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Top ten cities for new college grads named

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

Raleigh is number six on the list of the top ten cities for new college grads from Apartments.com.

College graduates from across the country have more in common than that shiny new diploma and the class of ’13 distinction. No matter where they received their degree, they all face the same life-changing decision: where to work and where to live.

 While the national unemployment rate is moving down, competition for jobs is still stiff, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics citing 11.7 million unemployed persons (April 2013) and a mere 3.8 million available jobs (March 2013).

With apartment rents increasing each year and the continuing challenges of a slower economy, it is becoming more important for recent grads to explore the possibility of starting their professional lives in a city that offers the best overall opportunity for employment, career success, living affordability and an energetic, youthful culture.

Making the decision easier

For the sixth year, Apartments.com has complied the “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” to help make this big decision a little easier.

“When starting the search process, it can be tempting to focus on just the biggest cities,” said Tammy Kotula, public relations and promotions manager for Apartments.com. “In fact, many other ‘best of’ lists tend to be heavily weighted toward the country’s largest markets, which obviously offer a lot of career opportunities.

However, it is important to carefully consider all aspects that a city, even a smaller market, has to offer before deciding where to settle down.”

Personally, we’d look at how these cities and the states they are in treat the “creative class,” and their support for education, and recreation, as well, for instance.

Kotula added that the first step should be to identify cities that offer affordability alongside professional opportunity. Hand-in-hand with this qualification is to try and determine if the city’s demographics line up with those of a recent college graduate.

“If you are single and in your early to mid-20s, chances are the lifestyle in a city with a similar demographic profile will be more appealing than it would if you were striking out on your own in a market that is heavily skewed toward married households with a higher median population age,” continues Kotula.

The sixth annual Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list is a resource designed to help identify the best places in the country for new graduates to begin this chapter of their lives, taking into account employment opportunities, salary, rent for a one bedroom apartment and the city’s median age and percentage of male and female only households, as an indicator of the youthful singles’ scene.

The Apartments.com 2013 “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list, along with the average rent for a one bedroom apartment, includes: 

Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates Average Rent for 1 Bedroom Apartment
1.        Phoenix, AZ $ 708
2.        Orlando, FL $ 857
3.        San Antonio, TX $ 794
4.        Columbus, OH $ 634
5.        Austin, TX $ 1,006
6.        Raleigh, NC $ 788
7.        Oklahoma City, OK $ 722
8.        Fort Worth, TX $ 795
9.        Dallas, TX $ 983
10.     Minneapolis, MN $ 1,177

The Apartments.com “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list distinguishes itself from other “best of” lists through its comprehensive view of what qualifies a city to be considered.

“Over the past six years that Apartments.com has been culling this list, we have adapted to economic changes and have adjusted our methodology accordingly,” states Dick Burke, senior vice president and general manager, Apartments.com. “This way we are evaluating what is most meaningful to recent graduates in the context of the bigger picture in unemployment, affordability and other key factors.”

Affordability, unemployment considered

This year’s list took into account affordability vs. just median income, which gave advantage to cities where the average rent for a one bedroom apartment falls within the recommended 25% of gross median income. In addition, unemployment was a major factor in determining this sixth annual list. Cities with unemployment above 7% were eliminated.

Burke adds, “We believe that a low unemployment rate contributes to a vibrant community with more job opportunity across the board, which is good not only for entry level positions, but also as an indicator of potential as a person moves through his or her career.”

In addition, this year’s list takes into account demographics. Added weight was given to cities with the highest percentage of population between 25-29 years of age and men-and-women-only households, as an indicator of the youthfulness and singles scene in each market.

In addition, cities with significantly low or high median age for population were eliminated. Kotula comments, “This helped steer our list away from all college towns, which is reflected by a low median population age, as well as cities that skew more middle to retirement age population-wise.”

Many city/county economic development programs lack transparency

Friday, May 31st, 2013
Charlotte skyline

Charlotte, NC is one of the cities that don’t disclose enough information about economic development subsities.

Two-thirds of the economic development subsidy programs run by the nation’s largest cities and counties do not use the web to report which companies are receiving the tax breaks and other forms of financial assistance.

Among the third of programs that do practice online transparency, most do so poorly, failing to disclose the dollar value of the subsidies. An even smaller number reveal key outcomes such as how many jobs were created.

These are the central findings of a report released today by Good Jobs First, a Washington, DC-based non-profit research center on economic development accountability. The report, Show Us the Local Subsidies, is available at www.goodjobsfirst.org/localsubsidies.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve seen several reports questioning the effectiveness of many of these subsidy driven economic development programs, as well. They often fail to produce promised jobs.

Poor state of transparency

“While a handful of cities enable taxpayers to see the costs and benefits of every deal, we were disappointed by the poor state of transparency in most major localities,” said Leigh McIlvaine , a research analyst at Good Jobs First and principal author of the report. “Taxpayers in those cities and counties deserve better.”

The report is part of an ongoing effort by Good Jobs First to track and promote online transparency of subsidies. “Most major localities are far behind state governments when it comes to job-subsidy transparency,” said Good Jobs First executive director Greg LeRoy . “We hope our new report will inspire them to improve their disclosure practices.”

Show Us the Local Subsidies looks at transparency in the country’s 25 most populous cities and 25 most populous counties. Thirty-six of those localities have locally-controlled subsidy programs. One or two major programs in each were graded for a total universe of 64.

Key findings:

  • Among those 64 programs, only 21 (in 16 jurisdictions) report recipient company names online.
  • Among those programs that do disclose, costs and benefits are mostly still missing. Only 10 of the 21 programs report the dollar value of the subsidies initially awarded, and only 6 report actual disbursements. Only 4 programs report jobs actually created, and only 9 report other outcomes such as wages.
  • The best disclosure practices are in: Memphis/Shelby County, Tennessee; New York City; Austin, Texas; and Chicago.
  • Among the 20 large localities still failing to disclose are Broward County (Florida), Charlotte, Cook County (Illinois), Dallas, Harris County (Texas), Los Angeles (both city and county), Miami-Dade County (Florida), Philadelphia, and San Francisco

That pretty much spans the country. We suspect that one reason for a lack of transparency is that the programs have questionable success.

U.S. cities with the most gaming early adopters (infographic)

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Mobile gameMaxPoint, a company that helps retailers and brands drive local in-store sales, has identified U.S. cities with the neighborhoods most interested in gaming.

By analyzing billions of in-store purchases and online data points, MaxPoint identified two distinct groups of gamers: early adopters, or those looking for the latest gaming technology, and latecomers, or gamers who prefer time-tested technologies.

According to the NPD Group, retail sales of gaming hardware, software and accessories totaled $13.26 billion in 2012. As the industry continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for advertisers to know where to find gamers and what motivates them to buy.

MaxPoint’s proprietary interest data indicates that these groups approach gaming-related products from different perspectives and have different needs in the purchase cycle.

Here’s an infographic detailing the findings:

 

Top ten cities for private tech M&A ranked

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Washington DC

Washington, DC made this years list of the top ten cities for private tech M&A at number 7.

PrivCo has released rankings of the Top U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A, based on the number of private tech companies acquired in 2012.

PrivCo has provided its Exclusive Top 10 Ranking below, with Silicon Valley ranking as the #1 metro area with 226 private tech company acquisitions in 2012.

