In Bob Moul, the nonprofit Philly Startup Leaders has picked a president who has a longer professional resumé than his two predecessors.
Moul was chief executive officer of Boomi Inc., a Berwyn integration-software company, when it was acquired by Dell Inc. in November 2010. Prior employers included Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Malvern's Systems & Computer Technology Corp.
Blake Jennelle and Jameson Detweiler - Philly Startup Leaders presidents No. 1 and No. 2 - began their careers as entrepreneurs while setting out to knit together the various pockets of technology talent here.
With Jennelle and Detweiler now pursuing their business plans far from Philadelphia, the four-year-old nonprofit group has chosen someone who is as bullish on the region's tech ecosystem as anyone.
Moul, who will turn 48 New Year's Eve, said the area's strengths include "great world-class universities," a "vibrant start-up community," and certain cost advantages.
For example, Moul estimated that compensation of tech talent in Philadelphia is 10 percent to 30 percent lower than in Silicon Valley. In Moul's experience, turnover is also lower, meaning area firms often avoid an "astronomical cost" in churn.
As for his priorities for Philly Startup Leaders, Moul said he's very much in listening mode right now, trying to learn what many of the 700 active members are seeking from a group whose signature event is the annual Founder Factory that shows off up-and-comers and been-there-done-that'ers.
Still, he identified three broad areas where the group should have a role in helping entrepreneurs expand their businesses: identifying sources of capital; finding available skilled personnel; and providing mentors and advisers.
I asked Moul if he could identify a mentor who'd helped him. He named Michael Emmi, who was CEO of Systems & Computer Technology and put Moul in charge of SCT's Education Systems business in 2001.
Knowing that he would be leaving Dell nearly a year after its acquisition of Boomi, Moul said he told everyone he knew that he wanted to get more involved in Philadelphia's start-up scene. Even so, he said, he was surprised when those involved in Philly Startup Leaders sought him out to serve as the group's unpaid president.
But he shouldn't have been. After all, Moul provided a reason during our brief interview: "I believe it's incumbent that with success you help others do the same."
That's what mentoring sounds like.