Pittsburgh’s Startup Hustlers Move Into The Hustle Den

Hustle Den, Pittsburgh startups,startup,startup news,incubatorsPittsburgh just opened up a new incubator space which will house fifteen to twenty early stage startup teams across a variety of industries. With the grit and grind that comes with building a technology startup in a blue collar town, it’s appropriately called the “Hustler Den”.

With the first class of teams set to move into the space, it’s good to know that they’ve secured an anonymous donor who’s provided the incubator with enough funds to run for three years.

The fifteen to twenty startups will have free desk space, access to conference rooms, break out rooms, a ping pong table, original Nintendo and other recreational and community benefits. They are also hoping that the teams will leverage each other’s networks along with the mentors committed to helping those hustlers.

This local Pittsburgh blog reported that over 200 people showed up for the grand opening of the Hustler Den including Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravensthal (who was also spotted at the DNC startup celebration in Charlotte this past summer with Startup RockOn). Ravensthal leads a new wave of municipal leaders that realize the days of big corporations moving into towns to create jobs are over and cities need to embrace the future employers of America.

Meet the first 14 startups taking up residence in the Hustler Den (from their website)

Allegheny Organics is committed to providing an easy and seamless organic waste recycling service to the residents, businesses, restaurants and community events of Allegheny County. Through our efforts, we aim to promote healthy eating, responsible farming, waste minimization, and local economic sustainability, which will play an integral role in reinvigorating our region and building a strong, cohesive community.



Hajj Media / Virtual Lobbies designs and tailors mobile and web solutions, to decrease the inefficiencies in appointment scheduling and line management, with a dynamic platform that not only increases the transparency of wait times, but allows people to interact remotely. The debut product of Virtual Lobbies is the “Q”, a generally applicable mobile-web application for appointment scheduling and line management for a number of markets: barbershops & beauty salons, administrative offices, mechanic shops, massage parlors,colleges & universities, valet parking, etc.





Open Curriculum is a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA with a vision to provide access to high-quality K-12 learning material to children around the world. We are involved in developing a platform that allows communities to access, create and share K-12 curriculum material, and in due course, become a ubiquitous Wikipedia-like hub for K-12 learning material.



Orro believes in aiding your team’s funding efforts, while building a sustainable earth in the process. Orro is a free and easy eco-friendly movement, where we collect and examine old electronics to ensure the most resourceful way of reusing, reducing or recycling each individual item. Orro does not require any paperwork, so get on your feet, and help your team grow with the environment today!



Private Lender Nexus helps solve the problems that many commercial real estate professionals have when looking for private money to fund their own or their clients commercial real estate needs. To find the right private lender can be time consuming and fraught with unethical lenders and brokers with upfront fees. Private Lender Nexus will be an online database of screened private commercial real estate lenders. Commercial real estate professionals will be able go to our website and enter their private financing needs and be matched with verified and ethical private lenders with no upfront fees throughout the continental United States.



Aura is a bicycle safety lighting system which illuminates the wheels of the bicycle and dynamically responds to the rider and environment.


Salad Specialty/ Team Salad is developing a specialty salad restaurant concept for the East Liberty area, focused on providing access to health-conscious and nutritious meal options in the region. We are designing a new dining experience with a creative food presentation style–inspiring everyone in the ‘Burgh to start thinking “out of the box” when it comes to eating more veggies!



Scholar Hero wants to create a web-based, tablet, and mobile app that will get scholars and students to share works-in-progress in a fun and collaborative manner. We hope to establish the most trusted and engaged place for academia online.


Source is a restaurant and educational facility that aims to inform, inspire, and invigorate customers in every stage of the sustainable growing process, from seed to plate, in a unique dining atmosphere that embraces guests as an integral part of the food production and preparation process. Source will be a beacon for health-conscious eco-consumers who wish to exercise mindfulness in their selection of food products, even while dining out, and who are interested in learning more about sustainable food systems.





Kennedy Blue Communications provides strategic communications plans to leverage clients access and impact with consumers and media markets. Services provided include: press placement, writing and editing services, consulting, web development, video and animation production, marketing and branding.




Haitian Families First (HFF) is a non-profit organization, founded by Pittsburgh sisters Jamie and Ali McMutrie that provides support by strengthening communities through nurturing families. Our long-standing presence in the community, holistic approach, and three distinct programs allow us to work with families to assess their individual needs to help them achieve their goals of family preservation and self-sufficiency. Haitian Families First preserves and sustains families by helping them to find employment, supply their loved ones’ most basic needs, and provide for their children’s educations and care.



