Entrepreneurs / Hiring

Benjamin’s Desk is bringing 1776 to town (plus 16 other #PhillyTech Power Moves)

Tracking the Tesorio diaspora, a new venture firm hires a VP of Investments and WeWork gets a new Philadelphia director of community.

Benjamin's Desk 1701 spot will play host to the 1776 UNION activities. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

The latest move from Benjamin’s Desk is not measured in square feet: Philly’s mostly bootstrapped coworking spot was announced as one of 20 partner companies backing 1776’s UNION program, a “digital network and platform that catalyzes innovation by uniting startup ecosystems around the world,” per the program’s website.

Twenty-five Philly companies and 10 mentors have already been onboarded to the Philadelphia chapter of the program, which will seek to connect companies with capital, mentorship and their peers in other geographies. It’s 1776’s first formal Philadelphia presence. The D.C.-based incubator also has a serious play for Brooklyn in the works.

“We are scaling UNION into a global network to make sure that entrepreneurs can access the resources they need to excel no matter where they are based,” 1776 CEO Evan Burfield said in a press release. Once the 20 programs are up and running, an estimated 4,000 startups and 1,000 mentors will be part of the network.

Benjamin’s Desk co-CEO Anthony Maher told there was no financial exchange between 1776 and the coworking company for the rollout of the UNION platform.

“We’re excited to be a part of this because we’ll have our first real foray into helping startups grow,” said Maher. “The technology platform itself is very exciting because it will let bring all the resources into one platform. This isn’t about physical space but it’s about helping companies grow. There’s more [news] coming but the real end outcome is helping to grow the local ecosystem.”


Anita Shannon, WeWork’s former Senior Community Manager in Philly, just got a lil title bump and will now be Director of Community for the coworking spot’s Philadelphia locations as well as the newly announced space in Toronto. Likely she’ll have to trek up north from time to time but she will remain Philly-based.

Shannon’s new role includes “growing WeWork’s brand through local events, managing the community teams, and creating and maintaining a collaborative environment” for the coworking provider.


Chestnut Street Ventures, that Penn-focused VC firm we told you about, just hired a VP of Investments in Ven Raju. The former advisor and consultant Raju joins Chestnut Street Ventures from a family office, where he served as principal overseeing private investments. The firm also recently announced the recipient of its first investment: BetterView, a San Francisco-basied aerial and drone imagery service.


Software engineer Nate Smith left Curalate for Scala, the digital signage company in Malvern. We last wrote about how Scala’s software powered the dynamic media wall in NPR’s snazzy D.C. headquarters.


Kimberly Gress, the former COO of Tesorio, is now the Vice President of Operations at WizeHive. Tesorio, if you remember, is the YCombinator and StartUp PHL-backed company that stayed on the West Coast after graduating from YC. Another former Tesorio staffer, Taylor Knox, is also at WizeHive. Knox has been an implementation specialist at the startup since mid-2016, according to LinkedIn. As for Tesorio’s former marketing manager, Marcia McInnes, she’s now working in sales and marketing at edtech startup Practice.


In our last Power Moves column, we told you about how Delphic Digital rejoined a former boss/employee duo by bringing aboard Alexander “Sasha” Pfandt as VP. Turns out the company also added an interesting swath of mid-management types to its roster along with Pfandt. Here’s the company’s announcement of the hiring push, which added 10 folks to its full-time roster. We see you, Delphic.

Companies: WeWork / Tesorio / 76 Forward / Delphic Digital

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