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Mount Laurel company's incredible shrinking video technology means savings in surveillance

Let's say you're a particularly nosy busybody and want to keep tabs on an entire city: Full surveillance, 24/7, 30 images per second. It won't be long before all that data adds up to a whole lot of server space. TimeSight Systems has developed a clever solution. TimeSight's next generation surveillance technology is based on time sensitivity.

Chuck Foley, CEO of Mt. Laurel NJ based TimeSight, says, "What we've realized in the world of surveillance is that there is a natural time value to video." He explains that surveillance video is most valuable in the minutes and hours after it's shot. Time mitigates risk, says Foley. The older the video gets, the less value it holds, so there are declining levels of risk. "We've developed technology that allows you to literally shrink video over time by setting rules," says Foley of his company's Video Lifecycle Management software. "A company can keep video for a day or two at the highest quality; afterward, they can compress that video to half its original size, and keep it for 30 days. They may compress it again, so the life cycle refers to how that video declines in value over time." This compression schedule allows a company to get back precious server space. TimeSight can slash the amount of storage required by about 90 percent, translating into far smaller investments and footprints, and the method makes sense to a lot of major concerns, including cities, schools, and casinos across North America. TimeSight counts The City of Philadelphia and Paramount Pictures as customers.

TimeSight has attracted the attention of major venture capitalists, including New Venture Partners and Contour Venture Partners. "We've been able to do in software what others have done in hardware," says Foley, who says the Video Lifecycle Management program can process massive amounts of video from both legacy cameras as well as newer IP-networked cameras in a standard off-the-shelf server, making storage of high resolution images economically viable for a wide range of clients. TimeSight has been selected as a Technology Startup Company finalist at The Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies (PACT) Enterprise Awards. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 4.

Source: Chuck Foley, TimeSight Systems
Writer: Sue Spolan

Safeguard drops $25M on chip-enabled eyeglasses

Eyeglasses are about to change dramatically, thanks to a major investment by Safeguard Scientifics. The Wayne-based holding company, in an effort to expand its footprint in life sciences investments, announced that it has provided $25 million plus an additional $10 million in venture debt to PixelOptics, a medical technology company in Roanoke, Va., for its emPower! line of chip-enabled glasses aimed at bifocal and progressive lens wearers, of which there are a total of 100 million in the US alone. Safeguard's Senior Vice President and Managing Director in the Life Sciences Group, Gary Kurtzman MD, notes that investment in life sciences start ups is shrinking, and Safeguard is seeking new opportunities by getting into consumer-driven companies like PixelOptics.

Rather than divide eyeglasses so that the top section is corrective and the bottom section is for reading, emPower! glasses rely on a chip embedded in the frame which electronically transforms the focus of the entire lens from corrective to reading power at a touch. The chip is powered by a battery which lasts at least two years and requires recharging every three days.

Kurtzman says the new eyeglass technology has significant near term potential both as a product and for revenue, citing a low regulatory bar, a big market, and the fact that the product is ready to go to market. "We think it has all the features of an ideal investment," says Kurtzman of PixelOptics' new product, the result of 12 years of research.

Kurtzman, who is already wearing a pair of the glasses, is impressed that he can use the entire lens for either purpose. "There is a small liquid crystal embedded in the glass of the lens. If I need it, I turn it on and it's there." He reports that the glasses are the same weight as their conventional counterparts, and the company is initially rolling out 36 different frames, competitively priced, in a variety of shapes and colors. Kurtzman says emPower! frames will be available in the Philadelphia area within six months.

Source: Gary Kurtzman MD, Safeguard Scientifics
Writer: Sue Spolan

Philly solar conversion company among highlights of Cleantech Investment Forum

Clean technology is a big draw for potential investors. Several hundred people gathered at the Academy of Natural Sciences on March 31 for the 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Cleantech Investment Forum. Sponsored by Blank Rome Counselors at Law, the Academy and Cleantech Alliance Mid-Atlantic, investor panels discussing the future of renewable energy, clean water, recycling and waste disposal were followed by presentations from area entrepreneurs.

On hand were members of the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings. Williams J. Agate leads the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, developing and managing the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which is now in the process of creating a smart grid energy master plan.

