Ad Tech Exec Raises $55 Million to Invest in Mobile Startups (Ad Age)
Nihal Mehta co-founded New York-based Eniac Ventures in 2009 with three fellow University of Pennsylvania graduates (note the name). My guess is its been fairly successful to date.

As Oracle Goes Aggro On EMC And VMware, VMware Cozies Up To Oracle's Rival SAP (Business Insider)

Box IPO Expected to Price Today (Re/code)

Box prices shares at $14 in final step toward long-awaited IPO (San Jose Mercury News)

Fab was never a billion-dollar company (Fortune)

ComScore to Tally Viewers Across Their Many Devices (New York Times)

Ebay to explore sale or IPO of King of Prussia-based Ebay Enterprise unit (formerly GSI Commerce)

Tom Paine

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GSI Commerce becomes part of Ebay, June 2011

Ebay said today in conjunction with its earnings announcement that it may explore a sale or an IPO of its Ebay Enterprise unit, which is based in King of Prussia.

Ebay acquired the company, then known as GSI Commerce, in March 2011 for $2.4 billion in debt and cash. GSI founder Michael Rubin, who started selling sporting goods as a teenager in Devon, retained stakes in Fanatics (a phenomenal success), ShopRunner (a high valuation) and Rue La La (perhaps less successful) as part of his Conshohocken-based Kynectic LLC holding company.

Ebay tried to position the unit, later renamed Ebay Enterprise, as part of its overall strategy, though progress was hindered by several factors, including the insider trading conviction of former Rubin deputy and GSI Commerce/Ebay Enterprise CEO Christopher Saridakis in 2014 and the pressure on Ebay to split up.

There are 2800 Ebay Enterprise employees on LinkedIn, but the number varies dramatically seasonally.

Ecommerce software unit Magento was also folded into Ebay Enterprise under Ebay.

Ebay also announced today plans to cut 2,400 positions across all divisions of the company.

Links 1/21/2015: Looking at SAP's, IBM's problems; Comcast to occupy entire new skyscraper

Understanding SAP’s 2017-20 outlook (Den Howlett / Diginomica)

SAP Benefits From Privacy Concerns in Switch to Cloud, CEO Says (Bloomberg via

IBM Can't Shrink Its Way To Greatness (Information Week)
Some of IBM's revenue decline can be traced to the greater number of SAP cloud deployments, which require less consulting work and middleware.

Workday looks to Germany to fuel European expansion (ZDNet)

Cloud vs. Enterprise CRM Software Price War Coming (Insurance Networking News)

The Increasing Growth Rates Of SaaS Companies (Tomasz Tunguz / Redpoint Ventures)

What Makes Salesforce's Cloud Different From Other Clouds (Salesforce Blog)

Comcast to occupy entire new skyscraper (Philadelphia Business Journal)
So much for the startup space that was to be included?

Comcast’s next-generation Xi4 set-top box passes the FCC (Gigaom)

In this year's Super Bowl, only sure winner is Comcast (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Fanatics, the Online Sports Retailer, Lands Nascar Deal to Run Superstores at Racetracks (Re/code)
Fanatics is a part of Michael Rubin's Kynetic LLC ecommerce empire.

Uber Said to Raise $1.6 Billion in Convertible Debt to Expand (Bloomberg)

What Changes At ModCloth And Nasty Gal Mean For E-Commerce (TechCrunch)

Radnor's Peak Equity Partners leads buyout of EnterpriseDB, along with NewSpring & Milestone

Tom Paine

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Last year, veteran LLR Partners enterprise software dealmakers Greg Case and Paul Winn left the Philadelphia-based PE shop to set up business under their own shingle, with the name Peak Equity Partners, based in Radnor.

In December, Peak made its first buyout: Bedford, Massaachusetts-based EnterpriseDB, a well known player in the open source database market. Peak sourced and co-led the deal, along with participation from Milestone Partners and NewSpring Capital, also of Radnor. Terms were not disclosed, but Case confirmed to Philly Tech News in an interview that it was a complete buyout of the company, not just an equity stake.

Although Peak contributed to the investment, Case could not comment on his firm's own fundraising efforts at this point.

EnterpriseDB, founded in 2004, had a total of $60 million of venture capital investment prior to the buyout, according to Case. Investors included IBM, Fidelity Ventures, Valhalla Partners, CRV, and Translink Capital, according to CrunchBase. It's not clear to me that the valuation at which EnterpriseDB was acquired by Peak exceeded whatever its highest VC valuation was, but that certainly doesn't mean EnterpriseDB isn't a promising company at this point.

EnterpriseDB specializes in PostgreSQL (or Postgres), the open source version of Ingres, one of the earliest entrants in the RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) market that grew up mostly around Berkeley in the 1970s and 80s. Commercially, Oracle crushed most of the others, but PostgreSQL became a popular open source alternative, and may have gained momentum when Oracle picked up MySQL as part of its Sun Microsystems acquisition of 2009, since many open source users are distrustful of Oracle and its commitment to open source.

