Toast files for IPO; xtraChef founders to benefit?

Tom Paine

Toast, the Boston-based restaurant management cloud startup, finally announced its filing for an IPO that may value the company at as much of $20 billion per reports. Toast would trade on the NYSE under the symbol “TOST”.

In addition to functioning as a sort of ERP for individual restaurants, Toast also helps its customers manage delivery services, maintaining control over the various food delivery vendors they deals with.

Toast reported $704 million in revenue in the first half of 2021, a 105% gain over the worst period of the pandemic last year.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Toast was thinking about survival, cutting half its staff. But by November of last year, Toast was recovering, reaching an $8 billion valuation.

Locally, Toast’s major impact comes from its acquisition of Philly-based xtraChef, which it purchased in early June of this year. xtraChef provides cost and productivity analysis tools specific to restaurants.

While I haven’t seen a breakdown of xtraChef’s acquisition terms, a slice of Toast’s equity could make this exit a very good outcome for xtraChef and its cofounders Andy Schwartz (CEO) and Bhavik Patel (CTO), who both remain witb xtraChef in their existing positions.

Fanatics spreads its wings in two directions

Tom Paine

Michael Rubin’s Fanatics Inc. last week announced new funding that raised its valuation to $18 billion. The Jacksonville-based company, a part of Rubin’s Conshohocken-based Kynetic LLC holding company, is widely viewed as a soon-to-be IPO candidate.

Now Fanatics is attempting to branch in two new directions that do not involve apparel sales, potentially adding to its growth and increasing margins.

First, it won a license from the MLB Players Association, first reported today, replacing Topps (and Panini’s) as the exclusive baseball card partner of the MLBPA after Panini’s and Topps’ licenses with the MLBPA expire at the end of 2022.

The deal also includes the National Basketball Players Association and the NFL Players Association.

Meanwhile, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Rubin are a part of a group applying for an online sports betting license in New York, and plan to form Fanatics Sportsbook.

Sports betting tech company Kambi is leading that bid that also includes Berks County-based gaming giant Penn National, which owns Barstool Sportsbook.

The New York State Gaming Association is aiming to award the new licenses by December 6, so betting can start on the Super Bowl.

In both initiatives, Fanatics stressed the opportunity to leverage its unique fan databases on the new businesses.

Philly People on “Business Transformation 150”

Constellation Research, a Silicon Valley-based tech research & advisory firm headed by R “Ray” Wang, has just released its 2020-2021 “Business Transformation 150″, which Constellation describes as “an elite list that recognizes the top global executives leading business transformation efforts in their organizations. Nominations from peers, technology vendors, industry influencers, and analysts power this listing.”

The BT 150 is all about Digital Transformation.

The BT 150 has its share of Philly area people:

Matthew Ernst

Sr. Director Technical Operations at Tendo Systems / ex – Jefferson Health

Chris Fielding

CIO at Sungard Availability Services

John T Marcante

Global Chief Information Officer Vanguard / Board member

Ann Michael

  CEO at Delta Think

Robert Neff

  Senior Director Product Management at Tendo Systems / ex- Jefferson Health)

Michele Norin

 Sr. Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Rutgers University

Claire Rutkowski

Chief Information Officer
Bentley Systems

Jim Swanson

EVP and Group CIO
Johnson & Johnson – A Drexel grad

Others mentioned include :

Bill McCorey

SVP – Global CIO
Universal Parks and Resorts / Comcast NBCU

Steven John

CIO at Aramark Uniform Services, AmeriPride Services, and Aramark Refreshment Services


Peter Verrillo, CEO of Enhatch. Enhatch
was one of the startups that got funding in June [file photo]
| Courtesy Enhatch

 July 26, 2021  Esther Surden

There is more investment listed on this website than most of us in the New Jersey tech community are aware of, and it’s good to see how many startups in the Garden State are receiving backing from angels and venture funds.

Most of these investments come from out-of-state angels, venture funds, family offices, etc. In June, Princeton-based Edison Partners financed learning platform Northpass (Parsippany). has decided to publish the angel and VC investment information in tech, healthtech, cleantech and other tech-related companies from the previous month, once a month. This article includes the startup funding for June 2021.

It’s interesting to note that the companies that were funded in June largely moved away from the healthcare field which was dominating investment during the pandemic. Now there seems to be money available for everything from financial marketplaces and sports betting to vehicle smart charging and software development tools.

This is a useful place for entrepreneurs to see which investors are funding companies like theirs, and for them to learn the scope of that funding. For those interested in economic development, remember that these are the companies that will likely be hiring in New Jersey.

