First Round Capital leads $3M round in Wharton-founded predictive analytics startup - Technical.ly Philly

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Mar. 24, 2016 8:24 am

First Round Capital leads $3M round in Wharton-founded predictive analytics startup

Zodiac is headquartered in New York City but its engineering team is based in Center City.

Part of Team Zodiac. CTO Justin Bleich is at far right, standing.

(Courtesy photo)

Hello, First Round Capital local funding alert.

The venture capital firm, which rarely invests in Philadelphia companies, just led a $3 million round in Zodiac, a predictive analytics startup with Wharton roots.

OK, actually, Zodiac is one of those two-city  jawns we’re seeing more and more: sales and marketing in New York, engineering in Philadelphia. (See: Vistar Media, Drama Fever, Moven.) That may be why it wasn’t optimal for a StartUp PHL investment, the city-backed investment firm that First Round manages.

Other investors include New York-based Metamorphic Ventures, Silicon Valley-based Felicis Ventures and Western Technology Investment.

We first told you about Zodiac in December, when they were called CLVMetrics and building out their engineering team. There are four employees based in Philly, including Rob McGinley, the company’s first engineering hire.

CTO Justin Bleich told us that they chose to build their engineering team in Philadelphia because the city’s tech talent is “top notch,” but also because of McGlinley’s network. McGinley has worked at Monetate, ShopRunner and Drama Fever. (Fellow ex-Monetater Scott Samios, former VP of Sales, is Zodiac’s COO.)

Zodiac’s product aims to show companies how much a customer will spend in the future. “Customer lifetime value,” they call it. It builds off the research of Wharton professor Pete Fader, who cofounded the company with Wharton grads Bleich and CEO Artem Mariychin, plus Wharton doctoral student and Chief Statistician Dan McCarthy. Zodiac is currently focused on retail customers, both ecommerce and brick and mortar, Bleich said. Initial customers include ModCloth, American Apparel and dressbarn.

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Mariychin and Bleich used to work out of First Round Capital’s University City headquarters but now shuttle between the two cities. They also moved into an office at 2001 Market St.

Zodiac is also the first company to receive investment from First Round Capital after a Dorm Room Fund investment.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

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