Professional Development
Accelerators / Entrepreneurs / Startups

Philly Power Moves: University City Science Center announces next cohort of Founders Fellows

Plus, Freya Systems wins an award, Comcast completes its AI accelerator, HealthVerity has a new CTO and more local leadership changes.

In a lab at the University City Science Center. (Courtesy the University City Science Center)
Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, gig or promotion? Email us at

The University City Science Center announced four new Founders Fellows last month. This quartet will spend the next year working on research and gaining startup experience with the support of the Science Center. The fellows and their projects are as follows:

  • Daniel Baker is uniting cell therapy and longevity to improve health.
  • Yazmin Feliz is working on ultrasound technology to improve and monitor the IVF process.
  • Divya Gowdar is the founder of NubGenix. Her company supports medical devices, combination products and pharmaceutical companies through the process of launching products to market.
  • Aravind Krishnan is the founder of Toxisense. This company developed a genetically engineered plant that glows based on the concentration of bacterial endotoxin it is exposed to. This is a more sustainable process for detecting bacterial endotoxins.

Freya Systems wins Drexel LeBow Analytics 50 Award

Freya Systems, a Delaware County-based software development and data analytics company, is one of the 2023 honorees of the Drexel LeBow Analytics 50 Award. This award recognizes 50 organizations that use data analytics to solve business problems.

Freya Systems was chosen for its work with the Delaware County Regional Water Authority. The partnership used data to reduce maintenance costs, save energy and positively impact the environment.

“This recognition is a tremendous honor for the Freya Systems team,” said Ben Johnson, founder of Freya Systems, in a statement. “Our collaboration with client subject matter experts is a cornerstone of our success. It enables us to tailor solutions that go above and beyond expectations. While winning awards is not our primary objective, I am delighted to see our dedicated data scientists receive recognition for their outstanding contributions and impact.”

Companies in Comcast’s AI accelerator secure partnerships

In the spring, Comcast announced plans for its first themed LIFT labs accelerator focused on generative AI. After a six-week program, all eight companies secured a partnership with Comcast, NBCUniversal or Sky. Here are the startups and their respective future projects:

  • UK-based character-building platform Charisma is working with Sky and Universal Destinations and Experiences on interactive character experiences.
  • Coactive, a California-based company that makes visual data searchable, is partnering with Comcast on video analysis work.
  • California-HQed, AI-driven virtual character-building platform Inworld is working with Comcast NBCUniversal and Sky on interactive characters.
  • Monterey AI, a California-based data synthesizing company, is partnering with Comcast on product analytics solutions.
  • NLX, an AI communication platform based in New York City, is working on a pilot of its technology with Comcast customer service.
  • Reality Defenders, a New York City-based platform that detects and protects against deep fakes, will be piloting its technology with NBCUniversal.
  •, a text-to-video generator platform from California, is working with Comcast customer experience to create customer education videos.
  • Wscripted is a New York City-based company that works to connect writers and their content to producers. The company will be partnering with NBCUniversal.

UCSC appoints three new board members

The University City Science Center appointed three new board members in July. Chellie Cameron is the president and CEO of The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. Adam Glasofer is the global head of healthcare – public sector VC and startups at Amazon Web Services. Michael A. Nutter is a former Mayor of Philadelphia.

“Ms. Cameron, Dr. Glasofer and Mayor Nutter bring a wealth of experience to the Science Center and their addition to our Board is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the organization’s impact across Greater Philadelphia and beyond,” said Tiffany Wilson, president and CEO of the Science Center, in a statement. “We are thrilled to welcome these three individuals to our board and eager to [work] together to advance our mission of powering progress that advances healthcare innovation, uplifts communities and improves lives.”

Burro welcomes first CFO

Agtech company Burro, formerly known as Augean Robotics, announced that it hired Mark Gaudiosi as its first CFO.

Gaudiosi has over 25 years of finance experience at companies in multiple industries. Most recently, he was the CFO of the healthcare company Medical Guardian. Before that, he was the CFO at Philly-based delivery company GoPuff. He also worked in leadership roles in accounting and finance at eBay Enterprise (now Radial), Aramark and Wawa.

Qlik welcomes new EVP of global sales

King of Prussia-based data integration, data quality and analytics company Qlik announced that Casey George would be its new EVP of global sales.

George has over 20 years of experience with SaaS companies. He was most recently chief revenue officer for Talend, which Qlik acquired earlier this year. He was also previously SVP at Verint and had multiple roles at IBM.

“Casey knows what it takes to unify and grow global sales and partner organizations and has a strong track record of consistently creating value for customers and partners,” said Mike Capone, Qlik’s CEO, in a statement. “From our first interactions during the acquisition of Talend, Casey showed he has the right mix of experience and drive to help Qlik achieve our goals, and I’m thrilled to have him leading our global sales and partner efforts.”

The Forum of Executive Women announces new board chair

The Forum of Executive Women, an organization that supports professional women in the greater Philadelphia region, announced its 2023-2024 board members at the end of June.

Colleen Vallen, SVP of forensic services at J.A. Montgomery Consulting, is the new board chair, taking over for Katherine Kelton, chief compliance officer and head of global regulatory at Vault Health.

“As we look ahead to our 50th year, I will strive to develop and implement processes and procedures needed for this journey; to connect with current and new sponsors who can partner with us on this journey; and to make sure we have the resources available to seize the opportunities ahead of us that will drive change, enhance growth and strengthen our community,” said Vallen in a statement.

HealthVerity welcomes new CTO

John Eckhart recently started at Center City based healthcare data company HealthVerity as its new CTO. Eckhart previously worked as SVP of engineering at 15five. Before that, he was VP of engineering at Lightspeed HQ. He has past experience as a CTO for Nearpod and Yodle, as well.

“We’re very excited to have him join us at a pivotal time as we continue to develop innovative tools, software and methods to make healthcare data available and usable for research and analytics,” said Andrew Kress, CEO and founder of HealthVerity, on LinkedIn.

Drexel chooses the first cohort for its Innovation Fund

Drexel University selected the first cohort of startups to receive investments from the Drexel Innovation Fund. This fund was established in January and seeks to support early-stage startups that are affiliated with the university. The cohort consists of:

  • GrowFlux, an agricultural lighting startup, will receive an $150,000 investment.
  • SusMax, a startup that produces lightweight construction material, will receive an $150,000 investment.

“Drexel is pleased to support the journeys of SusMax and GrowFlux through the Fund as they develop game-changing solutions to improve our society,” said Shintaro Kaido, vice provost for innovation and executive director of Drexel Applied Innovation, in a statement. “We are also grateful to the eleven Investment Advisory Committee members who brought relevant industry and investment experience to the table and spent many hours evaluating the opportunities.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Burro / Freya Systems / HealthVerity / Comcast / Drexel University / Qlik Technologies / University City Science Center
Series: Power Moves

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