All the information, including the listings on biotech and pharma companies, is available on the Angel and VC Investments website, here. As the NJEDA says, the list isn’t meant to be exhaustive.

The listings of the deals are compiled from outside sources, including Pitchbook and Crunchbase, as well as other sources that are available to the public. The NJEDA has marked with an asterisk the companies that it has helped. If we have covered the company’s newest funding round, we’ve added a link.

Company: Attentive
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Sector: Information Technology | Attentive empowers the most innovative brands to create meaningful interactions through personalized text messaging.
Deal Synopsis: Attentive announced on June 24 that it had raised $59 million in venture funding.
Investor(s): Undisclosed
Crunchbase Profile Page:

Company: Sporttrade
Location: Camden, NJ
Sector: Computer Software |Sporttrade offers a financial marketplace for sports betting.
Deal Synopsis: Sporttrade announced on June 22nd that it has raised $36 million.
Investor(s): Techstars, Jump Capital, Impression Ventures, Nasdaq Ventures, Tower Research Capital, LLC.
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release: 

Company: IoTecha
Location: Piscataway, NJ
Sector: Information Technologies & Services | IoTecha provides a suite of integrated products for electric vehicle smart charging and powerline communications.
Deal Synopsis: IoTecha announced on June 22nd that it had raised $13.2 million in Series B funding.
Investor(s): BP Ventures, Elitegroup Computer Systems
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release/Article: bp makes $7m investment in electric vehicle charging firm IoTecha – IoTecha

Company: Enhatch
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Sector: Information Technology & Services | Enhatch offer advanced surgical planning tools, patient-matched instrumentation from x-rays, unmatched collaboration platforms, real-time inventory visibility, and the next generation of enabling technology for surgery.
Deal Synopsis: Enhatch announced on June 22nd that it had raised $9 million.
Investor(s): AltaIR Capital, Dreamit Ventures, Floodgate, Social Starts, Newark Venture Partners
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release:

Company: Certificial
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Sector: Computer Software | Certificial offers an insurance verification platform that provides customers with the ability to monitor real-time insurance coverage.
Deal Synopsis: Certificial announced on June 8th that it had raised $5.8 million.
Investor(s): Fin Venture Capital, IA Capital Group, Cofounders Capital, Nationwide Ventures, Cameron Ventures
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release:

Company: Markerr
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Sector: Information Services | Markerr offers a commercial real estate analytics platform that provides insights about people, jobs, spending, and economic trends tied to any location.
Deal Synopsis: Markerr announced on June 16th that it had raised $5 million in Series A funding.
Investor(s): RET Ventures, Continental Realty Corporation, Edward Norton, Twin Shores Capital, Joe Lettween
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release:

Company: AtomicJar
Location: Newark, NJ
Sector: Computer Software | Atomic Jar is developing a platform that gives software developers simpler methods for integration testing across the software development lifecycle.
 Deal Synopsis: AtomicJar announced on June 25th that it had raised $4 million in seed funding.
Investor(s): Tribe Capital, Boldstart Ventures, Zane Lackey, Mike Chalfen, Guy Podjarny
Crunchbase Profile Page
News Release:

Company: Northpass
Location: Parsippany, NJ
Sector: Computer Software | Northpass offers a learning platform that enables organizations to train employees, customers, and channel partners.
Deal Synopsis: Northpass announced on June 15th that it had raised $4 million in venture funding.
Investor(s): Edison Partners
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release: N/A

Company: Calamu Technologies
Location: Clinton, NJ
Sector: Computer Software | Calamu is a cybersecurity startup offering next-gen resilience and near-impenetrable data protection for the enterprise.
Deal Synopsis: Calamu Technologies raised $2.4 million in seed funding on June 22nd.
Investor(s): Dell Technologies Capital
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release:

*Company: Poppy Seed Health
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Sector: Healthcare | Poppy Seed Health develops a healthcare platform designed to offer mothers and mothers-to-be access to emotional and mental-health help on-demand. The company’s platform connects users with on-demand text access to doulas, midwives, and nurses for their pregnancy and postpartum-related assistance, thereby enabling women to receive emotional and bodily consolation throughout and after their pregnancy.
Deal Synopsis: Poppy Seed Health announced on June 9th that it has raised $1.6 million of pre-seed funding.
Investor(s): City Light Capital, Metrodora Ventures, Seven Seven Six
Pitchbook Profile Page:
News Release,the%20company%20tells%20Insider%20exclusively


