💡 Get Philly smart 💡
with BP’s free daily newsletter

Read the news of the day in less than 10 minutes — not that we’re counting.

Josh Kopelman knows he’s biased.

But the venture capitalist — he’s an Uber investor — is a Philadelphia guy. His company, First Round Capital, houses or incubated startups like Curalate, Perceptual Networks and Technically Philly from its University City office. And as someone who’s personally invested in Philadelphia’s nascent startup culture, Kopelman doesn’t like what he’s seeing.

“A city’s treatment of Uber is a good litmus test for whether a city is supportive of a technology/innovation economy,” Kopelman told Billy Penn via email.  “It’s sad that Philadelphia’s PPA is failing that test — despite widespread support for ridesharing from the city’s population… and the support of elected officials.”

It was also somewhat of a close call for Kopelman, personally. As the Philadelphia Parking Authority was conducting undercover sting operations, stopping UberX drivers, impounding their cars and imposing $1,000 fines this weekend, Kopelman was behind the wheel of an UberX.

So UberX has come to Philly — and its free! I’m an approved driver & driving now. Who will be my first ride! cc: @Uber_Philly @Uber

— Josh Kopelman (@joshk) October 25, 2014

2/ And I’m off. My first ride is at @penn i’m on my way to pick them up. — Josh Kopelman (@joshk) October 25, 2014

4/ I feel so much pressure to pick a good radio station. Just dropped Tim in south philly. Cc: @Uber_Philly @Uber — Josh Kopelman (@joshk) October 25, 2014

5/ Just dropped 3 girls off at Frankfort Hall. Looks busy there. (It sounds like Blake and Justin are in for a fun night) cc: @Uber_Philly

— Josh Kopelman (@joshk) October 25, 2014

6/ Just drove my 4th UberX ride. Philly is hopping. (Must have something to do with @Uber_Philly giving out free rides). I’m done for now! — Josh Kopelman (@joshk) October 25, 2014

Kopelman compared Pennsylvania’s complicated ridesharing situation to Philly’s recent decriminalization of marijuana.

“I tweeted (somewhat) jokingly that only in Philadelphia can a driver get pulled over with marijuana and get a $25 ticket,” he wrote. “Yet if they get pulled over driving for UberX their car is impounded and there is a $1,000 fine.”

Kopelman noted other somewhat counterintuitive state laws, which (he says) make it illegal to sing in a bathtub, for a fortune-teller to predict where to dig for treasure and for someone to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors. [Ed note: There’s also that thing that makes us allowed to eat our pets.]

“While I don’t know if people will ever be able to legally sing in their bathtubs,” Kopelman said, “I do have confidence that ridesharing will exist in Philadelphia.”

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.