Dell Cloud Computing Partner Program: A Closer Look (TalkinCloud)

UPenn Frat Boys Are Taking Over New York Tech (Silicon Alley Insider)

QVC to cut 606 call center jobs (WAVY 10)
Company says its cutting Virginia call center jobs because more orders are being placed online.

Daily Links 3/30/2012: Sale of Philly papers expected to be announced on Monday

Philadelphia Newspapers Set to Be Sold to Local Leaders (New York Times: Media Decoder)

Announcement of sale of newspapers, website expected Monday (Philadelphia Inquirer)

New Jersey comptroller details waste by Delaware River Port Authority (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Norcross sounds like just the guy we need owning the Inquirer.

10 Questions for Scala CFO Anthony Maddalone (PC World)
Interesting interview with CFO of Exton-based Scala. He says his previous experiences with the IPO process was one thing that interested Scala, but he joined the company five years ago and I don't know if that's in the plans today (although its certainly not inconceivable).

Verizon plans wireless video service: report
CEO says offering could be ready as soon as this holiday season
(Reuters via MSNBC)
From this article, still not quite sure what this is about; will find out more. (Here is a little more of an explanation), although details are still unclear.

Apple Doesn’t Need To Make the TV of the Future
The revolution is already here—and it’s called the Xbox.

SunGard (Ellucian) Still Suing Cajana and NSCC (The Higher Ed CIO)

Server Flash Memory Craze Buoys Violin, Attracts SAP (Wall Street Journal: Digits)

Stroll Achieves New Revenue Milestones in 2011 (Business Wire)
Philly-based Stroll says 2011 revenue was $40 million, up from $17 million in 2010.

Fisker's Project Nina exposed ahead of New York Auto Show debut (Engadget)
Does it actually operate, or is it just a brick?

Exton-based HIT Application Solutions Secures $2.75 Million in Funding (PR Newswire)

Look at that DuckDuckGo! Daily search traffic is ballooning, up 227% in 3 months (The Next Web)

Inhabi Begins Business Incubation with Novotorium (PR Web)

A Few Early Observations On Xfinity Live! (The 700 Level)


Phorum 2012 Cloud Computing Conference a success; energizes Philly Cloud community

Tom Paine

Although I was not present, by all accounts PACT's Phorum 2012 Cloud Computing Conference held yesterday at World Cafe Live was a big success, and served its purposes in bringing together and creating a sense a community among participants in the area's Cloud Computing industry, as well as highlighting Philly's capabilities nationally.

Phorum Advisory Board Chair Bob Moul told Philly Tech News by email that 430 people signed up (capacity was about 400) although he doesn't have final attendance figures yet, "and we've had overwhelming positive response". Don Norbeck, a bicoastal executive (Philly & California) with Cloud joint venture VSE tweeted: "another great session and great conversations in between faith in #Philly tech restored again".

There really hadn't been a high quality event like this in Philadelphia focusing on enterprise computing in a long time.

UXFlip, which provides a platform for building native mobile apps and was in DreamIt Ventures' 2011 Philly class, was Demo Pit “Best in Show” winner, as voted by conference attendees. The other finalists were online interactive video content provider cWyze and West Chester-based online employee scheduling platform ReadySetWork, which was acquired early this month by West Chester-based payroll services provider PrimePay .

You can view the slides from the presentations at Phorum here.

Another useful resource is a list of firms represented at the Phorum.

Videos are said to be coming.

Planning is already underway for Phorum 2013.

Related post: Phorum 2012 Cloud Computing Conference promises to shake up Philly Cloud scene


Daily Links 3/29/2012: Comcast's thePlatform teams up with Conshy's Empathy Lab on TV Everywhere portal for small operators

A Surge in Learning the Language of the Internet (New York Times)
Mentions Jenn Lukas (photo) and Girl Develop IT.

Contest to see if Lehigh Valley's tech-savvy can hack it (Allentown Morning Call)

Inside SAP's radical makeover (Fortune Tech)

SAP, ORCL To Ride Wave of ‘Apps Revolution,’ Says Credit Suisse (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)

20 Facts from SAP’s 2011 Form 20-F (ASUG News)

IPO Boom: Millennial Media Doubles At Open (Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal)
Millennial Media is based in Baltimore.

Comcast Unit Targets Synacor's Turf (Light Reading Cable)
Comcast's thePlatform unit teams up with Consohocken's Empathy Lab to provide TV Everywhere portals for smaller cable operators.

Comcast Pulls Back On IPv6 Rollout, Citing Netgear Modem Glitch
MSO Says Retail Cable Modem Has a 'Critical IPv6-Related Defect'
(Multichannel News)

Wharton Venture Award, Early Supporter of Past Recipients InviteMedia, Milo, Warby Parker, Selects Wharton School Entrepreneurs to Receive $50,000 for Summer Venturing (PR Web)

NextGen Healthcare Enters into Reseller Agreement with Nuance Communications
Relationship to provide more streamlined, cost-effective approach to patient data entry
(Business Wire)

Oracle acquires cloud-based clinical apps provider ClearTrial (ZDNet Blogs)

Looking for a wine or liquor? LCB has an app for that (Philadelphia Inquirer)


Daily Links 3/28/2012: News Corp said to plan nationwide ESPN rival

FiOS-Less Cities Complain About Spectrum Deal
Argue it would foreclose the possibility of video/broadband competition via FiOS in their cities
(Multichannel News)

The technical and legal realities of Comcast’s Xbox cap spat (Gigaom)

News Corp. Said to Plan U.S. Sports Network to Rival ESPN (Bloomberg via Ad Age)
Didn't Fox go halfway down that road several years ago before pulling back?

