2007: The Falconaire Online
While not a company project, our origins trace back to 2007, when our founder, Stephen, pushed for – and successfully co-launched – an online version of his high school’s newspaper, The Falconaire. He became the lead webmaster in 2008 and regularly maintained it until 2010, the year of his graduation. Emergency maintenance was performed in 2011 when a software update broke the site’s design.
2008: Strong Incentives
Strong Incentives was our first client, approaching us with the challenge of building and maintaining several commercial websites for Eileen Strong, a professional speaker and founder of Strong Incentives. Eileen was a valued client for two years, during which time we re-designed and maintained Eileen’s primary website, provided general IT consulting services (including house calls), and launched two additional websites for her.
When Stephen started at Drexel University in September of 2010, he soon became involved in TechServ, a student organization with the mission of bridging the digital divide in Philadelphia. TechServ’s President approached Stephen with the idea of launching WebServ, a free web and file hosting service for other recognized student organizations at TechServ. A second idea, redesigning the TechServ website, quickly arose during the process. Stephen served as TechServ’s Vice President and Head of Special Projects until his graduation from Drexel in June of 2015. The screenshot above is what the TechServ website looked like after its third design since 2010.
In 2011, Stephen returned to the world of blogging with the launch of the France Hopper Network. At the same time, we were “formally” launched as a company under the name ai|inc (we often just stuck to ai). There, our existence as a company was in the form of a page constantly moving between a separate link in the site navigation and a part of the About submenu. In March of 2015, we finally moved to a separate site (this one!) under the new name, The France Hopper Company. The France Hopper Network celebrated its ten-year anniversary in May of 2021, going through several redesigns over the course of its history.
2012: Cupcake Carnivale
Cupcake Carnivale was our second Partner and currently holds the title of our longest partnership, one that continues to exist today. We met Jeff, Cupcake Carnivale’s founder, shortly after his debut on Drexel’s campus. He approached us with the task of launching his website, which we continue to maintain today. In 2014, we launched a major redesign of Cupcake Carnivale’s site in just over a week.
2013: Hopper Books and Media
A side project of Stephen’s, Hopper Books and Media was launched in 2013 as an experiment in the realm of affiliate programs. It received a redesign in 2014 and continued to operate as a side project until its retirement in June 2015 as a seperate website. Today, Hopper Books and Media operates as partnerships with US-based Powell’s Books and Japan-based Neowing Corporation.
2014: Project Getting There
After returning from a six-month internship in Melbourne, Australia in March of 2014, Stephen brought with him a newfound appreciation and passion for public transportation. He soon began playing with SEPTA’s API, and co-launched Project Getting There with a classmate three months later as a proof of concept. It would see a major redesign two months later. While no longer maintained, the project continues to be available for use and is open-source on Github.
2015: Cupcake Carnivale Apparel
Cupcake Carnivale approached us in April with a request for graphic design work to be used on apparel to be sold at events. Working with their existing branding, we provided 23 .tif files that could be sent to their print shop of choice. As Cupcake Carnivale vends and caters in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we were tasked with creating three key designs: one hoodie and two shirts, with alternative designs for Pennsylvania and New Jersey in three different colors using Cupcake Carnivale’s existing color palette. In 2017, Cupcake Carnivale starting using the designs in their new uniforms.