| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

design : Innovation + Job News

204 design Articles | Page: | Show All

South Jersey's 7 Regent Lane expands their web-based custom tailoring

Buying a new suit can be an ordeal: After hours of debating material, style and brand, you settle on something that still needs custom alterations. South Jersey-based 7 Regent Lane cuts down on the complexity -- and the cost -- by acting as virtual liaison between a customer and their tailor. Just one year after the site went live, the company has fostered an international client base and is launching their first signature collection.
Back in 2010, cofounder Karen Chung, a Wharton MBA, was on a trip to Shanghai when her husband decided to have a suit custom made. The experience made an impression.
"My husband actually pitched me the idea," says Chung. "He said, 'I really enjoyed that custom experience. Do you think there’s an opportunity there?'"
7 Regent Lane -- cofounded with Ramesh Subramanian and Dave Reynolds -- helps remote clients determine the style, fit and fabrics for a suit that matches their body type. Because they work directly with tailors, the company purchases high-end fabrics at wholesale prices and doesn't need inventory or a storefront. That innovation reduces their price point from thousands to hundreds. They’ve developed a "measurement verification calculator" tool, a database of body dimensions that catches inaccuracies in a client's self-reported dimensions.
"Trying to fix [a suit] after the fact can be difficult and takes a lot of time," explains Chung. "We do a lot of work upfront."
With their newly launched winter collection, 7 Regent Lane has branched out from suits into fully customizable formal wear and men's accessories.
Source: Karen Chung, 7 Regent Lane
Writer: Dana Henry

PlusUs rewrites educational methods with 'design thinking'

As education rapidly digitizes -- think online charters, virtual textbooks and "teaching" monitors -- PlusUs is bringing workshop-based learning back to the classroom. The certified B corporation unites educators and designers, delivering "human-centered" educational programing solutions for clients, including the Franklin Institute and the Public Workshop.

"There’s a lot of resistance to education reform," says cofounder Phil Holcombe. "There’s a lot of good ideas, but they’re being injected from the outside without buy-in from educators."
PlusUs, which operates out of Culture Works in Center City, allows clients to direct their project’s development and employs local educators as consultants. Holcombe, a designer (his cofounder Jake Thierjung is a teacher), believes approaching educational issues with "design thinking" changes the processes.
"I don’t think typography or color is going to change the face of education," says Holcombe. "It’s about the way a designer thinks and the way they can objectively look at problems."
So far, projects have centered on educational spaces and curriculums -- "tool kits" that enable teachers to engage students in real-world scenarios. At the Franklin Institute, PlusUs worked with the Science Leadership Academy to help students prototype new uses for New York City’s payphone system. PlusUs was also hired by the promotional department of a Nascar team to create a distributable math curriculum based on race car engineering. They are currently developing the layout for the  Department of Making + Doing.
As part of their B Corporation idealology, PlusUs also taps into client-funded projects to develop solutions for programs without a budget. Ultimately, according to Holcombe, PlusUs is providing a new path for educational reform.
"Educators are designing, but designers are also educating," says Holcombe. "When two entities start to work together, that’s when change can happen."

Source: Phil Holcombe, PlusUs
Writer: Dana Henry

PennApps hackathon delivers big results

The seventh PennApps -- held January 18 through January 20 -- was the largest student-organized hackathon to date worldwide. Over 450 students from universities across the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Germany competed for cash prizes during the 40-hour app building session. On the final afternoon, Irvine Auditorium at 34th and Spruce Streets was packed, as the top twenty teams presented demos to students and national talent scouts.

"Team after team, for twenty straight teams, just killed it," says Pulak Mittal, a PennApps organizer and Penn junior studying computer science and business. "One of our goals as organizers is to put Penn on the map as a top ten technology school. The feedback and the experience of everyone at [the hackathon] indicate that that’s actually happening."

Amongst international contenders, Nop Jiarathanakul, a Penn graduate student in computer graphics engineering who worked solo during the hackathon, placed third for his project Web Tube. The hack is a lightning-speed web browser with an old-school TV monitor graphic interface.

