Philly Startup: Perceptual Network Completes An A-List $1M First Round For People Connecting

Perceptual Networks, a startup proud to from Philadelphia Pennsylvania announced today the completion of their first round of funding. The startup was founded by Jim Young founder of Hot or Not and I/O Ventures and Cheyenne Ehrlich who’s credits include taking two startups from 0 to 30 million plus users.

This round of funding for Perceptual Networks has one of the most impressive lists of backers to come from any startup based outside of Silicon Valley or New York. Venture firms First Round Capital and Bullpen Capital participated in the round. The list of angels is like a roll call of some of the top A-List players in the startup world:

  • Max Levchin (founder of PayPal and Slide and Chairman of Yelp),
  • Steve Chen (founder of YouTube and AVOS),
  • Michael Birch (founder of Bebo and Monkey Inferno)
  • Richard Yoo (founder of Rackspace and ServerBeach)
  • Shawn Colo (founder of Demand Media)
  • Joshua Schachter (founder of Tasty Labs and Delicious)
  • Alexis Ohanian (founder of Reddit)
  • James Hong (founder of HotOrNot)
  • Philip Kaplan (founder of Fandalism, Blippy, AdBrite, TinyLetter and many, many more)
  • Naval Ravikant (founder of Epinions and AngelList)
  • Tikhon Bernstam (founder of Scribd and Parse)
  • Garry Tan (founder of Posterous and Partner at Y-Combinator)
  • Gabriel Weinberg (founder of DuckDuckGo and NamesDatabase)
  • Jameson Hsu (founder of Mochi Media)
  • Bob Ippilito (founder of Mochi Media)
  • Ken Keller (founder of and Cadence)
  • Paul Bragiel (partner at I/O Ventures)
  • Tom McInerney (former COO at Klout)
  • Bill Lee (founder of Remarq and Social Concepts and investor in Tesla)
  • Nils Johnson (founder of Beautylish)

One of the best parts about this news as that not one of the investors required the startup to move away from Philadelphia. After speaking with Ehrlich we’re not sure that they would have taken money from an investor that asked them to relocate. In regards to Philadelphia Ehrlich told

“Jim’s wife is from here, and he had moved here about three years ago.  That’s why it was on the list initially.  But there are a lot of great things to be said about Philly:

  • Great engineering schools
  • Lower cost of living (relative to SF or NYC) and better quality of life
  • A great food and arts scene
  • As an employers, we see great talent here and limited competition for that talent, which results in a more stable workforce
Plus, the people are nice, friendly and open here.  It really is a lovely place.”
Perceptual Networks takes people discovery to a new level by adding in the connection piece. Perceptual Networks is developing a suite of products that make it easy for people to find the people they best connect with, whether they are looking for the right co-workers or employees, the right relationship, the right friends and activity partners or the right community to live in.
“Over the last 7-8 years, Jim and I have been having a long series of conversations about how random the process is by which people meet and get to know each other.  Finally, it just became obvious that we should work on this problem that was a central part of our thinking and dialogue for so many years.” Ehrlich told
“This is something that Jim and I have been talking about since the day we met,” said Cheyenne Ehrlich, founder and CEO of Perceptual Networks. “Your community, friends, co-workers and life partner, if you have one, collectively have such a huge impact on the quality of your life. We want to make the process of finding and developing that community of people as easy as possible, for everyone.”
While most discovery apps are about discovering someone right now, wherever you are, the tools provided by Perceptual Networks are looking for a more long term effect.
Investors in Perceptual Networks are confident they have a win. Young’s HotOrNot was founded in 2000 and sold for $20 million in 2008. HotOrNot is even featured in the movie about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook in a scene where Zuckerberg and his roomates are combing through HotOrNot and adapt it to Harvard.
For more on Perceptual Networks visit their website here
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