iPipeline, the Exton-based insurance-sales software maker, is the latest suburban tech firm to add a Center City office in hopes of luring young engineers, programmers and IT salespeople. The firm, which employs 390 across the U.S.and in its U.K., Canada and Japan offices, has leased a suite on the 33rd floor at 1818 Market Street (soon to be Beneficial Place, new HQ for the city's largest bank).
It's what you have to do these days to hire "scarce technical talent," says Paul Melchiorre, the Villanova and Drexel grad and SAP and Ariba veteran who's president of iPipeline."These kids are staying in the city. They want to work where they play. We need to be here to make sure we continue to attract the future A players. This office will be a youthful environment more akin to a Silicon Valley company, with an open floor plan, and, of course, a pool table."
iPipeline joins Exton construction-software maker Bentley Systems and Blue Bell cloud-mobile-device manager Fiberlink, which added larger offices on the Parkway last year, also searching for city-based talent. iPipeline is starting small, with "the first dozen employees in Philly at this time," says marketing chief Mike Persiano. "We are aware of the outstanding talents coming out of Drexel, U of P," and other schools, "and our intention is to hire this talent to support our global growth."The company plans to add 50 more worldwide this year, and maybe more through acquisitions. iPipeline sales top $60 million a year, up more than fivefold since 2007. The company's investors include Michael DiPiano and partners' Radnor-based NewSpring Capital, among others.
All this is very different from when Melchiorre, a South Philly native, finished school and went to work in IT a generation back. "We couldn't wait to get out of the city. Of course that was many years ago," he told me. "Philly is changing for the better and tech companies are realizing that. This is as good an area to build a tech company as Boston, Austin, or San Francisco."