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, 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…


Start-up Opens Digital Door for Students with Autism

February 17, 2014 | by Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA One of the hottest start-ups in the city sprang up in an unlikely place – a fourth-floor classroom at South Philadelphia High.

In between lesson plans and parent conferences, teacher Michele McKeone has attracted some major buzz, along with sizable grants from the University of Pennsylvania and the Milken Family Foundation, attention from national media, and a start-up-of-the-year prize at the Philadelphia Geek Awards.

Autism Expressed, her fledgling business, teaches digital skills to students with autism. It is the first program of its kind on the market, experts believe, and one McKeone hopes will modernize special-education services.

It began in a way familiar to many teachers. She saw a need in her classroom, so she filled it.


PhillyDeals: Apps a Phila. growth industry

September 23, 2013 | The Inquirer by Joseph N. Distefano

Amid the slow U.S. economy, writing software applications for iPhone and Android smartphones is a rare growth industry. Companies are spending big to follow their workers and customers into mobile apps, backed by remote (“cloud”) computer servers, just as they moved online by adding pioneer websites 20 years ago. Here are a few examples of Philadelphia software developers getting paid to go mobile:


John Guillaume moved his family to Philadelphia from Denver after Comcast Corp. bought New Global Telecom, where he was an executive, in 2010.

New Global was one of a group of companies – Center City-based Alteva Inc. is another – building “universal” phone-smartphone-Internet systems for small businesses. Comcast bought it to boost its small-business services.

Its new Comcast Business VoiceEdge apps, which tens of thousands of Comcast users have been downloading free in the last two months, were designed by New Global veterans – and built mostly by Comcast software developers in Philadelphia…


PhillyDeals: Two entrepreneurs see market for new networking system

September 18, 2012 | Philadelphia Inquirer by Joseph N. Distefano

“Jim Young, raised in Apple Computer’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif., developed the notoriously successful face-and-body comparison-voting site back in pre-Facebook days, while he was warming up for his doctoral dissertation at Berkeley.

“Cheyenne Ehrlich, raised in a meditation center, developed, a PayPal predecessor, while he was an undergraduate at Vassar, and went on to help build firms in Silicon Valley and East Asia, from his home on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

“These pioneers are now partners – in Philadelphia, where they’ve started their new company, Perceptual Networks…”


A bubbling of tech firms in Philadelphia’s Old City

July 02, 2012 | Philadelphia Inquirer by Jane M. Von Bergen and Inquirer Staff Writer

“What a great day it was at Dmg Ctrl Ltd., a tech company in Old City. Cofounder Jason Allum pulled the tap on a new mini-kegerator, a little dorm-size fridge perfectly designed to hold one keg of beer that had been installed that afternoon…”