NAVISection is a project to enhance driver licensing decisions with intelligent vehicles. Our mission is to link technologies advancing driver evaluation, training, and safety for people seeking to obtain or retain a driver’s license.



Student InTuition, a for-profit social enterprise, offers a web-based platform designed for college students who want to reduce their debt and develop better career opportunities.  Student InTuition monetizes in-class work products in the form of direct tuition payments for students in exchange for high-quality work products and meaningful recruiting opportunities for sponsoring organizations.



Sponsortize is an ad platform that allows local businesses to support local bloggers and  advertise to local communities.

Popchilla The Robot For Autistic Children Shows Off At Eureka Park, CES 2013

Popchilla,Pittsburgh startup,startup,startups, Eureka Park, CES 2013Raising children can be both hard and a blessing. Raising a child with autism is a lot more challenging. Autistic children often times have problems communicating even their simplest needs sometimes.

Parents of autistic children are constantly looking for “more tools to put in their tool chest” Michael Knight the founder of Popchilla, told nibletz.com in an interview.

Popchilla is a fun loving robotic stuffed animal that also has an app to go along with it. As an example Knight showed us a portion of the app where the Popchilla would tell the child to get his or her toothbrush and tooth paste from a virtual house on a tablet, and then brush Popchilla’s teeth.

Knight knew early on that Popchilla would be a success. His company used to make animatronic robots. He wold get questions from parents of autistic children all the time, asking when he was going to make a robot for them. He learned that sometimes children with autism actually interact better with robots rather than humans.

Popchilla was one of the most innovative things we saw at Eureka Park. Not only is Popchilla a cool robot, but when you couple that with the app you have a recipe for success, and definitely another tool for the tool chest.

Check out our video interview with Knight here:

Check out Popchilla at popchillasworld.com

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Philly Startup SnipSnap Reaches 350K Users For Mobile Couponing App That Works

SnipSnap,Philly startup,startup,startup newsWe started using Philadelphia startup SnipSnap’s mobile couponing app after we saw it at TechCrunch Disrupt NY back in May.Just prior to Black Friday, we had saved over $500 using the app.

SnipSnap app allows you to clip actual printed coupons, take pictures of them and then save them, share them, or both within the app. You can find deals from just about every major retailer, food chain and even several regional businesses within the app. Perhaps the best thing we like about SnipSnap app is that you see coupons from all over the country. As you may know, sometimes a coupon for a retailer may be different in one part of the country than it is in another.

While it’s explicitly explained to app users that these photographed mobile coupons may not work every time, there is a rating system that allows users to share how successful they were. As more and more retailers embrace mobile, more and more businesses are accepting coupons on smartphones. We rarely get turned down these days and we’ve used SnipSnap at ToysRUs, Old Navy, Best Buy, PetCo, Burger King, and Sephora just to name a few.

We first reported on SnipSnap back in May at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC. We were so excited about it that we published this story from TechCrunch Disrupt before founder Ted Mann has even had a chance to finish his onstage pitch. We also immediately got this interview with Mann, when he made it back to his startup alley booth.

By June 2012 the app had reported 150k users and most recently, Betakit has reported that SnipSnap has over 350k loyal users.

“We grew pretty quickly and we’re just now trying to get everything to the place where it can turn from an app with a few hundred thousand users to a few million users,” Mann said in an interview.

In addition to the apps clipped by the user community, SnipSnap has partnered with seven major retailers including; Sears, Aeropastle and KMart which allows SnipSnap to display their store coupons.  The app doesn’t currently cover manufacturers coupons but Mann is reportedly working on that feature.

One of the other main features of the app is that it serves up coupons that are relevant to you and it also uses your geolocation to remind you that you have coupons clipped for stores nearby.

Since launching last spring SnipSnap 4.5 million coupons have been saved in the app. 470,000 coupons are original coupons uploaded by the apps user base.  They’ve raised $1M in seed funding and plan on a Series A round early this year.


