Founders / Incubators / Science

Power Moves: Forthcoming University City incubator B.Labs names its director

Plus, new leadership roles over at Phenom, Gopuff and Power Home Remodeling.

Matthew Burkhardt, director of B.Labs, outside the Cira Centre. (Courtesy photo)

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University City incubator B.Labs, announced earlier this year as a partnership between developer Brandywine Realty Trust and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center (PABC), has named Matthew Burkhardt as its first director.

The space is slated to open in the Cira Centre across from Brandywine’s ongoing project, Schuylkill Yards, in January. It’s one of the many, many projects in the works in UCity right now and will offer 50,000 square feet of flex research space within three stories of the skyscraper.

“The catalyst for our incubator was the ever-expanding, small-scale life science users with high-growth projections who need space immediately,” Jerry Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine, said in March. “Partnering with the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center will accelerate establishing a dynamic, flexible community of innovators who can grow their company as they steward their discoveries into commercial offerings.”

Burkhardt is a Haverford native, but brings international experience to his new role. He comes to B.Labs from consulting in biotech, and chairing the board of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Schinzel-Giedion Syndrome Foundation in the U.K. He previously worked with U.K.-based RxCelerate, Ltd., an asset development group, and he’s also worked with discovery and development programs at Merck and iPierian/True North Therapeutics before he consulted in the innovation and startup ecosystem in San Francisco.

During the spring’s announcement of the upcoming incubator, Brandywine and PABC cited the Cira Centre’s proximity to 30th Street Station for being able to attract both city and suburban talent at the new incubator, as well as the neighborhood for connecting it with most of the city’s other life science companies and higher ed institutions.

“This is a game-changing initiative for PABC and Brandywine Realty Trust that will help life science companies grow and succeed in Philadelphia,” Burkhardt said in a statement. “The facility is designed around best-in-class lab space and supportive infrastructure to advance promising companies and their assets into clinical application.”

P.S. Check out’s roundup of 20-plus more resources to boost health-driven startups.

A rendering of the B.Labs space in the Cira Centre. (Courtesy image)


Power Home Remodeling announced last week that Hollie Delaney has joined its team as the Chester-based, tech-driven exterior home remodeling company’s first-ever chief people officer. In this new role, she will lead Power’s people-centric departments including talent acquisition, HR and special events, and will advance its workplace culture and employee experience.

Co-CEO Asher Raphael said in a statement that creating a role was part of a natural progression for the company in its journey toward being a “best place to work” (which it has been named by Fortune). Delaney comes to the company from Zappos’ chief people strategist role. She’s also held HR leadership positions at Wet’n Wild, Marshall Retail Group and

“We knew immediately that Hollie was the perfect fit for this new position not only because of her previous experience building the gold standard of employment brands, but also because of her values and authentic drive to create an environment where people feel safe and thrive,” Raphael said.

Hollie Delaney. (Photo via LinkedIn)


Gopuff welcomes another high-level leader as Sanjay Shah — an executive with more than 25 years of experience in operations, manufacturing, engineering and supply chain management — joins as its SVP of North America fulfillment.

Shah comes to the on-demand delivery company from Beyond Meat, where he was COO, and off a stint as Tesla’s SVP of global energy. He’s also held roles at Amazon,, Dell and Pactiv. His roles and experience in supply chain and logistics go hand in hand with some of the Spring Garden-headquartered company’s other recent hires and expansions, like the acquisitions of Fancy, a U.K.-based last-mile delivery platform, and enterprise logistics software company rideOS.

“As Gopuff continues to scale, we have made strategic investments in talent and technology to further enhance our processes and operations to ensure the most seamless end-to-end experience — from inventory to delivery,” Tim Collins, Gopuff’s SVP of global operations said in a statement.

The company is also currently wading into the brick-and-mortar storefront space, recently opening a 12,000-square-foot space in San Francisco, Eater reported. A spokesperson told in September that there weren’t any Philadelphia-area plans for a retail space in the works, but the Inquirer reported about a week later that Merion Township officials confirmed a building had been leased.

These spaces would differ from the company’s thousands of existing fulfillment centers, as customers could walk in and make purchases like other convenience stores.


People ops tech Phenom, maker of a talent experience management platform, announced it had hired two executives who are focused on the Ambler company’s global growth following its recent $1.4 billion valuation.

Thomas Gerstner will lead Phenom’s business in Central Europe, and Andy Joeres will oversee initiatives in the U.K. and Ireland, Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa. These regions have seen a burst in activity in the talent experience, AI and automation spaces in human resources, the company said in a release. Phenom’s European headcount has now exceeded 100 employees, with operations in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Gerstner will be responsible for strengthening existing and new customer relationships in Central Europe, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Benelux (that’s Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). He previously served as president for these regions of Pathlock, and has held various senior executive roles at SAP.

Joeres will serve as Phenom’s VP of sales for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), where he will focus on bringing new business to the company in these regions. Joeres has previously managed the launch of hyper-growth initiatives for companies including Celonis and Snow, where he spearheaded year-over-year growth and scaled personnel from small teams to large units.

“They carry proven track records of success meeting ambitious business objectives in many different markets around the world, and we expect their leadership will inspire our talented overseas team to bring amazing talent experiences to global enterprises,” CEO Mahe Bayireddi.

Companies: Gopuff / Power Home Remodeling / Phenom / Brandywine Realty Trust
Series: Power Moves

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