Philly-area native David West Jr. founded digital pathology startup Proscia in 2015 alongside fellow St. Joe’s Prep alum Coleman Stavish while attending Johns Hopkins University.
Now West and Stavish are doing as millennials do and relocating to Philly. Proscia set up Center City offices at 1776 in a play to stay close to the talent pool coming out of local institutions like the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. Currently, the startup’s 11-member team is split roughly 60/40 between Baltimore and Philly. Over the next year, it will look to reverse that split to something closer to 70/30 in Philly’s favor.
“The company has always had a blended Philly-Baltimore model,” said board member David West Sr., a former startup founder himself and tech exec. West Sr. is also a member of Robin Hood Ventures, one of Proscia’s primary investors, and David Jr.’s dad.
The shift to Philly has to do with talent, West Sr. said. The company’s platform lets scientists have access to a software-based laboratory for digital pathology data management, with onboard tools for collaboration and image analysis. Its development and upkeep calls for machine learning engineers, which the firm has found primarily in the orbit of Penn, Drexel and Johns Hopkins.
“Philadelphia is becoming an attractive place for young technical people,” said West Sr. “It’s a diverse city, a growing one with a lot of great region districts where people want to live, an attractive place for engineers and it’s close to D.C. and New York. As we looked for talent, there seems to be a growing percentage of people saying ‘Philly’s a great spot, I’d love to go live there.'”
But interest in Baltimore, where the company has an outpost in coworking space Spark Baltimore and backing from local investors like state-backed TEDCO, remains.
“We will maintain a presence in Baltimore and keep aggressive ties to a top talent pool and maintain close connections to some of the nation’s top medical institutions in the greater Baltimore/DC area,” said West Sr.-30-
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