Comcast Business takes a continuous improvement model to CEM (FierceTelecom)

Blackboard buys Moodlerooms...And no, this isn't an early April Fools (ZDNet Blogs)

Penn expands beyond banks of Schuylkill for new data center (Daily Pennsylvanian)

Baltimore Mobile Ad Network Millennial Media Prices IPO At $13 Per Share (TechCrunch)

Veterans of Cambridge Technology Partners getting the band back Cloud Technology Partners (Boston Globe)
Cambridge Technology Partners was owned by Safeguard Scientifics in the 1990s before going public and later being acquired by Novell.

SuccessFactors Offers Free Version of Jam Software in Hit Against (PC World)

Kronos pays cash for Branchburg, NJ-based SaaS HR company (Mass High Tech)

Cisco to Buy SPIT Specialist (Light Reading Cable)

What is the difference between a CLEC/ICP and a cloud services provider? (Evolove IP Blog)
A bit slanted, obviously, but interesting nonetheless.


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (3/19/2012 to 3/25/2012)

I profiled Exton-based digital signage software firm Scala and the important product announcements it made at a recent industry trade show.

As reports surfaced that Philly-based retailer Five Below is considering an IPO, I took at look back at Josh Kopelman's pre-First Round Capital investment vehicle, Midas Capital, which has Five Below among its portfolio companies. Kopelman also weighed in last week in favor of The JOBS Act, which did pass the House & Senate though the two versions still need to be reconciled. (Update:House Approves Revised Crowdfunding Bill, Sends It to Obama.)

I highlighted some new or expanding facilities for Philly area tech companies, including the giant new Steel ORCA data center being built in Newtown.

The Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing on the proposed Verizon Wireless/Cable spectrum sale and joint marketing agreement was held on the Hill last week, and it was fairly contentious.

West Chester-based QVC announced it was expanding into China in a joint venture with a Chinese company.

After two years of testing, Philly-based Venmo publicly launched its online payment service, as the New York Times reported.

Sqoot, a 2010 Philadelphia DreamIt Ventures graduate now based in New York and Chicago, got into a little trouble over an ill-advised sexist comment it used online in promoting a Boston hackathon it was backing.

Oracle issued a fairly positive earnings report, and as usual Larry Ellison went after SAP, which meanwhile said it had a goal of reaching 100 billion euros in sales in 20 years.

Notable Quotes:

Oracle's Larry Ellison: "When SAP, and, specifically Hasso Plattner, said they're going to build this in-memory database and compete with Oracle, I said, God, get me the name of that pharmacist, they must be on drugs".

Comcast EVP David Cohen: "There is nothing in these agreements to prevent us from trying to beat the brains out of FiOS".

Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.): "It's like you agreed to throw in the towel and stop competing with each other".

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Daily Links 3/27/2012: More cuts loom at PMN; Comcast to offer new Cloud-based business voice service

35 more jobs in jeopardy at papers, website (Philadelphia Daily News)
Other details on possible deal.

10 years later, two members of the Rigas family that founded Adelphia maintain their innocence (Harrisburg Patriot-News)

Comcast Rolls Business Voice Into the Cloud (Light Reading Cable)

Microsoft Xbox Live to add Comcast, HBO Go today (Gigaom)

Xbox Pipes In Comcast VOD, HBO Go And MLB.TV
Microsoft Claims U.S. Xbox Live Gold Members Spend Average of 84 Hours Monthly With Service
(Multichannel News)

EPAM Systems Reports Earnings Results for Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011
Fourth Quarter revenues up 10.1% sequentially and 34.4% year-over-year
(Business Wire via MarketWatch)
First quarterly results for Newtown-based EPAM since going public last month. Its shares are up 20% today after beating estimates, issuing guidance.

Gartner: Software as a Service Market to Grow 17.9 Percent to $14.5 Billion (PC World)

One of the Most Powerful People in Silicon Valley? He Lives in Baltimore (PE Hub)

Millennial Media IPO drawing strong buzz(MarketWatch)

Astea International Announces Profitable Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 (PR Newswire)


Daily Links 3/26/2012: Datatel/SunGard HE gets new name; SAP boots some top China execs on compliance violations

Ellucian: New Company Name Announced for Datatel and SunGard Higher Education Combination(Business Wire)

SAP Says China Growth Not Hurt by Managers Leaving on Violations (Bloomberg)

Oracle DB under threat? (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

Oracle set to update analytics strategy, go after SAP customers (Network World)

SAP Releases New Sustainability Report (PR Newswire)

SAS Makes Its Bid to Democratize Data Analysis (New York Times: Bits)

QlikTech price list puts pressure on BI industry (SearchBusinessAnalytics)

InstaMed another Phila. tech firm on the upswing (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Verizon, cable ops shed light on AWS, marketing deals (Wireless Week via CED Magazine)

TiVo Sues Time Warner Cable And Motorola
DVR Maker Amends Countersuit Against Motorola to Include Patent-Infringement Claims Against MSO
(Multichannel News)

Set-top box future remains present concern (FierceCable)

Xbox 360's Comcast Xfinity TV app in beta testing, won't count against data caps when it launches (Engadget)

Philly Internet-Based Theater Company Lives Between Cyberspace and the Stage (Mashable)

Villanova University Conducts Most Comprehensive NFC Access Control Trial to Date (PR Web)


Unintended Consequences (Redeye VC)

Motorola Connected Home Gateway home automation all-in-one hits the FCC with Verizon tags (Engadget)

How Will Apple Support LTE Voice Services? (Light Reading Mobile)

Spotlight on NJ Tech Startups: Mount Laurel-based UFeud’s Jared Scherz

Esther Surden
Publisher & Editor, New Jersey Tech Weekly recently interviewed Dr. Jared Scherz, founder of, a new social networking website that promotes constructive debate using some innovative technology. What separates from other social networking sites is its ability to obtain measured feedback. The company says it takes social networking to the next level by offering formulated analysis and interpretation of social -interaction behaviors.

UFeud LLC came to our attention last month, at the Posters, Pitches and Prizes event sponsored by the New Jersey Entrepreneurial Network (NJEN) at Princeton University, where the Mount Laurel-based company exhibited for the first time. Until recently, the 4-year-old company was funded by founder Scherz, a clinical psychologist who operates a South Jersey wellness clinic, with additional funds provided by colleagues and friends. Now, however, the company is in negotiations with an angel investor for $100,000 to take UFeud to the next level.

