Artisan Mobile got acquired in the summer of 2015 and Philly tech companies seized the opportunity.
Slyce, the Toronto visual marketing company that gained a Center City footprint upon acquiring couponing app SnipSnap, snapped up engineers Audrey Troutt and Chris Baglieri. RJMetrics named Kevin Jackson its new design director. Cloudamize got a new chief executive in CEO Bob Moul, while South Jersey’s Dorado Systems announced it would open an Old City office led by Artisan’s founder and CTO Scott Wasserman. (The office has since closed and Wasserman is now CTO at Stuzo.)
Meanwhile, a small crew of mostly engineers — Artisan’s first hire and then-director of product development Dan Koch, Matt Gowie, former Drexel co-op Charles Gilliam and business staffer Alec Baker — moved to Seattle to join Tune, the mobile marketing company that bought Artisan for an undisclosed amount.
Now, more than a year and a handful of Philly tech shakeups later, some of the team is back together.
Back when Artisan got acquired, TUNE didn’t have any remote openings and moving wasn’t an option for engineer Audrey Troutt — her husband teaches music history at the storied Curtis Institute. But one year later, the former Artisan team at TUNE was able to to expand remotely and the crew knew they wanted Troutt.
“Her incredibleness is obvious to anyone who has the chance to work with her, so when you have the opportunity to bring someone like that into the team, you make it happen,” Dan Koch, who’s now TUNE’s director of marketing automation, wrote in an email. “So we made it happen.”
Troutt was TUNE’s first individual remote hire.
“It was a hard decision to leave SnipSnap after building my team and a lot of great processes and functionality, but I was thrilled to have the opportunity to rejoin my former Artisan team at Tune,” she wrote to us.
She’s leading the dev team under Koch, a role that fellow Artisan alum Matt Gowie used to hold. Gowie has since left TUNE to run his own consulting company and travel the world.
— auditty (@auditty) January 11, 2017
The Artisan team, known as the in-app marketing team, has since grown to roughly 15 people in engineering, sales and customer support, said Koch. They work on the side of TUNE that allows companies to tailor app features and notifications to specific groups of users (for example, a company could send a sneaker coupon to a user that often buys sneakers). They even got a shoutout from TUNE CEO Peter Hamilton at #Postback16, TUNE’s annual mobile marketing conference.
“They have done a phenomenal job, honestly, and they have hit every single deadline,” he said, asking the audience to give the team a round of applause. “It is out of control what they’ve been able to do.”
Another place the Artisan team is back together? At Blackfynn, a venture-backed startup that recently announced a $1.4 million contract with the federal government’s DARPA. Engineer Chris Baglieri went back to his health-tech roots to build the engineering team at the company, replacing Tom Janofsky, the former Monetate SVP who held the title of Blackfynn CTO. (Janofsky is now at New York marketing company Sailthru.) On the subject of his leaving Slyce, Baglieri told us he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work on a startup that could save lives. (Blackfynn’s product helps scientific researchers.)
Baglieri has since recruited two of his former teammates, among others: Kevin Jackson and Jim Snavely. Jackson had done a short stint at Stitch, the RJMetrics spinout that came to be after the company’s Magento acquisition, while Snavely had been at HealthVerity.
We’re getting the band back together.
— Chris Baglieri (@chrisbaglieri) December 13, 2016
When we wrote to Baglieri about this, he said, “Successfully building a product boils down to team, and I will always jump at the chance to work with any member of that product team.” The Artisan team, he said, was one of the best he had ever been on.
“I guess the simplest way to put all of this is, why mess with a good thing,” he wrote.
Charting this “Where are they now?” made us think of a few things:
- Bob Moul was refreshingly frank about how he felt that Artisan’s exit fell short of his ambitions. But the Artisan dev team’s transition to TUNE is one way the exit feels like a success, as Koch and co. have taken on leadership roles at a major company in Seattle. (Though, yes, it was, at least in the short term, a loss of talent for Philly.)
- History is a powerful recruiting tool. As the tech scene continues to grow, we expect to see more of the Baglieri/Blackfynn pattern, of engineers joining new startups and bringing on former colleagues as they build out a team.
- This is momentum if we’ve ever seen it. Even just a year or two ago, we’re not sure we would have seen this level of movement and opportunities for technologists in Philly. As Baglieri put it, this kind of movement “highlights a feature you should see in a thriving startup ecosystem, a circle of life.”
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