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University City locavores on display for Dining Days

University City's story of urban renewal, job creation and international talent is well-told. In a few short years, the 20 by 16 block, 2.5 square mile neighborhood has blossomed into a hub for culture and technology, with business and creative communities growing in tandem. One benchmark is fast growth in the food world, where five of The Food Trust's 40 area farmer's markets operate. For example, the Clark Park farmer's market has grown 30 percent since 2005 and has expanded from Friday afternoons when it began in 1998 to two days a week and year-round.

Another example can be found right now in University City Dining Days. An expected 26,000 patrons of 29 restaurants will eat the fruit of world class chefs like Garces and Flay for under $30. There's been a 20% increase in full service restaurants in the neighborhood in the past three years.

Philly Homegrown turns a sharp focus on all the awesome food on offer round these parts, and considers University City to be at the top of the locavore list, as the area provides a concentrated look at what can happen when people take farm to table very seriously. "West Philly is particularly rich in chefs and consumers who care about food," says Donna Schorr of the GPTMC.

UC menus tend toward locally grown and sourced items, and chefs may be found perusing the goods at Clark Park, where thousands flock weekly and even includes food trucks Honest Tom's and Guapos Tacos, which was recently renovated and sports bright orange furniture.

"It's a good source of revenue for small to medium family farms," says the Food Trust's Nick Uy, noting his organization charges vendors just $35 per stand.

There's an explosion of activity west of the Schuylkill, according to UC District Communications Manager Mark Christman, with tourism friendly Sustainable Saturdays and Farm to Table Trolley Tours; as well as neighborhood boosters like the Clean & Safe Program which employs 80 people who function as West Philly ambassadors, and the West Philadelphia Skills Initiative, now in its second year providing employment for local high school students.

Source: Nicky Uy, Food Trust; Mark Christman, UC District; Donna Schorr, GPTMC/Philly Homegrown
Writer: Sue Spolan

CityRyde hiring developers after winning funding, validation for carbon reduction measurement

CityRyde, the Philadelphia-based startup that makes software to turn bike rides into cash, has become the first company to receive validation for its carbon methodology. "It's software that tracks every bike ride," explains Tim Ericson, CityRyde CEO and co-founder. All those accrued miles can then be sold as carbon credits as part of a worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adds co-founder and COO Jason Meinzer.

The company also announced that it will be receiving a total of $345,000, half from Virginia-based New Dominion Angels, and half in matching funds from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA.

CityRyde started as a Philly bicycle sharing concept. While there are no communal bikes on the streets here just yet, in a few years, CityRyde has instead positioned itself as a global software solution provider at the juncture of transportation and energy.

The startup's proprietary Inspire software enables bike sharing programs worldwide to create a new revenue stream. Ericson explains that Inspire "pinpoints the exact amount of carbon emissions saved, so it can be aggregated and sold within the carbon space."

Eight people now work at CityRyde, which is based at Drexel's Baiada Center. "We're hiring. It's part of Ben Franklin's requirement for funding,' says Ericson. "We anticipate having pretty extensive hiring spree in the next year." Developer positions will be advertised first, according to Ericson.

The idea for CityRyde came from a visit to Paris, where Ericson and Meinzer saw Velib' docks everywhere they turned. "Bike sharing has completely transformed the way the city moves, and reduced traffic by 8 percent within a year of implementation in Paris," says Meinzer, who terms biking the fastest growing form of transportation worldwide, with a predicted apex in 2017.

Source: Tim Ericson, Jason Meinzer, CityRyde
Writer: Sue Spolan

New Campus Philly program looks to extend the summer job to full-time

A college internship can be the first step to landing a full time job. Tonight, Campus Philly launches My Philly Summer, a new program to convert the city's summer talent into full time employees. The initiative is a kind of career alchemy that mixes equal parts fun and networking in the city's coolest neighborhoods.

Deborah Diamond, President of Campus Philly, says, "It seemed like a lost opportunity to have interns living and working here and no one to show them all the fun." My Philly Summer provides a place to make great contacts and even land a full time job.

My Philly Summer 2011 is a trio of events designed to thrill and captivate the newest members of the city's workforce. WHYY, Deloitte, Independence Blue Cross, TD Bank, the Mayor's Office and NFL Films are supplying a total of 125 interns.