Download Snip Snap here

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Black Friday’s Over, Continue To Save Money With Philly Startup Snip Snap App

Snip Snap App,Philly startup,startups,startup, Black Friday, Retail, Couponing, Startup interview Back in May we brought you the story about Philadelphia startup Snip Snap App. We were so intrigued with the concept behind Snip Snap, that we actually posted this story, before founder Ted Mann got off the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC.

Snip Snap App has saved me over $400 personally since last May. The concept is simple, it’s a wallet for your print coupons that allows you to crowdsource print coupons from other users. Now if you’re a real coupon king, or coupon queen, then you know that different regions have different coupons. With internet coupons on the rise, and more and more stores accepting coupons on phones, Snip Snap App is poised to save consumers hundreds of dollars.

Snip Snap App allows you to take photos of the coupons out of your local inserts, post them to the app and the community and then report on their success rate in usage. Gigantic nationally known chains like Kohl’s, Best Buy, Target, Old Navy, Aeropastle, Toys R Us and several fast food chains honor electronically stored coupons from just about anywhere, even if they say “some restrictions apply”.

If you’ve snipped a coupon that doesn’t work on redemption you simply report that in the app for others to know. Users can search coupons by name, location and more and they can see how successful those coupons have been by others that have actually used them.

With the biggest shopping day of the year behind us, we thought it was a great time to check in with Mann about Snip Snap and see what, if any, surge he saw in Black Friday.

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Philadelphia’s Jewish Startup Accelerator Looking For 3rd Class

The Tribe 12 fellowship, a business accelerator focusing on ideas that relate to the Jewish community, is looking for it’s next class.

The fellowship is part of the Tribe 12 network which is a network of projects “that, as a whole, offer a holistic approach to engaging individuals in choosing a personally inspiring Jewish community, network, or life-style, with a particular focus on 20s and 30s. ”

The Tribe 12 Fellowship functions as a startup and business accelerator giving startups, and entrepreneurs access to mentors, seminars, grants and funding opportunities. While there is no seed fund in place for the startups selected for the class, the six month program ends with a pitch fest.

Many members of the Philly Startup Leaders, list serv were up in arms today when Danielle Selber, the Tribe 12 Fellowship coordinator, posted an application link.  Many folks felt like an accelerator put on by a Jewish organization to strengthen the Jewish community was segmenting. Of course, I did not.  Eventually many more seasoned members of the PSL spoke out in defense of the Tribe 12 Fellowship. The best comment being from Jerry Levine who said: Perhaps this is being a dead horse, but PSL is, by definition, a limited group – focused on Philadelphia (and Philadelphia-area). If it weren’t, perhaps it would just be called “Startup Leaders?”

Regardless of the PSL’s feelings about Tribe 12 it’s a great program and resource to entrepreneurs with a Jewish element in their startup or business. Most of the graduates from the 2010 and 2011 program have socially driven startups that are out to help the community at large.

Selber took a break between high horse ego beatings, on the PSL, to respond to a couple questions from nibletz, you know the info you’re dying to know.

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Philadelphia The Founder City, To Invest $3.5 Million In Startups

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A Nutter announced today that the city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has created a joint two-tiered investment and grant making initiative called “Startup PHL”. Philadelphia is looking to spur more innovation and encourage startups to move to the city of brotherly love.

In a video Nutter talks about Philadelphia being home to the most important startup of all , the United States of America. Now 200 years later Nutter is looking to attract more founders to the city.

To do this Philadelphia is issuing an RFP for a private investment firm to match and manage a $3 million dollar investment from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation to establish the Startup PHL Seed Fund. The RFP deadline is December 7th. Those startups receiving investment from the Startup PHL seed fund will either need to be in Philadelphia or relocate to Philadelphia to meet a yet to be established residency requirement.

The other $500,000 will come in the form of grants. For that, the City’s commerce department has put out a call for ideas. They’re looking for “innovative, exciting proposals for ideas and programs that support startups and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia” In a release they said:  “the goal of this fund is to make grants to proposals that enhance collaboration in the startup community; attract new entrepreneurs from both within and outside the city; foster networks for entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other, mentors, talent and investors and ultimately lead to more business and job creation in Philadelphia.”

In the government/private partnership for the Startup PHL seed fund the private firm will handle all of the investment decisions. Longtime Nutter aide Luke Butler says he hopes that the seed fund will start making it’s first investments as early as summer 2013.

It’s obvious that this is a “startup community” initiative as much as it is a technology investment initiative. It’s evident that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Return of Community” is starting to pop up in other cities.