Ranked just behind it were New York (Ranked #2) & Boston (Ranked #3).

San Diego, Research Triangle miss top ten

Interestingly, up-and-coming tech hubs like New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta are challenging traditional leaders like Raleigh-Durham’s “research triangle” and biotech hub San Diego, who missed this year’s Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A.

Top 10 U.S. Cities For Private Tech M&A in 2012

(Ranked By Total Number of U.S. Private Tech Companies Acquired in Each Metro Area)

1. Silicon Valley
2. New York
3. Boston
4. Los Angeles
5. Seattle
6. Austin
7. Washington, D.C. (Arlington)
8. Atlanta
9. Dallas
10. Houston

To access PrivCo’s 350 page 2012 Private Tech M&A Industry Report:

http://www.privco.com/products/2012-m-and-a-industry-overview-technology-sector-volume-I

Many IT skill sets in greatest demand did not even exist a decade ago

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

ZinnovSilicon Valley continues to be an innovation hub, but Seattle, Dallas, Boston and Baltimore are also in the game, says the Zinnov “Talent Outlook 2013″ report. Skill sets in the highest demand did not even exist a decade ago: big data analytics, cloud computing experts, user experience designers and mobile app developers among them.

Key Findings

  • Organizations believe 25% of their current talent will become redundant in the next 3-5 years, while specialized skill sets in User Experience and Mobility see rising demand
  • Hiring for Innovation will primarily be in the United States
  • Tier II locations in the United States will be a key focus area for organizations looking to expand, while India and China will witness marginal growth

The Silicon Valley continues to be an innovation hub, with 80% of respondents to the Zinnov survey indicating that their organizations’ headcount will increase the highest in this region.

Respondents also said that 36% of their innovation, on average, would be driven in the Valley, with other US cities and states such as Seattle, Maryland, Dallas and Boston accounting for 18%. India ranked third as potential innovation region, with organizations revealing that 15% of innovation is expected out of the country, followed by EMEA at 10%.

cloud computingVamsee Tirukkala , managing principal, Zinnov, said, “Data scientists and user experience designers will witness very high demand, while mobile application developers and cloud computing experts will witness moderate to high demand. Significantly, all these skills were non-existent a decade ago. Organizations are also expected to increase their focus on soft skill development across levels and functions.”

Hot skill sets

Big DataOrganizations are seeking talent with skills in the areas of Engineering (50% of respondents indicated that it would be among the top 3 skills of the future), followed by Analytics skills (40%) such as Big Data, Predictive Modelling, HR Analytics, and Mobility (32%).

The biggest talent challenges that organizations face are in the areas of niche hiring and skill set assessment, with 50% of respondents suggesting that these would be key focus areas for HR in 2013.

While dedicated statistical teams within HR departments can reduce challenges around skill set assessment, large volume data analysis and workforce planning, over half the organizations do not have such resources and just 20% are focused on it for 2013.

What are the hottest marketing jobs and where do they pay the best?

Monday, January 28th, 2013

social mediaIf you’re in marketing, you can probably guess which marketing positions are hot this year, but a new survey has some surprises. For instance, working in the big city doesn’t guarantee a big paycheck for marketing professionals.

So says the “2013 Aquent AMA Marketing Salary Survey.” from Aquent, a global staffing organization dedicated to marketing, creative, and digital professionals, and The American Marketing Association (AMA). The survey was created to help marketers pinpoint career opportunity by calling out the highest paying cities, most in-demand jobs and the most satisfying careers based on the responses from 2,600 marketers.

“When it comes to a career in marketing, the location and the field you choose can have an immense impact on your future satisfaction and salary,” said Ann Webster , president of Aquent. “Our salary survey empowers marketers to assess their value in the marketplace and decide if relocating or adding new skills to their portfolio is worthwhile for career advancement and quality of life.”

Big City Doesn’t Equal Big Paycheck
The survey revealed that the highest salaries in marketing jobs do not come from top markets like New York, Silicon Valley and Boston. Instead, based on the adjusted cost of living, marketers in Dallas, St. Louis and Atlanta are making more than their big city counterparts. While Silicon Valley tops the list with the highest average marketing salary of $107,802, when adjusted for cost of living, it adds up to $48,034.

Surprisingly, the survey found that Dallas marketing professionals take home the biggest paycheck at $82,418, which really is more like $89,707 when adjusted for cost of living.

Happiest Cities and Happiest Jobs
While many turn to a career in marketing for its creativity and a wealth of opportunity, there are some cities and jobs that marketers find more satisfying than most. Topping the list of the cities with the happiest marketers were Phoenix,Indianapolis and Houston.

Professionals working in public relations, web analytics and strategic planning were found to be most happy with their jobs.

Hottest Jobs In 2013
While location and satisfaction were the key takeaways, the survey also revealed that 25 percent of marketers predict social media marketing will be the most in-demand job in 2013.

Closely following, 21 percent of marketers anticipated online content creation would be most in-demand while 17 percent projected that brand or product management would top the list.  In addition, the survey found that social media and mobile marketing are expected to be the hottest jobs in the next two to three years.

Salaries To Increase
Additionally, the survey found that two-thirds of marketers anticipate salary increases in 2013, with one in five expecting an increase of 10 percent of more, showing optimism compared to recent years.

To find out more information on the study, including details on marketing salaries by position and metro area, download the executive summary “Marketing Salaries, Strategies and Trends for 2013″ at: www.marketingsalaries.com.

 

Digital marketing: build relationships rather than buying eyeballs

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Adrian Parker

Adrian Parker

Looking at the future of digital marketing, social and mobile technologies are creating many opportunities for real people to connect, So, it is less about buying eyeballs or paid media buys and “More about  building out authentic relationships and trust,” says Adrian Parker, head of social, mobile, and emerging media at Intuit’s accounting professionals division.

Traditionally, Parker says, “Marketers invested in scale, frequency, ROI. But what builds trust are peer recommendations, referrals, blogs, editorial, forums. Those can build a significant amount of trust among your consumer base. You can’t buy a relationship.”

Parker’s work has spanned client and agency-side strategies for Foot Locker, ESPN, Nike, adidas, Liz Claiborne and Body Shop and he served as director of social media and digital strategy at Radio Shack, where he launched its social practice across 35,000 employees in 27 countries. In 2011 he won a Forrester Groundswell award, recognizing him for top-performing B2C digital campaigns.

Discussing the “Relationship Era” at Dallas Digital Summit

Parker will join speakers from brands that include Google, AOL, Twitter, Stumbleupon, PBS, reddit, Cheezeburger Network, Oracle and Vistaprint, among others, at TechMedia’s Dallas Digital Summit Dec. 4-5 at Union Station, Dallas, TX.

He’ll be discussing what some have called “The relationship era.”

The relationship era changes the game, Parker notes. “In the past,” he says, “the big brands had all the power. That’s shifting. Now a lot of smaller brands are faster and nimbler.”

At Intuit, Parker’s goals include building out channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn, creating content to “allow consumers to use our products,” but also “how to make you a promoter,” he says.

So far Intuit’s efforts are working extremely well. “We’ve had significant success even in the last couple of weeks,” Parker says.

“We launched an enhanced Facebook and YouTube presence and website. We’ve seen a 5X increase in Facebook reach since launching with a mix of paid media, contests and promotions to speak to influential businesses. We’re also targeting them with video and rich media content.”