Tonight, June 28, My Philly Summer kicks off at North Bowl Lounge & Lanes on Second Street in Northern Liberties. In attendance will be local luminaries to share their career experiences. The roster includes Tayyib Smith, publisher of two.one.five magazine and founder of ad agency Little Giant Media; Alex Hillman, co-founder of Indy Hall and an accomplished developer behind the blog Dangerously Awesome; and Alan Joinville from the professional network Young Involved Philadelphia.

The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Campus Philly is running a free shuttle starting at 5 from 15th and JFK Boulevard. Guests are required to RSVP. Free food and soft drinks will be on offer.

In July, My Philly Summer goes south to The Navy Yard for a tour and party featuring special guest Mayor Michael Nutter, and in August, party people take over Eastern State Penitentiary for a tour and talk about the city's arts and culture.

The only similar program in the United States is in Memphis, says Diamond, where young professionals are treated to The Summer Experience. Campus Philly was in touch with that program's organizers to shape Philadelphia's series.

Funding for My Philly Summer 2011 comes from Campus Philly's general operating budget, which is supported by its 26 college partners and the City of Philadelphia. The events are completely free for both interns and employers.

Source: Deborah Diamond, My Campus Philly
Writer: Sue Spolan


Student business plans out of North Philly, Bustleton take NFTE honors

It's never too soon to start your own business. Two Philadelphia high school students have won a business plan competition hosted by the Philadelphia chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). Bianca Nieves, a senior at Esperanza Academy in North Philadelphia, won for a business based on her grandmother's Hispanic spice recipe, called Grandma's Secret.

Viktor Vabishevich, a junior at George Washington High School was the runner-up for Vito Lawns, a landscaping business that's already quite successful. Based in the Somerton section of Northeast Philadelphia, Viktor reports he takes care of around 40 neighbors' lawns after school and has made enough money to purchase two cars, while saving up for college.

Philadelphia NFTE serves over 1,500 students in 20 area schools. "These kids are coming from environments where they don't have the luxury of spending time with video games," says Sylvia Watts McKinney, Executive Director of NFTE Philadelphia. "These are kids with innately good business acumen, and they're put before a group of people who encourage them to take advantage of that talent."

NFTE's mentoring program runs throughout the entire school year, bringing dozens of area business leaders to high school students. McKinney reports that over 60 volunteers and judges participate. "Not only do we go to schools and teach them, but there are also opportunities throughout the year to meet entrepreneurs at Drexel and Community College of Philadelphia, helping students to build a resume, and teaching them how to get a job. We have coaches at Wharton and Temple." By bringing students to college campuses, says McKinney, the NFTE program demystifies the academic experience for kids who may be the first in their families to go to college.

McKinney reports that this year's business plan presentations were quite sophisticated, and in many cases could go head to head in competitions with adults. Vabishevich, who received a check for $1,000, and Nieves, who was awarded $1,500, will now advance to the national competition, held this fall in New York City.

Source: Sylvia Watts McKinney, NFTE; Viktor Vabishevich, Vito Lawns
Writer: Sue Spolan

Azavea hiring to keep up with growth, new projects in Philly and Toronto

Robert Cheetham, founder and CEO of Philadelphia-based geospatial analysis firm Azavea, is all about good growth. "We hire conservatively. We're not a venture capital funded company. We grow based on cash flow and the amount of business coming in, so there's not much margin for error."

His company is currently in the process of building staff. Some positions have recently been filled, while others are in the resume review stage, and still other positions are yet to be posted.

Azavea has built a strong reputation for merging geographic data with web and mobile software. Its high profile projects include the recently released PhillyTreeMap, which can easily be adapted to any city in the world and was funded by a research and development grant from the USDA; PhillyStormWater, to assist the Philadelphia Water Department's Green Stormwater Management Initiative, and a yet to be launched open source redistricting tool for implementation anywhere in America.

Azavea has just added several administrative and marketing assistants, a Graphic Information System (GIS) Analyst and a web designer. "We have grown every year we've been around," reflects Cheetham. "The last 2 years were relatively slow. Last year was 6 to 7 percent growth. The year before, nine percent. This year we're on track to grow 20 percent."

