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A Philly company pioneers the latest home 3-D technology

If you're the type of person who keeps a close eye on the gadget-obsessed consumer technology industry -- or if you're simply someone who feels the need to own a tricked-out television -- then there's a decent chance you've recently heard the name Stream TV Networks.

The latest trend in ultra high-definition technology, 4K, is being touted as the next big thing. But just a few years back it was 3DTV being trumpeted by every industry analyst with a magazine column. That prediction, as we now know, never came to pass. Why? The recession certainly didn't help, nor did the functionality issues surrounding those goofy 3D glasses: At upwards of $200 a pair, they were pricey. And they offered no cross-platform functionality -- only Sony's 3D glasses, for example, would work with a Sony 3DTV. To put it plainly, the technology had tons of promise, but too many roadblocks.    

Enter Stream TV Networks, a small Philadelphia-based tech firm. They've been popping up in the national press, thanks to an impressive showing at the 2014 International CES, a massive consumer electronics convention. It was there that Stream TV showed off its most promising new innovation: a fully consumer-adjustable 3D technology that doesn’t require glasses. 

Known as Ultra-D -- the technical term is "autostereo" -- this feature should be available on 4KTV sets sometime this summer. Ultra-D also has the capacity to work on tablets, video game consoles, even Skype. If your device has an HDMI connection, simply plug it into your Ultra-D-enabled TV, and gasp in astonishment as everything from YouTube documentaries to your live chat with grandma pops out of the screen in three surprisingly lifelike and super high-definition dimensions. 

"In the simplest terms, Ultra-D allows any content to be converted in real time into 3D without-glasses,” says Leo Riley, Stream TV's VP of Sales. “It doesn't matter what source it is. It can be internet-based, like YouTube or Netflix. It can be an iPad, an Android tablet, a set-top box, a Blu-ray player, a [Sony PlayStation] -- it doesn't matter." 

Stream TV found its footing back in 2009, after CEO Mathu Rajan purchased a small Silicon Valley-based company that had been dabbling in 3D technology. During an overseas trip, Rajan met four former Phillips technologists who were all looking for work. (Phillips had recently disbanded its own glasses-free 3D division "after dumping almost a billion dollars into it," explains Riley.) Rajan brought all four of them onboard, putting them to work at Stream TV's R&D lab SeeCubic in the Netherlands. 

Almost every member of Stream TV's Center City-based executive team is a native of the Greater Philadelphia area. And while doing more hiring locally isn’t in the immediate future, the company continues to innovate. Recently, they were was one of six Philadelphia firms to win a Marcum Innovator of the Year award, which honors "the contribution of innovation to the Philadelphia area economy." 

Perhaps most promising for the future of the company is the fact that their technology can be imbedded or integrated into anything from a mobile phone to an entire digital city wall system. 

"We have a reach into a lot of different areas of the consumer electronics channel," says Riley. "Basically, anything that has a display, we have a play."

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Leo Riley, Stream TV Networks


Career Wardrobe tackles the modern first impression: social media

When Career Wardrobe, a small, grass-roots organization that helps unemployed women transition back into the workforce, launched in 1995, the internet was still a relatively new tool in job seeking. Career Wardrobe originally focused mostly on readying women for the corporate world by equipping them with professional attire, coaching them for interviews, providing resume tips and empowering them to embrace new careers. 

Over the next 18 years, Career Wardrobe grew and adapted along with the economy, serving more than 75,000 women and opening a satellite location and resale store. Now, the organization prepares to debut its most important innovation yet: Work It!, a workshop that will help attendees cultivate the modern version of a first impression -- their social media presence.

Caitlin Day, program manager at Career Wardrobe, said that as the organization researched job trends and spoke to employers, it became evident that developing an appealing online identity had become an integral part of job seeking.

"We began to see just how important having a professional social media presence is to gaining employment," she says. "With 78 percent of employers hiring through social media in 2013, up from 58 percent in 2010, it is more important now than ever that Career Wardrobe's clients have [internet] access and a good understanding of how to leverage social media for their job search."