Representatives from many of this year’s sponsors -- which included Microsoft, Yahoo, Venmo, Dropbox, Ebay, Facebook, First Round Capital, Kayak, The New York Times, Twillo, AppNexus, RedHat and Tumblr -- awarded their own prizes to Challenge teams. Winners from Penn were WebTube, Social Development and Urban Sustainability, Uncloseted, Enligne, OnShift, Skynet Command, and Beets.

Mittal says this semester’s PennApps broke the "mobile or web dichotomy" inherent to software hacks -- many teams produced hardware aimed at enhancing everyday objects including backpacks and bikes.

With several listings on Hacker League each week, hackathons have become a phenomenon. As Mittal points out, some hacks even go on to become startups--Firefly,Snapsite, and PayTango came from past PennApps. Traditional computer science education is valuable, he believes, but so is building.

"You see all these other ways technology is changing education," he says. "But I think education in the technology space might be changing dramatically as [hackatons] become something people go to consistently. It will be interesting to see what hackathons contribute in terms of people going into the industry. I’m glad to see PennApps at the forefront."

Source: Pulak Mittal, PennApps
Writer: Dana Henry

Grand Opening: NextFab shows off its new digs

South Philly’s “light” industrial core—a.k.a. Washington Avenue West—just got a lot heavier. NextFab is expanding their stable of high-tech gear and community of inventors to a 21,000-square-foot warehouse at Washington Avenue and 21st Street. The grand opening party is scheduled for January 17.

The doors open wide enough for an onsite forklift. They guard cutting-edge equipment, including a five-axis waterjet cutter and a computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine. Additional room allows for private member offices, a sizeable woodshop, conference and class rooms, and a walk-in booth for painting hefty objects. The new site also includes a television lounge and satellite Cafe L'Aube.

“There is enough space for all of us to think and work in comfort,” says founder and president Evan Malone.

Three years ago, NextFab made news, pioneering a space where emerging makers could access 3D printers, laser cutters, textile machines and other advanced technologies for a monthly fee. Their short legacy of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) achievement for Philadelphia at large includes work with Optofluidics, UE Life Sciences, Philadelphia Futures and Atomic Robotics.  

Although an impressive list of creative enterprises—including Pocket Grill, Master of None and Maria Eife Jewelry & Design—has hatched under their roof, most do not come to NextFab with know-how. "We helped hundreds of people with no technical background understand and learn to use digital fabrication technology," says Malone.

He adds that anyone with an affinity for technology and creativity is welcome to check out the space. Co-making, after all, is about sharing. "[The grand opening party] is our chance to show off the amazing new capabilities our members and clients now have access to," says Malone, "and to entice other curious Philadelphians inside."

Source: Evan Malone, NextFab
Writer: Dana Henry

Open for Business: Drexel's ExCITe Center launches in University City

It’s not every day a plainclothes professional opera singer performs to the hum of industrial knitting machines. Nonetheless, it was the perfect display of synergy for the opening ceremony of Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center at the University City Science Center. Held on Wednesday, November 28, the celebration showcased surprising STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) combinations and permutations.

"In academia, it’s hard to collaborate outside your department," says Dr. Youngmoo Kim, director of the ExCITe center and professor of computer engineering at Drexel. "The whole purpose [of ExCITe] is to create multidisciplinary projects at this nexus between technology and the arts. There’s so much synergy there."

The 11,000-square-foot facility features conference rooms, countless desktops, sound equipment and a knit lab, all available to Drexel faculty, staff and students, regional partner institutions and other universities. The space will host hackathons and other tech and arts related events.

Opening demos included an app for understanding live classical music and a digitally-enhanced grand piano. ExCITe also houses and provides seed funds to three startup projects: a Microsoft Kinect therapy game for people with cerebral palsy; a virtual reality opera project made in partnership with the Philadelphia Opera Company; and Sonic City, a Breadboard project incorporating city sounds into musical pieces.