That next level includes a patent for which the company has applied, on commenting, scoring and extrapolating technology for use with videos. UFeud’s ultimate business goal: social media television. The company would like to make the television- and video-viewing experience simultaneous with social networking.

Scherz admits that as a clinical psychologist with no previous technology background, he is an unlikely tech company CEO. His interest in resolving conflict resolution is what drove him to seek out technology that would help people deal with differences, and once the idea took root, the company evolved. Scherz is the author of several books, including one on school violence.

How did the idea for your startup come about?

I was growing increasingly concerned about the way we deal with conflict, both interpersonally and globally. As part of my experience as a psychologist, I continually envisioned ways of facilitating deeper and more sustainable world peace. I stayed up at night envisioning how to have an impact on the way people deal with differences—how to make it more constructive and unifying. My urgency in wanting younger generations to learn conflict resolution and constructive differencing led me to the idea of creating a website based on the theme of exploring differences. I believed I could bring people together by creating a fun, interesting medium familiar to the younger generation while simultaneously offering something substantial for the established older generation.

Who else was involved in the beginning?

I partnered with several people along the way, including my closest friend, Ron Budhi, who helped bring the idea into focus, and John Roskoph, who helped bring it to fruition. Ryan Speakman was one of the most exciting additions to the team. He had been building websites for others for years and turned down many offers to work for sweat equity. His exuberance and willingness to join our project brought a renewed energy that has carried us to where we are today.

Once the idea was set, what came next?

While we were working on completing our first version to launch for beta testing, we came up with an idea. Instead of trying to bring the masses to our site, we thought of a way to bring our site to them. The invention of the uframe allowed our site to be the first social media debate platform that can be integrated into other sites with the push of a button.

Uframes are portals that can be placed on any blog or website in a matter of minutes. They transform blogs and websites into mini social media platforms. With video embedding, email notification, Facebook and Twitter integration and many other features, site owners can select or create any debate topic they want for their site. It’s free, and the same uframe can be placed on an unlimited number of sites, allowing for data syndication and grassroots polling. Being able to self-publish uframes to your own blog or website is very new to the Internet.

With creative energy flowing, our next discovery came quickly: a way for social media to center on video. While YouTube is a rather static site for viewing videos, our uscore tool now makes streaming media the focus of networking. We are currently undergoing patent protection, so I’m limited in what I can share at this point. In short, it will be a first in the technology world, valued by everybody from the entertainment industry to politicians. It’s this technology that has brought investors to us instead of the other way around.

What technology challenges did you face in the past and now?

One of our challenges was integrating different programming languages into all our tools, allowing them to be standalones but also to function in unison. With programming occurring in different states in the U.S. and even in China, we had to overcome some problems including the firewall protection that keeps Chinese citizens insulated.

The greatest challenge was thinking through the application flow and how all the pieces connect with one another. It was also difficult to try to anticipate what the user experience should be and how users would want to interact with the application. You really just have to build an application you hope the majority of users can benefit from. There were also issues related to scaling the application. I think we are there and have solved these issues, all while providing users a unique, interactive experience they would have a difficult time finding anywhere else.

Bootstrapping isn’t easy. How did you initially finance the startup?

Early on the funding came from my personal investment. Feeding money into the project during that first year was a strain, but it was too early to consider revenue streams or investing. Once the project took shape, we approached people in our professional circle to see who was in a position to help out, and we found our first investor. A cardiologist and his physician wife were looking for a project to get involved with, and we quickly got funded. From that point we continued to infuse the company with personal investment until we located our next investor, who was also part of our circle. We’ve taken on a good bit of investment and we are potentially going to cap it soon, because we have more than enough money to last us a while. However, we are in negotiations with an angel investor who is talking about giving us another $100,000.

Did you pitch for money?

We have yet to make any formal pitches to professional investors. In fact, we haven’t finalized any of our marketing material because our technology seems to be advancing so quickly. We have talked with people at some of the major conferences, such as Streaming Media and BlogWorld, about presenting, but we haven’t yet put anything in final form. We have looked at a high-tech small-business incubator and recently met people through the Princeton poster event, but we have grown rather organically up to this point.

How will UFeud make money?

We have quite a few revenue streams. I think the mistake many websites make these days is they rely on too few sources, including advertising, which has really dried up over the past couple of years. One thing we are doing is producing statistics through the complex algorithms we’ve generated, so individuals, organizations and companies can find data. For instance, if politicians want to know how their constituencies are polling on a particular issue, we can provide advanced statistics. If a company is putting out a new product, a film’s pilot is debuting or there is a new TV show, we can give people some pretty interesting numbers on how that item is polling, and that will be a revenue stream.

Data mining is pretty common these days. We are amassing data, which is always a bit of a gray area because you want to protect people’s privacy. At the same time, though, you are gathering information that has value out there, especially using some hybrid technology we are creating around profiling people.

We will be selling the uscore technology and licensing it to the film industry and politicians. We’d also like to do some data syndication, so if people produce really interesting debates, and those debates become popular with uframes, we can provide financial incentives to those people to distribute them. Let’s say someone well known—for example, a local talk show host—puts a uframe on his site with a debate he created, and now 50 other people want that uframe. He’ll be able to sublease that and generate revenue for himself as well as income for the company.

What is happening with UFeud LLC right now?

We are just coming out of beta testing for both our social networking website and uframe technology. The majority of the bugs have been worked out, and we are planning a full-scale launch this year. We plan to provide our uframe technology for free to everyday users for the next year while we build our brand.

A second version of uframe is being developed—adding more features, greater customization for users and a sleeker design—which we will make available for a nominal cost. We are working with other countries right now to incorporate uframe technology into their entertainment industries.
Scalability is the key to our success. We are readying ourselves to grow rapidly. We have been invited to present to members of the film industry and are having initial conversations with media conglomerates about our ability to integrate into cable television. We also have affiliates in five different countries planning launches of our technology.

