About Us

Our Story

Hatch Escapes began with two childhood friends, Terry Rolapp and Tommy Wallach. Terry and Tommy met in 1998, at an NYU summer program for high-school kids interested in writing musical theater. Here they are, looking sleepy.

Sleepy Teens

 

In the summer of 2016, Terry and Tommy did their first escape room (for the enthusiasts out there, it was Cold War Bunker at Room Escape Live in West Hollywood), and immediately decided they had to build one of their own. As luck would have it, Terry was then enrolled in the UCLA Executive MBA program, where he pitched the idea to his fellow classmates. In short order, the team had another five members, making for a total of seven founders.

Graduation

That we at Hatch have gone from envisioning an escape room company to opening our first room in less than a year and a half is a testament to our passion for this project. We believe that escape rooms represent something truly unique in the entertainment space, both as an artistic medium and a business opportunity. We believe that people are tired of digital experiences, of spending the whole day tethered to their phones and their computers. We love escape rooms because they’re physical and analog, because they involve communication and collaboration. We plan to design and build the best rooms in the world, both from a technological and a narrative perspective. We want to move the form forward, to create experiences so entertaining, engaging, and (dare we say it?) thought-provoking, that everyone who comes to Hatch leaves believing the same thing we do—that escape rooms are freaking awesome.

In the months and years to come, we are going to build a lot more rooms at our headquarters at 1919 3rd Avenue. We will also be rolling out a robust and innovative curriculum to serve businesses looking for an effective team-building experience (read more about our curriculum work here). We can’t wait to share our vision with all of you.

 

Meet the Team

 

trolapp

Terry Rolapp

Managing Director

Terry holds a BFA in theater, an MFA in music composition, and a Masters in secondary education. He's also a mover.

twallach

Tommy Wallach

Story Development

Tommy is the New York Times bestselling author of YA novels We All Looked Up, Thanks for the Trouble, and Strange Fire. He is also a musician and screenwriter.

jkelly

James Kelly

Technology Design

James is the Technical Director at Oath (Yahoo Media). He has also worked as a music producer and engineer, and as a sound designer and editor at Lucasfilm.

nspensley

Nina Spensley

Production

Nina has worked for more than ten years in independent film production, including as a producer and fundraiser for Sundance. She currently is focused on producing Virtual Reality experiences.

dzilafro

Dafna Zilafro

Marketing

Dafna is currently the head of marketing for Matt Construction. She has more than twenty years experience in marketing, branding, and PR.

cgarehime

Chris Garehime

Finance

Chris has an MS in finance, and has worked in public and private accounting for over ten years. He’s spent the last eight years working for Ernst & Young.

janklowitz

Jason Anklowitz

Curriculum

Jason has an MA in education, and has worked for more than 15 years in curriculum design. He has also spent more than eight years facilitating professional development.