Startups
Entrepreneurs / Health tech

Power Moves: A Penn spinout that wants to save lives through VR just hired a CEO

Marion Leary's startup ImmERge Labs, which won the $50,000 top prize at Penn's app competition, is out of stealth mode. Plus more Power Moves around town.

A sneak peek at ImmERge Labs' platform. (Courtesy photo)

Power Moves is a column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Email us.


Are you prepared to save someone’s life if they suddenly collapse next to you on the street?

ImmERge Labs already knows most people aren’t. Founded by University of Pennsylvania researcher Marion Leary — who heads up innovation research at Penn’s Center for Resuscitation Science, the startup is now out of stealth mode and hired Matt Grabowsky as its CEO.

Here’s Leary, flanked by Grabowsky, pitching at Penn Center for Innovation’s AppItUP Demo Day on Thursday, where the company landed the first prize of $50,000 to keep building out the platform.

The company’s flagship product is a virtual reality platform to train people in CPR. That, however, is just the start. The company’s gearing up to leverage the incipient technology to train people in a broader swath of areas like emergency preparedness, fire safety and natural disasters.

“There’s a lot of room for expansion with the use of these technologies,” Grabowsky said. “We’re just scratching the surface with virtual reality and augmented reality.”

This reporter snapped on a VR headset and gave ImmERge’s platform a try. When the demo starts you find yourself in a city street when, suddenly, a bystander clutches his chest and collapses. You’re then faced with the grim reality: you have no idea what to do.

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Mark Constan, former VP of recruitment at eMoney Advisor (and then Moven for a little while there) just recruited himself into a new gig: he joined New Hope, Pa.-based Meet Group, owners of MeetMe and three other social media brands.

Constan, a runner up for our v prestigious Least Worst Recruiter award, took to LinkedIn to announce his new gig (because of course he did: as you may expect from a recruiter, he’s very active on LinkedIn. Some posts of his, like this one about microwaving fish at the office have raked in thousands of likes).

“Very happy to be part of The Meet Group family,” Constan wrote last week. “Week one (not quite) down and it’s going to be a fun, exciting, and challenging ride. Keep an eye out or openings we have in New Hope, Philly and San Francisco!”

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Four Philly tech execs made it to QuantumShift’s Class of 2017.

The program, a joint effort of professional services firm KPMG and the University of Michigan, picks 40 entrepreneurs around the world and gives them an intensive week of education and training. Here are the Philly names on the cohort: GSI Health CEO LeRoy Jones, whom we last visited when he opened a new Center City officeRelay CEO Matt GillinIntegriChain CEO Kevin Leininger and CoreDial CEO Alan Rihm.

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PromptWorks just scooped up another staffer from the Code for Philly squad: comms lead Pat Woods just joined the dev firm as a communications specialist. In February, the nonprofit’s executive director Dawn McDougall joined PromptWorks as Operations Manager. The firm also sponsored the Civic Engagement Launchpad hackathon. Here’s PromptWorks dev Ray Zane sharing lessons from the event.

Companies: University of Pennsylvania

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