EnterpriseDB has a Red Hat-like model; in fact, that's where it's CEO came from. It sells apps and services as well as its own commercial release of PostgreSQL. EDB was named a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for operational database management systems in 2014. PostgreSQL (including non-EDB versions) currently sits in fourth place in the DB-Engines rankings, which measures trending activity, behind Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

My sense is that EnterpriseDB's initial focus on convincing Oracle RDBMS customers or prospects in large enterprises to switch over completely to its Oracle-compatible Postgres RDBMS fell short. Its recent product introductions suggest a more segmented approach. One area its been emphasizing is Foreign Data Wrappers, which enables DBAs to pull data from a variety of sources into a PostgresSQL environment, creating a central data store. Postgres has foreign data wrappers for Oracle, MySQL, and Informix, and has recently created bridges to the rapidly growing NoSQL world with foreign data wrappers for Hadoop and MongoDB. EnterpriseDB is also looking to the private and public cloud markets for growth.

Case says that EnterpriseDB is growing and is cash flow positive. The company has reported a subscription revenue CAGR of over 50% since 2011, according to Peak.

"We believe Postgres' superior technology and open source value will be a huge disruptor of the database market," said Case. Although Oracle is still the dominant force in the $30 billion database business, the market is beginning to fragment in several ways.

"Postgres is the hottest database. The buy out gives them much needed funding to scale out," commented R “Ray” Wang, Founder and Chairman of Constellation Research, in an email to Philly Tech News.

A couple of years ago, Salesforce flirted with Postgres as an alternative to Oracle, on whose database its platform is built. But in mid-2013 Salesforce & Oracle announced a new nine-year partnership. Whether Postgres was only used as a bargaining chip is unknown.

"Based on public engineering presentations, Salesforce will continue to run their core platform on the world's largest Oracle instance. Meanwhile, new products and features like Heroku Connect for Salesforce will leverage Postgres and other emerging technologies," said Matthew Botos, Managing Director of, a Philadelphia-area consulting firm specializing in, in an email to Philly Tech News.

In November, Salesforce announced a new feature for its Heroku platform, Heroku External Objects, which makes data from any Heroku Postgres database seamlessly available within a given Salesforce deployment.

Prior to nearly five years with LLR, Case, a Wharton MBA, spent 16 years at PE firm Apax Partners, reaching the level of Shareholder Partner. There he lead investments in Mt Laurel-based Bluestone Software, later acquired by HP for about $750 million, and Princeton Softech, acquired by IBM. Case met Winn through Princeton Softech, where Winn was CEO, and recruited him to LLR. While with LLR, Winn served as CEO of LLR portfolio company Revitas in Center City.

Peak says it "invests in businesses that have large addressable markets, proven technology and demonstrated traction with a meaningful base of customers. We leverage and provide access to extensive operating resources to give our companies an edge in capturing market leadership and achieving goals."

Peak makes majority or minority investments in buyouts and recapitalizations of enterprise software and solutions companies, with an initial equity investment size of $10 million - $50 million, with additional co-investment options. It targets companies with revenue of $10 million to $50 million.

It will be interesting to see what they do next.

Links 1/20/2015: SAP cuts 2017 outlook due to cloud transition, but says it will make it all up by 2020

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SAP cuts 2017 outlook, sees cloud profit power in 2020 (ZDNet)

SAP is still struggling to adapt to life in the Cloud (Fortune)

SAP’s Future Plans, Products Unveiled
(ASUG News)

IBM Earnings: What to Watch (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

IBM Earnings Beat Analysts’ Estimates; Forecast Meets Low End (Bloomberg)

Netflix Beats The Street In Q4 By Adding 4.3M New Streaming Subscribers Worldwide


Former Walgreens exec’s digital health biz gets investment from Independent Blue Cross (Med City News)

P.S.C. delays Time Warner-Comcast vote yet again (Capital New York)

Local Comcast customers brace for switch to spinoff (Indianapolis Business Journal)

Verizon rushes fix for email account open season security flaw (ZDNet)

Uber CEO Says SF Revenues Are $500 Million Per Year, Others Question Figure (SFist)

Philly Tech People News 1/18/2015: Former Comcast exec Kunkel has new Philly startup; SevOne names new CMO

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Gerard Kunkel / LinkedIn 

Former Comcast exec Gerard Kunkel, who most recently served as an advisor to Microsoft, has a new Philly area startup, Multichannel News reported. It will focus on technologies for the media & entertainment user experience.

In addition to serving as Senior VP of user experience and product design at Comcast, he also was president of GuideWorks LLC, a joint venture between Comcast and what is now part of Rovi, which has since left the joint venture. He also served time with WorldGate, Bensalem's long-running but ultimately failed internet TV and videophone startup.