Three ways to build social relationships

We asked Parker what the top three things you should consider when building digital relationships.

First, he says, “Less is more. It’s not really about the volume or quantity of communications but about being simple and authentic.”

Second, “Think mobile first. I know that 70 percent of my accounting customers use a smartphone and can be reading my marketing message or email on a phone. It’s now the first screen of preference, surpassing the TV screen, laptop or desktop. So think of the mobile screen first.”

Progress over Perfection

Third, he says, consider “Progress over perfection. Things are changing so fast there is no way to be perfect. You have to improvise and test. We did a series of tests and experiments before achieving that 5X increase in Facebook reach.”

Parker predicts we’ll see a pivot away from “Big Bang Campaigns” to smaller test campaigns. “You always have to move forward,” he says, adding, “That’s easier said than done.”

A regular speaker at events such as the Dallas Digital Summit, Parker says the number one question he hears is how to translate social and digital campaigns into something a marketing team of one can handle as opposed to big brands with million dollar marketing budgets.

How smaller businesses can play

“How do I translate your marketing strategy into something actionable for me?” they ask.

“Before Radio Shack, I had my own business,” Parker says. “I learned from the ground up – some of the best social campaigns are not the ones that cost the most money. You can be creative on Facebook and Twitter with pictures and posts that cut through the clutter. It does take time to manage those things. But there are a host of free and automated tools people can use to optimize their presence and make it a meaningful experience.”

He advises, “Do a little with what you have. Pay for expertise when you can. Choose the best channel and go all in. If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn may give you the best bang for the buck and you may not need a Facebook presence.

 

Four steps to building a winning mobile strategy

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Adam Landrum

Adam Landrum

Building a winning game plan for mobile marketing starts with the basics of all marketing, says Adam Landrum, president, CEO and founder of Merge, a ten-year-old digital strategy agency based in Greenville, SC. First, he says, determine what your objectives are, and that will determine what you do.

Landrum is one of dozens of digital marketing experts, Internet mavens and top brand speakers appearing at the upcoming Dallas Digital Summit, Dec. 4-5 at Union Station, Dallas, TX. He’ll join speakers from Google, Twitter, PBS, StumbleUpon, AOL, reddit, Cheezburger, and Oracle, among others at the premier of this TechMedia event.

Landrum will discuss building a winning mobile strategy at the event. Here’s a preview:

What are your objectives

“What are your objectives? Customer acquisition? Brand awareness? Lead generation? Or any of a myriad of others? Determine that and then what types of advertising or marketing you need to achieve them,” says Landrum.

Is is essential to have a mobile strategy, he notes. “Adoption of smartphones and tablets over the last 18 to 24 months has been huge and it’s changing computing habits. Everyone is walking around with a computer in a pocket.”

Choose your network or platform

The next step after determining objectives, Landrum says, “Is to choose the right ad network (or platform). Some are very specific – SMS or Localizaiton marketing – others pretty much do it all.”

You typically don’t want to pick more than one network, he cautions. “They use the same ad exchanges, so you could be competing against yourself if you use more than one.”

Then, “Pick your tactics,” he says. “You might pick localization plus coupons if your objective is customer acquisition so he gets an ad on his mobile browser to entice the customer in as he passes your business. If you want brand awareness, you might choose a display ad or video. Tactics will be driven by your overall objectives.”

After you’ve picked you tactics, you set up your analytics. “Use a service such as Flurry to get details of how your campaign is peforming and adjust accordingly.”

Make sure your website is ready

One of the biggest problems they see at Merge, Landrum says, “Is that company websites are not ready for all this mobile traffic. You could put together all this effort creating the most brilliant mobile campaign and if you haven’t looked at the website experience, it’s all moot.”

So, he says, “The biggest thing to do before you get into mobile marketing is to look at the experience that your mobile website or landing pages offer. Are the buttons spread out enough for the mobile phone or too close together? Does it take more than seven seconds to load? If it does, they’re out of there. Look at all that before going through the trouble of setting up your mobile plan.”

Landrum,  a CPA and former Arthur Andersen consultant, blogs at the Merge site and we’ll be doing a followup piece about the “Five Nots of Digital Marketing.”

Orlando, DC, Vegas, Miami top Cvent list of top meeting cities

Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Peabody Orlando

Interior of the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Florida, the number one meeting hotel in the U.S., according to Cvent in a different ranking list. Orlando is number one on Cvent’s just released list of the top meeting cities in the United States.

Cvent, the leader in cloud-based event management solutions, has ranked the top 50 cities for meetings and events in the United States, according to meeting and event booking activity in the Cvent Supplier Network.

Cvent operates the number one marketplace for group meetings business in the world, expecting to source $7 billion of meetings business in 2012.

TechMedia does digital media conferences in several of these cities, such as the upcoming Digital East conference near DC in October, annual events in Atlanta, and new this year, a digital conference slated for Dallas.

The top 10 cities are:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Chicago, IL
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Phoenix, AZ
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Dallas, TX
  10. New Orleans, LA

To see the full list of the top 50 cities, see: http://www.cvent.com/en/sem/top-50-meeting-destinations-us-2012.shtml.

Cvent evaluated 1,000 cities and 200 major metropolitan areas (MMAs) in the U.S. on the Cvent Supplier Network to create the list. Activity was tracked between July 2011 and June 2012, and the ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria, some of which included:

  • The number of total room nights booked through the Cvent Supplier Network;
  • The number of unique electronic request-for-proposals (RFPs) sent through the marketplace to venues within the city;
  • The total value of the RFPs submitted;
  • The actual awarded value for meetings booked.

In addition to ranking top cities, Cvent also ranked the top MMAs to represent select markets where notable meetings activity takes place near, but outside the limits of the city core. To see the list of the top 50 MMAs, see: http://www.cvent.com/en/sem/top-50-meeting-markets-us-2012.shtml.

 

Sales pros still prefer face-to-face and phone to social media contacts

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

sales callSocial media technologies have re-shaped how we interact. But do they help salespeople sell?

Not according to the results of two surveys presented at the 2012 annual convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association in Oklahoma, City.

The surveys found that sales people vastly prefer tradition methods of contact such as the telephone and face-to-face meetings.

The surveys, reported by behavioral scientists, Trelitha R. Bryant and George W. Dudley at Behavioral Sciences Research Press in Dallas, Texas, were presented April 13, 2012.

Bryant and Dudley asked 4,768 salespeople (67% men, 33% women, average age 40) in more than 1,000 U.S. companies which form of client communication is most helpful for generating new sales.

The salespeople were surveyed as part of a standard assessment protocol for sales professionals which included the Sales Preference Questionnaire (SPQ*GOLD), a psychological test used worldwide to detect emotional discomfort associated with prospecting for new business.

Face to face & telephone preferred

Almost 70% said established forms of communication (face-to-face and telephone contact) were most helpful generating new sales.

Only 10%  claimed email was most effective and less than 10% said other forms of computer-mediated communication were most effective. Results were not age-related.

“Further analyses uncovered another relationship,” Dudley said.

“Salespeople claiming social media is most effective might be struggling with sales call reluctance, an emotional impediment to production characterized by apprehension, conflict, hesitation or avoidance specifically associated with sales prospecting.

“They had elevated prospecting distress scores on eleven of the twelve forms of sales call reluctance measured by the test.”

