Philly Startup CEO Died in Train Crash

Rachel Jacobs of ApprenNet has died.

Rachel Jacobs ApprenNet CEO

Updated (7:30 p.m.): The family of Rachel Jacobs released the following statement:

“This is an unthinkable tragedy. Rachel was a wonderful mother, daughter, sister, wife and friend. She was devoted to her family, her community and the pursuit of social justice. We cannot imagine life without her. We respectfully ask for privacy so that we can begin the process of grieving.”


Updated (5:20 p.m.): The New York Times is reporting that Rachel Jacobs has died.

Another victim was Rachel Jacobs, chief executive officer of ApprenNet, an education technology company in Philadelphia, whose co-workers spent most of the day Wednesday unsure of what had happened to her. A friend, Michelle Kedem, said she had received a text message from Ms. Jacobs’s family confirming her death.

Original: Rachel Jacobs, the CEO of University City-based startup ApprenNet, is missing after last night’s Amtrak train derailment.

ApprenNet COO Emily Foote was at the crash scene showing photos of Jacobs to reporters and passersby, in the hopes of finding her.

“We called, texted and emailed her right when crash happened, because we knew she was on the train,” said Foote. “I went to the hospitals last night and she wasn’t in any of them. I went to the churches and schools where people are being sheltered, and we still can’t find her.”

It’s even been tough for Foote to get information from Amtrak, she said, because Jacobs was using an Amtrak Ten Ride Ticket. She said it’s likely that her ticket was not yet scanned when Jacobs got on the train at 30th Street Station.

“That’s a wrinkle for us,” said Foote.

Jacobs became CEO of ApprenNet in March 2015. The company — run out of the Innovation Center @ 3401 in University City — aims to make apprenticeship-style learning scalable and affordable. Jacobs is from Detroit and graduated from Swarthmore College and Columbia Business School.