The Fostering Cleantech Investment Panel included Kevin Brophy, of Meidlinger Partners, who talked about the future of clean water investment, and said that while innovation in the field came from the middle cap, the greatest opportunity for future investments is in the huge lower cap market. Also on the panel were Gary Golding, from Edison Ventures, who addressed rapidly improving awareness of water issues, Arun Kapoor of SJF Ventures, who mentioned 100 percent Pennsylvania wind provider Community Energy, and Josh Wolfe, the founding partner of Lux Capital. Wolfe described Lux as an early stage high risk venture fund valued at $100 million, and had a different take on the market than his fellow panelists, explaining that Lux focuses on companies that are long on human ingenuity and short on government rationality. Passing on biofuel, nuclear and natural gas investments, Lux is instead investing in nuclear waste management, calling it the energy industry's biggest unsolved problem.

The only presenting entrepreneur based in the immediate Philadelphia area is solar power conversion company Alencon Systems, Inc. Now in the research and development stage, Alencon addresses the problem of energy efficiency with large scale photovoltaic systems, which are currently created by aggregating multiple small systems. Alencon, which was borne of research at Rowan University, aims to simplify solar and wind power systems from distributed harvesting to centralized conversion. With a prototype already built and tested, Alencon slates projected sales of its streamlined systems at $45 million by 2014.

Source: 3rd Annual Mid-Atlantic Cleantech Investment Forum
Writer: Sue Spolan

Take your business paperwork Neat: Piles of growth for Philly company's scanning technology

You've walked past the kiosk on your way to a flight. You've paused at the entry in the SkyMall magazine. The Neat Company, based in Philadelphia, makes products to organize the avalanche of paperwork that accumulates if you travel for work or are a small business owner. Receipts, business cards, invoices, and other scraps can pile up into an unwieldy stack very quickly, and if you are out on the road, keeping track of these little white bits is not exactly a top priority. Neat makes two versions of its product, which combines a scanner with software to create a digital filing cabinet. NeatDesk and its traveling companion NeatReceipts scan paper, automatically classify and organize documents for easy reference and retrieval with included NeatWorks software.

"The world of paper is the last world to go digital," says Kevin Garton, Neat's Chief Marketing Officer. "Think of it like iTunes and the iPod, but for paperwork." Garton says that the Neat line of products is also useful on the home front, where parents can scan children's medical records as well as personal paperwork, and Neat makes tax time much easier for home and business users. Garton also points out that scanned documents are fully searchable.

Neat, which got initial funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, reports that it experienced 536 percent revenue growth in 2010. Neat began as a father and son business, after the pair got fed up with an expense reporting process that more closely resembled an arts and crafts project involving scissors, tape and more paper. Garton says that from that first kiosk at Philadelphia International Airport, Neat products are now available at major retailers nationwide both online and in-store, as well as on the Neat website. The expanding company will be moving its headquarters to 16th and Market Streets in April.

This week, Neat rolled out an upgrade for Mac users, and announced a contest to award ten people $1,000 each. Contestants enter by posting a comment on Neat's blog or Facebook page, by retweeting, or by mentioning the contest on a blog.

Source: Kevin Garton, The Neat Company
Writer: Sue Spolan

Adaptimmune brings tools in the fight against cancer, HIV/AIDS to Science Center

Imagine cancer treatment without debilitating chemotherapy and damaging radiation. Researchers in the field of fighting cancer and infectious diseases have recently come up with a way to remove, edit and replace patients' own cells to turn them into cancer and HIV super soldiers in the body. Adaptimmune LLC, one of University City Science Center's newest tenants, is the first company of its kind to develop a methodology for generating high affinity T cell receptors. Dr. Gwen Binder-Scholl, the Vice President of Operations at Adaptimmune, says that this powerful approach is a major departure from previous forms of cancer and infectious disease treatment, offering the advantage of much higher potency with far fewer side effects.