Every startup has trusted advisors who helped it along the way. Who are yours?

One of our team members, Jura Zibas, is an intellectual-property attorney in New York. We pitched to her four years ago, when we first came up with the idea. She was willing to help us out for a minimum investment. However, we used the Philadelphia law offices of Blank Rome to draw up the actual patent application. Our accountant is the Moorestown firm Boscarelli & Zaiss. Richard Zaiss helped us at the beginning and never charged us a cent.

What’s next for the company?

What we’d like to do is focus our energies on the uscore technology. Because it’s so novel and the Internet is changing so quickly, it will only be a matter of time before someone else comes up with this idea. Uframe technology is going to be self-supporting and doesn’t require a lot of work at this point, and we’d like to popularize it by giving it away for free. We can let that go on its own while we put our time into sales and marketing. Our next meetings will be with the film industry, the auto industry and a television station. All three have expressed some interest in our products.

We are also ready to introduce uframes to education here in the States, believing that high schools and colleges can easily integrate this technology into their curricula. For example, high schools could put up a uframe with a live feed of a presidential debate, allowing students from all over the country to debate right alongside the candidates.

Schools could insert uframes into their social studies lessons to watch a historic speech by Martin Luther King Jr. This tool will help students learn how to make powerful arguments and support their ideas with convincing data.

The potential exists for reducing stereotyping and prejudice through global debates among kids from classrooms in different countries. Students could gain confidence through public speaking using the uframe video option. They could develop an understanding of the polling and election process, and learn conflict resolution through positive peer influence.

Our “smart” technology is also being readied for our social networking site, to be released later this year. This allows for real-time feedback to users about their debate profile, which is completely automated. While other large websites use profiling to become better platforms for advertisers, we are using this advanced technology to help people learn.

Social media television is our ultimate business goal. We would like to make the television- and video-viewing experience simultaneous with social networking, so users can combine the experiences of watching TV and interacting with friends. While I can’t give away too much just yet, we are very excited about the possibilities.

Esther Surden is Publisher and Editor of New Jersey Tech Weekly , and a contributor to Philly Tech News. This article originally appeared in New Jersey Tech Weekly in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

Philly Tech News Facilities Roundup: Who's moving or expanding? (3/23/2012)

Tom Paine

Real estate decisions (leases, expansions, new buildings or offices) are often a good indicator of what's happening within a company or industry. This periodic Philly Tech News feature is a roundup of recent facilities news involving Philly area tech firms.

Newtown, Bucks County-based Steel ORCA is said to be ready to break ground on a huge (700,000 square foot) data center in Fairless Hills. The colocation facility, which is expected to open early next year, is already looking for tenants. Located on the former U.S. Steel Fairless Works factory site, the plant will cost about $750 million at buildout, Steel ORCA says. Financed through equity investments, debt, and investments by some hardware and software vendors, the property is in a Keystone Opportunity Zone that provides some state and local tax breaks.
By comparison, Apple's new data center in North Carolina contains 500,000 square feet (although that may not exactly be apples to apples, no pun intended).

MayoSeitz Media has moved its headquarters to a new business complex, Arborcrest, adjacent to Unisys in Blue Bell, PA. "We simply outgrew our space and the move to new offices afforded us the opportunity for additional technology, space and areas for collaboration”, said Ray Mayo, Co-Founder and Managing Director in a statement. At the same time, MayoSeitz is upgrading its branding, including its graphics, logo, and website. MayoSeitz Media says it is one of the leading independent media agencies in the United States.

King of Prussia-based Devon IT, a leading maker of thin client computing devices and software, is opening a new office in Shanghai to support sales and meet what it says is "growing demand from (its partner) Dell for thin clients and virtual desktops in the region". Dell sells Devon IT products and Devon IT develops products that support Dell's Desktop Virtualization Solutions (DDVS).

Two Pennsylvania-based VC firms will open New Jersey offices after receiving LP investments from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA). The EDA voted to invest $3 million in Osage Venture Partners III and $2 million in NextStage Capital II. NextStage expects to lease space in the Rutgers-Camden Business Incubator at the EDA’s Waterfront Technology Center at Camden, and Osage plans to establish a new office in Branchburg.

Malvern-based ad agency Stream Cos. will open a new office in Old City Philadelphia. The agency, which has 55 employees in Malvern, will have four employees in the Philly office, which will be headed by Bob Weissman.


Five Below: Another winner for First Round's Kopelman?

Tom Paine

Last night, after reading about Philly retailer Five Below's reported IPO plans, I remembered who one of its early investors was: Josh Kopelman. He had invested in Five Below through his personal (non-institutional) pre-First Round Capital fund, Midas Capital.

Midas Capital's portfolio also included Boomi (acquired by Dell), a little company called LinkedIn, Delicious (acquired by Yahoo and later sold back to founders), Philly-based medical payments processor InstaMed, and TurnTide, on which Kopelman turned a quick and tidy profit by selling to Symantec. While most of these were likely very small stakes, as an early investor Midas probably saw some outstanding returns. One can only imagine what the IRR on that fund is.

Of course, Kopelman hasn't been perfect. He passed on an early opportunity to invest in Twitter.


Daily Links 3/23/2012: SAP eyes 100 bn euro sales mark in 20 years

How will Comcast 'beat the brains' out of Verizon FiOS? (Steve Donahue/FierceCable)

Verizon Raising FiOS TV DVR, Set-Top Rates
DVR Increasing to $16.99 Monthly; Set-Top Boxes Up 17%, to $6.99 Monthly, in NY Metro Area
(Multichannel News)

New advertising software automates ad-buying - and cuts out workers (Joe DiStefano/Philadelphia Inquirer)

SAP eyes 100 bn euro sales mark in 20 years (Times of India)
Maybe Larry Ellison was right about SAP being on drugs.

