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Chester County's Organic Mechanics makes money on dirt

Mark Highland and Organic Mechanics, operating in the tiny Chester County borough of Modena, are achieving success by shaking up the huge specialty soils market.

Founded in 2006, Organic Mechanics is now profitable and will pay off one of its first low-interest business loans this year. The seven-employee firm, which started with just one product, now sells nine different SKUs on the East Coast and in the Midwest at independent garden centers and Whole Foods Markets.

Instead of peat, Organic Mechanics' mixes contain compost, which Highland says requires less watering and is reusable for a second season, another green aspect attractive to serious gardeners.

Original source: Entrepreneur
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Cipher Prime's Pulse makes list of 2011's top iPad games

Philly based game designer Cipher Prime is cited by Gamezebo as building a reputation as one of the top developers in the world of music games.

The studio previously responsible for Fractal and Auditorium released their first iPad-exclusive project back in May, and much to our delight, it seemed to be the kind of game that could only work on a big touch screen like the iPad’s. Players tapped circles as they came into contact with a “pulse” from a set of concentric rings – and we found ourselves tapping up a frenzy.

And the music? Wow. If you’re the kind of audiophile who relishes in finding great new tunes, you’ll only last minutes in Pulse before you head to iTunes and by the soundtrack.

Original source: Gamezebo
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National expansion coming soon for Storably's peer-to-peer parking and storage marketplace

Young Upstarts takes a peek at Philadelphia's Storably, launched in September by Wharton graduates and on the verge of bringing its platform -- likened to Airbnb for storage -- to other markets.

The founders started working in a basement from May this year, putting together mockups and building the site with an off-shore development team. However, the quality wasn’t quite what they expected. Kowitt and Gupta then hired a full-time VP of Engineering, Nick Shiftan, who rebuilt the site from scratch. They later brought on Brendan Lowry as a community manager. The site was formally launched in Philadelphia on September 21, and the startup intends to expand nationally soon.

Original source: Young Upstarts
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Mixed reviews for DreamIt grad Spling's content sharing network

TechCrunch bemoans the spate of content-sharing startups when Facebook and Twitter have it on lockdown, but likes the different route DreamIt Ventures graduate Spling takes.

This quick access to a history of your shares may be the most valuable piece to Spling, because, unfortunately, there are a lot of similarities between this new startup and its competition. It introduces the idea of Circles, for example, which Spling claims to have launched (via its private beta) before Google+. The Circles essentially function just like Google+ Circles, too, except that they are symmetric (everyone in a Circle is accessing the same Circle). And since Circles can be private, they can function as a way to share links with friends which you might not want to post to Facebook for some reason. (Ahem. You know what I mean).

Original source: TechCrunch
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DuckDuckGo partners with fourth most popular operating system

Philadelphia search startup DuckDuckGo has signed a partnership to become the default search engine for the five year-old, free and open source Linux Mint operating system, the fourth-most used OS in the world. From Linux Mint's blog post:

In other search engines, search results are personalized based on your Web history and personal profile. In other words, if two people search for exactly the same thing, they won’t necessarily see the same results. Based on the personal information the search engines have on them, different customized results will be shown.

DuckDuckGo does not gather such personal information and does not customize search results. So if two people search for the same thing, they’ll get the same results.

It’s interesting for Linux Mint and DuckDuckGo to join forces and do something together. Both projects are extremely successful but relatively small in their respective markets. If you compare DuckDuckGo to Google and Linux Mint to Windows, you can see a lot of similarities. Both projects have a small market share but they’re growing rapidly, both projects are run by very small teams who are easy to contact and eager to get things done, innovation and pragmatism are high on both sides, and the list of similarities goes on.

Original source: Linux Mint
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Meet the guy whose dream is to have a sheep farm in Philly

Metropolis Magazine tells the story of industrial designer Andrew Dahlgren, his Philadelphia company ADMK and how he is helping revolutionize textile manufacturing and labor.

"Ultimately, what we are talking about is a new way of living," says Dahlgren. Pattern files can be digitally conveyed to satellite knitters in their homes who may, in turn, use the knitting machines to provide for themselves beyond their contracted production.

Dahlgren takes the long view, pointing out that "Stradivarius was still innovating violin making in his 80s, can we as a culture accept, as a way of living, making things?" Dignity, pride, and identity in workmanship seem like quaint yet timeless building blocks for reviving an industry that once boasted some 60,000 employees in Philadelphia and competed globally long before “globalization” was ever coined.

Original source: Metropolis
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Philly startup eyes 51 million Hispanics for free, instant mobile-money transfers to family abroad

A Wharton School MBA is working with a University of Pennsylvania team on a local startup that aims to make transferring money overseas more efficient, reports el-emergente.com

Edrizio De La Cruz, a recent MBA graduate from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, founded Regalii and leads the UPenn team working on it. For Edrizio, It’s a personal mission. "I grew up in the Dominican Republic," Says Edrizio, "and immigrated to New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, which was probably 110 percent Dominican. But I went to high school in Queens, where I used to play basketball with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians and Salvadorians. I quickly assimilated to each subculture. But my social circle was pretty homogeneous. Almost everyone around me was an immigrant. So I assumed that only immigrants sent money or remained connected to family in Latin America."

Original source: el-emergente.com
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Like Nana on E! Film production startup focuses on personal storytelling in Philly

Modern Luxury takes a look at David Adelman's new film production company, which got its start soon after he produced a video commemorating his recently deceased grandmother.

Breaking ranks with his Wharton-School peers, David Adelman is gunning to glamorize a pastime formerly left to the 8 mm. Testing his entrepreneurial mettle, the 29-year-old recently launched Reel Tributes (reeltributes.com), a film production company that works to capture the narratives of wired-in clans, whether they come from the perspective of the patriarchs or their heirs. using high-definition video, boom mics and social media to crowdsource material from friends and relatives around the world, the firm cranks out an upmarket result. Picture Nana on E! True Hollywood Story.

Original source: Modern Luxury
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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
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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
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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
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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.

173 entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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