Ben Franklin’s Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund Makes First Investments

Ben Franklin’s Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund Makes First Investments (Press Release)

Local Philadelphia Tech Companies, Sidecar and Clutch, Receive Nearly $2 Million from Ben Franklin’s New Venture Fund

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania announces that GO Philly Fund for regional venture investment now accepts cryptocurrency (PRNewsfoto/Ben Franklin)


Aug 20, 2019, 09:00 ET


PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin), a leading seed stage capital provider, today announced that its  Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund (GO Philly Fund) has made its first investments in two rapidly growing technology enterprises. The blockchain-enabled GO Philly Fund provides capital for seed and early-stage technology companies operating primarily in the Philadelphiaregion.

In keeping with the charter of the new fund, the first commitments from GO Philly Fund are follow-on investments to earlier investments made by Ben Franklin. The GO Philly Fund’s inaugural investments include:


Sidecar helps retailers create powerful performance marketing campaigns to target shoppers on the channels they use most. The company combines deep data, knowledgeable humans, and inspired technology to deliver seamless experiences that turn shoppers into buyers.

GO Philly Fund has committed $1 million to Sidecar as part of the company’s recent $7.5 million C-1 participating preferred round which included investment from Osage Ventures, Harbert Growth Partners and Ascent Ventures. Dating back to 2010, Ben Franklin has invested in Sidecar through four separate venture rounds.

“Sidecar would not be where it is today without the early support of Ben Franklin,” said Andre Golsorkhi, Founder and CEO of Sidecar. “We are thrilled to have new venture support through the GO Philly Fund and from our other investors. This new investment supports our continual technology development and team expansion as more retailers grow their partnerships with Sidecar.”


Clutch is a provider of an integrated customer marketing platform that delivers customer intelligence and personalized engagements to B2C brands, helping them identify, understand and motivate each segment of their customer base. 

GO Philly Fund has committed $750,000 to Clutch as part of the company’s $2.5 million senior preferred note in preparation for its larger Series C round that is forthcoming. Primary investors included Empactful, NewSpring, SafeGuard, and company management. Ben Franklin previously invested in Clutch in 2012 which it later converted into a Series B preferred position.

“We’re excited to add GO Philly Fund as an investor in our growing company,” saidNed Moore, Co-Founder and CEO of Clutch. “We are looking forward to utilizing the new capital as we seek to accelerate growth, grow our brand, and expand into new markets.”

“We are gratified to witness the groundswell of interest from GO Philly Fund investors. They are dedicated to supporting growth and innovation in our region and are convinced by what they have seen Ben Franklin produce,” said Scott Nissenbaum, Ben Franklin’s Chief Investment Officer. “We are all are excited to rededicate our commitment to these impressive locally-grown companies. These first two mark an auspicious start to the collection of GO Philly Fund portfolio companies and an important step in our continued efforts to fuel economic transformation in the Philadelphiaarea.”

The GO Philly Fundwas formed in conjunction with EPAM (NYSE:EPAM), a leading global product development and digital platform engineering services company headquartered in the Philadelphia area with more than $1.8 billion in revenue. Some other investors include Provco Group, Fulton Bank, and SRI Capital.

“We are excited to see the first GO Philly Fund investments proactively fueling the growth of innovative companies like Sidecar and Clutch,” said Elaina Shekhter, CMO and Head of Strategy, EPAM. “As the Fund continues to encourage the growth of early-stage startups in the Philadelphia region, we see our partnership with Ben Franklin Technology Partners as a way to connect diverse technology companies in the region to the larger-scale, global innovation economy.”

Ben Franklin Technology Partners remains the most active investor in the region and is committed to maintaining efforts to support the seed and early-stage companies that foster a community of innovation and contribute to economic growth in the Philadelphia region. The GO Philly Fund complements existing Ben Franklin investments utilizing funds raised from institutional and private accredited investors.

For accredited investors and seed and early-stage companies interested in learning more, please visit:

About Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Since its beginning in 1982, Ben Franklin has invested more than $200 million into over 2,000 emerging technology companies in the Philadelphia region, making it the most active seed investor in the Mid-Atlantic region, and ranked top 10 in the United States. An independent 501(c)(3), Ben Franklin has played a role in the creation of many of the region’s leading technology companies and, together with the statewide network of four independent Ben Franklin Partner organizations, has been recognized as significantly increasing the odds of success for the young companies it champions. Ben Franklin nurtures young companies by actively investing capital and providing an ever-growing repertoire of resources for its portfolio companies, their co-investors, and the Philadelphia region’s community of technology-based innovation. Ben Franklin is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded in part by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. For more information on Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia region’s most active early-stage investor for more than 35 years, please visit, and follow us on Twitter @bftp_sep.

