Business development

Why Jonathan Kriner’s failed startup is his favorite Philly tech memory [Exit Interview]

The Temple University grad has left Philly for New York, after three years with Solve Media.

Jonathan Kriner’s startup failed.

He was working on a platform called that aimed to connect musicians to their fans by tapping into those fans’ skills in graphic design or event planning. While it never got off the ground, Kriner, 25, said it was his favorite memory of the Philly tech scene.

“We went to every Philly tech meetup,” he wrote in an email. “We met hundreds of people. We perfected our elevator pitch, started an LLC, brainstormed, collaborated and consistently forced ourselves out of our comfort zone.”

A native of Cincinnati, Kriner spent three years as the marketing manager for Solve Media, a venture-backed advertising startup headquartered in Center City. He left this summer to join another venture-backed advertising startup called Integral Ad Science, but this one’s in New York City.

Below, Kriner tells us about what kept him in Philly after college, Solve Media’s pool of local talent and the sad fate of his piano.


How did you come to live and work in Philly? 

I came to Philly as an undeclared freshman at Temple University. Since then, I’ve lived all over the city — TU, Fairmount, S. Philly, and spent a ton of time everywhere in between. Looking back, I was pretty set on leaving Philly after graduating from Temple, but I wound up staying to start a music business.

In Philly, we could afford a whole house to throw shows in the basement, which we wouldn’t have been able to do in a New York or Boston. I was juggling running a business and waiting tables at the Art Museum when I lucked into Solve Media. Completely unexpected, but it’s where I got my start and what kept me in Philly — a great gig with some truly amazing and talented people.

What’s next for you? What prompted the move?

Kind of like Solve Media, I lucked into a great opportunity in New York, where I can continue to hone what I’ve already been doing at Solve. I was working as a one-man marketing show at Solve, which was fantastic, but this opportunity provided the ability to learn from a larger marketing team.

Anything that could have been done to keep you here?

I’m genuinely excited to be in New York, but it was never a goal of mine per se. If I’d found something in Philly that got me as excited as my new job at Integral Ad Science has, I would’ve been thrilled. I definitely would have liked to keep my piano, a casualty of downsizing!

What was your proudest accomplishment at Solve Media? How about during your time in the Philly tech scene?

I’m just so proud of the progress Solve Media made in my time there. I’ve seen the company grow so much as they’ve gone from a true startup to an Ernst & Young, Inc. and Forbes-recognized up-and-coming company. I also really enjoyed producing our Rube Goldberg holiday video a few years back (thanks for the coverage!). It got a ton of views and was just a fun project.

As for Philly and Philly tech, I’m always impressed at the caliber of young people I meet. Every marketing intern and new hire at Solve Media was from Temple, Penn, West Chester — so many smart, driven, creative young folks here. It’s fueled the growth so far, and I’m sure it will continue to keep Philly relevant and growing in the global tech and entrepreneurship world.

Favorite tech scene memory from your time in Philly?

My senior year at Temple, my childhood friend (and now Philly engagement coordinator Cary Betagole) and I started working on a collaborative music platform called While it ultimately got pushed aside as we both took on other projects, the most successful piece of it was both of us getting involved in the Philly tech scene. We went to every Philly tech meetup. We met hundreds of people. We perfected our elevator pitch, started an LLC, brainstormed, collaborated and consistently forced ourselves out of our comfort zone. While it didn’t ultimately succeed, I will always appreciate the help we received and look back on that time as an amazing personal growth period.

What’s your favorite place in Philly?

I’m a huge fan of the Divine Lorraine. Is there still time to break in and see the inside before it gets redone?

Also, the Newbold-area Ultimo Coffee.

Can you share a lesson with us that you’ve learned during your time here?

That’s a tough question to answer. Probably that people matter most. Treat people well and surround yourself with great people, and the rest will work itself out.

Will you be back?

Permanently, who knows, but I’ll certainly be back and forth to Philly all the time! For $13 and a nap, I can be back in the stomping grounds.

Please stay in touch (@JonathanKriner) and let me know if I can be of any help to anyone! I love new projects, new people, and chatting about ideas and business.

Companies: Solve Media

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