The Shima Seiki Haute Technology Knit Lab houses four top grade fabric machines, a donation from Shima Seiki Manufacturing in Japan worth $1 millon. The facility is unheard of in academia and, according to Kim, rivals Nike’s Design Lab. Each apparatus prints items designed on CAD software; during the grand opening event, the machines produced knit kitchen gloves, custom seamless dresses and three-ply blankets.  

A knit-bot machine prints three-dimensional fabrics complete with electronic sensors. At the opening, a staff member hooked a spiraled piece of fabric into a control system and rolled it across the table remotely. Observers seemed impressed by the novelty, but Kim says knit-bot technology has implications for the future: One day you might be able to change the color and cut of your shirt with the press of a button, and sensors-enhanced fabrics could help individuals monitor health and weight. In addition, skins from these textiles could make plastic robots more resilient, while external sensors could help disaster-relief androids respond immediately to challenging environments.

Kim runs Drexel's Music Entertainment Technology Labratory, home to robots that dance and play music. He conceived of the center nearly two years ago while holding cross-departmental faculty meetings as a solution to academic silos. It wasn’t long before other key local institutions, including the Science Center, the Philadelphia Opera Company and the Franklin Institute, joined the planning.

"We can do great things here with Drexel folks, but there’s great people with ideas at Penn, UArts, Philadelphia University, Temple and Swarthmore," says  Kim. “They’re people that we know. A lot of people throughout the region, not just in academia, helped shape this."

Source: Youngmoo Kim, Drexel ExCITe
Writer: Dana Henry

Update: NextFab's Washington Avenue grand opening rescheduled for Jan. 17

Washington Avenue West—the gritty home to plumbers, mechanics and supply outlets—is the new landing spot for Philly’s next generation of fabricators. After months of construction, NextFab Studio is set to reopen in a 21,000-square-foot workspace nearly five times the size of their former University City location. Unfortunately, due to some delays, the grand opening celebration has been moved to January 17, 2012.

NextFab has helped springboard a local ecosystem of high-tech creative entrepreneurship, a community that now includes Breadboard Philly and Drexel’s ExCITe. In addition to readily available 3D printers, laser cutters and robotics paraphernalia, Philly’s “Gym for Innovators” will now feature a loading dock, a crane, an industrial textile machine and an auto lift. Stay tuned for more information on their new facilities and grand opening party.

Source: NextFab
Writer: Dana Henry

Job Alert: Rumble bets on the mobile newspaper revival

Last year Eyal (Al) Azoulay, co-founder and CEO of Rumble and self-proclaimed news junky, bought his first tablet. He expected to view his favorite titles on the go, but there was not a single app for his choices. He was not alone in his disappointment—according to a study by Kontera, mobile accounts for 27 percent of all content consumed on the web (up 430 percent from last year) and news outlets, particularly traditional print media, continue losing readership as they struggle to adapt.
Rumble, based in Philadelphia and Tel-Aviv, and accelerated at the Project Liberty Digital Incubator at the Inquirer/Daily News offices, is a catchall content distribution system for mobile devices poised to conquer this digital divide. They’ve secured $1 million in investments and are hiring rapidly: Seven positions are currently open in sales and marketing.
Over the past five years, the print to web shift has resulted in billions of lost revenue for the newspaper industry. Mobile content represents an entirely different set of complex technologies and user interaction issues, and can be overwhelming to newspaper managers who are down to 70 percent of their heyday budget and workforce. "[Newspaper managers] honestly don’t even have the time to think about a strategy across mobile, let alone execute one," says Azoulay.
The problem is even more severe for mega publishers such as Conde Nast, Gannett, Lee, Knight Rider and Mcklechy—often each title will create individual apps. "As a mega publisher, your network of titles is completely fragmented," says Azoule. "Rumble offers the mega publisher one platform to unify all titles over all mobile devices and leverages the entire network as one."
Newspapers, Azoulay points out, are experts in content creation, not software. With the fourth version of the iPad rolling out after just two years, it’s hard to justify the major upfront investment required for the print-mobile switch. Rumble offers a backend system that publishes across all mobile devices and hosts a complete set of content-related features, including mobile-specific layout, performance tracking, revenue modeling and social media tools. After newspapers, Azoulay and his cofounders—Itai Cohen and Uyen Tieu, who’s served in executive sales and marketing positions for Microsoft and Viacom—expect to add trade publications and television news clients with similar needs.
There are over 1,600 newspapers and 2,000 university publications. Currently, news media gains only $1 from mobile platforms for every $9 they’ve lost, but Azoulay believes that’s all about to change. Mobile usage reveals not just consumers’ demographics and preferences, but where they are and what they’re doing. Of the $30 billion dollars spent annually on advertising, seventy percent come from local ads and no one is more capable of capitalizing on that revenue than newspapers.
"If you couple that with the highly sophisticated targeting available through mobile, you get one of the best combinations you can leverage," he says. "There’s no question that we will learn how to monetize on mobile devices very well."

