After Starting 4 Businesses, College Entrepreneur Decides on Degree

December 10, 2014 | New York Times by John Grossman

Daniel Fine is the founder and chief executive of Glass-U, a two-year-old, 10-employee maker of foldable sunglasses bearing the licensed brands of universities, music festivals like Lollapalooza, and the World Cup soccer tournament last summer. He arranges for the manufacture of the glasses in China and their distribution around the country. He’s also a senior in college.

Mr. Fine financed Glass-U, which operates out of off-campus housing, in part with proceeds from a tutoring company, NexTutors, that he started right after high school. He has also founded Fine Prints, a custom apparel company he started during high school, and Dosed, a health care technology company that is working on a smartphone app to help diabetics.

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Why this 25-year-old moved to Philly to run her digital marketing startup

December 2, 2014 | Technical.ly by Juliana Reyes

Nadia James used to work at LinkedIn’s London office, running international social media campaigns for major corporations like Google, American Express, IBM and Chanel.

After nearly two years at the company, the 25-year-old realized that smaller companies couldn’t afford digital marketing advice from a place like LinkedIn. So she moved back home, to Northern New Jersey, and opened up her own shop.

Griot Digital, named for the word for a West African storyteller, serves customers like Rutgers University, SemperCon and Practice Unite.

Once James got her business off the ground, she started scoping out cities to move to. She found Philly last spring, right before Philly Tech Week, which she said sealed the deal for her. (Full, self-serving disclosure: Technical.ly organizes Philly Tech Week.)

Below, she explains how she went from apartment hunting in Fishtown to office hunting (in Fishtown) in just six months and what’s overwhelming about the local tech scene.

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New accelerator is solely for firms with a female founder

November 23, 2014 | Philadelphia Inquirer by Diane Mastrull

In Greek mythology, she is the goddess of war and wisdom. In Philadelphia’s University City, Athena is a more earthly vessel, taking shape to make warriors of female entrepreneurs.

DreamIt Athena is a rare business accelerator, exclusively for companies with at least one female founder.

Announced this month and accepting applications until Dec. 8 at https://app.wizehive.com/appform/login/2015philly, the program to help women turn their ideas into fundable businesses with growth potential will launch in February with its first cycle of participants, a minimum of four companies. A second cycle is planned for spring 2016.

To qualify, applicants must have technology-based products or services with large market opportunity…

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Startup PHL Keeps Local Investments Flowing with New Angel Fund

November 14, 2014 | Flying Kite by Alaina Mabaso

On November 12 at Philadelphia’s Innovation Lab,PIDCFirst Round Capital and the City of Philadelphia announced the launch of the Startup PHL Angel Fund.

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, who spoke at the event, said that many people have asked him whether investments like this are a risk the City should be taking.

“The answer is simple,” he said, speaking to a large crowd of local startup leaders, packed with aspiring millennial entrepreneurs. To continue transforming Philadelphia into a notable draw for the country’s best ideas, “we cannot afford to do nothing.”

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Local entrepreneur takes top prize at national pitch event

October 29th, 2014 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

Local entrepreneur Gabriel Mandujanotook home the largest prize — $25,000 — at Tuesday’s Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day in New York.

It was Blackstone LaunchPad’s first event of its kind, and 31-year-old Mandujano wasone of 20 national finalists. Mandujano, a faculty member at Philadelphia University, was the only person from the Philadelphia region to make the cut.

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Meet 9 companies in the 2nd FastFWD social enterprise accelerator class

September 18, 2014 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

The City of Philadelphia, GoodCompany Group and the Wharton Social Impact Initiative announced the second class of its social enterprise accelerator, FastFWD, today. Each company is focused on improving public safety.

The second class kicks off this week. Backed by a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Foundation, the accelerator awards $10,000 to each company, as well as mentorship, training and office space in Kensington’s Impact Hub. Every company will have the opportunity to apply for a city contract at the end of the 12-week program. The idea behind the accelerator is to cut through the bureaucratic red tape involved in the city procurement process…

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Jon Gosier’s new fund wants to make angel investing more inclusive

September 16, 2014 | Technical.ly Philly by Juliana Reyes

The angel investment world felt insular to Jon Gosier.

