Philly Tech News "Young Companies to Watch"



To Watch

This is my somewhat objective, somewhat subjective, imperfect ranking of Philly area startups in terms of their potential, which is normally on the right sidebar. I use financial data when available, and other metrics that are indications of market acceptance. Also considered are factors such the background of founders, quality of investors, amount of investment (though not always a good indicator), the quality of their proprietary intellectual property, and industry recognition. Not interested in revenue for its own sake, but rather the potential for profitability, competitive advantage and market value.

I've found this has generally been a good representative sample, although I've probably completely missed the boat on a few and certainly some other companies should be on the list that aren't. Startups are funny; some take off like rockets almost from the beginning, while others lie fallow for several years before suddenly finding traction.

These are all privately held companies, or companies which are less than 50% owned by a public corporation. The order in which they are listed is not meant to be a precise ranking, but a general indicator of their potential market value. All these companies rely on information technologies for their core offerings, and have headquarters or co-headquarters in the Greater Philadelphia area. The rankings tend to emphasize product-oriented ventures over agencies or consultancies. I update them regularly based upon new information. Four of these companies have been acquired in the last month.

Octagon Research Solutions (Wayne) Life Sciences clinical data management systems company recently announced it was adding 100 employees.

myYearbook (New Hope) Teen-oriented social networking site says it has $30 million annual revenue run rate. Acquisition announced by Quepasa for $100 million in stock and cash (mostly stock) on July 20. Backed by First Round Capital among others.

Portico Systems (Blue Bell) Provider Management solutions for Healthcare payers, recently acquired by McKesson for $90 million; backed by Safeguard Scientifics and Edison Ventures.

AppLabs (Philadelphia, Hyderabad, and London) Though most of its employees are elsewhere, AppLabs is a huge player in the applications software testing business.

InstaMed (Philadelphia) Though very different from Portico, another company focused on processing medical payments.

iPipeline (Exton) SaaS applications for marketing and CRM in the insurance industry.

StarCite (Philadelphia) Corporate event management site is 36% owned by Internet Capital Group. After a period a rapid growth, experienced declining revenue and losses over the past three years, although ICG claims there is "vibrant growth" in 2011 (though it doesn't cite financial figures). Starcite has reportedly hired an advisor to seek new investors or possibly sell the company. Underscoring its dilemna, competitor Cvent just raised $136 million.

ISGN (Bensalem) Mortgage processing and management systems; started building up around time housing bubble burst, but expanded through acquisition and has apparently done allright; raised $25 million from New Enterprise Associates and others in 2007.

Quintiq (Radnor & The Netherlands) Supply chain software vendor just sold reported 48% stake to LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital; says its revenue was $48 million last year, with 40% growth.

Neat Company (Philadelphia) Digital scanning and filing solutions. Much more of a software company than a hardware company.

SevOne (Wilmington) Sophisticated network performance management tools; Comcast was an early customer.

AWeber (Huntingdon Valley) A leader in the hot email marketing management software market for small businesses.

appMobi (Lancaster) appMobi has made waves with its mobile apps development platform. Grew out of Internet-based music service FlyTunes.

LifeShield Security (Yardley) Originally named Ingrid Home Security, IP-based home security system vendor has raised more than $30 million (just closed $8 million round) and is headed by former Nutrisystem CEO Michael Hagan; will they need a bigger partner?

Fiberlink Communications (Blue Bell) Offers cloud-based SaaS app for mobile device security (MaaS360), recently named to AlwaysOn Mobile 100 though I haven't seen any recent financial data for them.

NextDocs (King of Prussia) Uses Microsoft SharePoint to deliver Life Sciences document management solutions software; says it has 85 employees and revenue will be over $10 million this year.

Evolve IP (Wayne) Raised $16 million in 2008 and another $9 million in 2010; provides communications as a service to businesses.

Monetate (Conshohocken) First Round Capital-backed advertising technology firm serving ecommerce sites just moved into larger Conshy offices, says it hopes to double employment from 50 to 100 in 12 months.

Smarter Agent (Camden) Mobile real estate apps developer recently raised $6 million more, bringing its total funding to $18 million; investors include Ira Lubert.

Alteva (Philadelphia) Hosted VoIP & Unified Communications provider just acquired by Warwick Valley Telephone (NY) for $17 million.

Viridity Energy (Conshohocken) Developing software and systems to enable institutions and enterprises to create mini-smart grids. Raised $14 million from investors including Intel Capital early this year. Founded by ex-PJM Interconnection execs.

Safend (Philadelphia & Tel Aviv) Provides endpoint security tools, somewhat similar to Fiberlink Communications. Backing from Intel Capital.

MobileMD (Yardley) Provides HIE (Health Information Exchange) systems to providers such as Main Line Health.

TicketLeap (Philadelphia) Online ticketing platform; started off serving mostly smaller events but tested scaling up by handling ticketing for Comic-Con 2011.

Venmo (Philadelphia) Easy to use mobile payments system. All the big guys are getting in the market, but recent Accel Partners (Facebook etc) press release confirms some earlier but unconfirmed reports that they are an investor in Venmo.

Movitas (Bryn Mawr) Mobile apps for travel, tourism and meetings industries; acquired PhindMe, another local mobile startup, in 2010.

ClickEquations (Conshohocken) Search advertising software firm backed by First Round Capital and Internet Capital Group; recently acquired by another ICG partner, Channel Intelligence, for an undisclosed amount.

PHD Virtual (Philadelphia) Virtual backup system for VMWare and Citrix; Citrix is an investor.

RJMetrics (Philadelphia) Self-funded startup helps Internet-based companies analyze all the data generated by their websites; still small but seems to be on a nice growth path. Now has 11 employees, and moved from Camden to Philly in the beginning of this year.


Daily Links 7/26/2011: SAP posts strong earnings; InterDigital files patent complaint

InterDigital Gains on Apple-Google Patent Rush (Bloomberg)
Suggests that InterDigital may fetch as much as $5 billion.

InterDigital Files Complaint Against Nokia, Huawei and ZTE With International Trade Commission
Company Seeks Importation Ban for 3G Wireless Products that Infringe on U.S. Patents
(Business Wire)

With Bidders Watching, Interdigital Goes On A Mobile Patent Offensive (MocoNews)

Pre-release update: SAP sees annual results at higher end of previously forecasted range based on strong second quarter.

SAP Reports 35% Growth in Software Revenue at Constant Currencies and 20% Growth in Non-IFRS Software and Software-Related Service Revenue at Constant Currencies for the Second Quarter (PR Newswire via MarketWatch)

SAP Q2 Revenue Rises 14 Percent (PC World)

SAP users not readily adopting BusinessObjects, user group finds (Computerword UK)

Lockheed Profit Rises 3.9% on F-35 Orders (Bloomberg)


Comcast, NBCU Bring Dynamic Ads to VOD
Kraft, Chrysler are initial sponsors
(Broadcasting & Cable)

Netflix proclaims Internet as future, but data caps loom as threat (Washington Post: Post Tech)
Quotes Wharton Prof Kevin Werbach.

Safeguard Scientifics Partner Company Portico Systems Closes Sale to McKesson (Business Wire)

Commonwealth to Host Meeting to Discuss Statewide Health Information Exchange (PR Newswire)