On Monday, January 27, Work It! will bring together up to 30 participants to receive a professional outfit and makeover, one-on-one networking instruction, a professional headshot and assistance in creating or updating a LinkedIn profile. 

Susan Tabor-Kleiman will be the LinkedIn guru for the event. According to Day, she brings "a vast amount of knowledge and experience" in writing and communicating, and has appeared on MSNBC's Your Business to speak about how to maximize your LinkedIn presence. Volunteers from Comcast will also be present to work one-on-one with attendees.  

Work It! is open to any woman looking to build her networking skills and develop a personal social media brand. Women actively seeking employment are encouraged to apply by January 10 at CareerWardrobe.org/WorkIt.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Caitlin Day, Career Wardrobe


Need to charge your phone? A local company has your back

There are few things worse than watching the battery on your smart phone slowly drain towards zero at the worst possible moment. Fortunately, an innovative local company is hoping to lend a hand.

One of the many vendors debuting products at the recent GreenBuild International Expo was Plymouth Meeting-based CarrierClass Green Infrastructure (CCGI), founded by Jim Innes and Ian Jones in 2008. CCGI designs, sells and installs solar electric, solar thermal and custom off-grid solar power products for commercial and residential customers. 

CCGI's latest solar-powered product addresses a mounting problem for those of us who rely heavily on our mobile devices -- their tedency to lose power at inopportune times. 

Though other public mobile device charging stations are already available, CCGI’s ConnecTable Solar Charging Stations offer the distinct advantage of using green energy to repower devices. In addition to the sustainable advantages offered by their use of solar energy, ConnecTable Solar Charging Stations provide unique security advantages over other charging stations. As a fully off-grid system, ConnecTables continue to provide power during extended electric outages and natural disasters.

ConnecTable Solar Charging Stations are available for commercial and residential use in café, picnic and deck table forms, designed to accommodate a range of table design aesthetics, surface materials and site designs. They are ideal for universities, city parks, outdoor malls, sports complexes, mixed-use developments and theme parks. 

Qualifying organizations may be eligible for low-interest financing of the tables through Pennsylvania's Sustainable Energy Fund, founded during electric deregulation proceedings to promote, research and invest in clean and renewable energy technologies. 

ConnecTables also qualify for the 30 percent federal business energy investment tax credit offered to businesses that install solar; and colleges may use designated green funds to purchase tables.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Paige Wolf, Certified B Corp.

West Philly's Fresh Food Hub, a mobile farmers' market, now serving communities city-wide

America's obesity epidemic is often attributed to a lack of available and affordable unprocessed foods, especially for lower income and urban populations. The mobile farmers' market Fresh Food Hub offers a simple antidote while also supporting the local food system and economy.

Founder Ryan Kuck and his wife's personal gardening project in the Belmont section of West Philadelphia grew into a community garden on Preston Avenue, aptly named Preston's Paradise. Kuck used a pushcart to distribute fresh produce from Preston's Paradise, eventually partnering with Greensgrow, an urban farm in Kensington, to expand. When Flying Kite last covered the company, Kuck had purchased a bread truck and was operating it as a mobile store four days a week.

Now, the company is positioning to grow again.

"Our pilot has been pretty successful and we'd like to extend it to other neighborhoods," says Kuck. "If we really want to take this idea to its full potential, we need to invest."

Kuck launched a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise $9,773 to branch geographically, support more local farmers, extend hours, hire more staff and upgrade the truck.

The community responded -- the Fresh Food Hub campaign exceeded its goal, raising $10,500 even before its funding period was complete.

One community that Kuck is particularly dedicated to serving is Philadelphia's older adults. In addition to food stamps, the truck also accepts produce vouchers from the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA). Kuck is currently working with PCA to identify additional senior centers in North and South Philly to add to the truck's route. 

Kuck's reaction to the community's support for the Fresh Food Hub is as simple as the food he grows and sells.