Source: Eyal Azoulay, Rumble
Writer: Dana Henry

The Corzo Center cooks up a new batch of creative entreprenures

In 2011, Michele McKeone, a teacher and University of the Arts alum, entered the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts intending to market her specialized curriculum. One year later she launched the beta version of Autism Expressed, an interactive web-platform that helps autistic students develop digital skills. McKeone and three other 2011 Corzo Center/Wells Fargo Fellows will share trials, mistakes, successes and plans from their creative ventures during What’s Cooking at Corzo on Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Like many artistic entrepreneurs, McKeone, a former media design student, struggled to turn her passions into something marketable. Many creative startups also have difficulty appealing to traditional funding sources.

“When the politicians talk about ‘job creators,’ they are not talking about the small businesses created in the creative economy,” says Neil Kleinman, Senior Fellow for the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy. “As we know, though, a thriving economic community requires that we have a creative culture.”

The Corzo Center provides workshops, mentorship and consulting to meet the specific needs of creative startups and offers select entrepreneurs a $10,000 grant. The presenting 2011 Corzo fellows demonstrate a diverse range of business concepts rooted in creative education. In addtion to McKeon, presenters include:

ADMK:  As a graduate student at UArts, Andrew Dalhgren, a master crafter, spent a year investigating the state of textiles in Philadelphia. He developed a vision for scalable production of handmade knitting enabled by advanced technology, and plans to launch Knit Lab as a shared workspace.
Bonded Forever Jewelry: This company designs jewelry that “bonds” cancer patients with their loved ones. Cassandra Hoo, a writer, filmmaker and recent Alliance for Women Entrepreneur (AWE) fellow, developed the concept after her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Bonded Forever Jewelry is sold in local shops and helps fund cancer research.

Bioskin: Eric Zola is an industrial designer developing new forms of environmentally sound insulation using biomimicry—sustainable design based on biological forms.

McKeone, who since completed the Good Company Ventures accelorator and was awarded a 2011 AWE fellowship, is currenlty testing Autism Expressed at area charter schools. She credits Corzo for pushing her to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking into her vision.

"At the time, I had no clear business model, just an emerging vision," she says. "After working through the incubator, attending its workshops and open office hours with experts in the areas of law, business, marketing, etc., I emerged with not only a well-defined vision, but a scalable product and business model."

In the past three years, six of the ten total Corzo Incubator fellows launched startups that continue to progress. Nonetheless, Kleinman says the ultimate focus is not about success.

"We have emerging entrepreneurs with remarkable stories," he says. "Their time with Corzo was intended to be a learning process—the first stage along a path that may lead to new ideas and new ventures. Each started at a very small spot on the road and has begun to move out into some delightful, surprising forms of recognition.”

Source: Neil Kleinman, Michele McKeone, Corzo Center
Writer: Dana Henry

Shift_Design's DIY green roof product, Living Tile, exhibited at DesignPhiladelphia

The foliage blossoming from the roof of the Shake Shack at 20th and Sansom in Center City is the work of Mario Gentile and his company, Shift_Design. Their portable 'living tile,' aka green roof tile, offers urban homes and storefronts a DIY method of adding rain-absorbing shrubbery to any impervious surface, be it a concrete patio or any of the countless flat roofs in Philly. Their latest edition, the Fairmount Living Tile, will be demoed at the Design Philadelphia event, Up and Dirty.