Company: SlyceData
Location: Red Bank, NJ
Sector: Financial Services | SlyceData develops and operates a financial software designed to accelerate the investment research process by making various financial datasets work seamlessly together. The company’s platform uses a data intelligence engine to automate data ingestion, cross-vendor mapping, data management, organization and data security, thereby enabling clients to focus on their actual research and make informed investment decisions.
Deal Synopsis: On June 29th SlyceData announced the company raised $1 million in equity crowdfunding via Angel Investment Network.
Investor(s): N/A
Pitchbook Profile Page:
News Release:

Company: 911inform
Location: Wall, NJ
Sector:  Information Technology | 911inform develops a notification and security management platform intended to bridge the gap between first-responders and organizations during an emergency situation.
Deal Synopsis: 911inform announced on June 14th that it has raised $550,000 in angel funding.
Investor(s): N/A
Pitchbook Profile Page:
News Release: N/A

Location: Somerset, NJ
Sector: Education Technology | MemoryOS is developing innovative gamified e-learning software to help people significantly improve their memory.
Deal Synopsis: MemoryOS announced on June 14th that it had raised $385,000 via Kickstarter.
Investor(s): Bas Godska
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release:

Company: Hudson Space Systems
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Sector: Business Products and Services | Provider of microgravity research services intended to accelerate the speed of scientific advancement. The company’s service offerings include frequent sub-orbital launches, bespoke payload integration, end-to-end logistics and reasonable pricing through reusable launch vehicles, thereby enabling small businesses and research groups to flexibly perform microgravity research based on their requirements.
Deal Synopsis: Hudson Space Systems announced on June 7th that it had raised $152,000 in equity crowdfunding.
Investor(s): N/A
Pitchbook Profile Page:
News Release: N/A

Company: Doceree
Location: Parsippany, NJ
Sector: Marketing & Advertising | Doceree is a fully integrated programmatic ad exchange for data-driven marketing, exclusively to physicians.
Deal Synopsis: Doceree announced on June 28th that it raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding.
Investor(s): Ajai Joneja, Harsh Gupta, Gaurav Kumar, Debasish Hota
Crunchbase Profile Page:
News Release/Article:

This post originally appeared in NJ Tech Weekly, Esther Surden, Founder & Publisher. Its republished here with her permission.

People News 8/15/2021: J&J names new CEO; Google Health Boss Quits, Named CEO Of Cerner

J&J names new CEO, as Gorsky announces transition to executive chairman role (ROI-NJ)

Google Health Boss Quits; Named CEO Of Health Tech Company Cerner (PYMTS)

Qurate Retail, Inc. Announces David Rawlinson II as Next President and CEO

Comcast Corporation Names Broderick D. Johnson Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Executive Vice President, Digital Equity

Philadelphia 76ers’ parent company names new CEO (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Health Union Unveils High-Growth Leadership Team, Aimed at Driving Social Health Transformation

Fintech Leader Onbe Appoints Bala Janakiraman as CEO

Unilog Taps Chief Growth Officer Ben Stump to Accelerate Development

CMI Media Group and Compas Hire Marjolein Bruurs as CFO

CMI Media Group and Compas Hire Oleg Korenfeld as Chief Technology Officer

The very rapid decline of Afgahnistan in US’ own words

That was a terribly fast 90 days.

2 Days ago – early morning: US military analysis says Kabul could fall to Taliban in 90 days: Official

1 day ago – afternoon: US Officials Estimate Kabul To Fall In 30 Days, Afghanistan In Months As Taliban Sweeps

Late yesterday: US and UK begin evacuating Kabul embassies as rampaging Taliban now just 30 MILES away

This afternoon: Taliban capture key northern city, approach Afghan capital

Sunday Morning update: Afghan president flees the country as Taliban move on Kabul

A CFO’s Midsummers Night Dream

Tom Paine

I had an odd and [in retrospect] rather amusing dream the other night.

I dreamt I was with an old software & systems firm I used to be CFO for. It was at the end of the quarter and it had been a slow one.

Suddenly, in one department I noticed some fresh produce ready to ship to customers (notwithstanding that we were in the software biz). I asked people where it had come from, but nobody could say.

I began counted items for the end-of-quarter close, though I didn’t think this stuff would make a difference. But then I walked downstairs to a different work area and there was much more produce ready to ship out. Some of this was corn, which makes sense because the building the business was housed in was next to a cornfield. Overall this produce was a big surprise, and it looked like the quarter might end well.

