(Photo courtesy of Philly By Drone)
Hey, how’s that email inbox doing?
In case you didn’t notice, the year is coming to a close in just 11 more days, so it’s time to wrap up whatever is pending, bump that pointless coffee meeting to January and start to take stock of what the heck happened all year.
In Philly tech land, most notably, our ecosystem spent most of the year thinking about a giant, transformative Amazon campus (which didn’t land in any one city anyway). We saw startups raise capital by the millions, while others called it quits, leaving behind meaningful lessons.
Through our reporting, we grappled with Philly’s intolerably high poverty rates, by way of our participation in solutions journalism project Broke in Philly and a memorable trip to Albuquerque, N.M. We devoted a month to digital accessibility, and toured the local organizations working to shorten the gap in Philly. We looked at how a ravaging Old City fire affected a local tech firm and took a deep look at the inner workings of the City’s tech department.
There was also Gritty.
But above all else, we wrote about you. Your passion projects. Your woes. Your lessons. And since you’re the star of the show anyway, here’s a roundup of the stories that captured your attention in 2018.
At its Paoli headquarters, ecommerce company Turn5 has, I kid you not, a bowling alley for its employees. We got to try it out during NET/WORK Suburbs.
— Technical.ly Philly (@TechnicallyPHL) October 18, 2018
In 2016, a company called RJMetrics was bought by ecommerce player Magento. Then in 2018, Photoshop maker Adobe swooped in and bought Magento. Though no changes were initially expected for Magento’s (now Adobe’s) Philly office, three months later Adobe confirmed that it would be shutting down the Philly office “in line with Adobe’s global workplace strategy,” with staffers getting remote work or relocation offers.
Yup. A company called WEach Seats launched an online platform that lets restaurants double their time by serving as coworking spaces. Will it (co)work?
In October, we donned a hard hat and got an exclusive look at the 3675 Market building, now the home of Quorum’s biggest iteration as an “entrepreneurs clubhouse” on a ground floor in University City. The building, which officially opened in November, is also home to the Cambridge Innovation Center, Venture Café, lab spaces powered by BioLabs and the University City Science Center, which relocated its HQ to the new building.
Stitch, the up-and-coming data analytics startup born from RJMetrics’ acquisition in 2016, was bought by Redwood, Calif.-based Talend in a $60-million deal. We spoke with Jake Stein, the company’s cofounder and CEO, about what the move would mean for the 33-person team. Stein laid it out simply:
“The Philadelphia office of Stitch, now the office of Talend, is gonna stay put and we’re going to be hiring a bunch more.”
We got a close-up tour of the Comcast Technology Center, currently the highest landmark in the Philly skyline. After four years of construction, Comcast moved employee No. 1,000 into the $1.5 billion tower, which CEO Brian Roberts said represented the next five decades of the company.
For Philly expat Chris Beiter, a technologist who now lives in Seattle, the frenzy around Philly as a possible home for a massive Amazon headquarters came with downsides. In a nuanced guest post, Beiter got us all thinking of the pros and cons of a Bezos splash in Philly.
It seems our audience was super interested this year in learning what local bootcamps are teaching. We spoke to a handful of them and got their input on the year’s most sough-after coding languages.
We curated a list of companies we deemed promising. How’d it go? Well, most of the startups on the list had a stellar year: They raised venture dollars, struck meaningful partnerships or even got acquired for millions. BTW, we’re doing it again in a few weeks. Got any suggestions?
What can we say? Go Birds.-30-