“A green roof for the masses is not easily accessible yet,” Gentile says. “The costs associated are exorbitant. We wanted to solve larger issues—stormwater management, heat island effect, and air quality—by offering an accessible, well designed living tile kit that makes it easy for the end user. No need for a structural engineer, landscape architect, contractor, roofer, installer, etc.”

The tile, a rectangular aluminum tray, includes specially formulated Gaia soil, which is half the weight of typical soil, but absorbs twice its weight in water. According to the company’s structural assessment, Gaia soil can be supported by the roof of a row home during maximum snowfall, but it’s so light weight it easily blows away. Shift_Design includes burlap casing, made from La Colombe coffee sacks, to mimic natural ground floor covering and keep the soil in place.

Shift_Design was founded in 2008 when Gentile—who currently teaches biomimicry architecture at UPenn—pulled a few of his former Temple design students for a residential rain barrel project. The company has since graduated from Good Company Ventures as experts in elegantly designed passive stormwater management technologies—ie raised gardens, living walls, rainwater collection etc. Their work is installed at Shake Shack, Urban Outfitters Headquarters, and countless homes across the city.

Sure, it looks pretty, but greening also serves an impending urban need. Sixty percent of Philly’s sewers are “combined" sewers meaning they carry both sewage and rain water. As climate change increases the east coast’s annual rainfall, combined sewers carry the risk of overflow, creating a potential citywide sanitation hazard. The Philadelphia Water Department has proposed a $2 billion plan to catch excess water before it hits the sewer using greening and other passive technologies—it’s a lot cheaper than building new pipes.

In addition to stormwater reduction, green walls and roofs support dwindling pollinators, remediate air and water pollution and lower household energy consumption by regulating temperature. In their market segment study, Shift_Design found east coast cities, including Philly, New York and Baltimore, have a profusion of impervious surface ripe for alteration.

“Flat roofs are abundant and they’re doing nothing for these cities,” Gentile says. “Adding just a little bit of greening, a little bit of life, to your home reduces stress. If many households do it, the added benefits [for the city] are incredible.”

Gentile, who has a track record of hiring his employees directly from Philly schools including UPenn, Temple and UArts, will also launch a kickstarter campaign for manufacturing toolage during Design Philadelphia. With advanced equipment, Gentile says, Shift_Design can increase production and lower the price point even further while adding a few green manufacturing jobs to our area.

Source: Mario Gentile, Shift_Design
Writer: Dana Henry

Shindig Mobile partners with Campus Philly on new app project, hiring

Awaiting its official launch, Shindig Mobile has found a new type of client, the college campus. The makers of the fully customizable event series app—whose clients include Philadelphia Fringe Festival and Live Arts, Second Conf, and the American Association of Cancer Research—will work closely with Campus Philly to discover how their cross-platform mobile technology can serve the higher education sector. Shindig is currently hiring a sales rep and expects to add a few more positions at the beginning of next year.

“Campuses throw lots of events with lots of people who always need to know what’s going on.” Corey Floyd, CEO of Shindig, says. “There’s extra-curricular activities, student orientation. [Shindig] has a lot of mapping capabilities. The system can help people with navigating buildings and finding a class.”

Normally, when an organization wants patrons to track their events, they build and distribute an individual app with separate versions for Android, iOS, mobile web and other platforms. According to Floyd, this can easily cost $100,000. Shindig provides a comprehensive events-app structure from a central platform that’s already hooked into a distribution channel and can publish across all mobile devices. The client adds data and branding using mobile web templates, similar to the way a blog works, drastically reducing the price point. 