The secret of Azavea's growth is a mix of spending on business development and marketing through lean times, along with the lucky decision to hire a dedicated grant proposal writer just as the recession began. "We didn't necessarily anticipate the recession," says Cheetham, expanding Azavea nationally as well as internationally, with a recent job for the City of Toronto. "We get a fair amount of federal R&D work," says Cheetham, and while that's not the most profitable sector of the business, it's good for cash flow and pays for research that lays the groundwork for applications that can be adapted to any city or region in the world.

Azavea is always looking for great software engineers, a job sector that has remained fairly recession proof. In comparison, administrative job listings yield hundreds of resumes, and as a result, Azavea has developed a tool to select applicants. "We have crafted a questionnaire that requires job seekers to go to our website and look at the projects we do," says Cheetham.

Those who make it to the interview round have a much better take on Azavea's work and environment, and are able to explain exactly why Azavea is the right fit. It's almost like a college application, says Cheetham, who adds that he asks would-be employees where they heard about the job opening, allowing Azavea target the most effective places to advertise. Maybe there's a future app: Azavea Management Map?

Source: Robert Cheetham, Azavea
Writer: Sue Spolan

Science Center welcomes five early stage companies in lifesci, investment, and medical devices

Days before longtime tenant BioNanomatrix announced its move to San Diego, the University City Science Center recently welcomed five new companies, and continues to be an incubator for both startups as well as international companies wishing to establish a U.S. base and national companies hoping to move into the Philadelphia market.

The new tenants include life science companies Longevity Biotech, Claremont, and Epitek, Inc.; investment firm Karlin Asset Management; and Parsortix, Inc. a French company that specializes in the transportation and medical equipment sectors.

Scott Shandler is co-founder of Longevity along with Dr. Sam Gellman of the University of Wisconsin. "Longevity develops market leading, novel therapeutics for both rare and widespread diseases," explains Shandler, who has a dual background in finance and biochemistry.

Longevity's primary product is the proprietary Hybridtide platform, developed at Gellman's academic lab in Wisconsin, enables the development of new therapies to treat a range of diseases including primary arterial hypertension, small cell lung cancer, type II diabetes and HIV, according to Shandler. Longevity currently has a contract with Fox Chase Cancer Center. "The exciting science in Dr. Gellman's labs together with the increasing lack of products within the Big Pharma pipelines led me to commercialize this line of work," says Shandler.

Claremont's sole employee is Blandine Chantepie, the U.S. director of sales and business development. Chantepie fell in love with Philadelphia in general and the University City incubator in particular, having already occupied space at SciCenter while working for Claremont parent company Ballina Capital group.

Claremont's two divisions have quite different client bases. Its medical device division manufactures a laser for dental use. "They have been selling around the world, and are strong in Europe and Korea," says Chantepie. Now the company wants to make inroads into the U.S market. Already past the hurdle of FDA approval, it's just a matter of setting up a sales and distribution network, which is already showing early success. Chantepie cites the proximity of Penn Dental School as a selling point for the company's location.

Calremont's train parts division looks to Amtrak and SEPTA for major contracts, and Chantepie says that Philadelphia's central spot along the heavily travelled Northeast Corridor is ideal. Many of Amtrak's corporate offices are right here in Philadelphia in the floors above 30th Street Station. Chantepie anticipates hiring employees within the next six to twelve months.

The remaining three companies moving into the SciCenter are early stage investor Karlin Asset Management, a Los Angeles based firm with $1 billion in equity capital; life sciences firm Epitek develops treatments for radiation exposure and methods of radiation prevention, and Parsortix is a particle separation company founded in 2006 that is developing applications for stem cells, oncology, pre-natal diagnostics and bacteria.

Source: Blandine Chantepie, Claremont; Scott Shandler, Longevity
Writer: Sue Spolan


Welcome to Quorum, the Science Center's clubhouse for entrepreneurs

"I was a Science Center squatter," says Han Cao, founder of life sciences startup Bionanomatrix, now valued at $40 million. It's success stories like these that inspired the new Quorum at the University City Science Center. Back when Cao was a struggling scientist, he occupied virtual office space at the SciCenter. But when rent money dried up, Cao camped out anywhere he could, hiding behind a column in the lobby or setting up shop by the coffee machine.