"People just are happier when they eat well," he says.

The Fresh Food Hub's Spring operations will begin on April 30; like them on Facebook for updates about the truck's route.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Ryan Kuck, Fresh Food Hub

Inventing the Future: Science Center's Port community expands

Two new biotechnology companies have moved to the University City Science Center's Port Business Incubator. They join the 45 other life science, healthcare IT, and emerging technologies startups currently working there. 

Targeted Therapeutic Solutions and Innolign Biomedical both launched as part of the University of Pennsylvania's UPstart Program, which develops Penn's intellectual property by helping faculty form new companies. The initiative provides participants with access to business planning, advice and support resources through collaborative relationships with entities such as the Science Center.

Targeted Therapeutic Solutions is currently developing a unique agent to reduce the incidence of stroke and bleeding for patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and certain types of heart attacks. Innolign Biomedical is utilizing its microfabrication technologies and tissue engineering to develop assessment platforms for the pharmaceutical industry and biomaterials to promote therapeutic tissue regeneration.

"These two new companies complement the diverse composition of the Science Center's Port incubator," says Christopher J. Laing, MRCVS, Ph.D., the Science Center’s vice president of Science and Technology. "The UPstart Program is creating an exciting pipeline of startups in biotech and emerging technologies. We are delighted to provide an ecosystem that will allow these companies to continue to grow." 

Both startups will use laboratory and office space at the Science Center for product research and development. They have each received Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Laing points out that with 198 hospitals and six major medical schools in the region, Philadelphia is the largest market for healthcare in the country -- which makes it a great city for startups in the field. 

"Greater Philadelphia is also home to 15 leading life science companies, and 78 have headquarters in the region," he says. "That is very important for health companies looking to establish relationships with industry."

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Christopher J. Laing, University City Science Center

Inventing the Future: Creative Café @ Replica, first-ever print shop/cafe opens in University City

Believe it or not, until December 2, there was no one-stop shop for caffeine and creatives—no Kinko’s/Starbucks joint venture. Keith Leaphart, the CEO who reimagined the graphic design firm Replica Creative at a time when many thought print was a dying business, saw this as an obvious opportunity. 

"I’m proud that Philadelphia is the birthplace of this concept,” says Leaphart. "The Creative Café @ Replica allows us to do what we love to do best, and that is provide great services, while meeting and greeting people. And what better way to do that than over coffee?”

The Creative Café @ Replica prints marketing materials, wedding invitations and custom wall graphics while serving up comfort food from DiBruno Brothers and coffee from Counter Culture. Leaphart hopes that the cafe/lounge/print shop hybrid will be more than the sum of its parts; its location at University City Science Center should be a huge asset.

"So much is happening in University City," he says. "The creative economy is truly thriving; and University City is one of the best places to be, to foster and grow original concepts. When we found this space in the Science Center, it was love at first sight…I was excited at the opportunity to launch the concept in the heart of the innovation zone."

Though two different groups of employees were hired to staff Creative Café (graphic designers and baristas), Leaphart looked for the same basic qualities when hiring

"Across the board, we like intelligent, energetic, creative types who understand that our corporate philosophy is ‘Grow or Go!’" he explains. 

The Creative Cafe @ Replica is located at 3711 Market Street; to learn more, visit replicacreative.com and follow @designprintcafe on Twitter. 

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Keith Leaphart, Creative Café @ Replica 

Local startup RJMetrics continues to thrive, and hire

When Flying Kite last covered Center City software analysis firm RJMetrics in May 2013, the company had launched a new product and almost doubled its staff. Since then, not much has changed — the company is still growing and innovating.

One of RJMetric’s most buzzed-about discoveries occurred when the company turned its analysis on itself. CEO Robert J. Moore wrote a candid blog post about internationalization after Tweets alerted him to the fact that the company’s new logo was could be misconstrued as, um, underwear (Y-fronts to be exact). Moore interpreted the reactions, parsed the data and made tweaks to the design.

