Startup City Report: Philadelphia

The once capital of the United States is now a legit startup hub.

Philadelphia, it turns out, runs on cheesesteak collaboration. The famous Philly soft pretzel? The story goes that a hobo shared his recipe to bread baker Ambrose Roth in the 1860s, who made them and it took. The cheesesteak? (Sorry, we must.) The work of two brothers, Pat & Henry Olivieri, who messed around with chopped steak and onions on a roll in 1930 (cheese added in by an employee some 20 years later).

That fraternal sense has also shaped the startup scene, which counts an eye-popping twenty-two co-working spaces around the city. Combining a talent pipeline from schools like University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, Temple, and University of the Arts with a reasonable cost of living (certainly compared to the unfortunate arm-and-a-leg standard here in NYC) have fostered a robust community. We chatted with Monetate, a startup in the thick of it.

The marketing testing and targeting platform, Monetate, blew our hair back. They’ve grown from 30 to 100 in the last year and offer employees complete freedom to set their own schedule, including vacation days. They vet carefully for fit, given the uniqueness of the arrangement, but couldn’t recall the last time someone declined an offer package. Thus offering the ultimate in co-creation — working when you want, how you want, all in the benefit of the business and your own life.

Now go forth (and fraternalize).

By the Numbers

  • 1784: Nation’s first daily is launched in Philly.
  • 8,000: Acres in Fairmont Park.
  • 1791: Nation’s first bank is launched in Philly.
  • $7: Ticket cost to annual all-you-can-eat ice cream fest.