10 Philly startups that caught our eye in 2014, and where they are now
Philadelphia Business Journal By Staff Writer Lauren Hertzler
This year, I was fortunate to learn about and feature numerous area startups in the Philadelphia Business Journal’s elevator pitch series. They’re run by the people creating innovative products, boosting the economy and inspiring us all every day.
I caught up with 10 founders recently. Here’s where they are now.
• Spor, solar battery maker: Spor started off strong and hasn’t held back. The company, which makes low-cost, pocket-sized solar battery chargers, raised $112,000 during its first crowdfunding campaign. Right after, it nabbed a $200,000 investment from an angel investor. It recently brought on new hires, including engineering and marketing/distribution gurus, and has been in full production mode, ordering batteries, solar panels and 3-D printers. David Hunt, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the team has finalized the product’s packaging and is excited for crowdfunding delivery early next year.
• EmergenSee, real-time personal security: In July, I wrote about EmergenSee, the mobile technology that transforms smartphones or tablets into personal security systems. (In the event of an emergency, it gives users the ability to stream live video, audio, GPS location and movements while contacting help.) Four months later, Phil Reitnour was showing off his product on the ABC show Shark Tank. He didn’t snag any funding from the “sharks,” but he did garner quality exposure; the app had “hundreds of thousands of downloads,” within 12 hours after the airing, Reitnour said.
• My Best Friend’s Weekend, makes bachelorette party planning easy: My Best Friend’s Weekend acts as a planning concierge, crafting perfect bachelorette weekends for women throughout the country. The company recently expanded its reach to 16 cities, and even helped plan its first bachelor party. Lauren Raouf, chief operating officer, said she and her co-founder Tisha Vaidya won a seed-funding grant from Wharton, based on their company’s progress. Now, it’s in the planning stages for new products and services to launch next year, including city guides, bachelorette games and making it easier to book popular experiences (like afternoons on a sailboat or catered meals).