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Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 5:46 PM
Filed Under: Small Business | Technology

Center City social gaming developer Ryzing L.L.C. has been acquired by a California game developer called RockYou Inc.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

A statement released by one of Ryzing's investors indicated that Ryzing's team, headed by Manu Gambhir, will join RockYou, which intends to maintain and grow the Philadelphia office.

POSTED: Friday, June 8, 2012, 2:32 PM
Filed Under: Small Business

GoodCompany Group, which runs a free business incubator/boot camp, has announced the latest group of start-ups who will participate in its fourth summer program.

Here are the 13 firms:

  • Counterflow RO, which is developing a new reverse-osmosis membrane that can be used in the semiconductor, pharmaceuticals, food processing and municipal drinking water sectors.
  • Desmo, of Sweden, which has developed an online donations widget to make sure that nonprofit organizations receive all that is promised.
  • Edibikes, which was started by two engineering graduates of Northwestern who have developed a line of commuter bicycles.
  • High Hopes, which is a spin-off of Clarifi, the nonprofit financial literacy group formerly known as Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Delaware Valley, that will use online technology to help high school students plan for a postsecondary education with the least amount of debt.
  • NovaThermal Energy, which is developing a geothermal technology for landlords that is designed to save 30 percent to 60 percent in building heating and cooling costs.
  • PaperWool, which is developing a line of “eco-home furnishings.”
  • PhilanTech, of Washington, D.C., which is trying to reducing the transaction costs of grants administration, which consumes 13 percent of every dollar, or $6 billion annually.
  • pledge4good, the People’s Choice Award winner in the Wharton Business Plan Competittion in 2011 which has built an online platform that aims to make donating casual, recurring and social. (Read a Q&A by Fast Company with the co-founder here.)
  • psGive, which uses game strategies to encourage consumers to support brands that consequently support charities.
  • Regalii, which has built a free platform to replace remittances used by migrant workers with gift cards for the supermarkets and other stores in Latin America where their families shop.
  • StartSomeGood, also from Washington, D.C., which is developing a platform to help social entrepreneurs raise start-up funds, like Kickstarter does for the arts.
  • TuvaLabs, which intends to help teachers offer interactive math learning units for their students.
  • Wash Cycle Laundry, which provides commercial linen rental and personal laundry service in Center City and University City and makes its deliveries using bicycles. (See a story by The Inquirer's Diane Mastrull on the firm here.)
POSTED: Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 4:18 PM
Filed Under: Financial Services

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. donated $4.2 million over the next five years to the American College, a Bryn Mawr-based financial-service educational institution.

The money will be used to create and fund the Northwestern Mutual Granum Center for Financial Security, which is named after a managing partner of the insurer's Chicago office.

The nonprofit American College said the donation would be the largest single corporate gift it had ever received.

POSTED: Friday, June 1, 2012, 6:17 PM
Filed Under: Consumer Products

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has acquired a privately held linens distributor based in Gibbsboro in an all-cash transaction worth $105 million announced Friday after the stock market had closed.

Linen Holdings L.L.C. is a distributor of linens and other textile products to various industries, including hospitality, food service, health care and cruise lines. The Camden County firm, which has an office in Miami, employs less than 200 people.

In a statement, Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven H. Temares said: "We are very excited to add the talented Linen Holdings team members and their sourcing and sales expertise to our existing operations."

POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 6:54 PM
Filed Under: Corporate Governance

The lopsided vote tallies in most corporate elections are so routine that it's only when a company loses a vote that you realize that occasionally shareholders can rally to send a message to the board.

Urban Outfitters Inc. lost two votes on shareholder proposals at its May 22 annual meeting. Shareholders approved a non-binding proposal trying to change board elections from pluraity voting to majority voting.

(In the former, receiving just one "for" vote in an uncontested election means a director is elected. In majority voting, a nominee must receive a majority of the votes cast.)

POSTED: Friday, May 25, 2012, 3:22 PM
Filed Under: Financial Services

First Priority Financial Corp., of Malvern, will combine with Affinity Bancorp Inc., a smaller Berks County bank holding company, in a stock transaction.

First Priority, which has six branches with total assets of $279.7 million as of March 31, will merge with Affinity, a Wyomissing institution with five branches and $176.5 million in assets. According to a statement, the result will be a financial institution with $450 million in assets, $335 million in loans and $390 million in deposits.

The two sides are calling the deal a “merger of equals,” but First Priority shareholders would wind up owning 62 percent of the new holding company which intends to retain the First Priority name and remain based in Malvern. The 12-member board would include six from First Priority, four from Affinity and two players to be named later.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 2:55 PM
Filed Under: Manufacturing

The maker of K'nex toys has long manufactured many of its products in America, and it pushed that as a key marketing message in 2007 after safety concerns arose about toys made in China.

But the family-owned company in Montgomery County decided it needed to do more as the U.S. economy slumped, and it chose to move one of its key operations from China to the United States.

Read the full story here.

POSTED: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 3:51 PM

SEER Interactive is the lone Philadelphia company on the 2012 Inner City 100 list of the fastest-growing companies in -- where else? -- the inner city.

For the last 14 years, the nonprofit Initiative for a Competitive Inner City has been highlighting the entrepreneurial activity that goes on in U.S. cities. And for about just as long, I've wondered why more Philadelphia firms don't pop up on it.

See if you detect a trend: Last year, there were just two Philadelphia-area companies on the list, three in 2010, and four in 2009.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

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