“We have broader goals than a return on investment, but we’re hoping to leverage a relatively small public investment that generates more private capital that highlights this important sector and conveys momentum here,” Butler said. “The tech sector is an important part of our economy in that it’s going to be a driver of job creation and is [a way of] keeping college grads here,”

New York, Boston, Austin, Seattle and Baltimore all have government/private partnerships in one form or another to drive early stage investments in startups and keep them in their cities. Las Vegas has a $350 million dollar private initiative from Hsieh to revitalize the downtown area through startups, tech, education and real estate to make downtown Las Vegas a more serendipitous place for entrepreneurs and recently relocated Zappos employees.

Local startup investor and supporter Brad Dennenberg of Seed Philly told nibletz in regards to today’s announcement:

“Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards putting Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem on the national map.  Philly is now one of just a few cities in the country with city-backed funding, proving the area’s dedication to growing and retaining high growth (and high paying) companies. With the cost of launching a minimum viable product now lower than ever before, this fund should make a significant impact in a short period of time. I couldn’t be more excited! “

While technology is typically the focus in startup initiatives like this Butler says they want to hear everything.

“If you have an idea, an organization or individual, that supports growing business, jobs in the city, we want to hear it, whatever it is,” he added Technically Philly Reported.


Startup PHL is here

Startup PHL’s call for ideas is here

Everywhereelse is here


Bethlehem PA To Hold First Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley Next Week

Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley, Startup Weekend, Startup,Startups,Startup events, Ben Franklin Technology PartnersThe 54 hour weekend hackathon to build startups that we know and love “Startup Weekend” is coming to the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania next weekend. After you’ve cleared your house of ghosts and goblins and a week before Startup Weekend’s big global jamboree, entrepreneurs, developers, founders, and startup ecosystem partners will converge at Ben Franklin TechVentures for Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley, is an officially sanctioned event being administered in conjunction with the Startup Weekend organization based in Seattle, which receives major funding from the Kauffman Foundation. All “official” Startup Weekend events follow the same general format.

Registration will begin on Friday evening at 6:30pm at Ben Franklin. That will be followed by great networking dinner where attendees will be able to size up the competition and the possible teammates for the weekend.  At around 7:30pm the “Friday Night” pitches will begin. We’ve covered a lot of startup weekends and you can see plenty of Friday night pitches here at nibletz.com.

The Friday night pitches are 60 seconds and hard timed by a Startup Weekend official. In that 60 seconds you need to sell the audience your idea and why it should be built over the next 53 hours.  After everyone who wants to pitch has been given the opportunity, community voting will commence. It’s a rather diplomatic process. Usually the pitchers will hold up a sign with their startup name on it and attendees will put a sticker on the idea they like the best. At the end of the process, those with the most stickers will have their ideas developed.

Friday evening typically tops off with team selection and then some icebreaker time with the teams. From there the teams break off and start working on the startup idea.

Saturday, the community coaches come into play. These seasoned entrepreneurs and local business folks are there to help answer questions for each team and provide ideas and suggestions. The coaches for Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley are: Mark Lang, co-founder of the Northeast Ben Franklin Technology Partners; Yuriy Portyko, General Partner at Smart Start a cross-atlantic incubator and early stage venture capital investor; Scott Gingold, serial entrepreneur with several exits; Amar Reddy, Founder & CEO of Smart IMS; David Easton, Senior Business Development Manager Smart IMS; and Shahri Naghshineh, CEO Surface Chemistry Discovery.

Saturday is also the day that most teams take to the streets, the phones, the emails and the interwebs to get customer validation on their startup project. All the while designers, developers and coders are working on pitch decks, wire frames, prototypes and products.

Sunday is the day the teams put the finishing touches on both their products and their presentations. At 5:00pm and not a second later, the selected teams will have five minutes to pitch their idea and have a brief Q&A with the judges. Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley  judges are: Jim Gordon, President & CEO Robert Rothschild Farm; Bob Moul, CEO appRennaisance; and Wayne Barz, Manager of Entrepreneurial Services – Ben Franklin Technology Partners.

Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley is being organized by: Anthony Durante, Wayne Barz, Anthony Josiah Braun, Mark Koberlein, Tim Lytle and Santiago Rivera.


