Brian Witlin

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Brian Witlin
Born Chicago, Illinois, United States
Residence Mountain View, California
Alma mater Lehigh University B.S. In Business and Economics
Stanford University Masters in Mechanical Engineering and Design
Occupation lecturer, entrepreneur, co-founder of ShopWell

Brian Witlin is an American businessman, entrepreneur, designer, and teacher who currently serves as the COO of Yummly.[1] Witlin participates as a lecturer at Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design and as a startup mentor at 500 Startups a seed venture fund.

Early life[edit]

Brian Witlin was raised near Chicago, Illinois. He attended Glenbrook North High School. Witlin graduated from Lehigh University with a bachelor's degree in business and economics. He served two terms as class of 2001 President.[2] Brian later completed his master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Design at the Stanford University School of Engineering. One of Witlin's class projects, a site that promoted the Firefox web browser called Firefoxies, gained notoriety from technology media for taking a disruptively different approach to promoting the free web browser.[3][4] For his Master's thesis, Witlin Co-Founded RootPhi, a new product development incubator with partner Doug Patt.


Witlin's career began while a senior at Lehigh University. He co-founded a custom software development company called Lever Works with Keith Schacht and Zach Kaplan. In December 2001 Lever Works was sold to Leo Media for an undisclosed sum.[5]

While completing his master's degree in Mechanical Engineering and Design at the Stanford University School of Engineering, Witlin Co-Founded RootPhi,[6] a new product development incubator with partner Doug Patt. The company's success and approach to portfolio innovation garnered media attention for Witlin. On September 4, 2007, while in partnership with Timbuk2 making limited edition messenger bags out of RootPhi's Reclaim Brand recycled fabric, Timbuk2 and RootPhi received a Cease and Desist letter from TARGET for using the bullseye logo within the Reclaim fabric. This fabric was utilized in a line of limited edition messenger bags manufactured by Timbuk2 (Lamitron Bags).[7] This move by TARGET halted production of the recycled bags angering many and sparking controversy around copyright law and recycled and repurposed materials.[8] Although the collaboration with Timbuk2 ended prematurely, RootPhi was able to successfully sell another of their incubated companies, GoLaces, LLC, a footwear accessory business to a publicly traded footwear company for an undisclosed amount in February 2008.

After the sale of Golaces, Brian, in conversation with founder David M. Kelley, joined global design firm IDEO as Entrepreneur In Residence in June 2008.


  1. ^ "Yummly". 2012. 
  2. ^ "Lehigh University 2000s Class Officers". 2001. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Business Week (2006). "Translating Innovation Into Market Success". Archived from the original on 28 January 2007. 
  4. ^ Business Week (2006). "The Talent Hunt - Desperate to innovate, companies are turning to design schools for nimble, creative thinkers". Archived from the original on 18 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Lueken, Abbie (6 June 2005). "Student Entrepreneurs Make Dreams a Reality". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "RootPhi". 2006. Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "Cease and Desist Letter From Target Stores". September 4, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Timbuk2 and Target". October 23, 2007.