At Microsoft, he was a strategy advisor to Microsoft on its interactive media explorations, which were at one point broad but ended up focused on its Xbox platform. His tenure with Microsoft ended in November, according to his LinkedIn

In the 1990's he led the company that designed, developed and deployed the network and customer management software for use in Bell Atlantic’s pioneering Toms River, NJ switched digital video service, sort of an early version of FiOS.

His new startup, which is still in stealth mode, is called SHUX App.

Multichannel News quotes Kunkel as saying SHUX will feature a "highly sharable user experience targeted at a young, mobile, and extremely interactive audience.”

No word yet on financing.

SevOne Appoints Technology Veteran Jim Melvin as Chief Marketing Officer (Marketwire)

WICT Announces 2015 Board of Directors (Women in Cable Telecomminications)
Martha Soehren, Comcast, elected to serve two-year term as Chair.

NBC News to bring back Noah Oppenheim to head 'Today' (LA Times)

Comcast Sets New Regional Structure (Multichannel News)

Paciolan Announces Dima Volovik as Chief Technology Officer (Marketwire)

ModCloth Co-Founder Eric Koger Exits Role As CEO; Urban Outfitters’ Matthew Kaness Joins (TechCrunch)

Franklin Square hires new chief marketing officer (Penn Business Daily)

Kony taps another former SAP executive to lead EU, Africa sales (Business Cloud News)

Michael F. Dura Joins Lovell Minnick Partners As Senior Advisor (Press Releaae)

TMG Health Appoints Karen Andrews as Vice President of Operations Strategy & Performance Improvement (PR Web)

Former Comcast exec, Microsoft advisor Kunkel has new Philly startup

Tom Paine

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Gerard Kunkel / LinkedIn 

Former Comcast exec Gerard Kunkel, who most recently served as an advisor to Microsoft, has a new Philly area startup, Multichannel News reported. It will focus on technologies for the media & entertainment user experience.

In addition to serving as Senior VP of user experience and product design at Comcast, he also was president of GuideWorks LLC, a joint venture between Comcast and what is now part of Rovi, which has since left the joint venture. He also served time with WorldGate, Bensalem's long-running but ultimately failed internet TV and videophone startup.

At Microsoft, he was a strategy advisor to Microsoft on its interactive media explorations, which were at one point broad but ended up focused on its Xbox platform. His tenure with Microsoft ended in November, according to his LinkedIn

In the 1990's he led the company that designed, developed and deployed the network and customer management software for use in Bell Atlantic’s pioneering Toms River, NJ switched digital video service, sort of an early version of FiOS.

His new startup, which is still in stealth mode, is called SHUX App.

Multichannel News quotes Kunkel as saying SHUX will feature a "highly sharable user experience targeted at a young, mobile, and extremely interactive audience.”

No word yet on financing.

Philadelphia & Drexel Take Center Stage as Growing Hacker and Maker Movements Link Tech Heavyweights With Disruptors

Philadelphia, PA 
Sunday, January 11th 2015 - 1:54 AM | BY Brendan Kaplan

It's two in the morning and while most of Philadelphia sleeps, Drexel University's Sorbonne Center is abuzz with activity as over 120 techies gulp coffee from behind soldering irons, keyboards, sensor arrays, and drone controls. While this might not surprise the casual observer during finals season, bear in mind it's still currently winter break.
The driving force behind this unusual state of affairs is DragonHacks 2015, a hardware hackathon presented as a collaboration between Drexel's schools of Engineering and Computer Science, several corporate sponsors, and Major League Hacking (MLH). For the uninitiated, a hackathon is an event, usually running between 24 and 48 hours, during which competitors vie to create the most innovative, technically elegant, captivating, or just downright fun projects using only sanctioned tools and materials.
Typical Hackathon setup with student co-working and collaboration space combined with free access to host location buildings for breakaway groups - this particular one at Drexel Dragon Hacks 2015 | Photograph © Brendan Kaplan

