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Drexel aims to solve real-world problems at second annual hackathon

Drexel University is hosting its second annual Philly Codefest hackathon this weekend (February 22-23). The event is a nonstop coding marathon that will run throughout the night on Saturday, ending at 1 p.m. Sunday.
When the various programmers and hacking teams gather at Drexel's URBN Center this Friday evening for a pre-Codefest meet-up, they'll learn about the event's purpose and its ultimate goal, which involves transforming various open-source datasets into online tools -- websites, apps, prototypes -- that offer actual solutions to real-world problems.          
When the Codefest hosted its first event last April, it focused solely on potential health care solutions. But as the event's co-organizer, Abhiroop Das, explains, "If you want to affect large-scale open datasets in health care specifically, there are issues like privacy [to consider]." As a result, most of the applications that came out of the first hackathon revolved around personal health.
This time around, "we want to give everyone an opportunity," says Das. "We want to highlight all the talent here in Philadelphia. It'll be more of a traditional hackathon."
Along with health and patient care, datasets provided to the coders will range from cyber security and data science to government and civic solutions. The Codefest's 20-person advisory board, which includes the city's Chief Data Officer Mark Headd and University City Science Center CEO Steve Tang, will judge the programmers' results and award prizes. Das says he's expecting well over 100 coders, including both students and professionals.
"[Hopefully], we'll see a good amount of projects stay alive beyond the hackathon, and go on to become, to some degree, a success," adds Das.      

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Abhiroop Das, Philly Codefest

The Navy Yard's EEB Hub welcomes its newest international tenant

At the end of January, the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia welcomed its latest tenant -- the Sydney, Australia-based energy efficiency firm Ecosave, Inc.
Ecosave's U.S. headquarters took up residency at Navy Yard's Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), a uniquely specialized space that was funded three years ago by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); they hope to significantly transform the energy efficiency market for existing commercial buildings. EEB Hub is the only such U.S. government campus-within-a-campus of its kind in the country.
According to Ecosave CEO Marcelo Rouco, his firm had already decided that the Northeast Corridor would be its American base when it eventually entered the U.S. market.

"Because in the Northeast, you have the highest cost of energy," he explains. Ecosave makes its money by helping large commercial buildings use significantly less energy and water; it also offers an ongoing energy-monitoring service to holders of commercial real estate.
"[But] we weren't even thinking about Philadelphia," explains Rouco, until an office in Sydney with connections to the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) brought the city to their attention. This was two years ago, and in the time since, Rouco and his team expanded their search for the company's first North American office to Toronto, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York.
In the end, Rouco says, the existence of the Navy Yard's EEB Hub was a major factor in Ecosave's decision to choose Philadelphia.

"We liked the idea of being part of [a community that] in the future could be the equivalent of a Silicon Valley for green buildings," he says. "An area where we could meet with new technologies and best practices that are being developed, and deploy them early, before they hit the market."  
According to a press release distributed by Governor Tom Corbett's office, Ecosave's new Navy Yard headquarters will create 125 new jobs for Pennsylvanians.

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Marcelo Rouco, Ecosave

Local startup offers yoga enthusiasts an affordable way to sample the city's studios

A Philadelphia couple's online innovation, PHLyoga, is an idea so brilliantly simple -- so forehead-slappingly obvious -- that the biggest surprise might be that something similar doesn't already exist. 

The brainchild of Kate Bogart and her husband Matt Joyce, PHLyoga offers one service and one product to the downward dog crowd. The first is an event-listings calendar, updated every weekend, cataloging the latest class schedules of nearly two-dozen local yoga studios. 

Then there is the startup's Master Pass -- it offers either five or 10 drop-in yoga classes at five different studios for the very reasonable price of $70 or $130, respectively. That's not a bad deal considering that drop-in classes at each of PHLyoga's partner studios are $15 to $20 per visit.        

According to Bogart, it was her recent relocation to Philly -- she earned a master's degree in International Relations at Columbia University last May -- that led to the idea. 

"It occurred to me that it would be great to jump around and get a sense of which studio I'd [ultimately] like to go to," she says. "But it's expensive to take drop-in classes every time." 

What Bogart really wanted, she says, was a drop-in pass that multiple studios would accept. 

"We're really excited to have [the Master Pass] be something that people new to the city can use to get [acquainted] with yoga [here]," she explains. She also thinks the pass is an ideal solution "for people who'd love to make [yoga] a habit, and who would like to try different styles, and figure out what works for them."
As PHLyoga grows, the couple hopes to partner with more studios for its Master Pass clients. According to Joyce, who built the website's first iteration in a mere two weeks, a mobile app may prove to be the young company's next logical step. 

