Guggenheim Venture Partners is now Alara Capital, and other Philly area VC news

Guggenheim Venture Partners, based in King of Prussia and Austin, is now Alara Capital, the firm has announced, and is no longer affiliated with Guggenheim Partners, LLC. Guggenheim Venture Partners managing directors Mike Burns and Eric Rothfus will lead Alara's operations.

Alara said it will continue its strategy of investing in undercapitalized technology companies with practices in distressed venture capital, early stage ventures and technology spin-outs, and will expand that focus into growth equity and active value investing with future private equity funds. Alara will manage Guggenheim Technology Ventures I, a fund begun in 2008 with a total today of $65 million in capital and stakes in nine technology companies. It is also raising money for a new fund; Pensions & Investments reported in March that PennSERS (Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System) had committted up to $10 million to Guggenheim Technology Ventures II.

GVP's portfolio has included Bethlehem-based Ciclon, which was spun off out of Agere Systems and acquired by Texas Instruments in 2009; it also includes social commerce platforms provider GreenLink of Wayne.

Mike Burns was a co-founder of and and was with Agere Systems and TL Ventures; Eric Rothfus was CEO of Agere and was also with TL Ventures.

The State of Pennsylvania's Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA) has approved a $30.6 million investment to support the four regionally based Ben Franklin Technology Partners, it was
announced on Friday
. Of that amount, $16.6 million will focus the on development of alternate energy start-ups and new product innovations. It appears that the apples to apples comparison for the regional funding (excluding the alternative energy part) is $3.5 million next year vs. $4 million the past two years and $6.9 million per year before that.

DreamIt Ventures is currently working to finalize its selections (15 including 5 in the Comcast Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program) for its Fall 2011 Philadelphia class. Kickoff Weekend will held on September 9-10.

CloudBees, a Boston-based startup providing a Cloud Platform as a Service for Java Web Apps, raised $10.5 million in Series B funding, bringing its total investment to $14.5 million. Philly area entrepreneur (Bluestone, JBoss) and angel Bob Bickel was an early investor in CloudBees and is a board member.

John Martinson, founder and Managing Partner of Lawrencevile-based Edison Ventures, and his wife Eileen Martinson, are bringing minor league hockey back to Trenton after the recent demise of the Trenton Devils. The new team will have the name of Trenton's old hockey team, the Titans, and will be affiliated with the Flyers. Eileen Martinson is the CEO of Sparta Systems, a Holmdel-based software company. The investment is a personal one, not related to the venture firm.

Edison Ventures announced today that it is investing $5 million in Salsa Labs, a DC-based fundraising software firm.

Cross Atlantic Capital Partners of Radnor has participated in a in $12 million Series E Funding in Interactions Corporation, a Massachusetts-based provider of interactive voice response (IVR) systems for customer care. Cross Atlantic led Interactions' Series C Round last year.


Daily Links 8/1/2011: Versus to become the NBC Sports Network

Versus set to become the NBC Sports Network (USA Today)

Versus Will Fly NBC Sports Colors (Multichannel News)

With Universal, Comcast hopes to make a big splash in movies (Philadelphia Inquirer)

NBCUniversal starts to overhaul its TV studio (LA Times: Company Town)

Apple Announces A Full Assault On The Cable Box With The Streaming Of Purchased TV Shows (TechCrunch)

Rue La La launches local deals in Chicago, challenging Groupon (Chicago Tribune)
Rue La La, formerly part of GSI Commerce, is now majority-owned by former GSI Commerce founder Michael Rubin's holding company.

Windstream to Buy Paetec for $891 Million (New York Times: DealBook)

Skillshare Expands to San Francisco; Next Stop Philly (BetaBeat)

Appirio CEO talks Workday, SaaS momentum, IPO (ZDNet Blogs)

Amazon Start-Up Challenge goes global (Gigaom)