Traditional chemotherapy attacks any rapidly dividing cell in the body, knocking out cancerous tumors, but also killing cells that generate hair and mucous membranes. In this new treatment paradigm, T cells, which are the body's immune soldiers, are harvested from the patient, modified and placed in cell factories to grow, and then returned to the patient via vaccine. The whole process takes only three weeks from manufacture to release, according to Binder-Scholl, so that cancer and HIV can be treated fairly quickly.

"We are really the only company taking the next step towards commercialization of adoptive T cell therapy with high affinity TCRs," says Binder-Scholl, who has been working on T cell receptor research at the University of Pennsylvania's Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute for about three years at the June Laboratory under the guidance of professor Carl June, MD. Binder-Scholl explains that Adaptimmune, a subsidiary of a UK company, approached her to manage and carry forth U.S. clinical trials. While Adaptimmune already has a close relationship with Penn, its overseas leadership qualifies it for the SciCenter's Global Soft Landing Program.

This month, Adaptimmune is opening three new oncology indications: a trial for melanoma, which is very common, and trials for the less frequently occurring cancers synovial sarcoma and multiple myeloma. Depending on how the clinical trials go, Binder-Scholl expects to see data emerge within 12 months and hopes to get approval for the experimental treatment with the decade.

Source: Gwen Binder-Scholl, Adaptimmune LLC
Writer: Sue Spolan

Wharton SBDC helps Nikki Jean the singer become Nikki Jean the baker (at least for now)

Sweet voice, sweet cookies. Nikki Jean is well loved. It's not unusual for her YouTube videos to receive 80,000 hits. She's toured with Lupe Fiasco, and co-written songs with many big names including Bob Dylan and Lamont Dozier. Two years ago, Nikki Jean was signed by Columbia records. And then her album was shelved. Meanwhile, the lovely and talented Nikki Jean's been baking cookies, and she's ready to turn that talent into a business.

She's at the Wharton Small Business Development Center orientation, along with about a dozen entrepreneurs who have assembled to soak up some of this top school's magic. This SBDC is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the US Small Business Administration, and Wharton, with little or no cost to participants. Therese Flaherty, PhD, director of the SBDC, says 70 to 80 percent of people attending the initial gathering will continue with Wharton in some way. "We don't charge but we invest," explains Flaherty, who taught for many years at Harvard Business School. "We'll have one meeting with anyone who has a business plan, but we've got to see some movement to have a second meeting. It could take a year before they come back." Those who commit and take the path through seven prescribed stages have access to Wharton MBA candidates who already work with some of the country's most influential business consulting firms.

Nikki Jean needs a money making opportunity that has nothing to do with the fickle business of selling records. "I come from a family of bakers," says Nikki Jean. "I started baking cookies for friends, and then fans." While on tour, she used a toaster oven to make cookies. When the release date of her shelved album kept getting pushed back, she decided to go for cookie baking full time, and after a quick Google search, she chose Wharton. While working on her business plan to create White Chocolate Raspberry, Oatmeal Rum Raisin and Maple Bacon cookies, she's shopping around for a commercial kitchen space and filling out a large pile of paperwork for the city and state. She's just received news that she's been picked up by a smaller independent record label, so she's going to have to manage a dual recording and baking career.

For Therese Flaherty, the joy lies in seeing grown ups think for themselves. "It's all about giving people a safe place to think and explore their commitments. I love seeing learning." The SBDC is not going to tell Nikki Jean and her assembled colleagues how to make business ideas better; rather, the program offers partnership and plenty of patience.

Source: Nikki Jean, Marie Therese Flaherty PhD, Wharton SBDC
Writer: Sue Spolan

Virtual environments mean big business for Conshohocken's VCopious

"Events come and go, but persistent worlds live on," says Ken Hayward, CEO of VCopious, a virtual meeting platform that allows users worldwide to meet in cyberspace. It's an amalgamation of virtual environments like Second Life with social networking, and VCopious is gaining momentum. With VCopious, physical location is no longer a barrier to gathering. It doesn't matter if you are in Athens, Georgia or Athens, Greece.

After downloading the VCopious application, participants create avatars able to meet, talk and shop in-world. VCopious predecessor Second Life peaked back in 2007, and now that the dust has settled and the thrill of cybersex has worn off, corporate and academic entities are now seeing the greatest benefit from virtual engagement.