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Kate Bogart and Matt Joyce, PHL Yoga

Impact Hub, a socially-conscious co-working space, opens in Olde Kensington

Philadelphia's co-working scene has matured considerably over the past half-decade. Back in 2006, the Old City-based Indy Hall was literally the only non-corporate option available to self-employed creatives wanting to share their work days with like-minded professionals. 

But this Thursday, February 13, the local outpost of a worldwide, socially-conscious network known as Impact Hub will be celebrating the grand opening of its Olde Kensington office, known as Impact Hub Philly. (Flying Kite's publisher, Michelle Freeman, is a founding member.) They have taken over the beautiful former 3rd Ward space at 4th and Thompson.

Self-described as "part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center...for companies that seek social or environmental change," Impact Hub was conceived in 2005 after a group of London-based activists grew tired of gathering in cafés and members' living rooms. They rented a space, and decided to expand their circle with others who were also trying to build a better world. 

"That was [essentially] 'Hub Beta,' or 'Hub 1.0,'" says Jeff Shiau, who relocated from Northern California, where he worked with both the Berkeley and San Francisco Hubs, to launch the organization's Philly headquarters. Today, 55 Impact Hub communities are active worldwide, with locations as far afield as Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Athens and Bucharest.

Here in Philadelphia, the change-making members include youth-empowerment groups, a socially-minded law firm, an eco-friendly energy company and a philanthropic organization, among a slew of others.

According to Shiau, who prefers to think of his role in the Hub community as that of a "Sherpa, or a guide who's in service to others," the overarching plan is "to truly stir the community" -- especially the South Kensington community the Philly Hub calls home. 

Tickets for Thursday's launch party have all been snapped up, but you can still join the wait list on Impact Hub's website.  

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Jeff Shiau, Impact Hub Philly

Small But Mighty Arts announces its first roster of micro-grant recipients

If you're involved in Philadelphia's creative community and ever find yourself struggling to afford art supplies or finance your next project, you need to know about Small But Mighty Arts

SBMA is a relatively new arts-funding organization that officially launched in 2012 thanks to $60,000 from the Knight Arts Challenge. (Disclosure: Flying Kite's publisher, Michelle Freeman, sits on SBMA's Board of Advisors.) It offers modest cash grants to local independent artists.

Founder Erica Hawthorne, a vocalist and spoken-word artist who goes by the stage name RhapsodE, relocated from Minneapolis to Philadelphia "purposely to be a part of the creative scene here." According to her, many creative types -- especially those with day jobs -- aren't in the position to compete for big-money grants. 

"When you're a creative person, you can easily [spend] upwards of $200 a month on your art form, just caring for it and pursing it," she says. "That's a [major] added expense." 

Just last week, five local artists in four separate disciplines were announced as SBMA's first official micro-grant recipients. Three of them -- a filmmaker, a tap dancer and a video documentarian -- received $500 each. The founder of a small theater company was awarded $450 and a second filmmaker was granted $300.  

The artists already have plans for their micro-grants. Michael Durkin of The Renegade Company, for instance, plans to pay his actors and rent studio time for theater rehearsals. Tatiana Bacchus, who's making a feature film, will be using her cut for archival photo and video licensing, and to pay for a research assistant. 

"As resourceful artists, [we're] used to doing a lot with a little," says Pamela Hetherington of Philly Tap Teaser. Like Durkin, she'll be paying collaborators and renting theater space with her grant. "It feels amazing to have an organization like SBMA support the work that I've done over the last six years. I'm still very surprised that I won!"

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Erica Hawthorne, Small But Mighty Arts

With R-Health, Philly gets its very first direct primary care provider

No insurance required: Direct primary care provider R-Health recently hung its shingle at 15th and Walnut Streets in Center City.

In some ways, direct primary care is simply a revived version of the old-school family doctor. It's a practice that provides basic, affordable primary care directly to consumers without the bureaucratic red-tape or expense of health insurance companies. In fact, DPC providers don't accept insurance at all. Instead customers either pay a monthly membership fee or pay cash for each visit. 

"Employers and individuals are really looking for innovative solutions when it comes to health care right now," says R-Health founder Mason Reiner. "The costs continue to rise. Quality and convenience is sort of suspect, at best. I think it's really a ripe time for health care innovation."  