Follow-up study confirmed results

To confirm their results, the research team conducted a follow-up study of 1,512 additional salespeople (64%male; 36% female, average age 40). The outcome was essentially the same (68% said conventional, 2.8% computer-mediated).

“The second study confirmed what we learned in the first,” Bryant said, “including the link with sales call reluctance. Computer-mediated social media may help find a date, keep tabs on old friends or support a political campaign. But most salespeople don’t think it’s as helpful as conventional person-to-person contact for generating new sales.”

Here at the Techjournal, we wonder if the results suggest that many in sales have not yet mastered the new skills necessary to use social media effectively?

Just as an example, many sales people still tell a joke or two as part of the in-person sales process, but jump into social media directly with a sales pitch.

Whereas telling a joke or two first or otherwise engaging with potential contacts by getting their interest first is much more likely to be effective. – Allan Maurer

Which wireless carriers have the fastest 3G-4G service?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

At&tWhich 3G and 4G wireless services are fastest in your city and overall? PCWorld found out.

Mobile internet service is a major monthly expense for most American consumers, and a very big business for U.S. wireless companies.

The marketing machines of those companies are now in high gear, touting their services as the industry transitions from 3G service to the much faster 4G. Problem is, everybody’s service is “4G”, “most reliable”, “biggest”, “fastest” and “best,” if you believe all the names and claims flying about on TV, radio, print media and the Web.

“The big surprise in this year’s study is T-Mobile’s performance”

That’s why PCWorld has once again hit the road to measure the real-world performance of the four major wireless services on America’s streets and in its coffee shops. During February and March of this year, PCWorld measured the speeds of the major U.S. carriers’ 3G and 4G wireless services from 130 locations in 13 major U.S. cities.

wireless chart

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE STUDY

  • AT&T had the fastest download speeds of any 4G service, along with an HSPA+ service that’s very competitive with 3G services–a compelling service combination for AT&T dual-mode phones.
  • T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 21 service proved faster overall than comparable 3G services in our study, and the carrier’s high-end HSPA+ 42 service held its own with the 4G services of its larger competitors. Those services, and the array of flexible and affordable plans it offers, make T-Mobile a good choice for many wireless users.
  • Verizon has 4G service in many more locations than other providers, but in most localities the download speed of its 4G service doesn’t match AT&T’s (though its upload speeds are faster, more often than not). And Verizon’s 3G speeds have not improved much, especially when compared to the competition.
  • Sprint is a consistent laggard in the wireless speed races. The company appears to have virtually stopped developing its network while looking for a way to transition from its outdated WiMAX 4G technology to LTE.

“The big surprise in this year’s study is T-Mobile’s performance,” says PCWorld Senior Editor Mark Sullivan, who designed and managed the study.

“By offering data speeds that are very competitive with AT&T and Verizon along with its affordable data plans, T-Mobile is proving why its proposed acquisition by AT&T last year would have been bad news for US consumers.”

“The other (rather sobering) surprise in this year’s data is Sprint’s poor performance, both in 3G and 4G service. The carrier’s speeds suggest that both the Sprint CDMA and WiMAX networks have seen very little investment and upgrade over the past year—in a mobile data market where the rule is ‘grow faster or perish.’”

“While a majority of wireless consumers still use slower 3G devices today, most will transition to faster 4G devices over the next five years as carriers push them to upgrade to newer 4G devices when their contracts expire,” Sullivan says. Meanwhile wireless companies will continue to increase their networks’ data transfer speeds to compete for new customers and retain old ones.

FASTEST 3G AND 4G SERVICES BY CITY:

Atlanta — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Boston — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Chicago — 3G: AT&T 4G: AT&T
Dallas — 3G: AT&T 4G: AT&T
Denver — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
Los Angeles — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Las Vegas — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
New Orleans — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
New York — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
San Jose — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
San Francisco — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T
Seattle — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: Verizon
Washington DC — 3G: T-Mobile; 4G: AT&T

“Our annual speed study is an important part of what we do at PCWorld,” explains VP, Editorial Director, Steve Fox. “Many consumers look to us for an unbiased, independent, empirical assessment of the wireless technology and services being offered in the U.S. today.”

“It’s exciting to see the data speed wars heating up as the wireless providers move from 3G to 4G technology in their networks and devices,” Fox says. “We only hope that the competition eventually translates into better performance and better value for consumers.”

Read the complete article with detailed results and data at: http://pcwrld.us/HILktj

Open Table names 100 U.S. restaurants providing best service

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

OpenTableBusiness travelers frequently need restaurants that have great food, but also good service, since they’re often on the run. If you’re looking for U.S. restaurants with top notch service, here’s some help from Open Table.

OpenTable, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN), a  provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, has disclosed the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the 100 restaurants in the United States providing the best service.

Open Table founder Chuck Templeton is among the top speakers at the Southeast Venture Conference which started this morning in Tysons Corner, VA, and runs through tomorrow.  Templeton created and defined the restaurant reservation space after founding OpenTable in 1998, after his wife spent a frustrating evening one night trying to make dinner reservations for his visiting in-laws one night in San Francisco.

OpenTable’s successful IPO in 2009 was a milestone that helped to reopen the public market for tech companies.

Awards reflect millions of opinions

These awards reflect the combined opinions of nearly 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 12,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Regionally, the honorees span 29 states and Washington, D.C. The South reinforces the notion of southern hospitality, with 22 restaurants in the region being singled out for best service. The Northeast boasts 15 winning restaurants, including 10 in New York alone.

The Pacific region accounts for 14 winners, 10 of which are in California, as does the Mid-Atlantic, with six restaurants in Virginia claiming spots. Eleven winners come from the Great Lakes Region, four of which are in the Twin Citiesarea.

The Pacific Northwest and the Southwest follow with seven honorees apiece. The Rocky Mountain States count five winners, while the Central Plains has four, three of which are in Missouri. One restaurant in Hawaii also earned a nod.

American food restaurants rack up 40 winners

Superior service can be found across a number of cuisines. Restaurants serving American food, however, account for 40 winners. French restaurants earned 25 places on the list.

Steakhouses followed with 17 spots. Seven Italian restaurants are among the winners. Other cuisines include continental, global international, Japanese, seafood, and sushi.

“The most memorable part of a meal may not be just what’s on your plate, but also, that exceptional staffer who goes the extra step to ensure an enjoyable dining experience,” says Caroline Potter, OpenTable’s Chief Dining Officer.

“These winning restaurants understand this concept and have consciously created a culture of hospitality that is embraced by both front and back of house professionals. Whether it’s a grand gesture, such as a tour of the kitchen, or a simple one, like a warm smile from an attentive server, diners are coming away from these restaurants feeling special.”

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the top 100 restaurants providing the best service are generated from nearly 5 million reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between February 2011 and January 2012. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the highest average rating in the service category.

Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the top 100 restaurants with the best service in the U.S. according to OpenTable diners.

The complete list may also be viewed athttp://www.opentable.com/bestservice.