The Shindig concept began as the 2010 Philly Beer Week App, which Floyd and several Shindig co-founders, including Johnny Bilotta, Kevin Lee and Michael James—who are all longtime IndyHall members and successful app contributors—built after a conversation at Coco Heads Meetup. After Beer Week, a few contributors moved on and Salas Saraiya, and later Mike Zornek, joined the team. The Beer Week apps, they discovered, had implications for a larger problem.

“We were building [the Beer Week apps] as a one-off.” Floyd says. “We built one for iphone, then one for Android; it was starting to get hard. That’s when we put together this concept of building a platform where we could put [all versions] out at one time.”

“We built a backend that worked for us and it worked well. About a year ago we started thinking, ‘if this system works for us why not make it available for anyone to use?’ So what started out as finding a destination for beer in Philadelphia can now be ‘How can I get to my class?’” Floyd says.

Shindig’s official launch and party is planned for late October. Sign up for their newsletter to receive details.

Source: Corey Floyd, Shindig
Writer: Dana Henry

Ben Franklin Technology Partners' mapping initiative gives state energy economy visibility

For years we’ve been hearing of the “new energy economy,” a vision of a diversified and cooperative energy industry amalgamation promising cleaner air, lower energy bills, and more green jobs. The recent release of Energy Economy Map by Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ statewide network is evidence that it's actually happening.

Using open-source, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the map exhibits over 2,000 Pennsylvania energy companies, research programs, and related resources, largely concentrated in Greater Philadelphia.

“The intent of the map is to drive economic development, collaborative opportunities and partnership across the state," says Jim Gambino, Vice President of Technology Commercialization at Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “It gives companies and universities an opportunity to present their projects.”

According to Gambino, sustainable building design and materials, clean energy storage, and smart grid technology are areas of continued market growth. Some of the map’s projects have intriguing titles, including Drexel University’s Human-electric Hybrid for Urban Commuting and Temple’s Multiple Stream Waste-Derived Energy Production.

The Energy Economy Map was piloted at the Navy Yard by BFTP-Southeastern Pennsylvania and funded by the state's  Department of Community and Economic Development and tghe Governor’s office.

It’s not the typical stagnant, end-of-the-year-let’s-evaluate-how-we’re-doing report. The map, created in partnership with Philadelphia-based Azavea, evolves as users update entries on their energy work. 

“It’s really up to the registrant to enter the kind of information they see as important,” Gambino says. “We’re really looking for the users to provide the additions to improve the map.”

Eventually, BFTP-SEP expects the dynamic resource will attract more capital to the region.

“Early on we had determined in our analysis that we had significant energy assets here in southeastern Pennsylvania,” Gambino says. “[Outside companies and investors] will get a sense of the relative strength and vibrancy of both traditional and alternative energy communities in Pennsylvania.”

Source: Jim Gambino, David Cohen, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Writer: Dana Henry

Philly Startup Weekend 4.0 delivers new promise

A new crop of startups emerged from Philly Startup Weekend 4.0, held at University Of The Arts this past weekend, with some refreshingly accessible concepts. The winner, Voxx.io, founded by visiting entrepreneur, Josh Hudnall, will use mobile technology to customize the music heard in bars, restaurants and coffee shops to the specific taste of their patrons. In second place, Feed Me, founded by Philly native and Startup Weekend newcomer, Jiate Zhang, proposes an AirBnB-type web platform that connects pizza-wary strangers with people who love to cook.  Third place went to Dreamit Ventures alum Michael Raber, for Boxly, a spread-sheet based mobile app that will allow complex on-the-go data collection for both individual and group uses.

Forty-seven pitches, ranging from crowd sourced dental care to street parking aps, were narrowed down to 12 finalists, including a team of local high school students. Startup Weekend had fewer finalists than past startup weekends, but each team was larger with more diversified talent. 

“Best bit of feedback I got was ‘This was the most communal startup weekend I’ve been to.’” says event organizer Chris Baglieri says.  “I think that’s pretty rad.”

Of all the gifted teams, what determined the winners?

“You can connect with them, maybe a little more so than some of the others," says Baglieri. “Like Voxx.io. I mean you walk into the bars and you see these old jukebox CD things. Those are just kind of antiquated so you can see the appeal.”

