One VC on why DuckDuckGo had a ‘slam dunk’ Series A [Startup Roundup]

Plus: Curalate lands a profile in Wired, Venture for America doubles down in Philly and Drexel startup Spor hits $100K crowdfunding goal. All that, and so much more.


Robin Hood Ventures led a follow-on investment in AgileSwitch, the Center City company that makes and sells switch drivers that turn renewable energy into usable energy, according to the PA Angel Network newsletter. The amount invested was not disclosed.

Speaking of Robin Hood Ventures, the angel group appointed new officers, according to analyst and Drexel law student Brittany Esser. They are:

  • President, Sean McDade, CEO of PeopleMetrics, a Center City market research consultancy
  • Treasurer, Dave Kurtz, General Partner, AJM Capital Partners LP, a family limited partnership, and Managing Member, KMS Capital Group LLC, a private equity investment vehicle
  • Secretary, Craig Schroeder, owner and general manager of Blue Skies Properties, a residential real estate investment company

Edison Ventures, the Lawrenceville, N.J.-based investment fund, also appointed a new Chief Marketing Officer, according to a release. Kelly Ford was previously the VP of Marketing for SundaySky, a venture-backed, personalized video ad company based in New York City.

Edison Ventures led an $8.25 million round for Atlanta-based LogFire, an inventory management platform, according to a release. Edison Ventures has been making a lot of investments in the last six months. Check ’em out in our Startup Roundups here.

Twitter acquired New York City-based TapCommerce, which was cofounded by 29-year-old Wayne, Pa. native Brian Long. The sale was for about $100 million, according to TechCrunch. Long went to the prestigious Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square and graduated from Penn, according to his Facebook.



Bennet Huber, a software developer at GIS firm Azavea since 2010, left the company in the spring and is now heading to Seattle to work for Amazon at the end of the month, according to a tweet. Look out for his exit interview., the company that offers a secure mobile platform for enterprises to share documents, is the first tenant of the Drexel UniversityUniversity City Science Center incubator called the Innovation Center @3401. moved its 17 employees from Wayne to University City. It’s another tech company that’s left the suburbs for recruiting purposes. The company also believes the move will up their visibility and help them get big Philly corporations as clients, Chief Marketing Officer Glenn Goldbergtold the Business Journal. We’ll be visiting the space next week and will share some photos.

Venture for America has now placed 12 fellows at eight Philly tech companies, said spokeswoman Elisabeth Deogracias, including:

  • Biomeme
  • LeadiD
  • Guru, Rick Nucci’s pre-launch tech company
  • Clutch
  • Leadnomics
  • Azavea
  • cityHUNT

That’s more than double the first Philly Venture for America class, which placed five fellows at companies.

Spor, the Drexel-built solar-powered batter charger company, met its crowdfunding goal of $100,000. It raised more than $112,000.

Check out GoBabl, a new location-based social media app from Old City resident Earl Knight. Knight previously worked in software sales.

A tool from Invisible Sentinel, the University City Science Center-based biotech company that makes diagnostic tools for bacteria in food, is now being used in commercial lab testing group Microbac Laboratories, according to a release. It has more than 30 locations around the country.

Spark Therapeutics, the buzzy gene therapy company that spun out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, named two new directors: “Vin Milano, former president and CEO of ViroPharma (acquired by Shire earlier this year), and Lars Ekman, former longtime head of R&D at Elan, and executive partner at Sofinnova Ventures,” according to a release. Sofinnova Ventures led Spark’s $72.8 million Series B, which closed last month.

Artisan Mobile, the Old City-based mobile app optimization startup, released a whole slew of new features for its customers, according to a new release. Companies like Urban Outfitters, Rue La La and Mapquest are using Artisan to get analytics on and optimize their mobile apps.



Center City visual analytics firm Curalate’s profile continues to rise, now with a profile in Wired.

What’s an investor looking for in a series A? One Cambridge-based investor dishes on Forbes, focusing specifically on Paoli-based search engine DuckDuckGo. (His firm, New Atlantic Ventures, made an offer but ultimately didn’t end up fitting into the round.)

Looking for funding? Why not ask your former boss? RJMetrics CEO Robert Moore offers tips in this Wall Street Journal Story about doing so.

Broomall, Pa.-based Saxbys Coffee partnered with Boston-based LevelUp to launch a mobile app. Download it here for iOS. Saxbys is moving into Center City in the coming months, according to a spokeswoman.

Companies: LUXTECH / Spark Therapeutics / / Venture for America / Spor / AgileSwitch / Artisan Mobile / Azavea / Curalate / DuckDuckGo / Edison Partners / RJMetrics / Robin Hood Ventures

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