The Philly tie to the West Coast food startup valued at $100M - Technical.ly Philly

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Sep. 16, 2015 9:34 am

The Philly tie to the West Coast food startup valued at $100M

Downingtown's Sean McGlinchey is Yummly's Chief Data Officer. He worked with Yummly's cofounders at Half.com in the early 2000s.
Yummly Chief Data Officer Sean McGlinchey.

Yummly Chief Data Officer Sean McGlinchey.

(Courtesy photo)

When Half.com got acquired by eBay in 2000 for $312 million, many of the Conshohocken-based company’s staffers went west to work for the tech giant.

Not Sean McGlinchey.

“By that point, I was pretty set in my ways,” McGlinchey said.

McGlinchey, a West Chester native and Temple grad, was in his mid-40s at the time. He was living in Chester County with his family and just wasn’t interested in what he called “the West Coast lifestyle.”

So he stayed in the area, working out of Half.com’s Plymouth Meeting office for the next four years.

Today, it’s a similar situation: McGlinchey, 51, is the lone Philly staffer of Yummly, a six-year-old Redwood City, Calif.-based food recommendation and delivery company that just raised $15 million and is being valued at $100 million. The company was founded by former Half.com staffers David Feller and Vadim Geshel and backed by First Round Capital, Half.com founder Josh Kopelman’s venture capital firm.

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Sean McGlinchey with Philly Beer Week’s Hammer of Glory. (Courtesy photo)

The Yummly team didn’t have any qualms about McGlinchey staying in Philly — he lives in Downingtown, though when he sees the old Half.com building on the turnpike, he’ll take a photo and send it to Feller and Geshel with a friendly suggestion that they open up shop over here.

“I haven’t gotten any bites,” he said.

McGlinchey is the company’s Chief Data Officer, where he leads the charge of building “the food genome.” Kind of like the way Pandora understands music and Netflix understands movies, Yummly is trying to understand food.

McGlinchey got his start in the tech scene two decades ago when he joined Infonautics, the ’90s-era startup founded by former Venturef0rth owner Marvin Weinberger and a then-college-age Kopelman. McGlinchey remembers Kopelman as a “smart and savvy” interviewer, who rejected him for the first position he applied for (customer service manager) and later ended up hiring him for another (content manager).

McGlinchey was 32 then and remembers feeling a little old for the startup scene. (Kopelman, for one, was 25 at the time.)

What about now, at 51?

“It doesn’t really faze me,” he said. “I feel like I act like the best of the 20-year-olds or whoever we work with.”

Though he says Yummly staffers like to ask him when he’s going to move out west, there is one element of Philly at Yummly HQ: Victory beer. McGlinchey actually used to take it on the plane with him to bring to the office before the Downingtown brewery shipped to the Bay Area.

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