Fisker plans 'reveal' next month, keeps veil of secrecy (Wilmington News Journal)

ImpactRx Acquires AlphaDetail
Addition of AlphaDetail’s global custom market research expertise enhances and expands company’s solutions offerings
(Business Wire)

BioClinica Partners with NextDocs to Streamline Clinical Trial Submission Process (Business Wire)

DuckDuckGo Founder Gabriel Weinberg Talks About Creating a More Private Search Engine
( Techland)

Unintended contradictions of JOBS Act (Dan Primack/Fortune: Term Sheet)

Carpool website Ridaroo of Phila. gets first two customers (Philadelphia Business Journal)
Ridaroo will be participating in the Phorum Cloud Computing Conference Demo Pit on the 28th.

Novotorium Is Bullish on Philadelphia Area Entrepreneurs (PR Web)


Daily Links 3/22/2012: Verizon Wireless/Cable deal gets blowback at Senate hearing

Comcast, Verizon face critics at Senate hearing (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Lawmakers fear Verizon Wireless deal with cable firms will limit consumers’ choices (Washington Post)

VZ for VOD? Don’t Bet on It, Says Bernstein (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)

Tech Talk Episode One: The Cloud(Comcast Voices/Official Comcast Blog)

AT&T, Comcast, Other ISPs Urged by U.S. to Step Up Cybersecurity on Home PCs (Bloomberg)

Company dumps SAP support for Rimini Street, funds projects with savings (SearchSAP)

Oracle, SAP getting rattled by the ‘Cloud’
Web-based software attracting bigger corporate customers

Discount retailer Five Below eyes IPO -sources (Reuters)
Philly-based company backed in part by LLR Partners, co-founded by Encore Books founder and former Zany Brainy CEO; article speculates that market value could exceed $1 billion.

Kembrel's Killer Business Model: A Pop-Up with Weekly Flash Sales (215 Magazine)

EHR cost debate heats up (Government Health IT)

AWS partners with open-source private cloud provider Eucalyptus (Computerworld)

A video aerial view of Apple's NC data center (The Unofficial Apple Weblog)

Yummly raises $6M to build its digital kitchen (Gigaom)
First Round Capital was a seed funder of Yummly; its founder, Dave Feller, goes back aways with Josh Kopelman to

Dog Vacay Raises $1 Million in Seed Funding Lead by First Round Capital to Fuel Nationwide Expansion (PR Web)


Exton-based Scala makes splash at Digital Signage Expo 2102

Tom Paine

By most accounts, the digital signage industry is booming as new technologies provide reduced costs and increased capabilities, and new vertical markets for digital displays open up. And Exton-based Scala, a leading player on the software side of the business, had a huge presence at Digital Signage Expo 2012 in Las Vegas earlier this month and made significant new product announcements.

One announcement was the release of Scala's Leading Indicators CxO Board, a digital dashboard designed for enterprise managers to track key organizational metrics, in real time when such data are available. Although CxO Board is said by the company to be available for numerous CRM/ERP platforms, the only one that Scala specifically mentions right now is I asked Scala CEO Tom Nix in a phone interview if Scala had any specific relationship with Salesforce on the CXO Board product, and he declined comment on that.

CxO Board consists of three software components: CxO Designer, which enables displays to be built from a series of dashboards created using graphical widgets; CxO Data Connector, which automatically connects customer data from and other sources to the widgets for display; and CxO Player, which manages display of the complete presentation of widgets on a network of digital signage displays.

CxO Board seems somewhat similar in concept to software being offered by West Chester-based startup Hoopla Software, Inc., which I profiled earlier this year, and is also focused intially on the Salesforce user base. Hoopla, however, is very specifically geared towards goal measurement and motivation for sales and customer service teams, while Scala's language implies that CxO Board is targeted towards higher level executives.

I asked Nix what Scala's go to market strategy would be for what appears to be essentially a new channel for it. But he disputed that premise, saying that Scala is well established in the enterprise market and already has been involved in some CxO Board-like installations, and that what it is doing now is creating a formalized product architecture for that application.

In Las Vegas, Scala also introduced Scala Advanced Analytics, a cloud computing-based predictive analytics application for retailers. Scala says Scala Advanced Analytics "transforms market data and live third-party data streams into marketing messages that positively impact buying behavior". It can analyze massive amounts of data to determine what specific messages to deliver at specific times to shoppers via digital displays, based on predictive analytics-based projections for otimizing store performace or achieving other important goals. Scala says its Advanced Analytics offering is best suited for multi-site retailers with large numbers of SKU’s and point-of-sale data.

Scala does have a partner on the predictive modeling side, though Nix declined to identify who it was. He did say it was a proven application that had been around for a while. Although the SaaS solution is off the shelf, data customization can take considerable effort within an organization.

Scala also announced the release of a new version of it flagship digital signage software (Scala 5, Release 6). The new version is said to offer significant visual enhancements, better dynamic content management, new video and streaming options, and improved IT management capabilities.

More new product announcements are reported to be in the pipeline at Scala.

When asked how the first quarter was going for Scala, Nix said growth was probably stronger than it had ever been. Retail and Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) were probably the fastest growing market segments. Europe was holding up fairly well, he said (something I've heard from others recently), and Asia remains an enormous opportunity.

While Scala faces considerable competition on the software side and has its own challenges, it is in an envious strategic position. There is a crush of hardware vendors trying to get their products to customers, and Scala has leverage since it has a stable, proven software platform and the channel partners to reach them.

Related posts:

Exton-based Scala names Tom Nix new CEO; big opportunities in large global market

Exton-based Scala sees 20% growth in 2011, fine tunes leadership team for future growth


Daily Links 3/21/2012: Ellison says SAP "must be on drugs"

Oracle: Hardware business decelerates, cloud combat coming into view (ZDNet Blogs)

Oracle defies gravity, not out of the woods yet (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Bloogs)

Ellison on SAP's database plan: "They must be on drugs" (Bloomberg via Times of India)

Verizon to the Cable Industry: Let’s Be Friends (Susan P. Crawford/Bloomberg)
Susan P. Crawford, a law professor and Bloomberg columnist, served as President Obama's Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.

