Last month, San Francisco-based office space discovery firm 42Floors caused a big to do by publicizing a job offer they made to Dan Shipper, a Penn sophomore, entrepreneur and, yes, philosophy major.
Shipper, 20, is also one of the co-founders of the Airtime for Email marketing startup, which recently pitched at the last Switch Philly. The Penn student confirmed his dedication to working on Airtime and making his way through his undergraduate Philosophy major.
We had to ask him: What would happen if the Philadelphia entrepreneurial community wrote you a letter to stay here?
These are his words:
“I think the best letter that Philly can write to young aspiring entrepreneurs isn’t necessarily composed of words, punctuation and white space. Instead it involves continuing to foster a community of people committed to the city and to each other. It involves creating the same atmosphere of limitless possibilities that you get in a place like New York or San Francisco, here in Center City.
The problem is that Silicon Valley and New York are the default places to run a startup. It’s really hard to compete against a default choice because the burden of proof is on you to prove why the default choice isn’t the best option.
Luckily, however we have a strong, nascent community. We have a bunch of great startups. Companies like DuckDuckGo and RJ Metrics. First Round Capital, one of the biggest and most respected VCs in the world is here. All of the building blocks are in place for Philly to be seen as an amazing place to run a startup for young entrepreneurs.
What exactly has to change in order for the perception to shift? It’s hard to say exactly. It took 40 years for Silicon Valley to get to the point where it is today. New York is just starting to emerge as a startup hub.
I think that as the community here continues to expand and the startups here continue the success that they’ve had, the young people here will begin to recognize that not only is Philly a great place to run a startup, it’s a great place to make a name for yourself as one of the catalysts of a young community. The early history of Silicon Valley has already been written. But the early days of the Philly startup community are being written right now. And I think that for young people, getting an opportunity to be part of the history of that community is the best pitch you can make.”