Based in Conshohocken, VCopious counts as its biggest customer software giant SAP, which is hosting between 30 and 50 virtual meeting instances on any given day, according to Hayward. This week, the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Technology and Capital (PACT) announced that VCopious has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 Technology Start Up of the Year.

"We believe that persistent virtual worlds are an important branding mechanism," adds Hayward, who touts his software's scalability. The recent SAP Sapphire event hosted a total of 51,000 participants, with 17,500 on the platform at same time. Hayward says it's the hardware, not the software, that might limit participation. "We believe we've done the largest single event in 2010 of anyone in the industry."
Unlike Second Life's virtual currency, Hayward says VCopious users spend real money for in-world transactions, and that virtual private environments are a way to monetize social media, representing, says Hayward, "a brand new gigantic market."

Source: Ken Hayward, VCopious
Writer: Sue Spolan

Chesco's ThingWorx, 'Facebook for objects,' lands $5M, to hire 30

Your objects may have social media envy. John Richardson, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Downingtown's ThingWorx explains that within the next decade, the number of things communicating on the internet is set to eclipse the number of people who communicate. Think of it as Facebook for the manufactured world. Holding company Safeguard Scientifics agrees, announcing this week $5 million in Series B financing for ThingWorx.

Richardson predicts that by 2020, well over a trillion devices and machines will connect via cloud computing. It's known as IoT, or the Internet of Things. Almost everything, large or small, will have a network enabled chip, including cars, factory equipment, and thermostats.
ThingWorx is a 100 percent software solution, according to Richardson, who cites the example of a beverage factory bottling line running low on syrup that will be able to send out an alert to a computer or smartphone, enabling adjustment, potentially without human intervention. "We've written the software in as small a footprint as possible," says Richardson. "A piece of the code could be imbedded in a device." Using the cloud-based proprietary program, devices will talk to open protocols.

While Richardson is not at liberty to divulge the names of his company's Fortune 500 clients, he says ThingWorx is moving software into pharmaceutical, food, oil and gas, and electric grid sectors at local, national, and international levels. Most are running ThingWorx on Amazon's cloud platform, but "companies that are averse to private data in the cloud could host on site." And there's good news for local job seekers. Richardson reports that the company is on track to create 30 new jobs at its Chester County headquarters by the end of 2011, with a projected workforce of 140 employees in three years.

Source: John Richardson, ThingWorx
Writer: Sue Spolan

UArts' Corzo Center awarding creative dollars to help spur creators' profits

A degree in fine arts doesn't often come with instructions on how to take economic control of your creations. The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts steps in with a rescue plan, applying the concept of enterprise funding to creative business ideas. With a grant from the Dorrance Hamilton Foundation, UArts professor Neil Kleinman developed The Creative Incubator, a $10,000 opportunity open to graduating students and recent alumni to "give students in arts and media economic control over their lives."

On a recent Wednesday, Kleinman and associate Todd Hestand welcomed a dozen hopefuls to an orientation in preparation for the March 21 proposal deadline. "Some of you are here only for the money," said Kleinman, "Some of you are interested in getting self-positioned, to learn more about how to put an idea out there, and make it continue." Kleinman plans to give two to three applicants with sustainable ideas $10,000 each, divided into three payouts: a third up front, another midway, and the final payment after the project is complete, with the idea that once the $10,000 runs out, profitability is well underway. Last year, says Kleinman, about eight smaller grants were given out, but only one reached the final payout. "Many fell prey to the very problems we were afraid of: no sustainable plan, and lack of awareness about underlying costs." This year, there will be fewer grants and more competition, with greater scrutiny of applicants' business plans, budget, marketing structure and audience.

One applicant is Michael O'Bryan, a 2007 graduate of UArts, who is attempting to create workshops for marginalized youth, combining artistic exploration with civic engagement. He says he got the idea while working two jobs: as a Youth Services Coordinator at The Salvation Army, and as Music Department Coordinator and Community Outreach liaison at the New Freedom Theater.