2012 Diners’ Choice Award Winners for Restaurants in the U.S. with the Best Service

Acqua Restaurant & Wine Bar – White Bear Lake, Minnesota

Acquerello – San Francisco, California

Addison at The Grand Del Mar – San Diego, California

Bacchanalia – Atlanta, Georgia

Bibou – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Binkley’s Restaurant – Cave Creek, Arizona

Bistro L’Hermitage – Woodbridge, Virginia

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, New York

Bluestem – Kansas City, Missouri

Bones – Atlanta, Georgia

Cafe Renaissance – Vienna, Virginia

Canlis – Seattle, Washington

Capital Grille – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Castagna – Portland, Oregon

Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse – Downers Grove, Illinois

Charleston – Baltimore, Maryland

Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Chez Francois – Vermilion, Ohio

Chez Nous French Restaurant – Humble, Texas

CityZen – Washington, D.C.

Congress – Austin, Texas

The Copper Door – Hayesville, North Carolina

Corbett’s Fine Dining – Louisville, Kentucky

Cyrus – Healdsburg, California

Daniel – New York, New York

Daniel-Lounge Seating – New York, New York

Del Posto – New York, New York

Dewz – Modesto, California

The Dining Room-Biltmore Estate – Asheville, North Carolina

Eleven Madison Park – New York, New York

Elizabeth on 37th – Savannah, Georgia

Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant – Forestville, California

Fat Canary – Williamsburg, Virginia

Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina

Fig Tree – Charlotte, North Carolina

Forage – Salt Lake City, Utah

Fountain Restaurant – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Frasca Food and Wine – Boulder, Colorado

The French Room – Dallas, Texas

Genoa Restaurant – Portland, Oregon

Gordon Ramsay at the London – New York, New York

The Grill-The Ritz Carlton – Naples, Florida

Grouse Mountain Grill – Avon, Colorado

Halls Chophouse – Charleston, South Carolina

Hannas Prime Steak – Rancho Santa Margarita, California

Herons – Cary, North Carolina

Highlands Bar & Grill – Birmingham, Alabama

The Hobbit – Orange, California

joan’s in the Park – St. Paul, Minnesota

Kai-Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona

Killen’s Steakhouse – Pearland, Texas

The Kitchen Restaurant – Sacramento, California

La Belle Vie – Minneapolis, Minnesota

La Grenouille – New York, New York

La Mer at Halekulani – Honolulu, Hawaii

L’Auberge Chez Francois – Great Falls, Virginia

Le Bernardin – New York, New York

Les Nomades – Chicago, Illinois

L’Etoile Restaurant – Madison, Wisconsin

Madrona Manor – Healdsburg, California

Mahogany Prime Omaha – Omaha, Nebraska

Marcel’s – Washington, D.C.

The Melting Pot – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Menton – Boston, Massachusetts

Michael’s-South Point Casino — Las Vegas, Nevada

Mitchell’s Ocean Club – Columbus, Ohio

Morton’s The Steakhouse – Portland, Oregon

New York Prime – Myrtle Beach, Florida

Niche – St. Louis, Missouri

Nicholas – Red Bank, New Jersey

o ya – Boston, Massachusetts

Opus 9 Steakhouse – Williamsburg, Virginia

Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio

The Painted Lady – Newberg, Oregon

Palace Arms at the Brown Palace – Denver, Colorado

Peninsula Grill – Charleston, South Carolina

Pepper Tree Restaurant – Colorado Springs, Colorado

Per Se – New York, New York

Plume at the Jefferson Hotel – Washington, D.C.

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse – Dallas, Texas

The Restaurant at Meadowood – Saint Helena, California

Restaurant Iris – Memphis, Tennessee

Rover’s – Seattle, Washington

Rudy & Paco’s Restaurant & Bar – Galveston, Texas

Russell’s Steaks, Chops, and More – Williamsville, New York

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Jacksonville, Florida

Saint Jacques French Cuisine – Raleigh, North Carolina

Sedgley Place – Greene, Maine

Sonoma – Princeton, Massachusetts

St. John’s Restaurant – Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Steak House at Silver Reef – Ferndale, Washington

Tony’s – St. Louis, Missouri

TRU – Chicago, Illinois

Uchi – Austin, Texas

Uchiko – Austin, Texas

Vetri – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vintage Tavern – Suffolk, Virginia

White Barn Inn – Kennebunk, Maine

Woodfire Grill – Atlanta, Georgia

Diners can also read more about the Diners’ Choice Awards for the Best Service restaurants in the U.S. by visiting OpenTable Chief Dining Officer Caroline Potter’s “Dining Check” blog.

Study names top ten states for “app economy” jobs

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

TechNetWASHINGTON, DC – A new study showing that there are now roughly 466,000 jobs in the “App Economy” in the United States, up from zero in 2007.

The study, sponsored by Illinois-based TechNet and conducted by Dr. Michael Mandel of South Mountain Economics, also found that App Economy jobs are spread throughout the nation.

Two-thirds of app economy outside CA and NY

The top metro area for App Economy jobs is New York City and its surrounding suburban counties, although together San Francisco and San Jose together substantially exceed New York. And while California tops the list of App Economy states, more than two-thirds of App Economy employment is outside of California and New York.

The results also suggest that the App Economy is growing quickly and that the location and number of app-related jobs are likely to shift greatly in the years ahead.

“America’s App Economy — which had zero jobs just 5 years ago before the iPhone was introduced — demonstrates that we can quickly create economic value and jobs through cutting-edge innovation,” said Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet.

Creating jobs in every part of America

“Today, the App Economy is creating jobs in every part of America, employing hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers today and even more in the years to come.”

“The App Economy, along with the broad communications sector, has been a leading source of hiring strength in an otherwise sluggish labor market,” said Dr. Michael Mandel, the report’s author and President of South Mountain Economics and former Chief Economist forBusinessWeek.

“As the technology industry and in particular software evolves, the app economy is becoming a critical new area of development and growth,” says Fred Hoch, President, Illinois Technology Association. “Illinois, with rich resources in data, development, advertising and design, is poised to take a leading role in this newly evolving ecosystem and related job creation.”

The full study, entitled “Where the Jobs Are,” is available at: http://www.technet.org/new-technet-sponsored-study-nearly-500000-app-economy-jobs-in-united-states-february-7-2012/

Top U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Percentage of App Economy Jobs

   
New York-Northern N.J.-Long Island 9.2%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont 8.5%
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara 6.3%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 5.7%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 5.1%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria 4.8%
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet 3.5%
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy 3.5%
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta 3.3%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 2.6%
   

Top Ten States for App Economy Jobs (Percentage)

   
California 23.8%
New York 6.9%
Washington 6.4%
Texas 5.4%
New Jersey 4.2%
Illinois 4.0%
Massachusetts 3.9%
Georgia 3.7%
Virginia 3.5%
Florida 3.1%
   

The research shows that when it comes to employment impacts, each app represents jobs — for programmers, for user interface designers, for marketers, for managers, for support staff. Conventional employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not able to track such a new phenomenon because this economic ecosystem is so new. The research analyzed detailed information from The Conference Board Help-Wanted OnLine® (HWOL) database, a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute compilation of want ads, to estimate the number of jobs in the App Economy.

The total number of Apps Economy jobs includes jobs at ‘pure’ app firms such as Zynga as well as app-related jobs at large companies such as Electronic Arts, Amazon, and AT&T, as well as app ‘infrastructure’ jobs at core firms such as Google, Apple, and Facebook. In addition, the App Economy total includes employment spillovers to the rest of the economy.

