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Founders Unplugged: Cliq set to release 'connected search' capability

Philly Tech Meetup keeps on growing, and its new Founders Unplugged video series takes a closer look at Cliq, which we reported on back in September, and its CEO Alex Khorram.

In the next few weeks, the Philadelphia-based social search startup will roll out Connected Search, a first of its kind feature that will allow a user to search for a hotel in Chicago and get results based on those he or she is most connected to. That means the ability to view any relevant posts or media shared by friends and friends of friends about that particular hotel.

Cliq already has three million U.S. businesses in its database and is shooting for all nine million in the near future, aiming to provide online searchers with trusted information more quickly than ever.

 

 


Ajungo, the social network for travelers, gets Gadling love

Ben Barton and Steve Shea's traveler-focused startup, Ajungo, could be Philly's next social media sensation, reports AOL's Gadling. The company also was included prominently in this BBC feature.

The goal of the site is to make travel more social as well as more comfortable for people going to new destinations. And, if there is any information that you do not want shared, the site will not post it without your permission.

Original source: Gadling
Read the full story here.

TechCrunch casts ballot for ElectNext's launch out of beta

TechCrunch covers ElectNext's launch out of beta on Monday, a month after we told you about them here.

The site, which likes to describe itself as an "eHarmony for voters," offers a familiar concept, thanks to the dozens of politically themed quizzes that attempt to suss out what political party best fits your personal interests and beliefs. But ElectNext takes the political quiz to the next level by actually matching up your beliefs with those from the actual candidates in the current election.

Original source: TechCrunch
Read the full story here.

Easier city to start a biz: Philly vs. Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun's tech blogger does a side-by-side comparison of taxes involved in starting a business in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

One thing I discovered today is that if you're interested in doing business in Baltimore, the city has a great website for helping you get started. It's called: Baltimore: Open For Business.

But it would be super-handy if Baltimore simply put all the tax, fee, and license costs on one page, so that business owners and entrepreneurs can be sure they're not missing one because they're not looking in the right place. (Kind of like what Philadelphia does here.)


Original source: Baltimore Sun
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TicketLeap scares up growth among haunts with app, QR codes

Inc. magazine examines how Philadelphia startup TicketLeap has cashed in on the growing number of haunted houses using its online ticket exchange.

The haunt industry is bigger than you might think. The Haunted House Association, an industry trade group based in High Point, North Carolina, estimates that there are about 2,000 haunted attractions in the Unites States, which generate between 400 and 500 million dollars in ticket sales each year.  

Stanchak hopes to take a piece of that business. He says he began noticing an upward trend in haunts using the service in about 2008. The company, which ranked No. 357 on the 2010 Inc. 500 with an 857 percent growth rate and $2.1 million in revenue, now services about 200 hundred Haunts, but expects the number to rise.

Innovation within the industry is especially important for smaller haunts, Stanchak says, because it's a seasonal business. Haunts stay open from just September 1st to November 1st, so there's little room for error in marketing and logistical strategies.


Original source: Inc.
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Malvern pharma startup among stars of BioTech 2011's innovation corridor

Recro Pharma of Malvern was one of several companies from the region who were showcased at BioTech 2011 last week at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and MedCity News has a write-up and video on its new drug that targets postoperative and diabetes pain.

This year’s innovation corridor included about 24 scientists and early stage startups from universities and incubators who exhibited posters that highlighted their work and demonstrated the commercial applications, something that regional associations are trying to do more. Now in its sixth year, a decision was made to put the younger scientists alongside the more mature startups so potential investors could see them at the same time and encourage mentoring and partnership opportunities.

Recro Pharma, a Malvern, Pennsylvania-based company, is seeking $20 million for a new drug application for a drug that targets postoperative and diabetes pain relief.

Original source: MedCity News
Read the full story here.


CloudMine's open beta launch well-received

TechCrunch writes about Philadelphia-based and DreamIt Ventures-funded CloudMine's open beta launch last week and the startup's ability to cut the time it takes for developers to create backend solutions in half.

I like that the PaaS service is offering a "B2D" (business-to-developer) solution that enables developers to move their focus away from infrastructure to product testing and iterating. It’s also pretty cool that developers can sign up for free and immediately get an API key for their first app -- and quickly generating keys for other apps with one click once they’re ready to do so.

As to who is behind the startup: CloudMine was co-founded by Ilya Braude (formerly of Eastern Research acquired by Sycamore Networks and Drakontas), Marc Weil (who has previously worked at Apple and Oracle), and Brendan McCorkle (also the co-founder of Textaurant.)


Original source: TechCrunch
Read the full story here.




Philly lawyer among those quitting jobs to chart their own course

Ryan Wertman, a Philadelphia lawyer who started his own practice that serves small businesses, is among those profiled by BBC in its look at Americans who leave good jobs to do their own thing.

Unwilling to put their careers in the hands of others, some Americans are quitting good jobs to start their own businesses - despite the high unemployment rate. In the first in a new series about creating jobs, the spotlight is on this surprising trend.

Ryan Wertman was one of the lucky ones.

A 2007 law school graduate, he had landed a job with a corporate firm in Philadelphia. At a time when unemployment numbers remained high, he was making good money, earning solid benefits, and on track for a partner position.

Then the economy crashed, and everything changed.

He wasn't fired, or downsized, or otherwise forced to start his own shop. Instead, disillusioned with corporate culture, he left his cushy job to start out on his own practice - a one-man firm offering legal services to other small businesses.