The Corzo Center offers applicants like O'Bryan, as well as all community members regardless of application status, full entrepreneurial support, including assistance developing proposals and business plans, workshops, special programs, and real world business contacts. Eventually, says Kleinman, the Center hopes to expand its funding to include creative entrepreneurs citywide.

Source: Neil Kleinman, Michael O'Bryan, University of the Arts
Writer: Sue Spolan

Ben Franklin Technology Partners funds $2M to seven firms on heels of Early Stage Venture Showcase

The visionary folks at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA have been as busy as the companies they support.

The highly successful economic development program announced on Monday a total of $1,975,000 to seven early stage companies with promising technology innovations. The companies included Ambler's Bioconnect Systems Inc. ($500,000), Glen Mills' Holganix LLC ($250,000), Devon's LiftDNA Inc. ($250,000), West Chester's LoSo Inc. ($125,000), Bala Cynwyd's Orion Security LSP, LLC ($200,000), Malvern's Quanta Technologies, Inc. ($250,000), and Malvern's Valence Process Equipment ($400,000).

Last Thursday, 21 other companies strutted their stuff in front of potential money as Ben Franklin partnered with Greater Philadelphia Venture Investors and the University City Science Center to host its annual Early Stage Venture Showcase at the Navy Yard. The event was open only to investors; angels, venture capitalists, and individual investors packed the room. Upstairs, the highly popular IT/Physical Science/Clean Technology track companies presented; downstairs, Life Sciences entrepreneurs told their stories to a much smaller crowd.

Ryan Caplan, of ColdLight Solutions, opened with a strong presentation highlighting his company's impressive proprietary Neuron platform, which offers automated data analysis derived from artificial intelligence, leading to highly targeted recommendations for retail, pharmaceutical and communications applications. Another standout was Holganix, a Glen Mills-based organic fertilizer company which is already servicing some massive lawns in its first year of business, including Longwood Gardens. The Holganix process unlocks already existing nitrogen from the soil and air through biological means and dramatically reduces the need for pesticides.

Downstairs a smaller but tougher crowd checked out Science Center tenants BeneLein Technologies, which uses a bioprocess to create generic antibiotics, and Vascular Magnetics, which hopes to develop a magnetic nanotechnology treatment for peripheral artery disease.

Doug Leinen, founder of BeneLein, says that he has not received direct feedback from investors. Richard Genzer, who attended the Venture Showcase on behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, reports that he has taken further action with three companies.

Source: Doug Leinen, BeneLein, Richard Genzer, Mid-Altantic Angel Group
Writer: Sue Spolan

StartUp Weekend wades through pretenders, crowns clear favorites

Forty eight pitches. That's how StartUp Weekend Philadelphia began this past Friday. The majority were riffs on already popular sites: Groupon plus GPS. Craigslist for skill bartering. Priceline for retail shoppers. From the start, there were a few standouts. The top prize, sponsored by the Philadelphia law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, was $2,500 in legal resources, and second and third place were in line for $1,000 in credit at the firm. StartUp Weekends happen all over the globe and Clint Nelsen, one of the directors of the Seattle-based nonprofit that bears their name, says that up to 20 StartUp events might happen simultaneously worldwide. The entrepreneurial incubator approach is gaining momentum. This week, President Obama announced the launch of the StartUp America Initiative, "a core component of President Obama's national innovation strategy for achieving sustainable growth and quality jobs."

While the most compelling ideas at StartUp Philly would make mincemeat out of an average person's brains, the gathered crowd of developers, MBAs, designers, coders and hackers went wild. A couple of pitches received laughs but were nonstarters, like 8sOrBetter, a dating website for highly rated singles.

You never saw so many tabs open on browsers. Laptops and caffeine: check, check. The soaring three story Solmssen Court at the University of the Arts held clusters of coders, some working straight through to dawn. From the initial 48 pitches, participants voted to continue with 13. Two projects garnered much peer praise: Git Hacking, a service designed to add a social layer to GitHub, a popular website which pairs developers with projects, helmed by Chris Baglieri with team members Josiah Kiehl, John Bunting and Aaron Feng; and LaunchRock, a simple "coming soon" web page design with a viral twist, asking for user email as well as social media participation, from Jameson Detweiler and Stephen Gill.

