Business development / Investing / Startups

Ooooh, Tinder’s founder poached some Philly talent: Playbook

Plus: Big hiring news from an Artisan alum and a touch of '90s-era nostalgia from the dean of Philly startups himself.

The Zoom Interiors crew on ABC's "Shark Tank." They fled Philly for LA. (Photo via Twitter)
Correction: An earlier version of this article listed Sean Rad as Tinder founder and CEO. He stepped down from the CEO role in December 2016 and is currently founder and chairman. His title has been updated. (2/14/17, 9:45 a.m.)

Startup Roundup used to be a recurring column where we chronicled bits of news in the scene that we might not write a fully fledged story about. We’re trying it in a new format, the Playbook. Tell us what you think and DM us updates and minutiae to include. Shoutout to Eamon Gallagher, who told us he missed it.

If the CEO of Tinder asks you to move…

Remember Zoom Interiors? The interior decorating startup that made it onto “Shark Tank”? The team has since rebranded as Hutch and left its Graduate Hospital home office for sunnier pastures: Los Angeles. That’s because Tinder founder and chairman Sean Rad took an interest in the company and has since invested in it.

Wrote Zoom/Hutch cofounder Beatrice Fischel-Bock: “We met when we were living in Philly and started working together. He suggested that we move out to LA for proximity to him and our investors. I guess it’s not a great Philly story.. ha!”

The startup recently raised a $7 million Series A. While we’re always sad to lose a startup to another city, we don’t think this one is such a blow. Hutch, after all, is focused on interior design and consumer-facing. Not exactly Philly’s sweet spot. We’re reminded of how former ThingWorx CTO Rick Bullotta wrote in the comments of our story on Monetate’s move to New York:

“They’re an [adtech] startup, so it’s a natural move and nothing to be freaked out about. Philly needs to nurture its healthtech potential and other unique growth areas. Pittsburgh is doing a great job of it, built around its university specialities (robotics, AI, cybersecurity). Philly needs to do the same based on the strengths of our universities and our major corporations in the area.”

OK, fine, Rick is right, but where’s the fun in that?


On our Technically Media internal Slack, one of our fave homemade emojis is this one of ex-Phillies closer Brad Lidge. It’s called “champs.”

One of countless examples. (Screenshot)

One of countless examples. (Screenshot)

Well, here is our :champs: shoutout for today: Dan Koch, the Artisan Mobile engineer who went out to Seattle to run Artisan’s product at TUNE, the company that acquired Artisan, is now TUNE’s CTO. Talk about movin’ up.

Here’s what he emailed us:

I’m just really excited. It’s been a wild adventure since I first joined Artisan five years ago. I had no inkling of where it would go, but I’m a lucky, lucky guy that it’s led to here. I’m also incredibly lucky that I get to keep working with people like Audrey [Troutt] and Alec [Baker], as well as all of the incredible folks here at TUNE.  I miss Philadelphia — and Philadelphia will always be my native home — but Seattle and TUNE is a great place to be.

If you missed it, check out our rundown of where the Artisan crew is now.


We liked this tweet from entrepreneur and Philly New Tech Meetup organizer Mike Krupit, who worked at Philly tech legend CDNow. Check out our piece about CDNow’s legacy here.

We were recently talking to attorney Steve Goodman, also known as the godfather of the Philadelphia startup scene for his deep and wide-ranging connections to local entrepreneurs, and he was telling us about how CDNow cofounder Jason Olim came to his first meeting with Goodman in sandals and shorts. And earrings. And a ponytail.

Olim was in his 20s at time — it was the mid-’90s — and building the business out of his basement with his brother. This was way before the online music retailer amassed hundreds of employees and went public. Meeting Olim, Goodman said, was an exercise in rethinking what a successful entrepreneur might look like. Sure, he may have looked like he walked out of a rock show but his answers to Goodman’s questions were on point.

“In that case, Jason was dazzling,” Goodman said.

Guess what big tech company has a local presence

We’ve always found it interesting when well-known tech companies had remote staffers here in Philadelphia and wanted to find a way to chronicle that. This’ll be a place for us do to that — let us know if you fit that bill.

First up: Janessa Lantz, formerly RJMetrics’s director of marketing, is helping to run HubSpot’s ThinkGrowth publication. She tells us she’s the only employee of the CRM here in Philly. (This disclosure: we use HubSpot, which is in part why Lantz’s gig made us turn our head.)

Here’s a little look at what she’s working on.

Buy local

Remember Ticketleap CEO Tim Raybould’s rallying cry to become a patron of more local startups?

“[P]ut all of your might into helping a Philly-based startup be extremely successful,” he wrote. “We don’t need better laws, we don’t need more VCs, we don’t need to be included on lists of America’s greatest startup towns. What we need to grow our community into a great place to start a startup is simple: more extremely successful startups.”

Here are some who are doing just that.

Drupal shop Zivtech turned to Philly Startup Leaders Accelerator grad LocalStove to cater lunch at the office. LocalStove connects people with home cooks. It was founded by a trio of Wharton MBAs: Henrique Setton, Steven Finn and Gregory Dubin.

Canary Compliance, a hot new startup on our radar that uses hardware and software to help gas stations follow regulations, got its initial product built by Chariot Solutions. We saw Canary Compliance CEO Jon Kelly at our jobs fair, NET/WORK. He’s now looking to hire some in-house developers.

(And why do we think Canary Compliance is “hot”? Or, real, rather? It’s a highly specific industry, Kelly used to work at ExxonMobil so he’s got domain expertise and the company already has customers.)

canary compliance

Mugs = good swag. (Photo by Juliana Reyes)

Say, what’s Squareknot up to?

An update from the startup that’s trying to build a social network of how-to guides: CEO Jason Rappaport tells us the team is a lean three people right now, in part due to the fact that they haven’t raised money in a while. The current team is CTO Jide Osan, Rappaport and an ex-Twitter engineer named Jordan Kay whom Rappaport met at the locally organized iOS conference Cocoa Love (RIP). They’re working on launching a mobile app and will be looking for beta testers soon. If you’re into it, email

Rappaport said the team realized how it messed up its original launch, by not making it easy enough for users to engage with each other. They learned that “a feature that a user can’t find is as good as a feature that isn’t built,” he said. Here’s to iterating.

Companies: Squareknot / CDNow / Chariot Solutions / Zivtech

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