SOURCE Ben Franklin


Aug 20, 2019, 09:00 ET

Copyright © 2019 PR Newswire Association LLC. All Rights Reserved. A Cision company.


Philly Enterprise PeopleNews August 11

Gotta have the beer
Arris, now part of CommScope, has a Horsham division



Governor Phil Murphy with Aaron Price at Propelify 2018 (file photo) | Esther Surden

 August 13, 2019  Esther Surden

On August 5, the NJ Tech Council announced that it had acquired Propelify, the innovation festival that has brought thousands of tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to the Hoboken waterfront. It also announced that Aaron Price, who had founded Propelify, would be the organization’s new CEO.

Price is a well-known figure in the tech ecosystem in New Jersey. A serial entrepreneur, he founded the NJ Tech Meetup in Hoboken as a platform for meeting other entrepreneurs and learning from the successful ones. At last count, the meetup had more than 7,300 members.

In 2016, Price launched Propelify, a multifaceted outdoor event that has been called the “SXSW of the Northeast.” And with it, he energized the regional tech community. Price’s Propelify has inspirational speakers, startups from all over the world, educational panel discussions, speed-dating with investors, tech innovation demonstrations, games, networking opportunities, entertainment and, one year, job interviews on a Ferris wheel.

In a brief interview with this week, Price noted that there are some guiding principals that are important to him and to the NJ Tech Council board of directors. “Everything we will do will be driven by collaboration, differentiation and a high bar of excellence.” In addition, the NJ Tech Council will have its own unique voice, he said.

Price noted that he was in the process of figuring out what that means when it comes to the details, but said that it basically “means that we will serve the community effectively, provide real value, and add a significant amount of energy and new ideas around everything going forward.”

“Everything we will do will be driven by collaboration, differentiation and a high bar of excellence.”

Aaron Price, CEO of NJ Tech Council

He added that the board recognizes that the NJ Tech Council needs to serve the entire tech ecosystem, and that the Propelify community represents a significant portion of the early-stage and growth-stage tech companies in the state. “That’s one of the reasons that we were all excited about the opportunity,” he stated.

By no means will the Tech Council ignore the companies it historically represents, he added. “I think that we can modify the programming so that the complementary stakeholders can actually have a significant benefit for one another.”  He explained that early-stage companies that are looking for access to bigger corporations can have that happen through the Tech Council.

Also, Price noted that New Jersey needs a variety of new funding mechanisms for startups, and that can happen through the Tech Council as well.  “A lot of the larger corporates are very hungry for all of that to happen.”

“We tapped into the desire of members of the tech community to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves.”

Aaron Price, CEO of NJ Tech Council

Referring to the outpouring of congratulations and offers of help and partnership he has received since Monday, Price said, “There is a lot going on in the state. I think we tapped into the desire of members of the tech community to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. I feel an enormous outpouring of positive energy about what the community can do together to raise the bar.”

So how did this all come about? “Over the last six or seven months I was looking for some investment opportunities that turned into acquisition opportunities, and I never imagined that the Tech Council would be part of this conversation,” he said. “By chance and coincidence, it came up, and by the end I thought it made the most sense for Propelify and for my own personal mission around what I can do for New Jersey and the tech community here.”

Speaking about Propelify, which is taking place in Hoboken Oct. 3, Price said that people come to the festival from all over the United States and the world because it has a lot of value. “I think there is an opportunity for us to do more to speak to all parts of the state, to empower people around the state who are in many cases championing their own area, so we can have a united voice,” in New Jersey.

For a limited time, the NJ Tech Council is offering free general admission tickets to Propelify. Visit this link: and use code NJTCpropels.

About The Author

Esther Surden

Esther is the Founder and Editor in Chief of NJ Tech Weekly. Esther is a contributor to PhillyEnterpriseTech, and this post is reprinted here with her permission.


