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Wilmington, DE : Innovation + Job News

4 Wilmington, DE Articles | Page:

Better patient, better treatment with launch of Wilmington's Kurbi

Wes Garnett knows all about multiple sclerosis. "My mom was diagnosed eight years ago, then my great uncle was diagnosed a year later, and his daughter a year after that." Garnett has created Kurbi, a web-based & mobile optimized personal health record that allows users to record daily symptoms and share data with healthcare providers.
 Currently, Kurbi is in the prototype phase, and will officially launch at this month's Philly Tech Meetup. Garnett saw a need for the standardization of symptom reporting. "Time with the doctor is really short. Patients have to recall all of what happened since their last visit. They don't always have the words to describe their symptoms." 
Kurbi, instead, provides a detailed daily account of illness. "One of the main reasons we started with MS is that it is really unpredictable. It's a multi-system disrupter. It can affect cognition, vision, and balance at same time. The next day the patient has no problems, then the day after, there are problems with the bladder, hearing, and vertigo. Symptoms can last a day, a week, or two weeks."
In this early version, Kurbi offers patients daily notification and a symptom questionnaire to complete, which is then scored. Symptoms and their severity can be tracked over time, and compiled data is presented to the physician at scheduled visits.
At the moment, Garnett wants to offer Kurbi free to patients, and says the company plans on a fee-based recommendation engine. The obvious funding channel for Kurbi is the pharmaceuticals that manufacture medications for chronic conditions, but Garnett approaches the possibility of advertising and partnerships with care. "People like my mom are spending a thousand dollars a year on medicine. Before we enter into relationships with pharmaceuticals, we want to give a fair shake to our users."
Kurbi, adapted from the name of a talking parrot, came out of a Startup Weekend in Delaware. Garnett and partners live and work in Wilmington.

Source: Wes Garnett, Kurbi
Writer: Sue Spolan

Cluster-struck: Assessing the future of industry clusters

As America races to maintain standing in the global economy, industry clusters have been touted as a key strategy for technological innovation. While Silicon Valley and North Carolina's Research Triangle are held as bright spots where higher education meets high tech, few innovation clusters are successful. A recent column in the Washington Post dubbed government funded industry clusters "the modern day snake oil," doomed to fail.

At the third annual Regional Affinity Incubation Network (RAIN) meeting, held last week at the University City Science Center, David Finegold, Dean of Rutgers' School of Management and Labor Relations, responded. "A lot of efforts haven't panned out, but industry clusters are not without hope." He explained that early efforts were "real estate plays." What sets the tri-state region apart is the ability to build from that which is distinctive about this area, said Finegold, rather than starting from scratch and hoping that if it's built, innovation will come.

New Jersey, in particular, has nowhere to go but up, having ranked last in 2010 in U.S. job creation. While traditionally the state was a leader in biopharma and telecommunications, these industries made up a large-firm culture, and it's now time to build diverse networks, according to Finegold.

The University City District in Philadelphia is a 2.5 square mile powerhouse of commercial and institutional vitality, employing 70,000 people, according to UCD president Matthew Bergheiser. Forty percent of NIH funding in Pennsylvania is granted to projects within the boundaries of University City, and the Science Center has long been a fertile startup breeding ground that encourages organic growth, rather than superimposing ideas of innovation on an otherwise bereft area.

In Delaware, by contrast, plans are underway to convert Newark's former Chrysler assembly plant into an 250 acre innovation hub complete with living and working space, with an existing rail station to encourage commuters, and the potential to create collaboration across state lines, according to David Weir, PhD, Director of the Office of the Economic Innovation & Partnerships at the University of Delaware.

With a continued soft real estate market, Finegold offers that the way out of the recession is through leveraging human capabilities and university facilities. "We already have a great talent base here," said Finegold of efforts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, which he terms one of the most diverse regions on the planet.

RAIN is a regional network of over 40 research parks, incubators and support organizations located in the tri-state area.

Source: David Finegold, Matthew Bergheiser, David Weir, RAIN
Writer: Sue Spolan


Former Chrysler Assembly Plant in Newark DE

With record growth and award-winning search engine technology, Delaware's eZanga expands

When husband and wife team Beth and Rich Kahn renovated their home in 2003, they found a frog stuck in the concrete foundation. The frog died and it always stuck with the couple. After founding EZanga.com in 2003, the Middletown, Del.-based company was facing a similar situation: stuck in a tough spot in a crowded search engine market with no escape. But by 2005, eZanga had shifted gears, not only helping people find each other on the internet but helping clients reach customers on every available search engine at once to drive sales traffic. Today, that frog has become eZanga's mascot and has taken on a new life as the official spokes-amphibian for one of the region's most successful companies. What a difference a few years makes.

"We actually don't have a business plan for the company. We have a direction and goals but the problem with a business plan is that it locks you into certain things," says Kahn. "It's about keeping an eye on what is going on on the internet and changing to go with the times

With 657 percent revenue growth between 2005 and 2009 and an award-winning search marketing platform, eZanga has appeared on the national Deloitte Fast 500 and took home a Philadelphia 100 award this fall. As the company enters its eighth year, eZanga looks to release two new search platforms and eyes expansion in the new year. 

"The platforms we have been rolling out are in response to certain platforms we find on the web," says founder and CEO Rich Kahn. "We like these platforms but we find that they are not efficient so we sit down and rebuild them ourselves. By the beginning of next year, we will be rolling out these new platforms and hope to double or triple our growth."

Source: Rich Kahn, eZanga.com
Writer: John Steele

Interactive mapping platform launched to connect Philadelphians to their local communities

It's one of life's great mysteries: you can travel to a thousand cities and eat at a hundred fancy restaurants and drink a dozen craft beers at each of the bars along the way. But a meal never tastes as good as one at your favorite neighborhood haunt. And according to Philadelphia's sustainability leaders, this phenomenon is not just good for your appetite, it can be good for your neighborhood and your city as well.

Based on a concept created by the William Penn Foundation, partners from the Sustainable Business Network, Azavea and NPower created Common Space, a new mapping platform that creates a network of neighborhood establishments within a certain walkable, bikeable or busable distance to help residents support local business.

"The really cool thing is, I can map my friend's common space as well as my own," says SBN Executive Director Leanne Krueger-Braneky. "So if I am leaving from my office in Center City and meeting my husband who is coming from our house in West Philadelphia, he could say he is going to bike for 15 minutes and I could say I was going to walk for 20 minutes and Common Space will map the area where we would be able to meet up and map local culture events and businesses in that field."

Partnering with tastemakers like UWISHUNU and Yelp, Common Space shows you the best spots in your transit area, allowing you the most sustainable way possible to hit your next favorite haunt. After their trial run, organizers hope to partner with citywide festivals and cultural events like LiveArts and Philly Beer Week.

"Sustainability was one of the values William Penn outlined, which is why they wanted to partner with us," Krueger-Braneky says. "Because the application does encourage walking, biking, and public transit, it's a way of showing what's going on in the city while encouraging alternative transit."

Source: Leanne Krueger-Braneky, SBN
Writer: John Steele

4 Wilmington, DE Articles | Page:
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