Apu Gupta didn’t specifically want to start a company in Philadelphia. It just happened that way.
In May 2012, after unsuccessfully attempting to start a business that rented out people’s spare storage space, Gupta and his business partner, Nick Shiftan, came up with the idea to start Curalate, a business that helps other businesses promote themselves on visual-based social media. Gupta’s wife was working in the city, and he convinced Shiftan to move from California.
“We never set out to build a company in Philadelphia,” said Gupta, Curalate’s CEO. “It was happenstance. I think Philadelphia has become a really good place for us to grow the company.”
While it may seem odd for someone to move across the country to help start a company, Shiftan embraces the role of an entrepreneur.
“Being an entrepreneur is all about having the chance to do things you’re totally unqualified to,” Shiftan said. “When we started Curalate, I knew absolutely nothing about computer vision, absolutely nothing about marketing. … That ignorance was bliss and allowed us to challenge a lot of preconceived notions and do things that no one had ever done before.”
Gupta and Shiftan are considered the co-founders of the company, but both gave credit to marketing manager Brendan Lowry, the company’s first employee, for helping start Curalate.
– Text, images and video by Evan Cross