The Quorum is a well-appointed series of rooms that can be opened into one big space or divided into smaller areas. With a sweeping view of the city, SciCenter CEO Stephen Tang calls the space a clubhouse. "We acknowledge the universal need to meet people," says Tang, who feels that face time is an essential part of business success. With so many electronic ways to connect, meeting in person is harder when you don't know where to go.

Philadelphia's business and government leaders were present last Thursday to bless the grand opening of the 4,000 square foot Quorum, including Mayor Michael Nutter, Duane Morris attorney Richard Jaffe, who is the outgoing SciCenter Chairman of The Board, Craig Carnaroli, who replaces Jaffe in that role in addition to his day job as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania; Mel Baiada, founder of BaseCamp Business, and State Representative Jim Roebuck.

Upcoming events planned for the Quorum are designed to unite area business leaders with entrepreneurs; on June 20, Smart Talk: Adventures in Entrepreneurialism, Deloitte Fast 50 Secrets of Success features CEOs from some of the region's fastest growing companies giving advice to hopefuls who may one day be able to tell their own mutli-million dollar success stories.

Source: Han Cao, Bionanomatrix; Stephen Tang, University City Science Center
Writer: Sue Spolan

Navy Yard's Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster hiring five

One of the goals of the Philadelphia Navy Yard-based Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) is job creation. And they've got your jobs right here. GPIC, a consortium includes Pennsylvania State University, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA (BFTP/SEP), the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, and the Wharton Small Business Development Center, has five available positions spread out among these members.

"This is an early wave," says Christine Knapp, Manager of Public and Client Relations at GPIC, her own position falling under the auspices of Penn State. "These are jobs that are really conducting the work of GPIC."

The available positions are a Post-Doctoral Scholar, an Intellectual Property Associate, a Program Director, a Database Analyst, and an Administrative Assistant. Knapp runs down the details. There has not been as much response to the architectural engineering post-doc scholar, as it is a highly specialized position in which the candidate would be assisting in the research and development of building systems.

The Intellectual Property Associate does not need a law degree; rather, says Knapp, the BFTP/SEP based position would take the lead in the commercialization and deployment task area. "One concern is that intellectual property is correctly managed," says Knapp. "Our companies have sensitive proprietary information, and as they are discovering things and getting them to the marketplace, we need to make sure that people get credit."

The Program Director is specifically associated with the Small Business Development Center of The Wharton School at Penn. "Each of the members is required to have a full time GPIC staff member, and this would be their liaison," explains Knapp.

The Database analyst is actually two positions, both at BFTP/SEP. "We are doing a lot of data gathering," says Knapp. "We're researching building energy use, consumption and performance." The analyst would also draw on existing databases, and ultimately the reports would be sent to the Department of Energy. "We want to be sure that the data is getting integrated and all task areas have access," says Knapp.

Finally, the Administrative Assistant will be working closely with Knapp at the Navy Yard, and ideally should be someone who can handle not only clerical tasks but also logistics, planning events and outreach engagement work. "It would be someone who is interested in moving up and taking on more responsibility," says Knapp, who expects hundreds of resumes. The GPIC positions will remain posted until filled, which is expected to happen around mid-July, but each position has its own timeline.

Source: Christine Knapp, GPIC
Writer: Sue Spolan


Sweet sound: Pew awards nearly $700K to local music groups

Money makes music sound so much sweeter. The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage has awarded 10 area recipients a total of $664,500 through the 2011 Philadelphia Music Project.

This year, Pew chose a diverse roster of performers with a common theme of creating connections. "You have everything from spirituals, to Irish music, to Indian music, to spectral music, which is one of the more hermetic forms of composition," says Paula Marincola, Executive Director for The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. "These projects will reach so many different kinds of audiences. It is an expression of the strength of the Philadelphia music scene."

The Crossing, a South Philadelphia choir, will use its $70,000 grant to fund The Gulf (between you and me), for which three composers write choral works based on the poetry of French-American writer Pierre Joris, accompanied by ambient sound gathered at the Gulf of Mexico. Astral Artists, a 2009 PMP recipient, got a $70,000 award this time around for Spiritual Voyages, a project that showcases the work of African American composers Alvin Singleton, David Sanford, and Evelyn Curenton. Tracy Segal, Development Director for Astral Artists, says that getting the grant was a rigorous process that began in the fall of last year. "It's a very rewarding grant, and a lot of work to put the proposal together," says Segal, who cites new guidelines rolled out this year.

The Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra gets a Pew nod for its collaboration with the vocal group Philip Hamilton's Voices at The Painted Bride Art Center. The drum ensemble and chorus will use its $70,000 grant to create four public performances along with a residency at Philadelphia's Creative and Performing Arts High School.

The newly renovated Rodin Museum will host a performance of work from French composers Tristan Murail and Philippe Hurel, who use Rodin's sculptures as inspiration for their spectral music. The actual grantee is The Philadelphia Museum of Art, where audiences will preview the compositions during its weekly Art After 5 series.

Other recipients include Sruti, the India Music and Dance Society, The Philadelphia Ceili Group, which performs traditional Irish music, and Bobby Zankel's 16 member jazz orchestra Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, featuring the work of Muhal Richard Abrams.

Source: Paula Marincola, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; Tracy Segal, Astral Artists
Writer: Sue Spolan


AlumiFuel maintains its power while seeking capital, government grants

A very common element forms the basis for a breakthrough portable power source. Philadelphia's AlumiFuel Power Inc. has developed a portable power system based on the chemical reaction of aluminum powder and water, according to CEO David Cade.

Using proprietary technology to strip the oxides from aluminum particles, the hydrogen generated is five times the density of a lithium battery, says Cade. "Our particular focus is portable, mobile and remote applications. We do on site, on demand power." The Alumifuel container is prefilled with aluminum powder. "The canister can be stored for years," says Cade. "You don't get hydrogen until you get water." A perfect application of the new fuel source is for the U.S Navy, which will pilot the hydrogen battery to propel unmanned undersea vehicles. Alumifuel is partnering with Ingenium Technologies for the project.

Cade is also excited by PBIS-1000, Alumifuel-powered weather balloons created in partnership with Kaymont Weather Balloons.

While Alumifuel is still "under the radar screen," and taking on a 100 year-old battery industry, Cade looks to continuing partnerships with major players like Ingenium and Kaymont to get the word out about a power source that provides 5-10 times the power of a lithium battery, is in no danger of exploding, and does not rely upon overseas oil and gas supplies.

"No one has ever commercialized this technology," says Cade. "There have been patents for years, but they have all been laboratory curiosities." The early stage company, based at the University City Science Center, is currently valued at under $100,000 and is in late development, early production stage. Cade says his partner, Henry Fong, is currently out raising capital, and if Alumifuel is awarded government grants, Cade and Fong's company could see serious growth.

Source: David Cade, Alumifuel Power Inc.
Writer: Sue Spolan

Business leaders name area's top tech companies at PACT Enterprise Awards

It was like swimming in a sea of money. On May 4, The Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technologies hosted the 18th Annual Enterprise Awards. About a thousand business leaders and executives attended. Beginning with a VIP reception, the kudos flowed as easily as the cocktails, while down the hall a larger food and drink fest filled with tuxedo and evening gown clad representatives from Philadelphia's top law and finance firms, who networked with the area's best and brightest entrepreneurs and incubators.

Out of 27 nominees, these are the results: the Life Sciences Startup Company award went to CareKinesis, Philly's top Technology Startup Company of 2011 is Monetate, an eCommerce leader that runs websites for Urban Outfitters and QVC; the area's Emerging Life Sciences Company was NuPathe, which works on branded therapeutics for diseases of the central nervous system; SevOne was named Emerging Technology Company, following a 2009 PACT award for Tech Startup, and this year's award for a MedTech Pioneering Company was sewn up by medical device provider Teleflex.

The award for MedTech Product Innovation went to Siemens Healthcare. The venerated Morgan Lewis attorney Stephen M. Goodman received the Legend Award for his many years assisting entrepreneurs; the IT Innovator Award of Excellence went to Lockheed Martin, Information Systems & Global Solutions Defense, based in Maryland but with offices in King of Prussia. The Investment Deal of the Year went to Safeguard Scientifics for the acquisition of Clarient Inc., formerly in Safeguard's portfolio, purchased by GE Healthcare for $144 million. "It was a spectacular dinner," says attorney Michael Heller, one of the evening's presenters and Chair of Business Law at Cozen O'Connor. "It was wonderful to see such a terrific turnout among the venture capital community. The region is more active today than it was a year ago, and there's more excitement in the air regarding the VC community."