Original source: Ryan Wertman
Read the full story here.

Sales, offerings up for West Chester electric bicycle retailer

The owner of Hybrid Cycles on East Gay St., West Chester, has added another line of electric bicycles and reports that sales are up 80 percent, reports the Daily Local.

At Hybrid Cycles, President Gary DiVincenzo said sales of electric bikes -- he sells four lines altogether -- are up 80 percent so far this year. Even so, electric bikes are in their infancy in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world, and the East Coast is about two years behind the trend compared to the West Coast, DiVincenzo said.

"There were 20 million (electric bikes) sold in China last year, 1 million in Europe and 125,000 in the U.S.," said DiVincenzo, a former pharmaceutical industry worker who spent 10 years doing custom woodworking before starting Hybrid Cycles.


Original source: Daily Local
Read the full story here.

BioTube: Nonprofit Energy Cooperative's video contest encourages bioheat use

The Energy Cooperative wants to increase awareness of bioheat through a video contest, according to Biodiesel Magazine.

The Energy Cooperative, a Philadelphia-based member-owned nonprofit, has launched an initiative to encourage the use of Bioheat. To kick off the Clean Heat initiative, The Energy Co-op is holding a Clean Heat video contest. Members of the group submitted videos of their experiences using Bioheat. The Energy Co-op will use these videos as a way to promote the use of the biodiesel-blended heating oil, as well as create more awareness of the renewable heating fuel. The contest is scheduled to conclude on Oct. 20.

Source: Biodiesel Magazine
Read the full story here.

Georgia biofuel company moving to King of Prussia, hiring 150 in three years

Renmatix, a company that creates biofuel from sugar, is setting up shop in King of Prussia, according to BusinessWeek.

Gov. Tom Corbett traveled to suburban Philadelphia on Tuesday to welcome a biomass energy company that plans to move its headquarters from Georgia and create 150 jobs over the next three years as it tries to develop ways to turn products such as wood and waste into fuel.

Venture capitalist John Doerr moderated a discussion of alternative energy inside the warehouse building that Renmatix -- which has another facility in Kennesaw, Ga. -- will be calling home.

The company is developing ways to access the fermentable sugars that are the foundation of biofuels. The effort, along with other alternative energy efforts, are all part of helping the country become less dependent on foreign oil, Doerr said.


Source: BusinessWeek
Read the full story here.

Philly's finest farm-to-table offerings

Local restaurants are getting a reputation for farm fresh ingredients, according to OffManhattan.

To taste the freshest produce in the region, you can shop one of the city’s many farmers market, haul your selections back home, and crack open a cookbook. Or you can take the effortless route, and settle into one of the top farm-to-table restaurants in Philadelphia.

Uniquely positioned between ‘Jersey Fresh’ territory and Amish Country, Philly offers its chefs an impressive variety of local, seasonal ingredients from which to craft their award-winning menus. And diners will be excited to know that much of this produce makes its way from farm to plate just one day after harvesting. Yes, the peppery radishes and buttery greens in your appetizer salad may have been plucked from the dirt just hours ago.


Source: OffManhattan
Read the full story here.

Flourtown man's startup online bookstore creates jobs, scholarships

A Huntingdon Valley online bookseller with a socially conscious focus, Education By Inclusion recently gave a $40,000 scholarship to a Camden, NJ resident, according to The Chestnut Hill Local.

Who would have thought that reselling books and electronics could be such a lucrative business and result in scholarship money for needy students?  Flourtown resident Chetan Bagga, a Columbia University graduate, ran the numbers and started Education by Inclusion (EBI) about a year ago.

The home page of their web site offers this comment to customers. "We are a socially conscious online bookstore with a simple promise -- everything you buy contributes to a deserving student’s education. This year, you’ve made over 100,000 purchases toward scholarships. We sincerely thank you! Let’s keep the momentum going."


Source: The Chestnut Hill Local
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SAP still sitting on top of the enterprise software world

Despite challenges in court and changes in management, enterprise software giant SAP remains at the top of its game, according to The Globe and Mail.

It’s been a tumultuous two years for German technology giant SAP AG. Its CEO was dismissed in the face of poor numbers, and two new co-CEOS were appointed. It was ordered to pay $1.3-billion (U.S.) in penalties after an SAP unit stole trade secrets from rival Oracle Inc. But now things are breaking SAP’s way. A U.S. judge last week rejected the damages as ‘grossly excessive’ and recommended Oracle get $272-million – or seek a fresh trial. And 39-year old SAP – with annual revenue more than €12-billion ($16.8-billion) – is still on top of the enterprise-software world. At the centre of the whirlwind is co-CEO Bill McDermott, a rangy hoops-shooting U.S. marketer who operates out of suburban Philadelphia. He was interviewed the day before the judge’s decision.

Source: The Globe and Mail (Canada)
Read the full story here.


A closer look at DreamIt Ventures' current startup class

TechCrunch takes a closer look at startup accelerator DreamIt Ventures' current crop of companies.

The current class includes students and alumni from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia and MIT. Startup founders have past work experience at Google, Yahoo, Intel, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

Five of the companies were selected together by DreamIt and Comcast Ventures, the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation, as part of its Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (MEAP). This program provides an extra $350,000 on top of the funding DreamIt offers for minority-led startups. The current group includes owners who are African-American, Asian, Hispanic and Indian.


Original source: TechCrunch
Read the full story here.
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