Counting produce is something I did in a summer job working in a grocery store, so maybe that’s where that came from

GoPuff announces another deal: UK-based Dija

Tom Paine

As anticipated by many regular Gopuff watchers, the Philly-based home delivery-based company announced the acquisition of Europe-based Dija this evening.

Founded last year, Dija currently operates in three European countries: The UK, France and Spain. Along with previously acquired UK-based Fancy, the acquisition of Dija adds to Gopuff goals for pan-European expansion.

Through the acquisitions of Dija and Fancy, “Gopuff plans to operate in three European countries with about 40 micro-fulfillment centers and 200 employees in the region, with additional plans for continued, rapid expansion.”

Gopuff has also added management talent to Europe, including executives having backgrounds with Amazon and Revolut.

Dija, which has a vertically integrated operating model similar to Gopuff’s, “will continue to operate under the Dija name in the near-term as the two companies create an integration plan.”

The transaction is anticipated to close within 30 days. Terms were not disclosed.

Gopuff’s discussions with Dija had been generally reported.

It would make sense for Gopuff to look next at a possible acquisition in Germany or elsewhere to the East in Europe.

Gopuff recently confirmed an additional $1 billion funding.

Philly EnterpriseTech Notable Quotes 8/7/2021

“We were failing to attract data center developers to Pennsylvania because our tax policy was driving development to other states,” said state Sen. John Yudichak, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “The implementation of new tax policies that leverage private investment and encourage private sector job growth demonstrates Pennsylvania is stepping up its economic game and competing for high-wage technology jobs.”

“When I was at Comcast, I remember meeting with a [white] woman and being really intrigued with her business,” Crowder said. “But I had to tell her ‘I love what you are doing but I can’t invest because this is a diversity fund.’ It was the most ridiculous thing for a Black man to have to say that because of your race, we cannot invest.”

William Crowder, a lead investor for Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund for five years, on setting out on his own [co-founded] $75 million fund.

When asked whether the renovations were in any way intended as a carrot for the Sixers, Camillo said: “We’re not thinking about our transformation in terms of enticing the Sixers to stay. We’re thinking about it in terms of every guest who comes into the building, and the Sixers are certainly part of that. But we also host Flyers games, concerts, family events, shows. This is an investment in the city, in the community, in the stadium district. We want to provide the city of Philadelphia a world-class arena.

Total [Paypal] payment volume grew 40% to $311 billion, while the Venmo app, which began supporting cryptocurrency services in April, saw payment volume grow 58% to $58 billion.

Some industry observers warn that Big Tech’s extended geographic reach could stifle innovation. Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of global business at the Fletcher School at Tufts University said sectors like artificial intelligence are already heavily concentrated among a small number of companies.

“If you imagine Google and Facebook and Apple and Amazon and Microsoft, they start hiring AI talent from Philadelphia, Houston and so on and so forth, those tiny startups, which also are a critical part of the AI ecosystem, they are not going to be able to get that talent,” he said.

A critical component to making the shorter week work is that employees need to relearn how to work in a more focused way, said Justine Jordan, head of marketing at a Philadelphia software company that first allowed employees to work 32-hour weeks starting in 2017. That means fewer meetings and avoiding day-to day distractions, she said. Most at the 30-person firm, Wildbit, take Friday off; some take Monday; and a smaller group, mostly parents, spread their time off across five days, she said.

“Amazon Web Services, grew its revenue 37% in the second quarter, faster than 32% growth in the previous quarter. AWS revenue came in at $14.81 billion in the quarter, surpassing analysts’ estimated $14.20 billion.”

“German-speaking users’ experiences with old on-premise SAP systems have been really good,” he said. “They got a lot of things done. They have good processes, but they also experienced some problems with integrating with cloud technology, and I think that’s one of the reasons why our membership is a little bit cautious about RISE with SAP, right now, because they just want to see if that’s really going to work. The experiences they’ve had were not so good all time. It’s up to SAP to prove they are a cloud company and can deliver on their promises.

[KOP-based] CMI and Compas both have seen double-digit growth year over year for the past several years and added lots of staff to serve their pharma and health clients. CMI added 215 people last year and already added another 154 in the first half of 2021, while Compas added 26 last year and another 21 so far this year.

“Strategically we think this deal makes a lot of sense, driving deeper integration and in-house capabilities, but we suspect the market will  have a different opinion on the [nearly 87%] premium being paid,” analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets said.

Analysts commenting on Penn National’s announced $2 billion acquisition of Canadian tech gaming firm Score Media.