PACT judges named James Walker of Octagon Research Solutions Technology CEO of the Year; Life Sciences Company of the Year was Health Advocate, and ICG Commerce beat out HTH Worldwide and Qlik Tech to win Technology Company of the Year.

Prior to the event, three CleanTech Companies to Watch were named: ElectroPetroleum, NovaThermal Energy, and Viridity Energy. Video of the entire event is available here.

Source: Michael Heller, Cozen O'Connor; PACT Enterprise Awards
Writer: Sue Spolan

Photo : Attorney Stephen M. Goodman

Port 127 game designers create an engaging ride in Hipster City

There's a new smartphone game in town, literally. If you've had enough of the aggravated avians, get on your virtual two wheeler and pedal over to Hipster City Cycle. And unlike Angry Birds, Hipster City has a narrative. "You start out living in Center City with a job as a paralegal," explains Port 127's design and coding team leader Michael Highland. "The goal is to blow all of your savings partying with friends and buying bike parts. As you move from neighborhood to neighborhood, the rent gets cheaper. We're turning the normal game progression around so that in Hipster City, you do something and get less." The final goal is to turn Binky McKee into a penniless cycling legend.

Highland sees Hipster City as more of an art piece, with an original throwback 16 bit soundtrack and very basic graphics that do a remarkably good job depicting the details of Philly neighborhoods. Graphic designer Keith McKnight faithfully recreated the orange tables at Pat's King of Steaks in South Philly, and in West Philly, you ride past hipster/student landmarks Koch's Deli, Allegro Pizza and Clark Park. At one point in the Northern Liberties map, you get to ride right on the El tracks, which Highland admits he's done in real life.

Highland says the game will officially launch for iPhone on May 19, and will take the average user about 10 hours to get to the end of the game, which also allows for competition with other players if you get lonely on the open road. Hipster City is simple to pick up, and meant to be played a few minutes at a time, taking the play through four Philadelphia neighborhoods in the process.

Highland, Kevin Jenkins and Keith McKnight all met at the University of Pennsylvania, and Alex Alsup went to Skidmore but is from this area. "Biking is nice, but harrowing at times," explains Highland when asked why the team chose cycling as a focus. "When I bike in Philly, my adrenaline is really high and I am in fight or flight mode."

Hipster City, which is entirely self-funded, also touched on a great marketing initiative which has brought them a lot of buzz without a lot of cash. Last fall, the group set up photo booths at events around the city, includings First Friday, and captured images of hundreds of local hipsters vying to become pixelated characters. There's a contest right now on the website: Visitors vote for their favorite three real people, and the top vote getters get to live forever in Hipster City. And, says Highland, cyclists from all over the world are spreading the buzz on biking forums.

"We're getting a lot of attention on international cycling boards and we're hearing that people in Taiwan and Dubai are excited to have the game."

Hipster City is unique among iPhone games in that it features a real world location, and Highland hints that other cities may soon be hipsterized as well.

Source: Michael Highland, Hipster City Cycle
Writer: Sue Spolan


Success is the main dish at Philly Side Arts

Some creative types are great with ideas, but not so great with promotion. That's where Philly Side Arts steps in to offer career building marketing and promotional services for individuals and businesses in the world of art. It's run by C. Todd Hestand, who is also a part time instructor at The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at The University of The Arts.

"About five years ago, a group of friends and I would get together to talk about our artwork. None of us had a website or representation," says Hestand.

Hestand put up the starting capital to build a site in which every artist had his or her own page with images and contact information. "We found opportunities at a better pace as a network than being frustrated individually," reports Hestand, who has just relaunched the Philly Side Arts site with tiered membership levels. Basic membership is still free. For individuals, the initial entry level allows you to upload five images, contribute to the blog, write your own profile and identify yourself as a Philly Side Artist. Businesses, such as galleries and collectives, can post basic information and a logo. A Premium level upgrade, which is just $5 a month for artists and $10 for businesses, greatly increases the amount of information on member pages.

Growth since the tiered launch surprises even Hestand, who reported that during our short interview, two new premium members signed up.