"The Y-fronts post is a great example of opportunism in marketing," says Moore. "We could have quietly changed the logo and the total universe of people who noticed anything would be small enough to count on one hand. Instead, we publicized the story and were able to drive a month's worth of traffic to our website in a day."

This astute handling of online data is precisely what as fueled RJMetrics’ exponential growth. Launched in Camden in 2009, the company moved to Center City in 2012 in order to expand. Since May, the staff has grown from from 26 to 42 employees.

Moore calls the move to Philadelphia an "exciting and rewarding experience," and credits local leaders for their commitment to promoting entrepreneurship, including Philly Startup Leaders, their landlord at the Philadelphia Building, and Mayor Nutter's administration. 

Now, the company is looking to expand again. According to Moore, the ideal RJ Metrics employee is ambitious and intrinsically motivated, which ensures the company's success while creating an honest and impactful work environment. 

"We are here to win, and we look for people who are looking for the same in their lives," he adds.

RJ Metrics is now seeking a data analyst, account manager, operations engineer, senior software engineer, UX designer and junior developer. To learn more about open positions, visit: http://rjmetrics.com/jobs.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Matt Monihan, RJ Metrics

Hacking for good gets a prominent showcase

To the general public, the term "hacking" might still invoke isolated rogues in dark rooms. However, in Philadelphia’s thriving coding community, hacking for good has become so common that Technical.ly Philly is hosting an event to showcase the best projects that have come out of hackathons in the past year. On December 6, they will present the Civic Hacks of 2013 Demo Night.

"Civic hacking is the act of using simple technical solutions to address or better understand bigger social problems," says Corinne Warnshuis, events coordinator at Technical.ly Philly. "I think people are becoming more familiar with the concept, but I do think there may still be some negative associations with the term ‘hacking’ in the broader population. To those people, I would say come out to the demo night or a hackathon to learn more about the process."

The demo night will feature five of the most interesting online tools created at hackathons such as Random Hacks of Kindness, Day of Civic Hacking and Code for Philly meetups. Presenters include Mjumbe Poe from Councilmatic and myPhillyRising; Kathryn Killebrew of OpenTripPlanner; Ben Garvey from Bulldog Budget; and Amy Laura Cahn from Grounded in Philly

Warnshuis is particularly excited to hear from Councilmatic, which aims to get regular citizens more involved with the city's legislative process. She beleives that all civically-minded citizens can help create apps to better understand the city.

"You don't have to be a developer to participate,” she says. “Some great projects are the result of ideas from those with deeper understanding of some specific social or civic issue. I think there's a place for everyone at hackathons, and the Civic Hacks Demo Night is a great entry point to find out more about them."

Civic Hacks of 2013 Demo Night will take place 6:30 - 8 p.m. December 6 at O3 World, 1339 Frankford Ave., Suite 3.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Corinne Warnshuis, Technical.ly Philly

Inventing the Future: Fostering a Canadian invasion in healthcare IT

When considering international business opportunities, investors often overlook our neighbors to the North. However, the economic development spurred by Canadian companies is quite significant. 

Vince Finn, trade commissioner of Life Sciences & Health IT at the Consulate General of Canada, estimates that bilateral trade between Canada and the U.S. nets more than $24 billion annually and contributes to 300,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.

In November, at the fifth annual eHealth Innovation Summit at the University City Science Center, eleven emerging Canadian healthcare IT companies demonstrated their technologies. These startups are part of a "market immersion" program launched by the Science Center and the Canadian Consulate General; it has been dubbed the Canadian Technology Accelerator at the Science Center (CTA for Health IT). 

The CTA for Health IT offers a communal co-working space at the Science Center’s Port Business Incubator, as well as access to programming, resources and support from the local network. Participating startups aim to build their relationships with hospitals, insurers, clinics and physicians in the city. 