Online prices for electronics up to 44 percent lower than in-store

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

DecideIt’s no wonder many people are turning to online retailers for deals. Data from Decide.comover Cyber Monday revealed that electronics prices can be up to 44 percent lower online and beat in-store prices 94 percent of the time for popular products like TVs, laptops, tablets, cameras, video game consoles and GPS devices.

Average online savings were 16%, with individual products up to 44% cheaper online.

While online prices were generally lower than in-store prices, Decide.com research shows that some markets fare better than others for in-store shopping.

Cities like New York, Boston and Miami offered better pricing than Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles. Here at the TechJournal, we noticed that electronics prices listed in the Sunday New York Times Dec. 4 were generally higher than online prices for the same items. We also find the lowest in-store prices, with some exceptions, come from Tiger Direct (also called Comp USA) and for some items, WalMart.

Where did you find the best deals?

Decide found there were also differences by category: the worst products to shop for in stores were GPS devices, where prices averaged 24% lower online. The best products to shop for in stores were video game consoles, where prices were only 7% lower online.

There were a few notable exceptions: some prices were substantially lower in physical stores than online. These included video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Dsi XL, Playstation 3, three popular Samsung LED TVs and a Canon Powershot camera.

“Skip the mobs and the freezing weather this holiday season,” said Mike Fridgen, CEO of Decide.com. “Shop online and save money – up to 44% on some items. If you do head out, arm yourself with the Decide.com App to make price volatility work in your favor.”

Decide analysis shows that most popular electronics hit their lowest prices between Cyber Monday and December 13. Decide plans to publish product price drops on their blog to help holiday shoppers save money.

These results are based on Cyber Monday prices on 130 popular electronics products in six categories across eleven metro areas and popular online retailers. Prices are aggregated from multiple sources, and may not include all retailers.

Decide sells an iPhone and iPod Touch app that predicts the best time to buy popular electronics.

Software companies dominate Deloitte’s 2011Tech Fast 500

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

DeloitteSoftware companies dominate on Deloitt’s 2011 Technology Fast 500, an annual ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Software firms account for 39 percent of the entire list, with 194 companies. Not surprisingly the West is home to the most (37%) Fast 500 tech firms.

Five of the top 10 companies in this year’s rankings are from the software industry, including Avigilon (No. 4), ServiceNow (No. 5), NexJ Systems Inc. (No. 6), Real Matters (No. 7) and HubSpot (No. 8).

MAKO Surgical Corp., an orthopedic medical device company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fl., ranked No. 1.

MAKO Surgical Corp.’s fiscal year revenue of $44.29 million and five year fiscal growth rate of 70,211 percent topped this year’s ranking which is based on the percentage of fiscal year revenue growth from 2006 to 2010.

“Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 recognizes some of the most exciting technology companies in North America today,” saidEric Openshaw, vice chairman and U.S. Technology, Media & Telecommunications leader, Deloitte LLP. “We are proud to honor MAKO Surgical Corp., and we congratulate all of the ranked companies for their extraordinary achievements.”

The top ten ranked companies are as follows:

2011 Rank Company Sector Revenue Growth(2006 to 2010) City, State
1 MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Medical Equipment 70,211 percent Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2 Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Communications/Networking 50,136 percent Saint-Laurent, QC
3 RTI Cryogenics Inc.www.rticryo.com Clean Technology 46,278 percent Cambridge, ON
4 Avigilonwww.avigilon.com Software 38,796 percent Vancouver, BC
5 ServiceNowwww.service-now.com Software 32,048 percent San Diego, CA
6 NexJ Systems Inc.www.nexj.com Software 29,161 percent Toronto, ON
7 Real Matterswww.realmatters.com Software 28,265 percent Markham, ON
8 HubSpotwww.hubspot.com Software 27,746 percent Cambridge, MA
9 AVI BioPharma, Inc.www.avibio.com Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 25,483 percent Bothell, WA
10 ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc.www.ariad.com Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 19,875 percent Cambridge, MA

Mark Jensen, managing partner of Deloitte’s national venture capital services group, added, “During the 17 years Deloitte has published this list, some deeply entrenched patterns have evolved. Software companies have dominated year-over-year, and the western and northeastern regions of the U.S. have consistently attracted innovative, high growth companies.”

West region yields highest concentration of Fast 500 companies, followed by Northeast

Overall, the West remains home to the highest concentration of Technology Fast 500 companies (37 percent), trailed by the Northeast (24 percent), Canada (15 percent), Southeast (12 percent), Midwest (6 percent), and Southwest (6 percent).

Region Percent of List Fastest-growingCompany in the

Region

City, State
West 37 percent ServiceNowwww.service-now.com San Diego, CA
Northeast 24 percent HubSpotwww.hubspot.com Cambridge, MA
Canada 15 percent Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Saint-Laurent, QC
Southeast 12 percent MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Midwest 6 percent Gevo, Inc.www.gevo.com Englewood, CO
Southwest 6 percent SoftLayerwww.softlayer.com Dallas, TX

Software sector dominates – again

Five of the top 10 companies in this year’s rankings are from the software industry, including Avigilon (No. 4), ServiceNow (No. 5), NexJ Systems Inc. (No. 6), Real Matters (No. 7) and HubSpot (No. 8).

The software sector comprises 39 percent of the overall list with 194 companies, followed by biotechnology (15 percent), communications/networking (12 percent) and Internet (11 percent).  Medical equipment, scientific/technical instrumentation, semiconductor, computers/peripherals, media/entertainment and clean technology companies round out the remaining 23 percent of the list.

The percentage of companies from industry sectors are represented on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 as follows:

Sector Percent of List Fastest-growingCompany in the Sector City, State
Software 39 percent Avigilonwww.avigilon.com Vancouver, BC
Biotechnology/Pharmaceutical 15 percent AVI BioPharma, Inc.www.avibio.com Bothell, WA
Communications/Networking 12 percent Accedian Networkswww.accedian.com Saint-Laurent, QC
Internet 11 percent SAY Media, Inc.www.saymedia.com San Francisco, CA
Medical Equipment 7 percent MAKO Surgical Corp.www.makosurgical.com Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Clean Technology 5 percent RTI Cryogenics Inc.www.rticryo.com Cambridge, ON
Semiconductor 4 percent MaxLinear, Inc.www.maxlinear.com Carlsbad, CA
Media and Entertainment 3 percent Collectivewww.collective.com New York, NY
Computers/Peripherals 2 percent PlumChoicewww.plumchoice.com Billerica, MA
Scientific/TechnicalInstrumentation 2 percent Digital Ally, Inc.www.digitalallyinc.com Overland Park, KS

Technology Fast 500 Ranking Methodology

In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500™ recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or technology that is sold to customers in products that contribute to a majority of the company’s operating revenues.  Companies must have base-year (2006) operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year (2010) operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years, and be headquartered within North America.

Ranking is rounded to the nearest percentage point. Revenue growth is calculated as follows: [(FY’2010 revenue – FY’2006 revenue)/ FY’2006 revenue] x 100.  For example, a company with reported revenues of $350,000 in 2006 and$7,500,000 in 2010 would have fiscal year revenue growth of 2,043 percent during the period from 2006 to 2010.

The ranking is compiled from nominations submitted directly to the Technology Fast 500™ Web site, and public company database research conducted by Deloitte.  Deloitte has not audited the ranking and, accordingly, does not express an opinion or any other form of assurance on it.  Some companies that may be eligible to appear on the ranking are not included because they did not submit the required information or otherwise declined to participate.

