Harper Reed
| Chicago, IL
Harper Reed is a seasoned technologist and entrepreneur known for his impactful contributions across various domains. He has held significant roles at PayPal, Modest Inc., the Obama 2012 campaign, and Threadless.com, showcasing his ability to drive innovation in e-commerce, politics, and crowdsourcing. Most recently, Harper was the CEO of General Galactic Corporation, where he focused on shaping the future of the internet through web3 technologies and rational crypto offramps. Harper's commitment to education and collaboration is reflected in his advisory board roles, while his personal life in Chicago adds a human touch to his impressive journey.
Startup Executive: Accomplished Startup exec with over two decades of experience
Networking: Very broad and diverse network
Fundraising: Raised millions of dollars for various companies
Leadership: Managed teams from 1 to 100s of people (hard)
Product Leadership: Built products from zero to millions of users
Technology Leadership: Very technical ;)
General Galactic Corporation - CEO 2019-07 — 2023-07
  • Cofounder and CEO of General Galactic Corporation.
  • Build a team of amazing people to build amazing products
  • Raised 10.5 million dollars in a pre-seed and see round
  • Built a handful of products that helped guide users within crypto and fintech
  • Shut down the company in 2023 due to regulatatory uncertainty
US Japan Leadership Fellowship - Delagate 2019-07 — 2023-07
  • Worked with Japanese and American entrepreneurs to help build bridges between the two countries
  • Learned from our Japanese hosts about the culture and business practices in Japan
MIT Medialab - Director's Fellow 2018-05 — 2020-05
  • Work within the various groups at Medialab
  • Work with the E14 fund to help their entrepreneurs
Paypal, Inc - Senior Director, Software Development 2015-08 — 2018-04
  • Helped establish and define contextual commerce and an emergent commerce function.
  • Did research about commerce in South East Asia
  • Helped facilitate build engineering teams and Braintree, Venmo and PayPal
  • Focused and fostered diversity efforts at the Chicago office of Braintree and PayPal
Modest, Inc - Founder / Chief Executive Officer 2012-12 — 2015-08
  • Built a platform that enabled retailers to launch and support mobile buying apps.
  • Hired amazing team.
  • Launched beautiful and highly converting apps into the iOS app store
  • Sold company in late 2015 to PayPal, Inc
Obama for America - Chief Technology Officer 2011-04 — 2012-10
  • Hired world class technology team to build the technology platform for the reelection campaign.
  • Worked with team to help define and architect the solutions that helped reelect the president.
Rackspace Hosting - Customer in Residence 2009-10 — 2010-04
  • Worked with professional services department to help clients find the right solution.
  • Worked with executive staff to help define better customer experience
  • Represented Rackspace at conferences and small events.
skinnyCorp, LLC - Chief Technology Officer 2005-08 — 2009-10
  • Acted as technology leader for a company of ~60 people with revenue of ~20-30M
  • Worked in a close team to design, execute and manage community websites
  • Lead the technology to support Threadless.com growth.
  • Grew Threadless.com from 2 barely functioning servers to over 45 devices.
  • Helped bridge the gap between the internet and reality with 2 retail stores.
  • Spoke about our technology at various events and conference, representing skinnyCorp and the Threadless vision.
  • Managed a small team of engineers to handle the day to day maintenance and projects.
Squidoo - Summer Intern 2005-06 — 2005-08
  • Worked with Seth Godin and an amazing team to help build an design the initial version of Squidoo.
  • Helped define initial vision and technology for Squidoo before core staff was hired
Cramer and Krasselt - Web Programmer 2004-10 — 2005-07
  • Lead technologist and technical liaison to account management and creative staff.
  • Lead architect for client web applications. Worked with clients Airtran.com, Careerbuilder.com, and Barton Beers. (PHP, MYSQL, LINUX)
  • Lead engineer on full life cycle of Super Bowl viral campaign, Yeknominc.com. (PHP, MYSQL, LINUX)
  • Managed legacy operations for client web application management. (Perl, Navitaire SkyLights, JAVA)
World Book Publishing - Security and Software Engineer 2001-06 — 2004-10
  • Lead development staff and managed offshore engineering team. Worked to develop and maintain World Book Publishing's client facing web presence. Helped usher in new technology and standards - moving from AIX, DB2 on IBM hardware to Solaris, Oracle on Sun Hardware. Introduced open source technology and solution. (Solaris, JAVA, DB2, AIX, XML)
  • Wrote desktop content management utilities to aid in management of XML content by non-technical staff. (C#, PHP)
  • Developed practices to insure content accessibility and data portability. (JAVA, XML, XSLT, C#, DB2)
  • Helped develop a solid software security plan. Worked with system engineers to architect a secure production environment. Deployed production servers using open source software to meet budget constraints. (LINUX, NMAP, NESSUS, SOLARIS, AIX)
Net Vision Honorary Mention, PRIX ARS ELECTRONICA 2002
  • Awarded for the the audreyhacking.com community. The audreyhacking.com community was a community of people who hacked the 3Com Audrey, a linux based internet appliance. The community was a place for people to share their hacks and ideas around the 3com Audrey.
Data Innovation Awards, MCIC 2010
  • Awarded for hacking the Chicago Transit Authority Bus API
40 under 40, Crain's Chicago Business 2013
  • Awarded for being under 40 and for the work at Obama for America, Threadless, and the tech community
Breakout of the Year, Webby's 2013
  • Awarded for the work at Obama for America
CTO of the Year, Moxie Awards 2013
  • Awarded for the work at Obama for America
Young Alumni Achievement Award, Cornell College 2014
  • Awarded for the work at Obama for America
AaA 2017 PrMMAE, Asian Financial Society 2017
  • Awarded for the work at Modest / Paypal
Pardee RAND Graduate School - Board of Governors 2020 — Present
Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Negaunee Music Institute Board Member 2020 — Present
Royal United Services Institute - Advisory Board 2017 — Present
Cornell College - Board of Trustees Member 2016 — Present
Cornell College 1997 — 2001
Bachelor of Arts - Computer Science and Philosophy
English (Native)
Hacking [ Hardware, Software ], Programming [ Python, Go, Javascript ], Photography [ Film, Digital, Travel ], Music [ Hip-Hop, Classical, Hyperpop, Metal ], Reading [ Science Fiction, Fantasy, Non-Fiction ], Travel