R-Health offers a $79 monthly membership plan for individuals; there's no co-pay or deductible to speak of. (Participants often pair this coverage with a health savings account or high-deductible insurance plan, in case of emergency or major complications.) By doing away with the time-intensive paperwork required by insurance companies, doctors are able to spend as much as 30 to 60 minutes with each patient. R-Health physicians also make themselves available by phone, email and teleconference. 

The company currently has just seven employees -- four on the clinical team and three at the corporate level -- but R-Health's goal is to become the leading provider of direct primary care in the Mid-Atlantic region.

"We really believe that the key to improving health-care quality while also reducing costs is to put the physician-patient relationship back at the forefront of primary care," says Reiner.

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Mason Reiner, R-Health

On the Ground Redux: Mantua named one of Obama's "Promise Zones"

West Philadelphia's Mantua neighborhood -- site of Flying Kite's first On the Ground location -- was recently designated one of five federally-nominated "Promise Zones." The announcement was greeted with some confusion. What exactly does it mean to be a Promise Zone community? Is there money involved? 

According to Farah Jimenez, president and CEO of the Mantua-based People's Emergency Center, a Promise Zone is "at its core, purely a designation." To be more specific, it's something like a federal stamp of prioritization -- a Promise Zone neighborhood gets to "jump the line," so to speak, when it applies for federal funding.

There are other elements to the program: President Obama is encouraging Congress to fund the Zones with a series of tax credits, for instance, that could spur private investment. And, thanks to a reduction in bureaucratic red tape, there's now an incentive for groups like the Pennsylvania Finance Housing Agency and HUD to approve projects in Promise Zone communities. 

"Instead of waiting in line, which is often the tradition around these funding sources, we're more likely to get it fast-tracked," explains Jimenez. "There are more opportunities to get more affordable housing built in our communities." 

So while the Promise Zone designation doesn't come with a proverbial pot of gold, it could provide advantages. The PEC recently filed its third application for low-income housing tax credits with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

"Our hope is that with the Promise Zone designation, this third submission will be a charm," says Jimenez, "and we'll be awarded the allocation funding we're seeking." 

The Center is also looking at a number of possible new initiatives, including a local interpretation of the Harlem Children's Zone, an education nonprofit profiled in the celebrated documentary Waiting for "Superman." 

As far as PEC is concerned, Mantua's run as a Promise Zone region "is not going to be just chasing money," says Jimenez. "It's got to [involve] opportunities that will help us achieve the outcomes that we want for our community."

Source: Farah Jimenez, People's Emergency Center
Writer: Dan Eldridge

With FastFWD, the City of Philadelphia enters the social entrepreneurship game

When the City of Philadelphia entered Michael Bloomberg's 2013 Mayors Challenge last year, winning one of the contest's four $1 million prizes probably seemed a little far-fetched. And yet when the 305 cities that initially applied to the competition -- intended "to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life" -- were whittled down to 20, and then just five, Philadelphia found itself among the victorious. (Chicago, Houston and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million each; Providence, R.I., took home the $5 million grand prize.)

This all happened roughly 18 months ago. In the interim, the recently-formed Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) has been busy working with the Wharton School's Social Impact Initiative to pound out the kinks in the winning idea, which is being referred to as FastFWD

The program is a partnership between the city's public sector and 10 different social entrepreneurs from the private sector. The two spheres will work side-by-side in an effort to solve some of the city's public safety issues, including recidivism and violent crime. The Mayor's Office has agreed to share its city data with the chosen entrepreneurs, who in turn will spend 12 weeks in an accelerator program managed by Good Company Group.

The application period recently ended. Toward the end of May, the resulting business ideas will be primed and ready to hatch -- or at least, that's the idea.

According to MONUM Co-Director Story Bellows, easing up the procurement process and lessening the pain of dealing with the city's notorious red tape is one of the program's three main objectives.

"One of things we like about [the] public safety [initiative]," she says, "is that it's sort of exposing a market in which entrepreneurs have been underrepresented." 

The city is currently exploring revenue models that would allow FastFWD to continue after its initial $1 million is extinguished. According to Bellows, a second round is already in the works. Health-care, education and youth programs are some of the potential themes, and applications for that consortium will be available to social entrepreneurs sometime this summer. 

The initial accelerator program -- taking place at Impact Hub in Kensington -- will officially kick off with an open-to-the-public event sometime near end of February. Stay tuned.

Writer: Dan Eldridge
Source: Story Bellows, Philadelphia Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) 

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
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