For additional detail on the Technology Fast 500™ including the complete list and qualifying criteria, visit www.fast500.com.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please seewww.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 

SOURCE Deloitte

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Funded: Coupons.com, $200M; Rally Software, $20M; App47, $1M; ADmantX, $2.8M

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Rally SoftwareFUNDINGS – Boulder, Colorado-based Rally Software, which has offices in Raleigh, has raised $20 million in new funding led by Meritech Capital Partners. Meritech also backs Facebook, Salesforce.com, Zipcar, Presidio, Broadsoft, and NetSuite, among other well known tech firms.

Rally sells Agile application lifestyle management. According to a study by QSM Associates, software-driven companies that rely on Rally’s Agile ALM products and services are 50 percent faster to market and 25 percent more productive than industry averages.

Rally acquired Raleigh, NC-based Sixth Sense Analytics in 2010 and is hiring to fill two engineering positions in the Raleigh office. It currently has 17 employees. Vice President of Products, Todd Olson is based in Raleigh.

Coupons.com nabs whopping $200M round

Mt. View, CA-based Coupons.com, which provides digital coupons, has raised $200 million in new equity backing. The company did not name investors, but they’ll show up sooner or later in an SEC filing. It says up to $100 million of the funding will facilitate liquidity for employees and early investors.

Obviously, with Groupon, LivingSocial and a hoard of daily discount deal sites raking in venture backing of well over $1 billion, investors love anything to do with online discounts.

CT-based AdmantX gets $2.8M for semantic page-level analysis

AdmantxADmantX has closed a $2.8 million in growth funding from Atlante Ventures Mezzogiorno, the venture capital Fund of Intesa Sanpaolo, an Italian bank. ADmantX sells cookieless tracking technology.

ADmantX offers an advanced semantic page-level analysis that surfaces reader emotions, behaviors, motivations and intentions in order to match ads with similar emotional appeal, without using tracking cookies. This is the first outside funding since ADmantX was spun off last year from Expert System, the leading global provider of semantic software.

ADmantX says it goes beyond relevant SEO and flat keyword-based terms, ensuring brand protection against questionable content for publishers, ad networks and various buy- and sell-platforms. It also incorporates emotional intelligence into the mix, increasing campaign segmentation and targeting for better ad reach and success.

Reston, VA-based App47 tallies $1M first round for mobile app development tools

App47 has raised $1 million in first round funding from Valhalla Partners. It closed the funding in January.

App47 says it delivers enterprise Mobile Application Management tools and intelligence to optimize the mobile user experience and provides a powerful, integrated, lifecycle view of mobile applications and the entire mobile user experience-without compromising the privacy of enterprise data.

Their cloud-based Mobile Application Management solution can be deployed in minutes, providing key analytics and performance data to assist in design, deployment, configuration, and security of mobile applications.

Founders are Chris Schroeder, CEO, and Sean McDemott, who earlier created RealOps, the pioneer in enterprise management Run Book Automation solutions, which was acquired by BMC Software in July 2007.

Schroeder saiys, “Our solution focuses on managing mobile applications, not devices, allowing enterprises to manage and automate highly complex, multi-tired mobility workflows. With App47’s powerful, context-aware tools and deep application intelligence, enterprises can ensure the best possible user experience for the mobile applications and unleash their true business value.”

The way mobile apps are thriving with only a third or so of cell phone users having smartphones bodes well for growth in the industry. One thing that sets mobile apart from the way the Internet developed is that people have been willing to pay for mobile apps from the start. The real question, of course, is how mobile app makers can develop ongoing revenue streams.

Still, we’re betting firms related to mobile apps will be coming out of the proverbial woodwork for the next several years. Any firm that helps developers figure out what works and what doesn’t and why is likely to do well, we suspect.

VirtuOZ gets $7M for intelligent virtual agents

VirtuOz  Inc., s provider of intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) for online customer service, today announced that it has raised $7 million in additional funding from existing investors Mohr Davidow, Inventures Group and Galileo Partners to finance growth in the U.S. and E.U.

The company says its intelligent virtual agents offer companies a new channel for contemporary online customer service that delivers the best possible customer experience at one-tenth the cost of traditional channels.

The company processed over 144 million conversations on behalf of our customers in 2010 and with the largest number of live enterprise intelligent virtual agents for Global 2000 companies including eBay, SFR, H&R Block and L’Oreal.

San Diego-based Skinit secures $12M debt financing for customized electronic devices tech

Skinitwhich sells on-demand personalization of electronic devices, and home and automobile products, has closed a $12 million in debt financing from BlueCrest Capital Finance. The funds will be used to expand Skinit’s current initiatives for delivering personalization capabilities to consumers and support the company’s continued growth.

Skinit’s online ordering and customization tools allow consumers to create branded, designed, and personalized electronic device covers.

The growth strategy includes expansion of Skinit’s fully branded ecommerce partner sites and promotional landing pages, as well as wholesale, retail and B2B solutions. It already features an extensive library of licensed artwork from some of the most prominent brands in sports and entertainment including NFL skins and MLB skins, major colleges and universities, Disney, as well as original Skinit designs and works from independent artists.

Virginia-based Three Pillar Global gets $10M for mobile software development services

Fairfax, VA-based Three Pillar Global has received a $10 million investment from Texas-based Nestors Financial.

The company said it will use fhte funds to sclae its operations, expand its global footprint and possibly pursue acquisitions.

Three Pillar Global offers a  flexible approach for clients through its innovative Virtual Development Centers that deliver transformative levels of productivity. The company, founded in 2006, has respected and leading customers in media, healthcare, education and financial services

Durham-based LaunchBox Digital 4th on ranking of US Startup accelerators

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
American Underground

artist's rendering of the American Undergroun at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC

DURHAM, NC – Durham’s LaunchBox Digital is the only Southeast firm, unless you count two in Texas, to make a list of the top 15 U.S. Startup Accelerators by Tech Cocktail.

The list, compiled as part of filed work for the Kauffman Fellows program by Aziz Gilani in partnership with Tech Cocktail and Kellogg School of Management, weighed financing events, the success of companies funded after completing the program, and program characteristics to establish the rankings.

TechStars Boulder edged out Y Combinator for the top position, while Chicago’s Excelerate Labs and LaunchBox Digital were very close as the third and fourth top programs.

Others, in order, are: TechStars Boston, Kicklabs, San Francisco, TechStars Seattle, Tech Wildcatter, Dallas, DreamIt Ventures, Philadelphia, The Brandery, Cincinnati, OH, Capital Factory, Austin, NYC SeedStart, Betaspring, Providence, RI, BoomStartup, Salt Lake City, UT, and AlphaLab, Pittsburgh, PA.

We recently reported on LaunchBox startup Spring Metrics, which landed seed funding and moved to larger offices in downtown Durham not long after joining the program. Spring Metrics CEO Doug Kaufman recently told us the accerlerator, located in the American Underground in the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, was essential to its quick start and ability to get seed funding.

TechJournal South is a TechMedia company. TechMedia presents the annual conferences:

SoutheastVentureConference: www.seventure.org

Internet Summit: www.internetsummit.com

Digital East: www.digitaleast.com

Digital Summit: www.digitalsummit.com

Atlanta tops “Most Frugal Cities” list, Charlotte, Raleigh, Tampa in top ten

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
Atlanta skyline
Atlantans print out more savings coupons and seek them out on mobile devices more than those in other cities.