The program launched in May 2013. The second group of startups took up residency at the Science Center in September 2013. Companies from both classes presented at the summit: Infonaut offers real-time clinical information about hospital infection prevention and control; Pulseinfo Frame offers database-driven informatics for disease management and clinical workflow improvement; Sensory Tech develops telemedicine solutions for in-home hospice care services; and HandyMetrics Corporation commercializes hand hygiene methods. 

Some of the participating demonstrators, including Memotext and Pulseinfo Frame, have plans to stay in Philadelphia after the immersion program is complete.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Jeanne Mell, University City Science Center

Hidden City's Nathaniel Popkin delves into the sordid history of Philly's art world in debut novel

Prolific storyteller Nathaniel Popkin has written about the city of Philadelphia in multiple mediums -- as a journalist at City Paper, an architecture critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the author of two non-fiction books, founder and co-editor of Hidden City Daily, and script writer for the documentary film series Philadelphia: The Great Experiment. Now Popkin is publishing his first work of fiction, Lion and Leopard, a historical novel set in the Philadelphian art scene in the early 19th century.

Lion and Leopard explores the developing rift between Philadelphia's established art community, led by Charles Wilson Peale, and proponents of the new Romantic and naturalistic styles. German artist John Lewis Krimmel paints subversive urban city scenes and clashes with Peale prior to his mysterious untimely death.

Popkin decided to focus his novel on the life and death of John Lewis Krimmel after seeing Krimmel's work in historian Gary Nash's book First City

"I commiserated with his project, as I've done a good deal of street photography," says Popkin. "Then I saw he died tragically, at 32, drowning in a mill pond in Germantown. I was intrigued. It was a mystery. It seemed apocryphal -- his death coincided with the end of nature and the beginning of the mass exploitation of the natural world with industrialization. It seemed like hidden history that I could explore through fiction."

Popkin did not hesitate to re-imagine the lives of iconic Philadelphians, such as Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts founder Peale. Rather, he found that by interpreting the "reality" of history, he was able to bring characters to life in a way that would resonate with modern readers.

Despite Popkin's prolificacy and reputation, his idea for a historical novel set in Philadelphia was not immediately well-received by publishers. Then he met Nic Esposito of The Head and The Hand, a startup press based in Fishtown. 

"I wanted a publisher who would help me get the book right, produce it and sell it in a mindful, intentional way, and that's what they have done," explains Popkin. “They're a Philly press. I happen to believe that we need more Philly presses with national vision to publish literature if we're going to become a good book city. 2013 was a tremendous start for the press."

"No one looks askance when a New York publisher publishes a novel written by a New Yorker that's set in New York," he continues. “No one wonders if that isn't a bit provincial. Philadelphia -- or any particular place well-conceived in fiction -- is enticing to publishers looking for something new. We have plenty of delicious material."

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Nathaniel Popkin

Inventing the Future: Local startup Ycenter offers immersive international learning experiences

Speaking at IgniteGood's Ignition Philly event last week, Dhairya Pujara demonstrated his mastery of the organization's narrative workshop, which helps participants develop storytelling skills and become better advocates. Pujara's story was clear and concise, and his connection with the audience was authentic.

It is that ability to reach people, and the value Pujara places on his experiences doing so, that prompted him to found Ycenter, a startup non-formal learning center offering international experiences.

Born and raised in India, Pujara came to the United States in 2010 to pursue a M.S. in biomedical engineering at Drexel University. After graduating, he traveled to Mozambique to work in a rural healthcare system for five months. There, Pujara realized how ill-prepared he was to use his engineering skills to solve real world problems. 

"My communication skills were challenged in this Portuguese-speaking war-torn country," says Pujara. "My first few weeks were very shocking and challenging. To collaborate with members in the rural community, I realized the need to understand and be a part of this culture. It didn't matter where I came from, my educational background or my intentions, until I set aside my ego and immersed myself in this new community." 

Pujara's experience taught him the importance of "rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty." After returning to Philadelphia from his time in Mozambique, Pujara developed the concept for Ycenter. 

