AREP in the News

UK digital media company picks Philadelphia for U.S. headquarters

June 20, 2022

Philadelphia Business Journal

By Natalie Kostelni

Hybrid, a United Kingdom digital media firm that counts Thomas Jefferson University among its biggest clients, has selected Philadelphia for its U.S. headquarters and plans to grow the new office to 80 employees over the next two to three years. 

After the company conducted an analysis of cities that considered a variety of factors including business friendliness and ability to recruit talent, the firm narrowed its search down to Philadelphia and Boston. Both cities are in proximity to clients and had other characteristics that appealed to the company but Hybrid ultimately selected Philadelphia, 

“It was a formulaic approach but Philadelphia scored much better than many other cities,” said Joe Craven, COO of Hybrid. “We liked it better.” 

In some ways, Philadelphia also reminded Craven of Bristol, an English city roughly two hours west of London where Hybrid is based. That it’s not London and also a college town enables it to attract talent without having to compete with larger, international companies that have offices in the capital city.

“Philly has that same spirit of diversity,” Craven said. “It’s down the road from New York and its own sort of culture that differentiates it and that’s who Hybrid is.” 
Once it settled on Philadelphia, it evaluated 30 different office spaces in Center City, University City and Northern Liberties. In the end, company executives decided to focus on spaces in Center City. 

“We looked throughout Market Street west of Broad, the corridor down toward the Logans but it was important, since they were coming from outside of the city, to be near where the foot traffic is,” said Michael Rabinowitz, a broker with Tactix Real Estate Advisors who represented Hybrid with colleague Dan Ritterman. “They wanted to be closer to Rittenhouse Square and in a building with amenities, that had ease of access to the office, near where employees want to live and a place that would give them the best opportunity to recruit.”

 Hybrid signed an initial lease on 3,939 square feet at 1600 Market St. Though it had looked at nearly three dozen other spaces, 1600 Market was the first building the company had toured when it began it search. Hybrid expects to eventually lease more space as it hires employees. Positions it intends to hire include those in business development, digital media and content executives, bid and tech writers, and eventually a creative team. 

Its work focuses on higher education — in addition to Jefferson, it counts a dozen other Pennsylvania universities as clients — and the technology sector. The company is a blend, or hybrid of agency and publisher focused on two business technology websites, Tech HQ and Tech Wire Asia, and an education website called Study International. 

“We are hiring and hiring aggressively,” Craven said. “We see Philadelphia as strategic. We have lots of clients here and we think we can get more. We think in America in general and in Philadelphia specifically we can find talent and grow. We see Philly as big as Bristol if not bigger.” 

Hybrid started in the United Kingdom 11 years ago and has expanded globally, establishing offices in Australia and Kuala Lumpur. In June 2021, LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, invested what amounts to roughly $15 million into the firm to support its growth including making acquisitions.