Bob Moul Sells Artisan Mobile, Still Committed to Philly

The tech startup is closing its Old City office.

Artisan Mobile is closing its Old City office after being sold to a Seattle tech company.

Artisan Mobile is closing its Old City office after being sold to a Seattle tech company.

It’s official, Bob Moul has sold Artisan Mobile, and the tech company is closing its Old City office that once housed 15 employees.

Artisan helps apps engage and monetize users through personalized marketing solutions. The company has been acquired by Tune, a Seattle-based third-party measurement company focused on acquiring app users. Although rumors had been persisting for a few weeks, the deal was officially announced at the Postback conference in Seattle on Thursday.

Financial terms of the deal are being kept confidential. Tune will not have a Philadelphia presence.

Four Artisan employees are moving to Seattle to take positions with Tune — including Dan Koch, Artisan’s head of engineering. Others have moved on to Philadelphia companies like RJMetricsSnipSnap and CloudMine.

“I feel good about it,” said Moul during a Thursday phone interview. “They are all good companies and all good people. It’s an amazing team. I can’t say enough about how hard they worked. The platform they built is a great achievement.”

Created in 2012, Artisan began hearing offers for the company last year — and Moul decided to entertain them because the company wasn’t growing quick enough.

“It’s a competitive and crowded space,” said Moul. “At the end of the day we weren’t growing fast enough. The whole startup game is about rapid growth, accelerated growth. We had landed some amazing customers like Nike, CVS pharmacies, A&E and the History Channel. But at end of the day, we weren’t achieving breakout speed.”

When Moul first spoke to Peter Hamilton, CEO of Tune, they both “immediately got excited about the synergy,” said Moul. It certainly seems like a good fit — Tune acquires app users and Artisan makes their experiences meaningful.

After a trips to Seattle and the Tune team visiting Philly, negotiations were on.

“I’ve done a number of these on both sides of the table. I’ve bought companies and sold companies,” said Moul. “There’s always some drama involved in negotiating a deal, but overall this one went very smooth. They’ve been easy to work with.”

So what’s next for Moul? As the chairman of Philly Startup Leaders, he’s still focused on connecting the area’s tech entrepreneurs. But he’s taking his time before jumping into his next venture.

“I haven’t given it much thought,” he said. “I’ve been hyper-focused on getting this deal done. I’m committed to Philly. I want [my next venture] to be in Philly but I’m in no rush. I’m open-minded.”