"Traditional study abroad programs offered by universities are very academic in nature and very formal," he explains. "And then there are volunteer programs, which are not structured for attaining concrete learning objectives. Ycenter's non-formal learning program helps students supplement their formal field of studies and work on community impact projects internationally." 

Drexel Product Design Professor Mike Glaser and Dean of the School of Biomedical Engineering Banu Onaral helped give Pujara direction; Philly VIP connected him with pro-bono legal services from Dechert LLP. Students from Drexel, Temple and LaSalle have expressed interest in applying for the program.

Ycenter's biggest challenge has been raising capital, but Pujara is confident -- he plans to launch the startup's first immersive learning experience in March 2014.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Dhairya Pujara, Ycenter


Catchafire, pro-bono matchmaker, expands to Philadelphia

Another national organization focused on furthering social good is launching a Philadelphia outpost. New York City-based Catchafire will announce its Founding Member Class at an official local launch on November 13. 

A for-profit social mission business and certified B Corporation, Catchafire empowers existing nonprofits and social enterprises to achieve their goals. Catchafire does this by connecting talented individuals who want to volunteer their services with organizations in need of pro-bono work.

Over the last six months, Catchafire has partnered with a small group of nonprofit leaders and organizations in the city, including the Children's Crisis Treatment Center, the Center for Literacy and Philadelphia FIGHT. Locals helped the group understand the city's volunteer and nonprofit landscape, culture and challenges.

"We have been impressed by the passion and professionalism of our current partners and the strength of the Philadelphia nonprofit community in general," says Adrienne Schmoeker, a corportate accounts lead at Catchafire. "We were eager to build on this early success by investing in Philadelphia in order to serve more organizations and volunteers across the region."

Catchafire asked community leaders to nominate two or three nonprofits or social enterprises. Nominees were interviewed and the Philadelphia Founding Member Class was selected.

Catchafire will celebrate its local launch at the headquarters of one of those 28 Founding Members -- Impact Hub Philly. They're also new to the city, having recently taken over the former 3rd Ward space in South Kensington. (Flying Kite publisher Michelle Freeman works out of Impact Hub.)

"They also share our values in building a strong, efficient and effective social good community," says Schmoeker. "Catchafire provides resources for nonprofit organizations to connect with talent, and Impact Hub Philly's physical and digital spaces allow leaders to dialogue with one another and to collaborate for the greater good."

Several founding members are already launching projects with volunteer professionals; these include a business plan writing project at the Center for Literacy; a Culture Coaching project at Philadelphia FIGHT; a brand messaging project with Tech Impact; a fundraising plan project with the Philadelphia Center for Arts & Technology (PCAT); and a print materials redesign at the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians.

Catchafire plans to engage others in the Philadelphia nonprofit community over the next few months.

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Adrienne Schmoeker, Catchafire

Local education initiative Fresh Palates to Palettes puts the 'art' in culinary arts

Featured on both Rachael Ray and WHYY-TV's Friday Arts program, the innovative program Fresh Palates to Palettes is back for a second round at the Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School (SLA). The multifaceted four-month curriculum exposes SLA's students to some of Philadelphia's best culture and cuisine as part of a collaborative effort to fight arts funding cuts in schools.

The program's parent organization, Fresh Artists, is an award-winning local nonprofit that empowers children to create art in exchange for art supply donations to their schools. Fresh Palates to Palettes is a pilot project of the Fresh Artists Greenhouse Program, an incubator of entrepreneurial ideas, networking support and development acumen for art teachers.

Students in Fresh Palates to Palettes are connected with local restaurants, chefs and artists. This year's participants include Lacroix, Bistrot La Minette, Pub & Kitchen, and Vernick Food & Drink. SLA's art teacher, Deva Watson, or "Chef" to her students, leads the classroom implementation of the program.

Watson has spent many years working in local kitchens, and she carries over lessons learned in the hospitality industry to her classroom. Her mantra emphasizes working "hard, clean and with efficiency." 
 
