It’s safe to say that iPipeline has finally arrived in Center City.
A few years ago, the Exton-based insurance software giant opened an office at 1818 Market St. — if you can call it that. It was just a corner of fellow insurance software firm Adminovate’s office. (Employees now joke that it was, er, kinda stinky in the summer. It was a small space. There wasn’t much ventilation. And it was filled with college students — Drexel co-ops. You get it.)
But just weeks ago, after some time in a temporary space, iPipeline moved into its own office on the fourth floor of 2300 Chestnut Street. It’s an open floor plan with long rows of desks, plus exposed brick and wooden beams. The large arched windows offer a glimpse of the Cira Centre. We’re also happy to report that it smelled just fine.
About 15 people — mostly engineers — work out of the Center City space every day, said CTO Brian Seidman, who lives in Ardmore and is happy not to have to do the 45-minute commute out to Exton everyday. (Actually, he had never even been to Exton until he joined the company nearly 13 years ago.)
Roughly 200 people work out of the Exton headquarters, and the rest of its staff is distributed across the world, in cities like Tokyo, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee — a result of the acquisitions the company has made over the years. The company, which was recently acquired by a private equity firm, employs 450.
Outgoing president Paul Melchiorre (pronounced MELL-kee-urr-ee, if you’re curious, because we were) was a big champion for a Philly satellite office, said sales director Scott Hunter, a Havertown resident who splits his time between both offices. The small office at 1818 Market was a pilot project, so to speak, driven in large part by the fact that they were missing out on the best Drexel talent since students didn’t want to have to commute out to their internships, Seidman said.
Drexel, Seidman said, has been a great pipeline for tech talent. They’ve hired several former co-ops.
The Center City office is also great for customer meetings, Seidman and Hunter said. In the past, customers would arrive at the airport or 30th Street Station and have to get out to Exton. The Center City location, which has two conference rooms, is more convenient.
There’s also this killer perk: Saxbys new headquarters is just one floor down and it’s a beautiful hybrid cafe/office/coworking space. The coffee is donation-based and the spot is open to the public (we’re told that non-Saxbys employees schedule meetings there). It feels a little too good to be true.
While we’ve heard of suburban companies opening what former Commerce Director Alan Greenberger dubbed “gateway offices,” this one feels like a true investment in the city: In true startup fashion, iPipeline tested out a city office and then upped its commitment, building (and tricking) out a space of their own. Do you know of any Philly tech satellite offices that are comparable to this one? Let us know so we can go visit.