He wasn’t alone. At the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, Gosier, who runs data science startup D8A, met a group of Philadelphia business people who also wanted to get into angel investing but didn’t know where to start.

So they started their own fund.

Third Cohort, so named because the fund’s partners all met in the third cohort of the 10,000 Small Businesses program, invests between $10,000 to $25,000 in very early stage tech startups. They’ve already made two investments: one in New York City-based, pre-launch dream-remembrance app Shadow and another in Washington, D.C.-based “Bloomberg for Africa” startup Market Atlas. These deals have come through the partners’ networks, he said, as the fund hasn’t really started any outreach efforts yet.

Aside from investing in tech startups, the fund will also provide low-interest loans to early-stage brick-and-mortar businesses that don’t traditionally get funded by angel investors. The group wants to help “these small businesses that make up most of the economy” who may not be able to get a loan from a bank yet, Gosier said…

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Student-run retail analytics startup nabs $20,000 from Dorm Room Fund

August 15, 2014 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

On Wednesday, I wrote that First Round Capital’s Dorm Room Fund in Philadelphia was getting ready to announce some more investments.

News broke Thursday that Prayas Analytics, a startup run by two seniors at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, received $20,000 in funding from the student-run venture firm.

Prayas Analytics is an analytics company that provides brick-and-mortar retailers with store operations-focused data. Basically, its technology monitors what is happening in stores (how long customers are standing in line, for instance) by analyzing surveillance video footage, which then prompts the formation of statistical models. The models can be used to better store operations and customer experience.

Prayas Analytics’ co-founder Pranshu Maheshwari said the startup recently completed its pilot with a Fortune 200 company, which isn’t being identified. The company has also agreed to continue to work with Prayas Analytics longer term, he said.

Maheshwari, whom I chatted with Friday by phone (he’s in India visiting with family), told me he and his work partner Yash Kothari have been using the $20,000 to help pay for developing the technology and other resources.

Backed by investment firm First Round Capital, Dorm Room Fund invests in student-run companies. It recently had its first exit companyFirefly– in June.

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Philly Dev Camp kicks off with help from city fund

July 24, 2014| Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

Zoe Goldberg, a soon-to-be senior at the University of Pennsylvania, has summer plans quite unusual for a typical 21-year-old.

Instead of turning her brain off for the remainder of her last summer vacation, she’s spending five weeks in an intense website development camp, dubbed Philly Dev Camp, run by Zivtech and Neomind Labs.

Philly Dev Camp, which kicked off this week in a Zivtech workroom, is made possible from a $24,000 grant from StartUp PHL, the City of Philadelphia Department of Commerce and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation initiative. The camp’s goal is to train interested individuals, and ultimately create a group of talented Web developers, who can boost the city’s tech scene.

“I always hated my job before coming into this field,” said Jody Hamilton, Zivtech co-founder and chief technology officer. “And this is such a good job. There’s demand for this job, it pays well, you can work in Center City in a nice office, it’s creative, you work with interesting people. There’s nothing bad you can say about these [Web developer] jobs.”

The only missing piece, Hamilton continued, is finding people with the right skills to do the work.

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Nutter touts Philly tech scene in Friday event tour

June 13, 2014| Technically Philly by Max Ufberg

Mayor Michael Nutter was out making the tech rounds Friday, stopping by four different startup offices — ranging from social media entrepreneurs to medical sales — to offer up words of encouragement, field questions from tech employees and cut a few ribbons.

The four companies — Arcweb, OneTwoSee, Medical Guardian and PeopleLinx— shared little in common, except for a high growth rate: three of the four visits were to commemorate new or increased office spaces, while the fourth stop, at PeopleLinx, offered a more informal setting for discussing the city’s startup scene.

Nutter’s tour started with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the offices of mobile app specialists Arcweb, which recently moved from coworking space Indy Hall into an office at 2nd and Market Streets.

“The is a community that we pay a tremendous amount of attention to,” Nutter said to a packed room of employees and observers, many of whom enjoyed free food and beer afterwards. “You’re bringing people to the city, creating this entrepreneurial, startup, tech-savvy hub that Philadelphia is and will continue to grow.”

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