Watson began the program by teaching her students about still life art. At each restaurant, students will be served the chef's signature dish, then sketch the meal. Acclaimed food photographers, including Flying Kite's Michael Persico, will then style the sketches. 
 
Fresh Palates to Palettes will culminate in the spring with several high profile exhibitions: a public pop-up of the entire project at Metropolitan Gallery 250; and a private reception for the chefs and project donors at Avance, hosted by Chef Justin Bogle. Each participating chef will highlight "Le Choix du Chef" (Chef's Choice). On March 20, those four selected artists will be honored with a special cooking lesson courtesy of South Philadelphia Taproom chef Scott Schroeder, hosted by COOK
 
Barbara Chandler Allen, founder and president of Fresh Artists, believes the previous run of the project showed its ability to break down barriers for students while introducing them to potential creative careers and honing additional skills.

"In our second year, Fresh Palates to Palettes, like a fine wine, continues to improve with age," says Allen. "Last year's pilot project has blossomed into a richer, deeper educational experience for the children and the generous culinary community supporting them. Our kids are learning there are real exciting jobs in the creative economy if you are passionately engaged in learning and connecting. Fresh Artists is committed to opening doors for city kids -- changing their scripts and raising the bar so high that they will aim to sail over it."

Writer: Nicole Woods
Source: Barbara Chandler Allen, Fresh Artists

Good news on Philadelphia venture capital front

After a number of rough years, 2012 saw an increase in the number of venture capital deals and dollars flowing to Philadelphia region technology companies. And 2013 is looking good.
 
A new report  released by Ernst & Young,  Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP)  and the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT),  reports that 2012 was the best year since 2008 for investment in the region, bucking the national trend of declining deals and dollars.
 
"And early results from 2013 appear to be on track to meet or exceed the five-year average annual investment amount of $750 million," the report says.
 
The report finds that 2012 investment in the region was $698 million: $580 million in 59 deals came from venture capital firms, $59 million in 64 deals from angel investors, $51 million in 11 deals from corporate/strategic investors and $7 million in 57 deals from seed funds and accelerators.
 
The numbers reinforce Philly's strength in the life sciences, which accounted for 41% of all funded companies since 2008. But the report also finds a significant uptick in the software and information technology sectors, accounting for 33% of all companies funded, which it attributes to a surge in investment activity for enterprise software companies starting last year.
 
"The results … are a further impetus for entrepreneurs to choose the Greater Philadelphia region to launch and grow their enterprises," says RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, BFTP/SEP's CEO.
 
Source: Jaron Rhodes, BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider

Kensington Community Food Co-op holds '60 by 60' membership drive

After five years of planning and building membership, the Kensington Community Food Co-Op (KCFC) is ready to sign a lease. Their current campaign, 60 in 60, aims to bring 60 additional members to KCFC in 60 days, and to secure enough funding to ensure holding costs. If these goals are met, KCFC will open a location in 19125 early next year.
 
"It's going to provide healthy, quality food to the community," says Lena Helen, president of KCFC. "No grocery store in the area is committed to doing that completely."
 
To assist the membership drive, KCFC is holding two meet-and-greets this month: the first was held November 4 at Pizza Brain and Little Baby’s Ice Cream and the second will be November 21 at Adorn Boutique. The co-op also holds bi-weekly marketplaces at Circle of Hope church on Frankford Ave. The evening marketplaces give new and prospective members the opportunity to ask questions about healthy foods.

KCFC plans to increase educational activities once the permanent location has been established. Due to the density of low income residents in the surrounding neighborhoods, the co-op expects to offer food access programs such as "Food for All," a neighborhood fund for subsidized memberships. 
 
KCFC is supported by local organizations including the East Kensington Neighborhood Association and the Norris Square Neighborhood Project. The New Kensington Community Development Corporation helped the co-op raise initial funds and conduct a feasibility study. KCFC has also held marketplaces at Greensgrow Farms and staffs a booth at Greensgrow events.
 
Source: Lena Helen, Kensington Community Food Co-op
Writer: Dana Henry
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