Comcast, Verizon Say They’re Itching to Fight Google, Apple (Peter Kafka/All Things D)

Verizon, Comcast Clash With Opponents Over Cable Spectrum Deal (PC Magazine)

Global Deal: QVC Expands in China Through Joint Venture (Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal India)

The JOBS Act Can Rebalance Risks and Rewards for Emerging Growth Companies, Investors (Jon Callaghan, Jeff Clavier, Josh Kopelman and Jason Mendelson/PE Hub)

Boston's OpenView Venture Partners closes 3rd VC fund at $200M (Boston Business Journal)
OpenView made major investments last year in Philly area startups Monetate, NextDocs and Xtium.

Comcast, Liberty Global Lead $11M Round In Ad Startup Integrate
Company's Solution Designed to Track Ad Impressions Across Multiple Platforms
(Multichannel News)

Medidata Gains Raves on Wall Street for Drug Development Tools (Xconomy New York)
Article cites importance of Medidata's 2008 acquisition of Conshohocken-based Fast Track Systems.

CRF Health Announces Record Breaking Revenue and Earnings Growth in 2011 (Business Wire)

Sqoot gets in trouble for sexist reference on Evenbrite post

Tom Paine

Sqoot , a 2010 (Philly) DreamIt Ventures daily deals aggregating startup now based in Chicago and New York, raised a furor on the web today because of a sexist joke attributed to the company that appeared on an Eventbrite listing for an upcoming Boston hackathon it had organized.

The comment, which has since been removed and for which Sqoot has profusely apologized for, created a firestorm on the web and led many hackathon sponsors to withdraw, including Philly-based CloudMine (see twitter post) .

Shows the need to have a policy for checking social media postings, or at least make sure you are comfortable with who is authorized to post for you.

More on this from BostInno .


Daily Links 3/20/2012: Philly's Venmo in public launch

After 2 Years of Testing, Venmo Opens Payment Service to Public (New York Times: Bits)
Venmo is based in Philly; investors include Accel Partners (though Times reporter apparently couldn't find that out).

Oracle Reports Q3 GAAP EPS Up 20% to 49 Cents; Q3 Non-GAAP EPS Up 15% to 62 Cents (Marketwire)
Meets revenue guidance, exceeds soft EPS guidance. Hardware revenue continues sharp decline.

Oracle Exceeds Estimates on Corporate Demand

QVC Announces China Joint Venture (PR Newswire)

Google Says Motorola Buyout Boosts Choice as China Extends Probe (Bloomberg)

Motorola Hops Into CDN Market With EdgeCast
Vendor Targets Cable Operators Worldwide With Content Delivery Network Offering
(Multichannel News)

Comcast Presents Consumer Benefits of Spectrum Assignment to Senate (Comcast Voices/Official Comcast Blog)

Amazon Acquires Kiva Systems in Second-Biggest Takeover (Bloomberg)
The key purpose of Amazon's acquisition of Quidsi in 2010 was probably to learn from what Quidsi was doing to automate the warehouse. Getting the warehouse inventory picking process under control is critical to Amazon's mass distribution strategy. Quidsi was deploying Kiva's products.
Meanwhile, Amazon and New Jersey are reported to be close to a deal that would give Amazon a sales tax exemption in the state in return for building warehouses that would provide up to 1500 jobs.

Edmund Optics “Goes Live” With SAP® Business All-in-One and Other Solutions From SAP, Deployed by Answerthink (Business Wire)
Edmund Optics is based in Barrington, NJ.

Leading Professional Services Company Launches New ARAMARK Healthcare Technologies Brand (PR Newswire)

Thomson Reuters Healthcare Unit, We’ve Been Here Before
(Wall Street Journal: Deal Journal)


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (3/12/2012 to 3/18/2012)

I profiled the launch of Quewey, a Philly-based business oriented Q&A site.

The Allentown Morning Call reported on the demise of Lehigh Valley-based International Battery, a startup with high hopes for making it big with rechargeable lithium-ion cells and batteries. It went through tens of millions of venture capital funding and leaves Pennsylvania on the hook for millions.

A UK publication reported that Exton-based iPipeline was in talks to acquire Assureweb, a financial services quotation portal backed by several large insurers there. When it received $71.4 million in venture funding in January, iPipeline had indicated international expansion could be one use of the funds.

Philadelphia Media Network reduced staff at the Inquirer, Daily News and by about 40 people through a combination of buyouts and layoffs; guild management for the papers issued a letter ripping the management of Publisher Greg Osberg.

In a presentation at a forum held by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) in Phialdelphia, Comcast SVP of strategic planning Mark Coblitz emphasized the need for cable operators and their suppliers to take energy efficiency into account in the early stages of designing processes and equipment.

The witness list is set for the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee hearings on Verizon Wireless' spectrum/joint marketing agreement with a coalition of cable companies, including Comcast. The hearings are scheduled for this Wednesday afternoon.

SAP AG continued to rollout its HANA product on many fronts, including an announcement scheduled for April 10 on its database software plans. Meanwhile, some industry analysts are becoming increasingly concerned about Oracle's weaknesses. Oracle announces its quarterly earnings tomorrow (the 20th).

Philadelphia-based software firm Ascentive agreed to pay a $9.6 million settlement of a class action lawsuit for its alleged "scareware" tactics, although the company did not admit to wrongdoing.

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Introducing new Philly Tech News Events Calendar twitter feed

I like to keep the main Philly Tech News twitter feed (@phillytechnews ) fairly compact, so I don't post info about most events on it. Since the Philly Tech News Events Calendar is rather extensive, I want to have a way to share that content with users as well.

