Company Culture

Leadership shift at 1776: Jenn Maher named sole CEO

Maher's brother-in-law and former co-CEO, Anthony Maher, is now Chief Growth Officer and Head of Incubation as part of a broader leadership shakeup at 1776.

Jenn Maher, CEO at 1776, said to expect no major changes to the company's direction. (Courtesy photo)

It’s been seven months since Philly’s Benjamin’s Desk merged with D.C.-based incubator 1776 in a play to combine traditional coworking with broader programming and incubation offerings.

Now grown to a total of 10 campuses between Philly, Brooklyn and D.C., the company announced a shift in leadership that starts at the top: former co-CEO Jennifer Maher, who cofounded Benjamin’s Desk alongside husband Mike Maher back in 2012, will be the organization’s sole CEO going forward.

“I don’t envision many changes,” Maher told on what’s next for the company. “It’s an internal restructuring aimed at having clearer, more defined roles now that we’ve grown our footprint.”

(Benjamin’s Desk cofounder Mike Maher stepped down from the company in 2015 to build Houwzer, a real estate startup that raised a $2 million seed round last year from local investors like Ben Franklin Technology Partners and StartUp PHL’s angel fund.)

Maher, a commercial real estate broker and former corporate litigator who’s been traveling a bunch between D.C. and Philly after the merger was announced, said she’ll be focused on expanding the company’s presence — Baltimore was one of the Northeast Corridor cities Maher mentioned at a recent event — alongside the slate of tasks she’d been handling: financing, fundraising and investor relations.

Anthony Maher, the ubiquitous former soccer pro who used to share the CEO role, also has a new title as Chief Growth Officer and Head of Incubation, where he’ll be focusing on member engagement and mentoring.

“We’re building a world class experience for early stage entrepreneurs who want to build exceptional companies outside of Silicon Valley,” Anthony Maher said. “The drive and the talent of our 1776 team will be the differentiator that helps our members transform their businesses and their communities.”

Along with the slate of staff moves, a President role was created for former Entrepreneur In Residence Ron Braunfeld, who has a business-development background at companies like PayPal and SnipSnap.

“My focus is executing the delivery of services and partnerships with corporations and asset owners that want to become active in our network of incubators,” Braunfeld said in an email. “I am thrilled to be part of a growing home team.”

Post merger, 1776 boasts 2,700 individual members at 10 campuses in four states and D.C. All told, the company has 200,000 square feet under management through different avenues: direct operation (their flagship location at the Curtis Center, where Technically Media is headquartered) or licensing deals (their recently opened spot in the Ambler Yards redevelopment.)

“This change was about aligning people with the best skills for their role,” Maher said. “I’m excited to lead our team as we execute on our mission to build a dynamic company that serves our communities and provides the exceptional resources required for our members to thrive.”

Companies: 76 Forward

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