Why a Philly tech startup moved to New York

Joseph Cohen and his classmates are technically alumni of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, but they didn’t spend much time in college. Cohen dropped out after his freshman year to co-launch an online startup.

Coursekit – ironically enough for the creation of a trio of college dropouts – is an alternative web platform for students and professors to chat and exchange assignments.

Cohen, and co-founders Dan Gettleman and Jim Grandpre launched their product in late November to some local fanfare, but soon after launching their company, the team moved to New York City.Not to be down on Philly, says Cohen, but it doesn’t have the start-up ecosystem of the Big Apple. “It’s not there [in Philadelphia] compared to here,” he offers by way of explanation.

“You know one thing to note in all this stuff is that building a business from scratch is one of the hardest things you can do and so it’s really to make it even harder for yourself with geography is really hard.”Cohen says that while it seems like you could write computer code from anywhere, the kind of people the company needed access to – investors, mentors, talented people to hire – were scarce in Philadelphia, and had reached critical mass in New York City. Many locales have upped their efforts of late to support entrepreneurs and become the next tech hub.  Pennsylvania has its Ben Franklin program, which provides seed money to new companies growing in-state.

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