So I've established a new, separate twitter feed, @phillytechnewsevents, which is fed automatically from Google Calendar. Events show up on the feed soon after they are added to the calendar. I'll look at finding a way to add reminders perhaps one day before an event.

Of course, you can always access the Philly Tech News Events Calendar here.

Philly Tech People News 3/18/2012

First woman executive vice president at Comcast(Philadelphia Inquirer)
Profile of Cathy Avgiris.

Senior vice president of Comcast Corporation pledges $1.055 million for Cooper Medical School of Rowan University scholarships (
Lawrence J. Salva, chief accounting officer and controller.

SAP cloud boss takes time off as questions are asked over BYD (Cloud Pro)
Peter Lorenz takes leave, as SuccessFactors CEO takes over SAP Cloud business.

My Next Step on the Path: Ernst & Young's Global Cleantech Center (Scott Edward Anderson/The Green Skeptic)

Stream Cos. opens Philadelphia office (Philadelphia Business Journal)

JackBe Expands Executive Team with New Vice President of Sales and Chief Marketing Officer (Business Wire)
New VP-Sales was former QlikTech executive.

Cablevision Confirms Hiring Of Kanouff
Former SeaChange President Named Executive VP of Engineering, Software Design
(Multichannel News)

Cablevision's Blackley, Mayo Are Resigning
MSO Confirms Departure of Two More Senior-Level Executives
(Multichannel News)

CNBC Names Krim Digital GM (MediaPost News)

Comcast Spotlight Announces Executive Promotions (Press Release)

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Marketing is the next big money sector in technology

Microsoft Technology Centers, Smart Technologies kick off partnership, US rollout of interactive whiteboards in Malvern

Tom Paine

Calgary-based SMART Technologies, Inc., a leader in the interactive whiteboard market, used the Microsoft Technology Center in Malvern to announce yesterday it had become a Global Technology Partner in the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) Alliances Program, and would be installing its products in all 11 U.S. centers by the end of 2012, beginning with Malvern. It already has installations at several MTC locations internationally.

Each center will have a variety of SMART products, including interactive whiteboards, interactive displays, interactive pen displays, SMART Meeting Pro™ software and Bridgit® conferencing software. Chuck McCann, Director, Worldwide MTC Alliance Program, in a statement cited reduced travel expenses and increased collaboration as being among the benefits gained from using SMART Technologies products.

The event featured a presentation by Bill Emmert, Technical Director/Technology Architect, Microsoft
Technology Center, and John Friscia of SMART Technologies, and a tour of the facilities. During the tour, a SMART spokesperson tells me, Emmert commented that people within the Center fight for the rooms with SMART Boards because they enjoy using the product, it wows customers, and is much more efficient than the regular white erase board because they can save files on a USB and send customers off with it.

SMART says it has the leading share in the interactive whiteboard market in the US. It becomes one of 11 Global Technology Partners in the MTC Alliances Program.

MTC describes its purpose as providing environments and state of the art technology tools to enable world class learning and development experiences. The Malvern, Pennsylvania center opened in March of last year.

SMART Technologies' press release.

Daily Links 3/15/2012: Layoffs expected at Philadelphia Media Network this week, in midst of criticism

Report: Cisco Looking To Buy Interactive TV And Security Specialist NDS In $5B Deal (TechCrunch)

Cisco Bets $5B More on Video With NDS (Light Reading Cable)

Cloud player Appirio looks towards global expansion after $60 million VC round (ZDNet Blogs)

Salesforce Is Up And Running With Rypple Only Six Weeks After Buying It (Silicon Alley Insider: Enterprise)

Salesforce Unveils Human Resources Software Amid Oracle Contest (Bloomberg)

Kohl reveals witness list for Verizon-cable hearing (The Hill)

Comcast's Strategy Chief Calls a Power Play (Light Reading Cable)

March 2012 Business Outlook Survey (Philadelphia Fed)
Continued growth, optimism reported.

Philadelphia-Area Factory Index Increases to an 11-Month High (Bloomberg)

Phorum 2012 National Cloud Conference Announces Full Line-Up (PR Web)

Layoffs at Philadelphia papers to come this week (Poynter)
Updated: Guild letter rips into Osberg.
"Perhaps instead of killing stories he didn’t like about the sale of the company and trying to be seen as some sort of digital visionary by holding press conferences at the Academy of Natural Sciences, giving free rent to start-up companies who play ping pong on the 5th floor at 400 N. Broad, creating a poorly-launched tablet and worrying about apps that make a few dollars, Osberg should be focused on properly staffing the newspapers in a manner that will allow more copies to be sold. The duplication of stories in both papers and the ongoing push to dump more and more content onto will not solve any revenue problems."

Verizon Wireless Continues to Aggressively Expand 4G LTE Network In Philadelphia Region (PR Newswire)
The timing of this release is obviously intended to coincide with the iPad 3 release; Verizon Wireless says 4G LTE now available to more than 60% of region's population.

ValueVision (ShopNBC) reports bigger loss, lower revenue in 4Q (St Paul Pioneer Press)
Comcast owns a stake in ValueVision.


Philly-based business Q&A site Quewey launches in private beta

Tom Paine

Philadelphia-based Quewey, a business-oriented Q&A site, has launched in private beta. Invitations are available to the first 1,000 qualified users who sign up at

Quewey 's starting point, and a key difference from other Q&A sites, is that it uses the LinkedIn API to ensure the professional standing of its contributors. Queway also recently acquired Zebek, a startup that describes its core competency as "advanced virtual-graph based search and matching". Zebek's technology will be the engine behind Quewey's back-end development, matching the people asking questions to the most relevant experts and providing algorithms ranking trending topics and thought leaders among users. Zebek's co-founder and CTO, Anshu Aggarwal, has joined Quewey as CTO.

