Founders / Hiring / Jobs

Power Moves: Peep these 12 new roles across the Philly tech scene

Welcome to Power Moves, a new column where we chart the comings and goings of talent across the region. Got a new hire, new gig or promotion? Email us.

Picwell's new CEO, Matthew Sydney. (Courtesy photo)

As 2016 wrapped up for insurance software company Picwell, a new CEO took the helm.

Matthew Sydney, a former healthcare exec with 18 years in the business, was named CEO as the successor of Jay Silverstein, the fun-loving insurance industry veteran who was brought on in 2014 by the Penn professors who cofounded the company. Silverstein, whose network appeared to help the company raise $4 million in 2015, remains an advisor to the Board of Directors. CTO Ani Vemprala remains at the company.

Sydney was previously executive VP of sales at Utah-based health savings company HealthEquity.

We last caught up with Picwell at South by Southwest, where Silverstein had brought a team of five to the conference, and at its office at 22nd and Arch, where they were building a bowling alley as part of its headquarters. That playful aspect of the office seemed to be driven by Silverstein, who, though in his mid-fifties, seemed like a kid at heart. We wonder how it’s faring now.


Ben Franklin Technology Partners closed out 2016 announcing a series of changes to its board. Most notably, Fairmount Partners managing partner Charles Robins assumed the role of chairman. Safeguard Scientifics’ Steve Zarrilli will transition from chairman to vice chairman. Board members Michael Aronson of MentorTech Ventures, Cozen O’ Connor CEO Michael Heller and high-profile attorney Ajay Raju also stepped down.

The SmartyPal crew at Benjamin's Desk.

The SmartyPal crew at Benjamin’s Desk. (Courtesy photo)

Last November, SmartyPal hired exec Keith Gornish as CEO and made him a cofounder. Gornish, who was previously working on Marc Siry’s strategic development team at Comcast, came aboard to help build up the youth app company’s business strategy. This move made us take note of SmartyPal, as it suggests that the company is doubling down on its the business and sales side of things. Gornish was spotted manning the company booth at CES 2017 in Las Vegas — a booth that the National Science Foundation funded.

Cofounder Prasanna Krishnan now wears two other hats: chairman and Chief Product Officer, with a focus on building the platform itself.

The company also hired Brian Verdine as its director of learning sciences last fall. Verdine, a former postdoc researcher in education at the University of Delaware, was working as a consultant for SmartyPal before he came on full-time. Verdine previously worked on projects with Roberta Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, both education researchers that SmartyPal consulted to figure out how much time screen time a child should have.


Whistle Sports’ former executive VP Brian Selander is joining SeventySix Capital full-time as its entrepreneur in residence, where he’ll advise existing portfolio companies, connect the firm to new investment opportunities and supporting due diligence. Our sister site Delaware wrote about Selander in this 2015 profile where he remembered his stint as a staffer for former Delaware Governor Jack Markell. (On related note: P’unk Ave’s Geoff DiMasi landed a similar “in-residence” role over at Quorum.)


Comcast just gave exec Ed Brassel a title bump: from senior vice president of enterprise business intelligence at Comcast Cable to executive vice president of enterprise business intelligence at Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. In the expanded role, Brassel will apply an enterprise-wide focus to business intelligence, now informing decisions across both Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. The exec joined Comcast Cable in 2013.


Looking to make some power moves of your own? Mark your calendar for Feb. 7, which is when our tech jobs fair NET/WORK will pop up at The Fillmore in Fishtown. Nearly 40 local tech companies have already signed on to be there — look out for a full list later this month. Plus: free headshots, a workshop on how to master a technical interview and plenty of coffee. Tickets are $10, $5 for the happy hour.


Companies: SmartyPAL / Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Comcast / SeventySix Capital

Knowledge is power!

Subscribe for free today and stay up to date with news and tips you need to grow your career and connect with our vibrant tech community.


WeWork ditched its original Philly coworking space at The Piazza

What roles do gender and race play in the IT job market?

Looking for a resilient career? Check out these 13 local orgs

Techstars startup 1to1 is helping ecommerce vendors personalize your shopping experience

Technically Media