"Membership doubled in April 2011," says Hestand, who counted at the time of the interview 500 artists and 100 businesses on the roster, with about 25 percent at the premium tier. "The point is that the economy is changing. We have to accept what the new economy is going to look like, and where the growth potential really is," says Hestand. "The easiest thing for people to approach as a new source of revenue or employment is to be creative and just make something. It's a huge emerging section of our economy."

Side Arts allows people to spend time creating, not looking for opportunities. As for the name, Hestand drew inspiration from Tony Hawk's skateboarding video game series. One of the skate parks in the game is based on Philadelphia's JFK Park, but for legal reasons, was renamed Phillyside Park. Hestand separated the word because he envisions a future where there will be a multitude of cities in the Side Arts franchise. Watch out, Chicago Side.

Source: C. Todd Hestand, Philly Side Arts
Writer: Sue Spolan

Shorter books, longer life: Wharton Publishing goes digital

With ebooks on the rise, The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania has launched Wharton Digital Press. Under the direction of Professor Stephen J. Kobrin, who is also an international economics expert at the school, Wharton is going full speed into the digital world in a partnership with Constellation, a division of the Perseus Books Group, which will handle distribution as well as print on demand requests for hard copies of books.

"I took over Wharton School publications 3 years ago," says Kobrin. "A year ago, a depression hit the market. Given our size, having published 81 books in a seven-year period, we got every excited about digital and ebooks and see it as a tremendous market opportunity which can bring a lot to the school in terms of understanding and participation."

Kobrin says that going electronic allows for the addition of graphics, video and animation.

"We think there is a lot of potential for ebooks, and demand will build over the next few years."

He adds that in addition to the multimedia aspect of electronic publishing, there's a lot of flexibility with book length, and does not think the typical 250 page book is the way to go. "We want authors' ideas expressed exactly in the way they should be." Shorter titles may be ten thousand words; longer books can approach sixty thousand. You might think that authors are all from the Wharton faculty. Not so, says Kobrin, who reports that 60-70 percent of writers will be unaffiliated with the school, but the editorial board is made up of Wharton faculty. Kobrin points to the demise of brick and mortar bookstores, and says that the Digital Press will use all the Wharton name has to offer regarding marketing and promotion, responding to the rapidly changing world of book sales.

Wharton Digital Press will launch three business titles in June, from authors Michael Useem, Peter Fader, and Mauro F. Guillem.

Source: Stephen J. Kobrin, The Wharton School
Writer: Sue Spolan

Malvern biopharma startup Vicept on fast-track to get the red out

Rosacea is not a life threatening condition, but the facial redness of the disorder can be embarrassing enough to make a sufferer want to die. Rosacea is characterized by a red blush, spidery veins and acne-like pustules on the face. The condition may be intermittent or long term. Malvern-based Vicept is a specialty biopharmaceutical startup that has developed a topical cream that treats the most obvious symptom of the facial condition.

"There's nothing right now on the market that's strictly indicated for the treatment of the redness of rosacea," explains Vicept Director, President and CEO Neal Walker, MD. With $16 million in Investigational New Drug (IND) capital raised during a very tough time for the economy and for life sciences investment in particular, Vicept's prescription cream is an easy fix compared to other rosacea treatments on the market, none of which address the symptom of redness. Laser procedures are considered cosmetic and are not reimbursed by insurance; Oracea, a low dose antibiotic in pill form, affects the whole body and only targets the bumps and pimples, not the redness, according to Walker.

In contrast, Vicept's as-yet unnamed product goes after receptors in facial blood vessels, clamping them down with a vasoconstrictor mechanism and blanching out the redness. Walker is a practicing dermatologist and reports that the active ingredient in the cream has been around since the 1960s, and was originally in Afrin nasal spray.

Vicept has completed Phase 2 clinical studies and is ready to move on to Phase 3 as it continues to move the product along in development, talking with different types of potential partners for distribution both in North America and globally. The fast track company, founded in 2009, has seven full time employees and is nominated for a PACT Enterprise Award this year. Walker says he expects the prescription cream to be available within the next few years.

Source: Neal Walker, MD, Vicept
Writer: Sue Spolan
167 international talent Articles | Page: | Show All
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