The OwnBackup team | courtesy OwnBackup

NJ Tech Weekly


August 15, 2019 Esther Surden 0 Around New Jersey, News, NJ Tech Companies, tech entrepreneurship, Tech for Business, Uncategorized,

Each year, Inc. magazine puts out its list of the 5,000 fastest growing privately held companies in the United States. We looked at the list for 2019 and narrowed it down to the fastest-growing tech and tech-related companies in New Jersey. All of the information here came from the Inc. list or from each company’s own website. The information from Inc. can be found here.

We included some companies that aren’t primarily hardware- or software-oriented. For example, Vydia is a media company, but it developed its own platform, which has been integral to the company’s success.

Company Percent Increase Over the Past 3 Years 2018 Revenue NJ Location What the Company Does
Core Software Technologies 4, 247 $4.6 million Plainsboro Provides embedded, internet-of-things and networking technologies to the banking and healthcare industries.

OwnBackup 3,245 $9.0 million Fort Lee Provides secure and automated cloud-to-cloud backup and restore services. Protects business data from loss and corruption.

Solvix Solutions 2,624 $20.4 million Marlton Markets computer hardware, software and peripherals directly to businesses.

Fusion Recruiting Labs 1,852 $7.7 million Red Bank Builds tools to improve recruitment and hiring processes, for human resources departments in companies of all sizes.

Epion Health 1,599 $4.1 million Hoboken Creates digital connections in the healthcare field. Offers providers ways to improve efficiency, profitability and patient care.

Azure Knowledge 1,288 $19.7 million Piscataway Provides data acquisition and management services, as well as digital-transformation services, for companies creating immersive consumer experiences and high-impact marketing.

Della Infotech 1,166 $4.7 million Hamilton Provides specialized staffing services, focused on the IT, healthcare and manufacturing spaces.
Saligram Systems 704 $5.5 million Plainsboro Helps clients plan investments in technology and design, implement projects and manage critical applications

Vydia 636 $14.2 million Holmdel Operates a platform where musicians and music labels can publish their visual content.

Health Recovery Solutions 538 $6.3 million Hoboken Offers home-care agencies a remote monitoring platform that provides patients with educational videos, care plans and medication reminders.

ClientServer Technology Solutions 467 $3 million Iselin Provides business intelligence, process improvement, quality assurance and software development.

Advanced Computer Solutions Group 428 $3.5 million Mount Laurel Mitigates or intercepts threats to information security; improves network performance; and streamlines, automates and optimizes IT systems.

Penji 420 $2.6 million Camden Provides brands and marketing agencies across the world with unlimited access to graphic design services — for a flat fee. Clients include some of the biggest brands.

Nuvolo 371 $12.2 million Paramus Provides cloud-based software that enables businesses to better manage, protect and maximize the value of their assets.

Visual Computer Solutions 364 $11.1 million Freehold Develops time- and labor-management software for employee scheduling and attendance, personnel management and payroll integration.

About The Author

Esther Surden
Esther is the Founder and Editor in Chief of NJ Tech Weekly. She is a contributor to PhillyEnterpriseTech, and this article is republished here with her permission.


Selected Podcasts – August 15

PhillyEnterpriseTech is starting a new feature: A small, curated collection of tech-oriented podcasts relevant to Philly.

Lora Cecere’s Straight Talk Insights features John Tecce, Philly-based rep for ThoughtSpot, a dramatically different, heavily funded BI platform.

Blue Bell-based Anexinet has an always lively podcast.

iPipeline sold for $1.625 billion

Tom Paine

PE firm Thoma Bravo has agreed to sell Exton-based iPipeline to Roper Technologies for $1.625 Billion.

The impressive exit reflects the success iPipeline has achieved in establishing its applications as industry standards for the life insurance and annuities markets. For the Philly area, it is probably the largest exit by a enterprise SaaS company, and a prime example of what can be achieved within a vertical market.

Sarasota-based Roper Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: ROP), is a $5.2 billion revenue diversified technology company.

Concurrent with the transaction, Larry Berran, iPipeline’s CFO & COO, will be appointed CEO of the company. Long time CEO Tim Wallace announced his move into a strategic advisor role.

“Roper’s acquisition of iPipeline is a great outcome for our organization and the entire iPipeline ecosystem. I look forward to supporting Larry Berran, my business partner for the last 11 years and a driving force at iPipeline for 17 years, as he assumes this important role,” he said in a statement.

