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7 Philly tech love stories to make you swoon

Kind of like a realLIST for couples, but this time we're just having some fun.

Aw, Dawn and Tim. (Photo courtesy of Dawn McDougall)

It’s that time of the year again when cheesiness is abound and sloppy boyfriends scurry for grocery store–bought bouquets.

How is that relevant for us? Well, while it’s true that we love a good funding round and cherish startup founders, love has also brought closer some community members that have not only Philly tech in common but a close, loving relationship.

Here are some notable tech partnerships around town and how they came to be:

SmartyPal’s Prasanna Krishnan and Wharton’s Kartik Hosanagar

  • Prasanna and Kartik met in college back in India, their country of origin. In the year 2000, they moved to the U.S. for Prasanna’s master’s in computer science at the University of Illinois. In 2003, they became husband and wife. After a career in venture capital and companies like Comcast, Krishnan founded edtech startup SmartyPal while Hosanagar became a Wharton professor and tech investor.

PromptWorks’ Dawn McDougall and the City of Philadelphia’s Tim Wisniewski

  • The year was 2014 when this well-known tech duo locked eyes at an Azavea-organized hackathon called EcoCamp. It was love at first hack. For their first anniversary, at McDougall’s request, they celebrated by attending Liberty JS, a local JavaScript conference. Catch the duo working from a cafe weekend mornings or at Code for Philly events.

YIKES cofounders Tracy and Mia Levesque

  • In 1994, Tracy was working at the now-extinct TLA Video store on 4th and South when then-customer Mia waltzed through the door. The couple has since married and, for the last 20 years, they’ve been working side by side. “I can’t imagine not seeing her all day, every day,” Tracy said. “I don’t know what coming home from work and saying, ‘How was your day?’ feels like.”

Azavea’s Robert Cheetham and Rachel Cheetham-Richard

  • A party in the late ’90s brought this geo-couple to the same spot on the map. “Neither one of us wanted to attend,” said Rachel, who was teaching French at Penn at the time while Robert was in graduate school. Eventually, the two joined forces at Azavea. “It is incredibly reassuring to have a partner you can trust completely,” Robert said.

Magento’s Robert Moore and Alison Moore

  • This story is best told by Alison herself — formerly with Comcast — who shared this via email: “In true tech couple fashion, Ali and Bob met online via OkCupid. Ali was the instigator, using their shared interest in tennis as bait for a first date. They met on a Monday in April; dinner and drinks lasted 5 hours.”

Guru’s Rick Nucci and wife Jennifer Nucci

  • Jennifer and El Noocharino met at Penn State, where they both attended. They worked together at Boomi for a couple of years and, in 2002, Jen went off to work for eBay as product manager. She’s currently the head of product over at Finpay while Rick heads up Old City-based Guru. 

FixList’s Stacey Mosley and Technically Media’s Brian James Kirk

  • Picture this: Philly Tech Week 2013 preview event at the Science Center. If you were there, you may have just caught Stacey and Brian saying hi for the first time. However, it was at the ensuing happy hour at the Han Dynasty in University City where Mosley, a data scientist (turned founder) and Kirk, a true tech news impresario, really hit it off.

And there you have it: seven Philly tech couples that have our constant attention. Have a great Valentine’s Day and hug those close to you, technologists or not.

Companies: Promptworks / SmartyPAL / City of Philadelphia / Girl Develop It / Monetate / Swarthmore College / Wharton School / YIKES, Inc.

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