Sunday afternoon, just 48 hours later, it was pitch time. In a room crowded to capacity with startup teams and venture capitalists, most pitches followed standard protocol: identify the need; provide industry stats; and offer the solution. In the case of both Git Hacking and LaunchRock, which were designed and went live over the weekend, presenters were able to produce impressive real time stats: within a matter of hours, both sites had drawn hundreds of participants, and Git Hacking made the top of Hacker News headlines.

Judges deliberated briefly and the crowd-pleasing Git Hacking won first prize, followed by LaunchRock. Coming in third was Artwork Evolution, a collaborative iPhone/iPad app to create art without advanced skills. StartUp Weekend judge Stephen Goodman, an attorney at Morgan Lewis and Penn Law professor, said that the top two were clear winners, and there were five or six others vying for third place. Paul Solt's Artwork Evolution clinched the title because it offered a clear profit structure, according to Goodman. All three of the winning projects are now live, and you can follow their progress on Twitter: @githacking, @getlaunchrock and @artworkevolve.

Source: Clint Nelsen, StartUp Weekend, Stephen Goodman, Morgan Lewis
Writer: Sue Spolan

Return of the MAC: Bipin Shah and company seek $72M for payments startup

Financial services developer and Main Line resident Bipin Shah has big plans for the future of the industry. Shah is raising $72 million as outlined in a preliminary prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission at the very end of 2010. Shah's Universal Business Payment Solutions Acquisitions Corporation (UBPS) of Radnor is now awaiting SEC response to the filing of a public offering of 12 million shares. The proposed blank check corporation has a stated mission, according to the prospectus, of "acquiring one or more 'platform' companies in the payment processing industry," although no specific company has been identified for takeover.

Shah, Chairman and CEO of UBPS, has been an innovator in the financial services sector. He spent his entire career in the financial transaction business. At CoreStates Financial Corporation in the 1980s, he was the architect of the Money Access Center (MAC) ATM system. Other technologies to his credit include PIN-protected point-of-sale technology, pay-at-the-pump for gas stations, and a surcharge-free ATM network.

Now, Shah and partner Peter Davidson have turned their industry experience to the acquisition and combination of three subdivisions of financial services companies: payroll processing; debit and credit card transaction processing; and prepaid plastic. According to the UBPS prospectus, while three major companies control 85 percent of the payroll market, the remainder is comprised of 1,800 small companies with an aggregate market capitalization in excess of $39 billion. Shah and Davidson "believe that these 1,800 smaller payroll companies are primed for consolidation." Next, Shah et al turn the high beam on the "approximately 1,000 different organizations that sell and service the credit and debit card needs" of merchants, of which "the smaller processors are primed for consolidation," as well. Finally, UBPS aims to capture some of the profit associated with a projected $200 billion in purchases by prepaid debit, gift, payroll and government benefit cards. Davidson, reached by phone, says, "We have quite a bit of interest from what we call the initial investors, but we cannot start to raise funds until the SEC approves UBPS." While Davidson agrees that UBPS is a speculative investment, he cites his 30 years and Shah's 40 years in the payment space.

Shah and Davidson met while both were at CoreStates; Davidson joined Shah at Genpass until its acquisition in 2005, and currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Brooks FI Solutions, LLC, in addition to his post as Chief Administrative Officer for UPBS. EarlyBird Capital, Inc. is UBPS Acquisitions Corporation's underwriter, and is hoping to sell the anticipated 12 million share offering to raise first-stage money for this startup.

Source: Universal Business Payment Solutions Acquisitions Corp. Prospectus
Writer: Sue Spolan

Monetate hiring 20 new staffers, explores new features with huge private investment

Monetate has what many in the web marketing industry would call a good problem. With rapid expansion of the young company's website optimization tools and new private financing from First Round Capital, Monetate has too much going on for its small, limber staff to handle. So the company is doing a big hiring push, looking to fill 20 positions before the end of the year. The company is now offering $500 or a new iPad to anyone who refers a successful job seeker to Monetate.