Thoma Bravo bought iPipeline in 2015 for roughly 1/4th of what it sold for, the Inquirer reported. The previous owners included investors NewSpring Capital, of Radnor; Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), of Palo Alto, Calif.; and Volition Capital, of Boston

iPipeline to Be Acquired by Roper Technologies

iPipeline to Be Acquired by Roper Technologies

Larry Berran Appointed as CEOAugust 08, 2019 07:40 AM Eastern Daylight Time

EXTON, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–iPipeline®, a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry today announced that it will be acquired by Roper Technologies, Inc, a diversified technology company and a constituent of the S&P 500, Fortune 1000, and the Russell 1000 indices. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions. iPipeline also announced the appointment of Larry Berran as CEO.

iPipeline to Be Acquired by Roper Technologies–Larry Berran Appointed CEOTweet this

Roper has a successful history of acquiring well-run technology companies in niche markets that have strong, sustainable growth potential. iPipeline’s track record of profitable growth and leading position within its core markets make it an excellent fit for Roper’s long-term strategy.

“Roper’s acquisition of iPipeline is a great opportunity for our customers, employees, and partners,” said Larry Berran CEO of iPipeline. “Roper provides iPipeline with a long-term foundation to further develop the life insurance and financial services industry’s leading platform and execute on our core purpose of helping our customers secure the financial futures of families. Insurance products provide people protection when they need it most, and we are committed to providing leading digital technologies to expand the market. Roper’s commitment to sustained investment in our business model, products, services, and employees means we will continue to deliver these solutions and domain expertise that have driven significant value for our customers for 25 years.”

As part of the transition, Tim Wallace announced his move into a strategic advisor role. “Roper’s acquisition of iPipeline is a great outcome for our organization and the entire iPipeline ecosystem. I look forward to supporting Larry Berran, my business partner for the last 11 years and a driving force at iPipeline for 17 years, as he assumes this important role.”

“We are excited to add another industry-leading, cloud software business to our family,” said Neil Hunn, Roper’s President and CEO. “The iPipeline transaction demonstrates our disciplined capital deployment strategy, which results in the acquisition of high-quality businesses.”

iPipeline will continue to manage the business from its Exton, Pennsylvania headquarters. iPipeline’s name and brands are not expected to change as a result of the transaction.

iPipeline is currently an investment of Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity firm. Credit Suisse served as exclusive financial advisor to iPipeline, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Lauletta Birnbaum LLP served as legal advisors to iPipeline and Thoma Bravo.

About Roper Technologies

Roper Technologies is a constituent of the S&P 500, Fortune 1000, and the Russell 1000 indices. Roper operates businesses that design and develop software (both license and software-as-a-service) and engineered products and solutions for a variety of niche end markets. Additional information about Roper is available on the Company’s website at

About iPipeline

iPipeline is a leading provider of cloud-based software solutions for the life insurance and financial services industry. Through our SSG Digital, end-to-end platform, we accelerate and simplify sales, compliance, operations and support. We provide process automation and seamless integration between every participant in our ecosystem including carriers, agents, general agencies, advisors, broker-dealers, RIAs, banks, securities/mutual fund firms, and their consumers on a global basis. Our innovative solutions include pre-sales support, new business and underwriting, policy administration, point-of-sale execution of applications, post-sale support, data analysis, reporting, user-driven configuration, consumer delivery and self-service, and agency and firm management.

iPipeline’s platform is used by approximately 150 carriers, 1,350 distributors and financial institutions, and their agents and licensed advisors in a cloud-based environment. With headquarters in Exton, Pennsylvania, iPipeline has locations in Bromley (UK), Burlington (Canada), Cheltenham (UK), Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Huntersville, Ontario (CA), Philadelphia, Pleasanton, and Salt Lake City. Visit


Roper Technologies Investor Relations Contact: 

iPipeline Customer and Media Contact: 
Jessica Brown, Marketing 

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Roper Technologies Investor Relations Contact: 

Comcast’s Universal cancels “The Hunt” (for now)

Statement by Comcast’s Universal Pictures (August 10)

“While Universal Pictures had already paused the marketing campaign for The Hunt, after thoughtful consideration, the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film.  We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Meaning, I assume, that there will be a “right time” in the future.