Attention, shoppers: Atlanta residents are saving more money than you are. Or at least, they’re printing out more money-saving coupons, according to the “Most Frugal Cities” list compiled by Coupons.com. Tampa, Florida came in second on the list, while Charlotte, NC was six and Raleigh ten, and Nashville, TN, landed at seven.

Atlanta also heads the list of cities where people use mobile devices to tap coupon deals.

We think this information is likely interesting to the social deals companies, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, as well as to Internet and digital marketers in general. It also points to where people are looking for deals online and where the use of mobile devices to aid shopping is trending.

It’s interesting that the South and Midwest dominate these lists, while the Northeast and far West cities show up much further down.

Atlanta tops for second year

For the second year in a row, Atlanta took the top spot on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, according to the 2010 Savings Index released today by Coupons.com, a California-based Web destination for coupons and savings. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Atlanta printed more than $1000.00 dollars in coupon savings from the site in 2010. That is almost twice as much as during 2009, when they printed $531 in savings.

Tampa cashed in with coupons and maintained its position as the city with the second most savings. On average, regular users of Coupons.com in Tampa printed $863 in savings.

The South is a mega-saver: more than one-third of the top 20 frugal cities are in the Southern region of the United States. In addition to Atlanta and Tampa, other Southland cities on the list include Charlotte (#6), Nashville (#7), Raleigh (#10), Oklahoma City (#13), Miami (#13) and Dallas (#14).

Once again, Ohio is the country’s most frugal state. The Buckeye state is represented three times on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list – Cincinnati (#3), Cleveland (#8) and Columbus (#19).

North Carolina is Ohio’s biggest challenger, climbing the penny-pinching ladder with two cities in the top 10: Charlotte and Raleigh.

For the first time it was raining green in the Pacific Northwest as Seattle (#18) joined the list. Seattle is the only city on the West Coast that made the cut.

Nationwide, more than $1.2 billion in savings was printed or saved to loyalty cards from Coupons.com and the Coupons.com network during 2009.

The Top 20 couponing cities are below.

2010 Rank Change Since 2009 City State Savings Index
1 Atlanta GA 997
2 Tampa FL 569
3 Cincinnati OH 497
4 Saint Louis MO 420
5 Minneapolis MN 329
6 ↑ 1 Charlotte NC 303
7 ↓ 1 Nashville TN 291
8 Cleveland OH 289
9 Pittsburgh PA 250
10 ↑ 1 Raleigh NC 235
11 ↓ 1 Kansas City MO 233
12 ↑ 3 Washington DC 207
13 ↓ 1 Miami FL 202
14 ↑ 4 Dallas TX 198
15 ↓ 2 Oklahoma City OK 198
16 ↓ 4 Boston MA 192
17 Denver CO 170
18 ↑ 5 Seattle WA 153
19 ↑ 1 Columbus OH 147
20 ↓ 1 Wichita KS 146

Table 1: Top 20 Frugal U.S. Cities

Most On-the-Go Frugal U.S. Cities

Super-savers are tapping into savings via mobile apps for their cell phones, including Coupons.com’s Grocery iQ and the Coupons.com mobile apps.

When it comes to saving on-the-go, the citizens of Atlanta have the most frugal fingertips, based on use of the Coupons.com apps according to the Index, which is reflected in the city’s top position on the Most On-the-Go Frugal Cities list in Table 2. The rest of the South is also smart when it comes to cellular savings. In fact, the South is home to 10 cities represented on the top 20 cities using mobile apps to access, browse, print and save coupons.

“More and more, people are taking advantage of coupons using mobile devices,” comments Pavini. “People are not just clicking for coupons from their computer, they are accessing them on-the-go and even at the supermarket.”

Some cities have a higher propensity to access coupons via mobile phones. For instance, savers in Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Las Vegas and Philadelphia are quick to look to their mobile device to maximize savings and advance on the On-the-Go list relative to their position on the ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list.

While they’re on the couponing wagon, Minneapolis, Cleveland and Seattle missed the mobile train: these cities ranked high on ‘Most Frugal U.S. Cities’ list, but each moved down several pegs on the On-the-Go list.

Top 20 Most On-the-Go Frugal Coupon Cities are below.

2010 Rank City State Savings Index
1 Atlanta GA 906
2 Tampa FL 531
3 Saint Louis MO 490
4 Cincinnati OH 374
5 Oklahoma City OK 363
6 Dallas TX 282
7 Charlotte NC 280
8 Pittsburgh PA 246
9 Tulsa OK 241
10 Miami FL 238
11 Minneapolis MN 235
12 Washington DC 232
13 Nashville TN 226
14 Raleigh NC 222
15 Wichita KS 219
16 Kansas City MO 214
17 New Orleans LA 198
18 Cleveland OH 196
19 Denver CO 177
20 Memphis TN 165

Table 2: Top Frugal U.S. Cities – Mobile

Applied Global Technologies rings up investment from Rock Hill Capital Group

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

AGTROCKLEDGE, FL – Applied Global Technologies, a service provider to the video conferencing marketplace, has received an equity investment in an undisclosed amount from Rock Hill Capital Group.

The company, which is based in Rockledge and has offices in Kennesaw, GA, and Chantilly, VA, was founded in 1993. It is hte fourth largest managed services provider in the video conferencing space.

Its customers include Fortune 500 companies, Federal, Department of Defense, and state agencies, and the education and emergency clients.

The company evolved from providing telemedicine solutions over satellite and microwave links and began selling managed video services in 2000.

AGT’s video infrastructure hardware for bridging, streaming, and recording, and video network management is designed to simplify and improve the end user experience, provide scalable and proactive remote management capabilities with less complexity to manage, and reduce overall cost of ownership.

The company has field support offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Okinawa, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Virginia Beach, and Washington, DC.

Atlanta’s MedAssets buying Texas-based BroadLane Group for $850M

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

MedAssetsATLANTA –Atlanta’s MedAssets Inc. (NASDAQ: MDAS) agreed to acquire The Broadlane Group for $850 million.

Based in Dallas, Texas, The Broadlane Group is a leading provider of supply chain management, strategic sourcing of supplies and services, capital equipment lifecycle management, medical device or PPI cost management, centralized procurement, clinical and lean process consulting, and clinical workforce optimization.

Patrick Ryan, chairman and CEO of The Broadlane Group, is expected to join the MedAssets board and assume the role of president of the company’s Spend Management segment upon completion of the transaction. “This transaction offers an exceptional opportunity to bring together two very strong enterprises and deliver end-to-end cost management capabilities.

Under the terms of the agreement, MedAssets will purchase The Broadlane Group for approximately $850 million in cash, with $725 million to be paid at closing and $125 million to be paid in January 2012. To fund the transaction, MedAssets has obtained financing commitments from J.P. Morgan and Barclays Capital.

MedAssets  partners with healthcare providers to improve their financial strength by implementing integrated spend management and revenue cycle solutions that help control cost, improve margins and cash flow, increase regulatory compliance, and optimize operational efficiency. MedAssets serves more than 125 health systems, 3,300 hospitals and 40,000 non-acute healthcare providers.