Sunday highlights: Verizon's media strategy; Redoing King of Prussia, to some extent

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Verizon’s Multi-Billion-Dollar Play To Take On Netflix, Amazon, Google & Facebook (Fast Company)

Microsoft, SAP seen as possible buyers of Marketo (Silicon Valley Business Journal)

How TD Bank Is Transforming Its Data Infrastructure (Information Week)

Host Analytics – on the growth train (Diginomica)
Partners include QLIK and Dell Boomi.

A $1 billion boom (
Redoing King of Prussia, to some extent.

Philly Tech VentureWatch 5/29/2016: Viridity Energy, HudlHealth, VerbalizeIt, LoanStar

Tom Paine

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Philly-based Viridity Energy has raised $8.5 million in what it terms a "growth round." The company, which develops software which helps companies and institutions optimize their individual energy grids, has now raised $39 million in VC funding since its 2008 founding, according to CrunchBase. This round was led by its longtime investor AltEnergy, LLC; past investors have included Intel and Matsui.

Viridity provides demand response and demand management software technology and services, along with battery storage solutions, to high energy industrial and services users. Greentech Media does a much better job of describing what Viridity is currently up to than I ever could.

The company is working on construction of an 8.75 MW regenerative braking project with the Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA), Constellation, ABB and Saft. The original management team was composed mostly of veterans of Norristown-based PJM InterConnection, which manages the mid-Atlantic grid.

When I first covered Viridity, I wondered about the complexity of the software it was developing. The Greentech Media article mentioned that it had to simplify its stack a couple of years ago because of scaling issues. Viridity's attempt at real time management of some elements of a facility's energy usage could be particularly demanding from a software engineering point of view.

Audrey Zibelman / NY PSC
Audrey Zibelman, Viridity's founding CEO, had previously been EVP & COO of PJM. An attorney, Zibelman left in 2012 to become the chair of New York State's Public Service Commission,  a fact I first became aware of when the PSC was planning to hold hearings into the Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal.  Zibelman was criticized last year for still having ties to Viridity (some equity, which she promptly disposed of) while having potential conflicts. For example, Con Edison, the state's largest electric utility,  was probably Viridity's most important client.

Currently,  there is an ongoing federal investigation into the Public Service office, which Politco in an article published Thursday seems to imply involves issues from Zibelman's tenure and could reach the Governor's office. No one has been accused of wrongdoing, Politico notes.

Malvern-based startup HudlHealth announced it is beginning operations.

HudlHealth also announced it had acquired Seratis, a graduate of DreamIt's healthcare incubator, and its "healthcare technology platform for secure messaging and care team transparency."    

The primary aim of HudlHealth's platform is to reduce the miscommunication and wasted time prevalent in the healthcare system.  From experiences both as a caregiver and patient, I concur that tremendous waste occurs due to lack of schedule coordination, and if HudlHealth can reduce a small portion of that its a worthy goal.

HudlHealth was founded by Robert Burg, who  previously helped establish the life sciences business side of online sentiment analyzer Behavior Matrix (Blue Bell). Hudl, by the way, stands for "Healthcare Unified Digital Lifeline."

New York-based Smartling acquired New York-based VerbalizeIt to "expand its multimedia translation capabilities." VerbalizeIt was founded at Wharton, incubated at TechStars, and made an appearance on Shark Tank. Smartling CEO Jack Welde has a computer engineering degree fron Penn. First Round Capital has been an investor in Smartling since its first round. Terms weren't disclosed.

Smartling has raised over $60 million in VC funding.

Conshohocken-based LoanStar, who's President, Craig Haynes, is a TD Bank veteran, is offering a platform which enables banks to expand merchant lending progams, which have suffered since the bank crisis. LoanStar provides a mobile app which merchants can use onsite at the point of sale to seek approval.