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Acquisitions / Business development / Ecommerce / Retail

PSL Prez Brock Weatherup just sold his company to Petco and moved to California

The acquisition of PetCoach means Philly Startup Leaders is searching for a new leader. “This deal proves that the ecosystem works,” said Weatherup.

PetCoach CEO Brock Weatherup. (Courtesy photo)
The president of Philly Startup LeadersBrock Weatherup, works in California now. The serial entrepreneur has sold his pet care startup, PetCoach, to retail giant Petco.

“We came out there in Thanksgiving with a perspective of creating a marketing partnership with them, and that quickly took a turn to some bigger ideas,” Weatherup told Technical.ly Monday afternoon. “Acquisition talks happened from January to mid-March.”

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, but as part of the transaction Weatherup has relocated to San Diego, Calif., to become Petco’s “Executive Vice President of Strategic Innovation and Digital Experience.”

Meanwhile, five of PetCoach’s in-house employees will also be moving to the West Coast and joining Petco in different capacities.

It isn’t Weatherup’s first major exit in the pet space: In 2014 he sold pet ecommerce startup Pet360 to PetSmart for over $130 million. (Following that acquisition, Weatherup and the 125-person Pet360 team stayed put in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. He briefly worked as PetSmart’s chief digital officer, but nine months of commuting to PetSmart HQ in Phoenix took its toll, he told the Inquirer in 2015.)

Was this a good deal for Wayne, Pa.-based PetCoach? Though he declined to mention specifics, Weatherup said the acquisition yielded a “pretty good” internal rate of return (the almighty IRR) for investors. Last November, just as the exec announced he’d bought PetCoach and became its CEO, news broke of a $2 million round led by Comcast Ventures. Dreamit Ventures and consumer-only venture firm Maveron also participated, along with Weatherup himself as an angel investor.

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Still, if the move is at all shocking to longtime tech-scene observers, it’s because of Weatherup’s recent ascension to the higher ranks of Philadelphia’s booster class.

“I’m incredibly sad to be leaving Philly,” said Weatherup, who took over as volunteer president of Philly Startup Leaders in December 2015. “We could have gone anywhere last year [following his acquisition of PetCoach] but me and my wife made the decision to stay in Philly with no perspective of leaving.”

Weatherup split for SoCal and started his new gig Monday. Over the phone, he told Technical.ly he’d be “very disappointed” if people take the announcement as bad news.

“I think, ultimately, we had such a success because we did it in Philly,” said Weatherup. “Ninety percent of our seed funding last August was by Philly-based VCs and angels. This deal proves that the ecosystem works.”

As for PSL, the organization says it is actively vetting “several great candidates” for the role. PSL presidents serve two-year terms.

In addition to returns for local investors, there is another silver lining in Weatherup’s departure: The entrepreneur says he’ll keep stumping for the city from California, and hopes to connect Philly-area entrepreneurs with that ecosystem.

“I’ll continue to take my excitement with Philly to the West Coast and tell them all about what’s happening here,” he said.

Companies: Pet360 / Philly Startup Leaders

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