‘Kid in a Candy Store’: Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Incoming CEO on His Plans for the Region’s Most Active Seed Fund

Scott Nissenbaum is feeling a little giddy.

As of Jan. 11, the president and chief operating officer of Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Southeastern Pennsylvania — the most prolific seed fund in the region — will become its next CEO, following in the footsteps of its longtime leader RoseAnn Rosenthal. And he’s excited.

“I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Nissenbaum said.

Rosenthal is retiring after 25 years atop the state-backed nonprofit, and will remain CEO emeritus until mid-year, continuing on with the organization in an advisory and advocacy role.

Nissenbaum, who was brought on as chief investment officer in 2015 with the idea of building a succession plan, said Rosenthal took BFTP from a “sleepy not-for-profit,” to the most active early stage fund in the Philadelphia area with a more than 250-company portfolio. He knows he’s inheriting an already robust operation. He views his role moving forward as building on that success.

Nissenbaum plans to focus on strengthening BFTP’s role as a key connector in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well as boosting diversity, equity and inclusion within the organization. He’s also looking to get more creative about the type of funding BFTP can seek out and projects it can take on alongside its bread-and-butter work of funding early-stage startups to help boost economic development throughout the region.

“That’s kind of the ethereal, ‘We’re going to do great things,’ but I have 100% confidence in that,” Nissenbaum said. “It’s kind of my obsession in life, and if anybody were to say that we’re not creative enough, we will be.”

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