Over the past several years Hackathon events have continued to play an increasingly major role in the trajectory of technology due to their ability to connect existing tech heavyweights like Microsoft and Intel, which were represented at the event, with untapped populations of talented, passionate, and creative people. Indeed, corporate hiring in the tech field is now beginning to eschew traditional hiring practices like career fairs and headhunters, instead opting to interact with talent directly. Combined with an explosion of next generation technologies like IoT (Internet of Things), 3D printing, and other trends that are being pioneered by enthusiasts as much as professionals, Hackathons represent a genuinely new format for innovation that is driving ideas and economics alike. As one representative, Steve Xing from Intel put it:
"Over the past decade, we didn't capitalize as much as we could have on tech trends like mobile due to our dominance in the areas that came before. Fortunately, as markets evolve more frequently, we've been able to use events like this for the dual purposes of snapping up the most cutting edge talent while they are still young, and getting our products into the very groups that are driving this evolution." It only seems appropriate that Steve was hired by Intel as an intern at just such an event, and is now helping drive product line development for IoT sensors and controllers.
In fact, in response to the growth of this ecosystem, Hackathons now have an official accreditation body, Major League Hacking. At the time of this article, MLH is entering its 4th season, each of which corresponds to a college semester. Jonathan Gottfried, one of MLH's cofounders and Vice President of Sponsorships, as well as Aziz Ramos, Creative Director, were on hand to provide guidance to the organizers, ensure the Hackathon adhered to the MLH code of conduct, and support individual participants.
Jonathan described how the organization he helped found was created to fill a void that was apparent to him and several friends who were active in the nascent Hackathon culture years ago. "We got started by attending other events and realizing that everyone kept coming to us for help... We would get questions ranging from 'How do I use this technology?' to 'How can I meet others who want to collaborate?' Every time this happened, we were more convinced of the need for the type of lifestyle organization that could cater to this unique group."
Speaking on his own background and process, Aziz Ramos said, "I came to MLH by participating in Hackathons throughout the country, especially at HackRU, which was hosted at Rutgers where I attended college. I kept working with the founders on different projects at different events, and as I began looking for a job, I reached out to an MLH founder who also attended Rutgers. They hired me because they felt I embodied the quintessential hackathon lifestyle and that I would be perfect to disseminate this culture throughout the community at future hackathons."
When asked whether MLH is the driver or beneficiary of the Hackathon culture, Jon responded by indicating that the community is more tightly knit than to allow such distinctions. "We really work in a mutually reinforcing way. Our company was founded to better serve Hackathons, so in a sense, we are beneficiaries of their existence. However, we've been able to help to increase both their quality and quantity by helping collate best practices and providing some structure. Our growth is only accelerating, which indicates that we are providing some real value to the national hackathon scene. Last year, our spring season had roughly 30 events, this spring, we're on track to support 80. You don't get that type of growth without bringing something to the table that wasn't there before."

Brendan Kaplan, representing sponsor Addteq, hangs with Diaz Gotoma, one of the student organizers of Dragon Hacks 2015. | Photo © 2015 Andrew Pellegrino

The national increase in the number of hackathons also corresponds to some local trends in the Philadelphia economy. One of the organizers of DragonHacks 2015, Diaz Gotoma, recently graduated from Drexel and has spent the past 5 years at the University, and seemed sure that the innovation economy and tech go hand and hand in Philly. He says that the maker/hacker culture in Philadelphia is quite strong, crediting a few factors with local success.
"The low cost of Philadelphia real estate as compared to other similarly educated metro areas is a real strength. Where $10,000 might buy you 2 - 3 months of living in New York, in Philly one could live for almost a year. This flexibility combined with the strong intellectual and educational resources provided by University City have gone hand in hand with the exciting startup culture Philadelphia is increasingly known for." It seems this view has paid off, at least for Diaz, who traded hi-fives and hugs with fellow DragonHacks 2015 organizers at the end of the event as he left for the airport to start a new job at Microsoft in Washington.
While it is difficult to draw a 1:1 comparison, one can't help but notice the strong correlation between student participation in Hackathons and job offers that occur immediately upon, or even before, graduation. Although only a graduate for a few weeks, Diaz's job offer meant he had to leave the hackathon he helped create only 15 short minutes after it ended in order to catch a plane.
Diaz's notions of the connectedness of Hackathons and Philly's innovation economy aren't off base either. The rise of Hackthons over the past 5 years has coincided with the blossoming of many hacker/ maker spaces in Philadelphia such as Hive76, NextFab, and The Department of Making and Doing, which have all popped up in a similar time frame. While all different, each subscribes to an exploratory, experimental, and creatively driven process the founders of Major League Hacking have captured wonderfully with their sanctioned Hackathons.
During judging, each team got the same three minute time frame in which to demo their hack. Although some projects barely made it out of concept while some teams were able to complete several fully functional systems, each got the same time, the same applause, and the same respect. A large portion of the teams were comprised of students who had never met previously, with several having international participants who travelled from all over the world to attend the event. Like Philadelphia's startup community, the common languages of a quintessential hackathon are technology and creativity. Dragon Hacks 2015 was no different, embodying both the local startup revolution and the values of tomorrow’s tech leaders all at once.
For more information on Hackathons, readers can check out Major League Hacking (MLH) at, or to see more on Dragon Hacks 2015,

About the author:
Brendan Kaplan has worked at the intersection of technology and human interaction for the past decade. He has authored award nominated research on similarity between brain development and city development, consulted for several Fortune 500 companies, and facilitated multiple sales of software technology intellectual property rights. He is currently a senior marketing consultant for Addteq.