Quewey's founder is Matthew Safaii (right), a Wharton MBA who serves as Managing Director at ICG, working mostly on the acquisitions side. Safaii will remain at ICG so he will not be running the company on a day-to-day basis, but will be a "very actively involved non-executive founder", he said in a phone interview with Philly Tech News. Someone else will be brought on as CEO. To be clear, ICG is not an investor in Quewey. The company has raised $300,00 in funding to date, mostly from angel investors, and has an open filing to raise more if it needs to.

Queway's closest competitors who come to mind are Quora and Joel Spolsky's Stack Exchange , which started out being programming-specific but has since expanded to covering numerous subjects. Quewey is different, though, in significant ways. One will be the ability of community members to monetize their expertise by offering one-on-one advice as followups when answer-seekers want more details, through a per minute charge. Safaii envisions Quewey's service as being much more acessable and affordable than a site like Gearson Lehman. Quewey says its Personal Consulting Platform will manage the entire consulting work flow, from lead generation and scheduling, to call logistics, payment processing and client review.

Quora was reported last month to be looking for a valuation in excess of $300 million in its next round. Fortune had a good recent article profiling major players in the Q & A market. And other new entrants are emerging.

Quewey has offices in the Rittenhouse Square area.


Daily Links 3/14/2012: Report: Exton-based iPipeline in talks to acquire UK's Assureweb

American firm (Exton-based iPipeline) in talks to acquire Assureweb (Money Marketing)

International Battery owes Pennsylvania millions
Company defaulted on assistance when it abruptly closed.
(Allentown Morning Call)

IBM Cognos Insight: Data Visualization For Less
Bringing its TM1 technology to the desktop, IBM Cognos answers QlikTech and Tableau with a low-cost data-exploration tool
(Information Week)

Taking false cloud comfort from multi-tenancy ( Phil Wainewright/ZDNet Blogs)

I’m joining SAP AG. (Sameer Patel/Enterprise Irregulars)

Devon IT Announces SafeBook Thin Client Program for Dell (Business Wire)

Maven Communications adds Comcast, Fisher & Phillips, Futura Mobility and ProPoint Graphics (Philly Ad Club News)

Maiden Media Selected as Digital Agency for La Yogurt Probiotic (PR Newswire)

Aereo Wait-Lists New Yorkers On Internet TV Service
Micro-Antenna Startup Faces Copyright-Infringement Suits from Broadcasters
(Multichannel News)

Op-Ed : Comcast's commitment to Martha's Vineyard is stronger than ever (Martha's Vineyard Times)
Always important to keep people on Martha's Vineyard and in Vail happy.


Daily Links 3/13/2012: Intel wants to get into Cable biz?

Intel Seeking Media Rights to Start Online Pay-TV System (Bloomberg)
Join the party.

Intel's Plan To Become A Cable Company Is One Of The Dumbest Ideas Ever (Henry Blodget/Silicon Alley Insider)

Did NBC miss the boat on 'Downton Abbey'? (Philadelphia Inquirer)

S&T, icueTV Demo Political-Donation ITV App
Vendors Demo "Click to Text" EBIF Application at CableLabs Winter Conference
(Multichannel News)
icueTV is based in Cherry Hill. CableLabs' Winter Conference is being held in Philadelphia.

SAP: Bernstein Ups to Buy on ‘Hana’ Prospects (Barron's: Tech Trader Daily)

SAP ports HANA database to financial planning app
Latest move by SAP to seed HANA throughout its product portfolio.

Sameer Patel joins SAP and why it matters (Dennis Howlett/ZDNet Blogs)

Dell Steels Software Biz With SonicWall (Wired Enterprise)
$1.2 billion deal, WSJ reports.

Apple to spend $11bn on Samsung parts in 2012 claims exec (SlashGear)
OLED might be in the plans, which if true could be good news for Universal Display.

SalesCrunch makes $1 bid for Cisco's WebEx (Reuters)
SalesCrunch is a First Round Capital portfolio company.

Turntable.FM Signs Licensing Deals With All Four Major Labels (Hollywood Reporter)
Another FRC portfolio company.

Urban Outfitters’ Margins Sink, 4Q EPS Misses Mark (Barron's Blogs)

Fisker electric Karma was pushed to market before it was ready (Gigaom)
According to one former employee, anyway.


Highlights: Last week on Philly Tech News (3/5/2012 to 3/11/2012)

I reported on Bentley Systems' 2nd annual corporate update conference call; growth seems to be picking up again and the main message I took away from the call was the emphasis on China.

I wrote about Philly & New York-based Solve Media's effort to expand its CAPTCHA branding business to pre-roll advertisements for online videos.

Netflix is looking for cable operators to partner with, but Comcast quickly said it wasn't going to play that game.

The FCC signaled that it wasn't going to give Verizon Wireless and several cable operators a quick pass on their proposed spectrum sale and marketing joint venture, requesting more (unredacted) information from all parties involved.

Fortune Magazine profiled Comcast's strategy for its NBC Sports Group to double down on sports.

The New York Post broke a story that Google was looking to unload Motorola Mobility's Horsham-based set-top box business even before the acquisition was completed. Although there has been no confirmation, many industry observers would not be surprised if it were true.

PE Hub reported on SAP Ventures' plans for its next fund. SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe said in an interview at CeBIT that collaboration software would be the company's next product category to expand in; that doesn't necessarily require an acquisition but nonetheless his comments got the rumor mills going again. SAP also rolled out at CeBIT what it referred to as a multitenant Cloud version of its Business One ERP suite for smaller enterprises, although some analysts questioned whether it was a true multitenancy architecture.

Exton-based Scala introduced several new offerings at Digital Signage Expo 2012, including what it calls CxO Board, a digital display scoreboard that enterprise managers can use to monitor key performance metrics.

Fisker, with its plans to produce autos in Delaware delayed, had a Karma it delivered to Consumer Reports break down almost immediately on the testing grounds.

And a somewhat altered group now said to be headed by Lewis Katz and Gerry Lenfest apparently has exclusive rights to bargain for Philadelphia Media Network; Ed Rendell's position in the group is not clear at this time.

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