Startup with needle-free way to draw blood raises $5M

February 5, 2015 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

Velano Vascular announced Thursday that it raised $5 million in Series A funding.

The investment round was led by First Round Capital, which co-invested in Velanolast year with Startup PHL (a $6 million seed-fund initiative created by First Round and the PIDC).

Other Velano investors include Safeguard Scientifics and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as Philadelphia outsiders White Owl Capital (New York), Kapor Capital (California) and Griffin Hospital (Connecticut).

The Philadelphia and San Francisco-based company, which is just starting to come out of the woodwork, has created a needle-free method for drawing blood from hospitalized patients, ultimately “bringing compassion into care,” said its co-founder and CEO Eric Stone. Stone founded the company with Pitou Devgon, who invented Velano’s technology. …

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5 notable Series B financing efforts from 2014

December 19th, 2014 | Philadelphia Business Journal by Lauren Hertzler

As the year comes to a close, these five Philadelphia technology startups can look back on 2014 with pride. They all successfully raised Series B financing rounds, a massive accomplishment for a growing business.

When a startup meets significant milestones, it’s likely to secure a Series B round, if it’s going the investor route. The financing round before Series B is Series A, understandably.

  • In June, Curalate, which has had consistent growth in its product’s offerings, raised $8.6 million from longtime investors New Enterprise Associates, First Round Capital and MentorTech Ventures. Vayner RSE, social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk‘s venture firm, also joined in on the funding for Curalate, a 2-year-old analytics and marketing suite for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr.
  • RJMetrics unveiled in September that it had raised a massive $16.5 million, led by Silicon Valley-based August Capital, which has invested in a slew of successful businesses like Microsoft, Skype and Sun Microsystems. RJMetrics’ co-founder and CEO Robert Moore said the new funding would go toward accelerating the analytics platform’s product development and continuing customer growth.
  • Aclaris Therapeutics is a dermatology biotech company that raised $21 million in a private stock sale in October. The Series B venture capital financing followed the company’s completion of a phase-II clinical trial that yielded positive results for its lead product candidate, A-101, which is being developed as treatment for a common type of skin tumor known as seborrheic keratoses.
  • Earlier this month, Zonoff announced that it raised $31.8 million. Last November, Zonoff entered into an agreement with Staples to provide the software platform that powers Staples Connect, a home automation solution found in hundreds of Staples retail stores today.
  • LiquidHub, a systems integrator and technology consultancy that works with businesses to improve customer engagement and drive growth, announced a $53 million investment led by private equity firm ChrysCapital in March. The investment supports LiquidHub’s development plans — including more strategic mergers and acquisitions (like the one with Foundry9 in October.)

SAUCE

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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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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