ApprenNet merges with SF edtech startup, but Philly office is here to stay - Philly


Jul. 23, 2015 8:01 am

ApprenNet merges with SF edtech startup, but Philly office is here to stay

The merger was set into motion by former ApprenNet CEO Rachel Jacobs, who died in the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia in May.

Drexel's law school, where ApprenNet got its start.

(Photo courtesy of Drexel)

Edtech startup ApprenNet is merging with a San Francisco company called Handsfree Learning. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company will keep the ApprenNet name and its Philly office, but it’s getting a new CEO: Paul Freedman, cofounder of Handsfree.

Freedman replaces Rachel Jacobs, ApprenNet’s former CEO who died tragically in the Amtrak crash in May.


Former ApprenNet CEO Rachel Jacobs. (Courtesy photo)

The merger is bittersweet, said ApprenNet’s chief customer officer and cofounder Emily Foote, because it was Jacobs who set it into motion.

Jacobs met Freedman at the ASU+GSV Summit, an edtech startup conference, shortly after she took the role of CEO at ApprenNet. The two companies played to each other’s strengths and weaknesses (ApprenNet is focused on teaching soft skills, while Handsfree is focused on hard skills; ApprenNet’s development team is focused on web, Handsfree is focused on mobile), and their missions and visions for their companies were similar. It made sense.

It’s exciting to bring Jacobs’ vision to fruition, Foote said, but it’s sad that she’s not here to see it.

ApprenNet will continue to seek funding, Foote said.

The company will have offices in Philly and San Francisco, where Freedman is based. The merger also brings a new leadership team to ApprenNet, with Foote as chief customer officer, plus Josh Salcman leading product development and Nestor Toro leading engineering. Both Salcman and Toro came from Handsfree and will be based in San Francisco.


ApprenNet’s Emily Foote, Karl Okamoto and Paul Tzen. (Courtesy photo)

ApprenNet is also hosting its first user conference, planned for next month at Drexel’s law school. (Foote might take some cues from RJMetrics’ recent Data Jawn event: her husband is RJMetrics staffer David Williams, who helped put the event together.)


See new jobs in your tech community
Companies: Instructure, ApprenNet
People: Emily Foote
Already a member? Sign in here


This Week in Jobs: Memorial Day shopping for a shiny new career

These 11 tech companies will be hiring at #DevConf19

This Week in Jobs: Jobs first. Tequila never again.



Why working with the University City Science Center was a game changer for 4 Philly startups

Philadelphia, PA


Product Marketing Manager

Apply Now
Blue Bell, PA

Pinnacle 21

Senior Software Engineer

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA


Senior UX Designer

Apply Now

This Week in Jobs: Which job will be your first-round pick?

This Week in Jobs: Take your job hunt to the great outdoors

This Week in Jobs: Like Disney World for tech lovers



Take a peek at the opportunities popping up at PromptWorks

Philadelphia, PA - Center City


Sr. Business Analyst – Bilingual (Spanish)

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA


Senior Software Engineer – Kubernetes

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA


Software Development Engineer in Test

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Philadelphia

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!