In the final day, Feed Me pulled together it’s winning presentation without a programmer or designer and no workable demo. “I’ve worked for a couple of startups doing financial strategy so I’ve seen the full scope of ‘this is awesome, things are going well’ to ‘Oh my God, I think we might not exist anymore.’”  Zhang says. “The thing about Sartup Weekend is it’s really effective at simulating those experiences within a day.”

Hot off the recent acquisition of his first start-up, UXFlip, by appRenaissance, Raber delivered again.  He’s looking forward to building Boxly and bringing it to the app market. “I have this tablet and I have this Iphone and I’m carrying them everywhere and I’d rather carry that than my laptop,” Raber explains. “Yet it’s so difficult to get information into those devices. I probably have two dozen aps that deal with to-do list or organizing information. I started thinking how can we build a platform that enables people to do what you do on a spreadsheet? ”

Raber was accompanied by his 13 year-old partner and son, Zachary.

“It’s an interesting time to have kids. There’s so much going on in the world and things are changing so quickly, specifically in the technology area.” Raber says. “I like to joke around and say in another 10 years I’ll be working for his startup.”

As for Hudnall, Voxx.io is set to move forward after developing a solid team of six and making some vital connections. “We proved our concept,” Hudnall says. “The biggest thing we needed to know was that we could see a check-in, in real-time and that we could match it up with a musical profile.”

So will Hudnall, who is principal developer and founder of fastPXL, move from Denver, Col., to Philly to realize his latest dream?

“I’m not ruling anything out.” Hudnall concedes. “Philly’s awesome.”

Source: Chris Baglieri, Philly Startup Weekend; Michael Raber, Voxx.io; Josh Hudnall, fastPXL
Writer: Dana Henry

Super stealth: Perceptual Newtorks scores $1M in seed round funding without the details, hiring

He's not going to talk about specific products. Cheyenne Ehrlich, CEO of Northern Liberties based Perceptual Networks, says, "We have not really gotten into much public detail about what we are doing."
Nonetheless, whatever he and partner Jim Young are planning is sufficient to have garnered $1 million in a seed funding round from some of tech's biggest players. At least 20 players, including First Round Capital, founders of YouTube, PayPal, Rackspace, Bebo, and Demand Media have put chips on the table.

But Ehrlich remains mum on specifics. "Jim has a track record of building products that consumers love. People fundamentally get excited by people who make products that people love." Ehrich is referring to Young's product hotornot.com, which skyrocketed in a matter of months from launch to being one a top 25 web property.
Perceptual Networks, says Ehrlich, is in the process of building a suite of products intended to connect people to one another for work, for love, and for community. That's all Ehrich is willing to divulge at this time to everyone but investors. "Apple is an example of a company that builds great products that people love. That's what the focus should be on," says Ehrlich.
Ehrlich was scouting cities for some time, considering New York, the San Francisco bay area, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and ultimately chose Philly for its combination of great educational institutions, regional access to capital, easy access to New York City, lower cost of living and better quality of life, with great restaurants and culture and the growing tech community as added benefits.
With five on staff, Ehrlich says Perceptual is aggressively hiring right now, particularly in engineering to create products that will live on iOS, Android and the web, with possible expansion to other platforms in the future.

Source: Cheyenne Ehrlich, Perceptual Networks
Writer: Sue Spolan

DreamIt's Fall 2012 startup class will get more social

Tech incubator Dreamit Ventures has announced its Fall 2012 Philadelphia lineup. Moving three blocks up the street to 3701 Market Street but still at the University City Science Center, Managing Partner Karen Griffith Gryga says Dreamit will be leveraging its proximity to the Science Center's Quorum.

"There is a great deal of programming planned for this class," says Gryga. "In addition to the one-on-one mentoring that we establish for the companies based on their particular needs and the frequent meetings with the DreamIt partners, we have speakers from leading VC firms, leading industry players and operational experts as well as workshops on technologies and operational components. We have investor office hours with ventures capitalists from across the country as well as angel investors."

