Robert Moore, a Glassboro native who has been creating tech companies since he was in high school, including one that helped people calculate their odds of winning at poker, has been named the new president of Philly Startup Leaders.
The support group for technology-focused start-ups plans a formal announcement Monday. Moore’s two-year volunteer term takes effect immediately, with an official “pass-the-gavel” event planned for May 3.
As PSL’s fifth president since its beginning in September 2007, Moore assumes leadership of an organization considerably evolved since the “ragtag group of aspiring entrepreneurs that would get together for happy hours and commiserate” when he first joined it, he said. That was in 2008, when Moore and Jake Stein cofounded RJ Metrics, a business-data analytics-software start-up they sold in August to California-based Magento Analytics for an undisclosed price.
“What’s exciting about PSL today is the Philly start-up scene doesn’t need PSL,” Moore said. By that, he meant that the mission of the group’s founders -- to help the city’s tech entrepreneurs find and help one another -- has been achieved. Its email listserv, which started with five people, now has 3,000 names.
Moore sees PSL’s purpose now as “a force multiplier” for that community by providing mentoring, access to resources, and education “to help make sure we are building as many amazing companies here in Philly as we can.”
Moore succeeds serial entrepreneur Brock Weatherup, PSL’s president since December 2015, who had to cut his term short. Earlier this month, he sold his Wayne-based PetCoach, developers of an app to help pet owners care for their animals, to the mega pet retailer Petco. Weatherup is moving to California to work for San Diego-based Petco as executive vice president of strategic innovation and digital experience.
Yuval Yarden, PSL’s executive director and one of three full-time employees, said the “ideal” PSL president is someone who started a company and got it acquired, thereby having “the full perspective of a start-up” and can serve as a “role model” for other entrepreneurs who turn to PSL for support.
As someone who drew on PSL’s resources while building RJ Metrics, Moore “really understands the value of PSL,” Yarden said. “Founders need community. They need each other. They need mentorship.”
Weatherup called Moore “the perfect person” to lead PSL.
“Under Bob's leadership, I am excited to see PSL's role expand as an accelerant and thread connecting the community towards success,” Weatherup wrote in an email. “Bob's core foundation in data to drive insights and decision making will be a wonderful addition to how PSL succeeds.”
PSL puts on two major events a year -- the Entrepreneur Expo, which provides more than 200 start-ups a forum for demonstrating their products to about 2,000 attendees (this year’s is May 3 at the 23rd Street Armory from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) and Founder Factory, a daylong interactive workshop for people in the early stages of starting a company.
Enhancing those programs and boosting PSL’s national profile through such efforts as its recent participation at SXSW in Austin, Texas, are among Moore’s goals. So is building on Weatherup’s work to get more of Philadelphia’s corporate community involved in helping local start-ups grow.
Moore, 33, a resident of the city’s Bella Vista neighborhood, is married to another entrepreneur, Ali, whose web-based Groundswell Greetings is trying to disrupt the greeting-card industry with playful and culturally relevant cards designed and printed in Philadelphia by independent artists.