Official Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley here

Check out Ben Franklin here

You gotta check out “everywhere else” here

Pittsburgh Startup Songwhale Born From Beowulf! INTERVIEW

Songwhale,Paywhale,Pittsburgh startup,Pennsylvania startup,startup,startups,startup interviewA Pittsburgh startup with a funny name is engaging customers from brands across multiple touch points. SongWhale specializes in taking customer engagement to a new level using the web, text, pay and direct solutions.

The unique company offers multiple products to drive engagement and even a pay product of their own called PayWhale which offers the ability to text a payment. Paying via text is very popular in emerging countries but no one in the US has really embraced the technology. It’s actually one of the easiest ways to pay.

While interactive engagement may not seem sexy some of the things SongWhale is doing are. Not only that but the story about how Songwhale came about is one of the most interesting ones we’ve heard.

Songwhale’s four core business areas, Web, Text, Pay and Direct can be summarized like this:

Web: Songwhale can get a companies brand or message through the web on any screen; smartphone, tablet, or computer all optimized for each size.

Text: Songwhale offers engaging SMS campaigns including games, and interactives.

Pay: Songwhale’s Paywhale product offers a text payment solution that is possibly the easiest form of mobile commerce and one wildly adopted in emerging countries.

Direct: Songwhale offers direct branding and engagement campaigns that encompass web, text and pay solutions.

We got a chance to interview Songwhale. Check out the interview below:

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Philadelphia: First Round Capital Debuts “Dorm Room Fund” For Student Startups

Josh Kopelman is the managing partner at Philadelphia based First Round Capital. While based in Philadelphia, First Round Capital, invests in companies across the country.

Kopelman got his start as an entrepreneur with his company Infonautics which he founded in his dorm room as a junior at Penn. By the time he graduated the company had 20 employees. Kopelman believes that colleges and universities house some of the best ecosystems for innovation.

That’s why he’s started the “Dorm Room Fund”. This new fund is set up to become a fund that is for students, and eventually run by students. While First Round Capital is injecting $500,000 in seed money to the fund, Kopelman is hopeful that the initial first investments will then select the next round, and the next and so on and so forth. Kopelman is looking forward to being an advisor to those companies selected to the fund.

This new student fund will:

1. Be run by a students – not suits.  A student investment team would know the entire student and campus ecosystem – allowing them to find, screen and invest in the best ideas

2. Be located on campus, so that it constantly has a feel for the vibe on campus

3. Students are engineers, marketers, financers, writers, doctors, lawyers and researchers… Allow them to focus on investing in companies that disrupt big markets that they (students) have expertise in.

4. Finance students based on their needs. Students are scrappy and often just need that first $10,000 – $20,000 in order to build their product and ship a minimum viable product – let’s call their current stage the dorm room stage…

First Round Capital and Kopelman hope to introduce the Dorm Room Fund in college cities across the country. This first round of investments is concentrated to Philadelphia and students that are either enrolled in, or just recently graduated from Philadelphia area schools like the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel.

Kopelman is currently on the prowl looking for the first 8 students who will serve on the investment committee, which will oversee which student run startups get investments from the fund.  If you’re interested in being considered for the investment committee you need to be a student in the Philadelphia area and hit the link below.


Join the committee or submit your startup here

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Pittsburgh Startup Introduces PopChilla A Robot For Autistic Kids


A new Pittsburgh startup called Interbots has announced plans to unveil a new robot called Popchilla, at the Consumer Electronics Show ( CES) in January. While CES is usually riddled with robots that tackle all kinds of tasks, Popchilla is different.

The cute blue robot with bunny like ears is designed to help kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The folks at Interbots have designed Popchilla to be friendly, bright and inviting, all of which will provide a great stimulant to autistic children who sometimes prefer to interact with non humans over humans.

“Some autistic children are more willing to interact with robotic devices than humans. We want to use Popchilla to help those children with their social skills and interacting with real people,” says Interbots Chief Technical Officer Michael Knight.

In addition to bunny ears, Interbots also gave Popchilla a tail like a lion. Popchilla is able to make facial expressions when he’s happy. However, unlike other robots, Popchilla isn’t controlled by sensors, rather a therapist, parent or other care provider can manipulate or program Popchilla with a remote control or computer.

