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Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania Announces Third Class of Project Liberty Digital Incubator

Interstate General Media welcomes two newly selected companies 
and extends tapCLIQ for another six month residency

PHILADELPHIA (January 16, 2013)  – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) announced the third startup-company class of the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, which is located at the headquarters of  Interstate General Media (IGM is publisher of  The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia SportsWeek and Philly.com) at 801 Market Street in Philadelphia. The incubator, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is operated by Ben Franklin and hosted by IGM, to stimulate the establishment and growth of digital media startup companies in the Philadelphia region. Dreamit Ventures and Drexel University are additional partners of the initiative. 

TuvaLabs and A View From My Seat were selected through a competitive application and interview process that started in November. The two startup companies are based in the Philadelphia region and will begin their six month incubator residency in January. In addition, tapCLIQ, which was part of the previous Project Liberty class, will extend its residency.

“We are proud to announce this third stellar class of digital media companies,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and CEO of Ben Franklin.  "They join the ranks of Project Liberty’s successful alumni, including CloudMine, ElectNext, Rumble, SnipSnap, tapCLIQ and Zaahah, which have successfully competed for investment from Ben Franklin," she added.

“The Project Liberty Digital Incubator continues to be a great opportunity for our company in allowing us to work with innovative entrepreneurs to create new products, sources of revenue, and better ways to engage with our customers.” said Bob Hall, Publisher and CEO of Interstate General Media.

"Our experience in funding hundreds of media innovation projects tells us that the most successful startups are nurtured, a fact the Project Liberty Incubator has born out. We're excited to welcome the third class of entrepreneurs whom we hope will continue to push the field forward," said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia program director for Knight Foundation, which last fall launched a similar incubator at the Boston Globe.

TuvaLabs aims to enable students to learn math from what they love. TuvaLabs achieves this by taking a variety of mainstream topics and news stories and transforming them into interactive math problems that are aligned to the Common Core Standards. These interactive learning units are based on a large variety of news topics including sports, politics, science, art, and business. This approach to math education encourages students’ curiosity about the world around them, illustrates the function of math in day to day life, while simultaneously helping educators guide students through Common Core Learning Standards. In 2012, TuvaLabs launched in beta mode, and is already being utilized by middle schools in Philadelphia, Camden, and New York City. 

TuvaLabs Founder and CEO Harshil Parikh said "Project Liberty is a tremendous opportunity for us to collaborate with a leading news publisher to build a personalized, current events based math learning tool specifically for learners and educators within the Philadelphia community."

A View From My Seat is a community driven photo sharing app geared towards sports and concert fans. It allows people to browse and share photos from their favorite venues and is a great complement to ticket buying sites that only offer seating charts. The company is already live with its website and has free apps for iOS and Android and browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. 

“We are excited to be a part of Project Liberty,” said Frank Panko, CEO of A View From My Seat. “We think this will be a great opportunity for us to grow and bring the possibility to develop a fantastic new media product together with Interstate General Media.”

tapCLIQ is a user engagement and advertising platform for mobile devices that offers contextual interaction at moments when the user is most receptive. Its innovative display technology, coupled with native in-app engagement formats, offers a holistic approach to engaging customers on mobile devices. “We are very pleased with tapCLIQ thus far. As we integrate their technology into more of our mobile apps, we will be able to reduce our costs while improving the user experience, so it’s a win-win!” said Steve Alessi, VP of Digital Products at Interstate General Media. “We have learned a lot during our time at Project Liberty and our platform is already being utilized in mobile apps offered by Interstate General Media,” said Chirantan Bhatt, CEO of tapCLIQ. “This additional time will allow us to continue our integration with their mobile platforms and get feedback to continue improving our product.” 

Early stage companies accepted and residing in Project Liberty Digital Incubator receive various forms of support, including free office space, advising services, and an opportunity to explore a business relationship with IGM, one of the largest media companies in the country.

Incubator Manager Cory Donovan said “I am pleased to see Project Liberty participants developing commercial partnerships with IGM and many have received investments from Ben Franklin Technology Partners.” 

Project Liberty alumni have successfully raised over $2 million, and include SnipSnap, ElectNext, CloudMine, Rumble, and Zaahah. 



About Ben Franklin Technology Partners
of Southeastern PA

Celebrating our 30th Anniversary, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania is a national, award winning organization for Stimulating Entrepreneurial Potential, through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.  Ben Franklin provides the Capital, Knowledge and Networks that help innovative enterprises compete in the global marketplace, generating wealth and supporting regional economic growth.  Ben Franklin has invested more than $165 million to grow more than 1,750 regional enterprises, across all areas of technology.  It has launched university/industry partnerships that accelerate scientific discoveries to commercialization.  Ben Franklin is part of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partnership.

About Interstate General Media
Interstate General Media (IGM) is comprised of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Philadelphia SportsWeek and Philly.com. With its multiple brand platforms and integrated print and digital products, IGM is the region’s largest media network and the industry’s technological leader and innovator. Interstate General Media reaches an average weekly audience of 2.8 million adults – more than the combination of the three evening television news shows or the combination of those radio stations ranked in the top ten during drive-time programming.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. 

Jaron J. Rhodes
Manager, Marketing and Communications
(o) (215) 972-6700, ext. 3214

Mark Block
Vice President, External Relations; Interstate General Media
(o) (215) 854-5640, (c) (202) 494-0450

Andrew Sherry
Vice President/Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
(o) (305) 908-2677