"Our need for these new positions is driven by a lot more demand in the marketplace," says Monetate VP of Marketing Blair Lyon. "We have had a tremendous amount of growth in just the last six months. Now with this new funding, it all coincides really well. As we expand the product, we want to be able to add a lot of new features our clients are asking for."

Monetate is set to release an update to its flagship software in early 2011 and hopes to make it easier for self-service clients to run their own campaigns. They are also experimenting with not only updating text and ecommerce offerings but also helping website owners test other features like video or images or copy to see if they make a difference. As soon as they can get a staff back to full strength, Monetate hopes to continue expansion in 2011.

"The hiring is centered around being able to aggressively add a lot of new features that our clients are asking for," says Lyon. "But also being able to expand our service and support capabilities, so that we can continue to help these customers through this change of being able to easily test and target and personalize their site."

Source: Blair Lyon, Monetate
Writer: John Steele

Forget the five-spot in your sneaker, VitaBand gives exercisers wallet access right on their wrist

Any runner who has ever bought a bottled water with the fiver in their shoe can understand VitaBand, the new product from Philadelphia entrepreneurs at VitaProducts that allows athletes to carry the contents of their wallet right on their wrist. But in fact, the VitaBand started from a much scarier place.

One day in 2007, co-creator Jason Brown was on a 10k run when a car nearly clipped him, sending him diving onto the shoulder. He made it home safely but what if he hadn't? He hadn't left a note, no one knew where he was and he didn't have his wallet. How would medics locate his medical information? How would they contact his family?

"Had I been hit, I wouldn't have been found for days," Brown says. "Being the type of guy I am, I got home and started to look around for products that might be used for identification purposes for athletes and found that this might be a good business opportunity."

Company co-founder David Waxman looked beyond the bracelet, which is not unlike existing medical ID bands. Along with bringing a point-of-sale payment option to the VitaBand, allowing users to swipe their wrist to pay for that bottle of water, he began licensing the technology to manufacturers of everything runners use: cell phone cases, exercise gear and other proprietary partners. Waxman and Brown hope this bifurcated strategy will give the Vita technology life as both a product and a platform. After completing a first angel investment round last year, the company has received a second round of investment and looks to launch its pilot product, the original VitaBand, in January.

"When we came up with the concept, we wondered how to make this into a mass market product without a $200 million marketing budget," says Waxman. "We looked at the Intel Inside model or the Dolby Digital model, creating a bracelet to jumpstart the market for the licensing component of our business so we can focus on the payment and medical records and let our partners do the heavy lifting getting the products out in the marketplace."

Source: Jason Brown, VitaProducts
Writer: John Steele

Three tech incubation programs receive state grants from DCED

When the state Department of Community and Economic Development announced this week that Philadelphia would receive $785,000 in grant funding for commercialization projects, local development officials had to feel flattered. After all, very few of DCED's grant programs are this competitive and when all was said and done, Philadelphia programs took nearly half the funding, including the only two universities included in the funding round.

Drexel University's
Health Innovation Partnership of Southeastern Pennsylvania ($100,000) is a research-in-action program creating products from transitional life sciences research and Temple University's Pennsylvania Environmental Technologies for Pharmaceutical Industry ($600,000) will develop energy-efficient technologies for waste management in the pharmaceutical industry. But the scrappiest competitor may have been the University City Keystone Innovation Zone. After their first proposal was duplicated by another KIZ, officials submitted a new proposal for a suite of programs to help would-be business owners through the commercialization process.

"We are going to re-scope the grant to include workshops on how to pitch to funders, grant writing advice, that kind of thing," says Jeanne Mell of the University City Science Center. She and Science Center colleague Kristen Fitch worked on the proposals, which earned $85,000 from the DCED. "Beyond that, we are looking to continue the great programming we have offered for the last five years."

But the most important thing the UC KIZ hopes to offer is funding. Through a new micro-grant program, UC KIZ hopes to redistribute this funding award to back worthy business plans, getting some products and business concepts to the marketplace sooner rather than later.

"We will continue to offer a steady stream of networking, professional development and entrepreneurial support programs in Philly," says Mell. "What the micro-grant project will allow us to do is add funding as well to get these companies moving."

Source: Jeanne Mell, University City Science Center
Writer: John Steele

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