‘Coworking Didn’t Let Us Become Ourselves’: CampusESP Leases Center City Office Space Amid Fast Growth

CampusESP is bucking the remote work trend in the tech and startup world, signing a new lease for Center City office space amid three consecutive years of rapid growth.

The startup that acts as a resource for parents in the college decision process has taken a 5,500-square-foot space at the Graham Building at One Penn Square West. The company, founded in 2016, has seen revenue and customers double each of the last three years. It’s grown to count about 300 colleges and universities as clients. CampusESP totaled some $6 million in revenue in 2022 and is tracking to hit $10 million in 2023.

The bootstrapped company works in a hybrid format, and has operated out of a coworking space in the Graham Building. The new lease gives CampusESP a home base, something that founder Dave Becker thinks will make it easier to “create a culture of our own.”

“Coworking didn’t let us become ourselves,” Becker said. “Having our own space lets us be weird.”

Becker, a Philadelphia native and previous founder of fashion tech company Beacon & Lively, is fostering a culture at CampusESP that isn’t just “weird,” but also progressive. He offers perks like a concert credit in which the CampusESP pays for concert tickets if coworkers go to a show together. It also uses “HeyTaco,” a Slack add-on that allows colleagues to trade digital tacos with an associated monetary value for positive work performance. They can be exchanged for physical tacos.

CampusESP was named a Best Place to Work by the Philadelphia Business Journal in 2022 and was among the region’s five fastest-growing companies as well.

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