The ability to totally program Popchilla is one of the key elements to the therapeutic part of the robot. Interbots CEO Seema Patel told fastcoexist.com:

“Children with autism don’t react well to things that are unpredictable, and therapists prefer to use tools and technology that they have full control over,”

Interbots is also introducing an iPad game called Popchilla’s world which helps autistic children get over the fear of developing routines. They expect to debut the game and show off the robot at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January in Las Vegas.


Check out Interbots Here

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Pittsburgh Startup: DuoLingo Raises $15 Million In Latest Round

Pittsburgh startup DuoLingo has just completed their latest round of funding to the best of $15 million dollars, rounding out a great week of funding for startups outside the valley.

DuoLingo isworking on a large scale crowd sourcing platform for language and translation. It was founded by Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Louis Von Ahn.

If Von Ahn’s name sounds familiar its because he is the same man behind Captcha the extra layer of privacy control used when logging into many websites. Captcha was eventually purchased by Google. Google uses the technology to help prevent computerized logins, but perhaps more importantly to verify addresses for Google Maps.

It’s that large scale verification that has been reworked and made into a platform to grow the largest translation database in the world.

Union Square Ventures and New Enterprise Associates led the $15 million dollar series B round. Back in June we reported that celebrity angel investor Ashton Kutcher had invested $3 million dollars into the company.


Find out more about DuoLingo here

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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 IGN.com 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 nibletz.com:

“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 nibletz.com
“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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Iron Yard Demo Day Preview: Lancaster PA Startup: TruckyLove

We’ve actually known Steve Palmer and about his startup TruckyLove for quite a while now. We met off the Philadelphia startup leaders listserv. Palmer has gone through some major growing pains with TruckyLove and now with the help of the Iron Yard accelerator in Greenville SC, they’ve finally rested on the final concept for TruckyLove.

When we first met Palmer last year, there weren’t a hundred food truck apps either on the market or on the way to market. After another great south by southwest we were sure that TruckyLove was going to be epic. However, in April it seemed like every entrepreneur wanted to connect people to the food trucks they love.

So Palmer and his team, with the help of the Iron Yard accelerator, where they’ve been incubating the last few months, they built something a lot more epic than just a food truck locator app.

Essentially TruckyLove has become a food truck social network of sorts for both the food truck owners and their fans, and patrons.

For the food truck owner, TruckyLove gives them a great way to connect with old and new customers.  They also get a fancy profile page, something the other food trucks apps don’t offer. On the profile page the food truck owners can tell their stories, highlight their menus, advertise specials and connect with fans and patrons.

The food truck profile pages can also be integrated with existing social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

For the end user, they can now peruse the food trucks, their menus, their profiles, their specials and see every single food truck spread out across a map. This is great if you’ve got eclectic taste buds or if you’re one of those folks that just loves trying new things.

One of the things you’ll learn about Steve Palmer though is that he’s not just the founder of TruckyLove he’s very passionate about startups and entrepreneurship in both his hometown of Lancaster PA, and his adopted home in Greenville. In fact his invitation to do an interview here on nibletz.com has been an open one for months, but he didn’t even want to complete his interview until the rest of his colleagues at Iron Yard got a chance to tell their story.

Lomgtime readers of Nibletz.com know how we feel about Philadelphia, but the other startup ecosystems in Pennsylvania have some great things happening. We can’t wait to see the finished product on Truckylove, and we can’t wait for Palmer to get back home so we can add Lancaster, York and Easton to our sneaker-strapped, nationwide startup road trip.

Check out our interview with Palmer below:

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Pittsburgh Startup: Grail Takes Alcohol Discovery Table Side, Interview

Last week we brought you an interview with New York Alcohol Discovery startup Drynk.me. They provide an app that makes it easy to discovery new alcoholic beverages, snap pictures, jot down ingredients, and share with friends. This week we have an interview with Pittsburgh startup RhoMania who have just released a new app called “Grail” to restauranteurs to help restaurant patrons with their alcoholic beverage selection.

Grail is available in an iPad and web app version which allows restauranteurs to have servers bring an interactive alcohol menu which highlights the selection on site at that restaurant and pairs beverages with the food on the menu. Grail serves as an interactive wine and cocktail list which can be much more robust than traditional two sheet lists.

Where Drynk.me is a consumer facing app, Grail is designed to be utilized by restaurants. The hope is that the app will help increase liquor and beverage sales.

We got a chance to talk with the team behind RhoMania and the Grail app. Check out the interview below

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