Also, the trailer has been removed.

Tom Paine

Comcast’s Universal Pictures is temporarily halting marketing & promotion for its upcoming film “The Hunt,” following three mass shootings in Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy, California.

“Out of sensitivity to the attention on the country’s recent shooting tragedies, Universal Pictures and the filmmakers of ‘The Hunt’ have temporarily paused its marketing campaign and are reviewing materials as we move forward,” a spokesperson for Universal said in a statement.

“The Hunt” features a group of wealthy American elites literally hunting down and shooting people called deplorables, legally it appears. It may be brilliant satire of a kind, but its also just kind of weird.

At this time, “The Hunt” plans to maintain its Sept. 27 release date.

Ex-Safeguard Scientifics exec caught in middle of AWS /Google Cloud wars

Tom Paine

Phillip Moyer, former SR VP and Managing Director of Safeguard Scientifics, departed Safeguard in 2016 to get more directly into the Cloud industry, joining leader AWS as Managing Director, Americas Financial Services Sales.

Moyer, also a Microsoft veteran and former CEO of two companies, was not hired to just sell slices of server time. Rather, he was developing overarching , value added vertical sales strategies. By the time he resigned in 2019, he had 13 direct reports and managed 100 employees.

In a 2018 interview with the website PYMNTS, Moyer described what his financial services group was trying to accomplish for AWS: “’Today, if you want to launch a financial services product, very, very few (of them) are regional anymore,” he said. Web and mobile channels enable businesses to reach across all kinds of borders, basically amounting to leaving money on the table if firms do not try to win revenue from as many markets as possible.” AWS could give smaller banks the tools needed to compete with larger banks, for instance, in the area of compliance.

But Google Cloud had finally determined that it needed real sales pros out there to compete, and began recruiting heavily. Senior SAP executive Rob Enslin joined as head of customer operations in April. It hired Moyer to head up a similar effort (as at AWS) for healthcare. His last day at AWS was on May 22.

But Moyer had signed one of those tricky non-competes when he joined AWS, designed to keep him away from competitors for 18 months. And AWS sued.

The extent and enforceability of non-competes is generally shrinking. Even though Moyer, who resides in Berwyn according to court filings, lives in Pennsylvania where non-competes are less strenuous, the laws in Washington State which govern Moyer’s contract are tougher.

“Moyer’s role in Google cloud will necessarily involve strategy regarding sales of and improvements for Google’s current or future cloud offerings, and will therefore threaten the disclosure of Amazon’s highly confidential information and breach the Noncompetition Agreement,” AWS asserted in its complaint

These cases, generally, reach some kind of settlement within months, and Mr. Moyer will likely be allowed to go on with his work. Sometimes there are itemized restrictions (ie, can’t talk to certain companies, can’t say certain things) attached.

ThingWorx veterans’ new startup exits stealth, closes round

Tom Paine

ThingWorx co-founder and ex-CEO Russ Fradel has a new startup, along with some other ThingWorx alumni.

In mid-July, Augmentir, Inc., a provider of augmented worker software for industrial companies, announced it had exited stealth and closed an oversubscribed funding round. The round was led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital, with participation from Lerer Hippeau, current investors, and HOLT Ventures, the strategic venture capital arm of HOLT CAT. All heavy duty investors. The amount hasn’t been publicly disclosed.

Although the PR was datelined Horsham, the company appears to be based in Irvine, California, though a few of its early associates are in the Philly area.

Ty Findley, Vice President at Pritzker Group Venture Capital, said, “With our thematic focus on Industry4.0, we are excited to be working with a company that is accelerating the industrial sector evolution using AI and AR to support frontline workers. From founding efforts at Wonderware, Lighthammer, and ThingWorx, the Augmentir team has a proven track record and domain experience delivering software innovation to the manufacturing and industrial market, and we are eager to participate as Augmentir continues to shape the frontline workforce of the future.”

ThingWorx, an industrial IOT startup based in Exton, was funded by Safeguard Scientifics, and later bought by PTC for over $100 million in 2013. PTC proceeded to build its strategy around ThingWorx and other acquisitions in the space.

The same team has worked together on previous successful startups, including Lighthammer that was acquired by SAP.

Rick Bulotta, another ThingWorx co–founder, now works on Microsoft’s IoT strategy.