East Falls shines as a technology hub thanks to our resident industry trailblazer. We catch up with Felicite Moorman for some insights into tech, East Falls, and what’s next for that Little Red Cafe on Midvale.
We’ve been gunning for Felicite since we invited ourselves to write a blog about her family while they settled into the area & embarked on a spectacularly ambitious home restoration. While Hohenadel House’s history and architecture were amazing, Felicite herself turned out to be a far more compelling a subject.
Back in 2014, she had just moved to the area with BuLogics, an “Internet of Things” company that creates wireless solutions for energy and security concerns — for instance, remotely-controlled locks & utilities for dorms, hotels, and apartment buildings. Her business partner, Ryan Buchert, performed much of the engineering, while Felicite steered & promoted their company.
“I just let Felicite handle everything, ” he’s told us more than once, “She has amazing instincts.”
We weren’t surprised this month when Philly Business Journal applauded her as one of the area’s most influential women in technology — but that doesn’t mean we’re not thrilled for her, and for East Falls in general. In the past year, BuLogics (and sister company StratIS) have grown to fill new digs on Midvale plus they now have an office in Asia.
SO IS EAST FALLS A TECH MECCA NOW?
Felicite dishes below on Philly’s tech community, on being a woman in the field, and about new opportunities for Fallsers happening right now in their funky office/theater/jungle gym/game room full of really smart, cool people. PLUS — exciting news to get buzzed about!
How did you celebrate being named a tech innovator?
Dealing with an emergency in Japan! Lol! It was the worst best day ever!
What do you think of the article? Do you know the other women, were you surprised to see any names or learn of any new businesses?
I know about a third of the women. Philly is a small town for women in tech! One of the other women and I are organizing a get together so we can learn more about each other. Our paths may not organically cross otherwise.
From your perspective, how’s Philly for a woman in STEM? You must talk recruits into moving here all the time — what do you tell them about our tech community?
I adore Philly generally, but in no small part because of the business and tech communities. Philly is incredibly welcoming in my experience and the conversation about diversity is lively and continuous! I also try to do my best to cheerlead for other women excelling in the field.
Can you tell us about the incredible growth of BuLogics/StratIS recently?
It’s been absolutely insane. Just when I think I can’t possibly get any busier… amazing things happen and I can’t say no! So I say yes, then “HOW?!”
Just in the last 18 months we’ve installed our software in nearly 150,000 apartments and dorms across the country! That’s pacing with the major industry service providers, household names. BuLogics remains in demand as a hardware partner and has endless opportunities to create devices that impact and improve the world.
DID I MENTION WE ARE HIRING?! Please?! Help?!
The truth is though, we’re still in “build” mode, despite our traction and successes. This is just the beginning for both of these companies in so many ways. Neither has really reaped the rewards for the herculean efforts of their Teams. But we can see it now, and I hope we are starting to feel it.
Do you hire any Fallsers?
I’ll hire all the Fallsers I can get! And a couple of Roxies, too!
We are so specialized it can sometimes be challenging to hire at all, but Fallsers Ryan Buchert and I are obvious, then recently we’ve hired James Calder, Stephanie Cole, Chris “CJ” Ceperley, and Jasper Lloyd. We’re a great place to work, where we honestly hope every employee becomes irreplaceable.
A few of our non-Fallser employees are looking to move here! It’s really a best kept secret of Philly today…but it won’t be a secret much longer!
Are you looking to hire any Fallsers now?
We have six positions open and I would LOVE to fill them with Fallsers!!! Software and Hardware engineers welcome to swing by!
You guys are in Asia now so we have to ask: How are Asia’s tech communities compared to Philly’s, with regards to women seeking the same opportunities as men?
I’ve been the only woman in the room for a lot of my career, right here in the US, even in Philly. They hold no monopoly on patriarchy. That said, I work with about the same number of women in tech their as here, company to company. I’ve yet to really understand what it takes to rise in the ranks of traditional companies there, but hustlers are going to do what’s necessary to gain traction wherever they are.
What’s the most sexist thing you’ve heard from someone in Philly’s tech community?
I hear sexist things every day. I keep it in perspective, as every person’s experience colors their own perspective. I practiced law for a hundred years, so it’s pretty hard to offend me, but I did have someone who is pretty influential in the tech community offer that I should probably go back to real estate (I think he assumes I had been a realtor, not a lawyer). In the context of our conversation, I doubt he would have said that to a man.
What’s the most encouraging thing?
There is a plethora of encouragement in this community! I’m always encouraged when we’re interviewing candidates and a current co-worker shares their “Why” for being a part of our Team. It’s easy to misplace the individual message when it’s not the focus of the daily push for success and it always motivates me to do more of that thing that feeds their “Why.”
What’s the best part about being a women in tech in Philly right now?
Our community is coming together to talk, collaborate, and build. I can’t think of a better place to be.
PS: MORE EXCITING NEWS FROM PHILA BUSINESS JOURNAL — Felicite was interviewed this month for an article entitled “East Falls, the Next Cafe Neighborhood in Philadelphia” (!!)
After studying EFDC’s recent neighbor surveys, Felicite saw a need for a child-friendly hang-out space that’s not a bar. Early hours, but extending into the evenings to accommodate folks on different schedules.
Her plan for The Little Red Cafe, then, is to create a co-working/creating place that invites collaboration — like a “water cooler for the community.” But with coffee and pastries (and psst, she can probably be persuaded to invest in a beignet fryer if we’re persistent!).
“We do want to be the best version of East Falls,” Moorman said. “That’s what we’re missing — a dog park, a children’s playground and a coffee shop. What a great opportunity for us all to come together, contribute and build.”
Looks like we can all look forward to a more caffeinated East Falls in 2017! Stay tuned for more updates on our favorite Midvale nook-in-progress.