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Innovation & Job News

Philly Tech Meetup's rapid growth bodes well for region's brightest startups

In a matter of months, Philly Tech Meetup has grown into a force to be reckoned with. Rohan Mehta, founder and organizer of the monthly event, says he was inspired by New York Tech Meetup, which regularly draws a crowd of a thousand. Judging by the rapid growth of the local Tech Meetup, Philly isn’t too far behind.

According to the PTM website, 233 attended the Oct. 26 evening gathering, held at Quorum inside the University City Science Center. A show of hands indicated that over half were first-timers. PTM already has almost a thousand members in total.

"PTM exists to advance entrepreneurship and innovation in the region," says Mehta. "Our focus is on hosting productive events that engage and inspire. Our goal is to build a sustainable tech ecosystem, and that begins by convening all stakeholders regularly to learn and share."

This month, Lokalty, Spling and Ajungo gave demos in front of a standing room only crowd that was overwhelmingly male, although diverse in age and ethnicity. Of the several hundred in attendance, about a dozen were women.

Lokalty, a cross referenced loyalty program, gave the example of going to a spa, then getting a discount at a nearby coffee shop. While the startup has plenty of competition, it differentiates its offer by allowing users to accumulate universal points. Currently there are seven participating retailers, all in Center City.

Ajungo officially launched at PTM. The initiative mashes up social media with travel; notably, sports fans who follow their teams to away games. Members can connect, post pictures and reviews, and in the future, earn rewards.

DreamIt Ventures company Spling announced it has received a Series A round of funding from a Menlo Park, California VC firm, even though the startup is still in pre-launch. Also social in nature, Spling participants share and discover online media. Founders Billy McFarland and Mac Cordrey say they already have 2,000 users in the closed beta.

Philly Tech Meetup has been the darling of local startups; since February, rapid growth companies including Launchrock, CloudMine, RezScore, Storably, and ElectNext have been among the presenters. There is also a brand new Philly Tech Meetup website.

Mehta also announced the upcoming Tech Arts Beer (TAB) Festival, to take place in Spring 2012, gathering entrepreneurs from all three disciplines. You can sign up for one of the planning committees.

The next Philly Tech Meetup will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the Quorum. It’s free to attend. Startups that wish to present can apply for a spot on the agenda.

Source: Rohan Mehta, Philly Tech Meetup
Writer: Sue Spolan
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