Dan Getelman: DP website builder to successful tech startup

It didn’t take Dan Getelman long to make his mark at the DP.

In the middle of his freshman year, he joined the DP's 125th Board in 2009 as the lead online developer. And in his sophomore year, he became associate photo editor. 

But the DP was not his only passion.

He joined with two other Penn students to develop a social networking site called Coursekit.com that would enable professors and students to interact with each other — essentially turning each class into an online community.

In the spring of 2011, with his junior year completed, Getelman took a leave of absence from Penn — he was in a Wharton/Engineering dual degree program -- to focus on his start-up full-time.

“We saw we had something that was working. I felt I had two things I wanted to put my full attention to: One was school and one was work, and it felt like I was only doing half of each,” he said.

For most of the next two years, Getelman and his partners built Coursekit, which received two infusions of money from investors — $1 million initially, and then $5 million — and eventually was rebranded as Lore.com.

Getelman says his time at the DP proved invaluable at the start-up, where he was the chief technical officer and which grew to have 15 employees.

“Basically that year (at the DP) I spent a ton of time building a new web site and getting that rolled out. It was just a great experience,” he says.

And the DP enjoyed following the path of the student-entrepreuners, with nearly a dozen articles from before the launch through the development of the software, from the launch to the venture capital funding to the sale of the company

Last March, Getelman and his partners sold Lore to Noodle.org, which is owned by the founder of the Princeton Review. At the time, Lore was being used on more than 600 college campuses.

By the summer, Getelman was back at Penn, to finish school. He graduated in December.

“I always enjoyed school, and it was a kind of a good time to go back,” he said. “There wasn’t anything I was burning to do otherwise.”

Getelman, who is 23, recently began a 10-month fellowship with Code for America, which partners with local governments to help them develop ways to deliver services more effectively. Given the brutal winter in his home town of New York City, he drew a plum assignment: Long Beach, Calif.

“It’s a chance for me to both make an impact using my technology skills, and to learn about a new field that I think is very important,” he said.

Getelman said he is not sure what he will do next, but he has time to figure it. His experiences at the DP, he said, have helped him in his journey.

“I learned a lot about a how a newspaper works and how to work with people,” he said.

“I learned a lot about what kind of pitfalls you can encounter working on projects. I learned a lot of technical skills. And I was able to put together a website that a lot of people were able to see, which was cool. That was one of the things that drew me to the DP — to work on things a lot of people cared about.”

— Joel Siegel

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