(Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan skyline at sunset by Dmitry Pistrov via Shutterstock)
The startup world was calling Brock Weatherup.
Weatherup, 43, of Wayne, sold his ecommerce company, Pet360, to PetSmart last fall for more than $130 million, and joined the company as its Chief Digital Officer. This past spring, PetSmart got taken private in a $8.7 billion sale. (Pet360’s employees remain in Plymouth Meeting, Weatherup said.) Two months later, Weatherup left. He wanted to get back to startups.
“I have a love for early-stage startups, kind of small, kind of scrappy, that kind of world,” he said in a phone interview this week, as he was driving to pick up his daughters from school.
Instead of running his own startup, Weatherup’s taking a more advisory role. He’s working on two projects: an angel fund called Atai Ventures focused on consumer tech and a New York-based accelerator called ICONYC (pronounced “iconic”) that aims to help Israeli tech companies expand in North America. (It’s based in New York because his two partners are based there, but he said he hopes to find ways to have a larger Philly presence.)
It’s his first foray into angel investing, though he’s mentored companies before through orgs like DreamIt Ventures and Philly Startup Leaders.
So far, he’s invested in four early-stage startups:
- Stylit, a New York-based personalized shopping startup with Israeli roots.
- PetCoach, an advice site for pet owners that Pet360 incubated in its Plymouth Meeting office and invested $300,000 in. PetCoach, a DreamIt Ventures Austin company, has since moved to Miami.
- Dandyloop, an Israeli ecommerce company that was part of the first class of ICONYC.
- Ethology, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based digital ad agency.
His investments range from $20,000 to $100,000.
Why was this the right time for Weatherup to jump into angel investing?
“First and foremost, I haven’t been overwhelmingly successful yet,” he said, adding that he’d “love to build more consumer tech growth stories in Philadelphia.”
This is a way for him to create those opportunities for himself, he said.
Though none of his investments are in Philadelphia startups (yet), it’s still a good story for the local tech scene: founder has a big exit and then turns to angel investing. The lack of Philly investments also doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as there aren’t many consumer startups around town.
If you think your company would be a good fit for a Weatherup angel investment, he says LinkedIn is the best way to go.
He’s also speaking at Philly New Tech Meetup next Wednesday.
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