Gryga places a high value on accelerator participants' interactions with each other,and reports that Dreamit will hold more regular social events to add some fun to the mix.
Speaking of fun, this year, recipes and bridesmaids dresses are the focus of two companies. "The entrepreneurial team is the critical decision area and less so the idea because we know that with the right team we can always refine or reformulate a market/customer centric solution.  Over the years, we have had many consumer facing opportunities and, in fact, had both Bazaart and TopShelf in the New York program this summer and KeepRecipes the New York summer before."
As in years past, the Dreamit teams come to Philadelphia from locations worldwide. Five of the companies are part of the DreamIt Access program, a dedicated effort to launch 15 minority-led startups over the next 12 months. Comcast Ventures is an investor in the DreamIt Access program.  Here's a detailed listing of this year's companies.
The 14 startups in the program are:
Altair Prep, Philadelphia:  Performance-based homework platform that analyzes learning trends and customize curricula
Applique, New York, NY:  Drag-and-drop ease for building iPhone and iPad Apps
Betterific, Washington, DC:  Crowdsourcing platform aims to improve products and brands by allowing consumers to submit ideas and suggestions
brandREP.me, Los Angeles, CA:  Crowdsources brand marketing campaigns to student
Brideside, Chicago, IL:  Oline boutique for bridesmaids dresses.
CallGrader, Denver, CO:  Marketing analytics and rich data for phone calls
Charlie, Chicago, IL:  Mobile app provides vital contact information whenever you need it
CloudConfidence, Philadelphia:  Platform for analytics-driven cloud monitoring and management
FlagTap, San Francisco, CA:  On-site rewards that are easy to manage
mor.sl, Washington, DC:  Recipe recommendation platform that personalizes based on tastes, cooking skill and allergies
Peeractive, Sydney, Australia:  Social commerce technology with real-time analytics 
The Whoot, New York, NY:  Short-term social planning
Tripkno, New York, NY:  Travel guide incorporates social and e-commerce to help people find things to do
Zenkars, Philadelphia:  Online used car retailer

Source: Karen Griffith Gryga, Dreamit Ventures
Writer: Sue Spolan

A reason to celebrate: Girl Develop It Philly approaches 600 members on first birthday

Girl Develop It Philly turns one year old this month, and founder Yasmine Mustafa has been hard at work organizing a kick ass party on Thursday, Sept. 27 at SEER Interactive in Northern Liberties.
"We're going with a nerd theme and we'll have a photo booth, a tattoo artist making geeky temporary tattoos, a scavenger hunt, nerd glasses to give out at the door, candy, food, liquor and beer, of course," says Mustafa. The winner of the nerdiest costume gets a free GDI class. The event, says Mustafa, is not just a celebration of GDI, but also of the city's burgeoning female-centric tech community, with award winning organizations like TechGirlz and Girl Geek Dinners. TechGirlz, in fact, will share in the proceeds from the GDI raffle.
Mustafa is thrilled with the number of sponsors who have stepped forward to provide over $3,000 in prizes for the raffle, with a list that includes Rackspace, Treehouse, Wildbit, Indyhall, ThinkGeek, and O'Reilly Media all donating goods and services. "We already have enough sponsors, so we're asking companies that want to come on board to provide funding for an unemployed woman to take a class."
Girl Develop It Philly has grown enormously since inception, launching 12 classes and over 2 dozen Meetups with 400 members, with the goal of increasing technical literacy among women. The GDI Meetup counts over 560 members in its ranks. Mustafa won top prize for her presentation about GDI at ignite Philly 9.
Mustafa seeks to vanquish the intimidation factor in the developer community, which she cites as about 90% male. GDI's classes include both basic and advanced topics, like server side programming, the ins and outs of Wordpress, intro to HTML and JavaScript for non-programmers. 
Girl Develop It Philly is part of a larger international organization with six chapters including New York, San Francisco, Ottawa and Sydney, and over a thousand participants.

Source: Yasmine Mustafa, Girl Develop It Philly
Writer: Sue Spolan
204 design Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts