RoseAnn B. Rosenthal to Leave President and CEO Role at Ben Franklin After 25 Years
Scott Nissenbaum to assume both responsibilities in January 2021
PHILADELPHIA (June 17, 2020)—The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) Board of Directors has announced that after 25 years, RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President and Chief Executive Officer, will be transitioning out of her current role and taking on a CEO Emeritus role, effective January 11, 2021.
Scott Nissenbaum, Ben Franklin’s Chief Investment Officer, will assume the title of President and Chief Operating Officer beginning July 1st. He will become President and CEO when Rosenthal assumes her CEO Emeritus role in January 2021.
During Rosenthal’s 25-year tenure, Ben Franklin introduced program innovations that evolved the statewide network into one of the most active seed and early stage investment operations in the nation. Between 1996 and 2019, it provided critical capital to more than 1750 emerging and diverse enterprises which created more than 25,000 technology-based jobs in client companies. Rosenthal evolved Ben Franklin from a grant-based to an earned-revenue financial model. Under her leadership, Ben Franklin catalyzed the formation of and invested in first-time venture funds, and entered into co-investment partnerships with county governments, universities and private corporations that increased the amount of seed capital for the region’s startups. In 2016 Rosenthal led the formation of Broad Street Angels, the Union League of Philadelphia’s 100- member angel investment group, which she chairs.
In May, Ben Franklin closed the $20 million GO Philly Fund, and launched the Save Our Startups initiative in partnership with the Commonwealth, providing capital to technology enterprises impacted by COVID-19. This month, Rosenthal announced Ben Franklin’s support of Philly Startup Leaders to provide grants to technology companies led by underrepresented founders.
Rosenthal has been active at state and national levels throughout her career. Known for contributing to policy discussions regarding innovation and entrepreneurship, she was a member of task forces under four presidents and, in 2010 was appointed to the first board of the National Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Her activity and partnerships to implement investment and technology commercialization models attracted more than $500M in federal, state, local, and private funding focused on technology-based initiatives in the region, in areas as diverse as nanotechnology, alternative energy, and life sciences.
With Rosenthal’s leadership, Ben Franklin’s initiatives catalyzed the formation of many independent organizations which are now part of the region’s vibrant innovation ecosystem. She serves on several regional economic development boards, is a member of the CEO Council for Growth and the Media, Technology and Telecom Subcommittee of the newly formed Philadelphia Region Recharge and Recovery Taskforce.
Ben Franklin earned numerous national recognitions under Rosenthal’s leadership, and she has been widely recognized for her leadership by national, state and local organizations, including the National Venture Capital Association, the International Economic Development Corporation, the Pennsylvania Society and the Philadelphia Alliance of Capital and Technology (PACT).
“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to lead an organization whose mission, purpose and people contribute so much to our regional community. It is the right time for this transition: for me personally, and for the organization as a healthy milestone in development of its next strategic plan. Our region faces many challenges, and I am fully confident Scott’s leadership, along with Ben Franklin’s board and team, will help lead our region to new heights.”
“RoseAnn has been unequivocally the single greatest individual proponent and catalyst for spurring growth in this region through investment in early stage technology entrepreneurs,” said Charles Robins, Chairman of Ben Franklin. “She has been the central force in growing Ben, supporting development of our tech ecosystem, companies and jobs, and positioning Ben as the recognized leader in early stage tech economic development nationwide. Working with RoseAnn has been a great honor and privilege, and I and the Board of Directors of Ben Franklin look forward to RoseAnn’s continuing active involvement with Ben and the region as we move forward.
“We are fortunate to have Scott well-prepared to take Ben forward,” added Robins. “In addition to his strong background and experience, he has achieved excellence at Ben over his five-year tenure and has earned unanimous respect and support across our Board and organization. I believe Scott will both lead a smooth transition and aggressively drive Ben’s continuing evolution.”
Scott Nissenbaum joined Ben Franklin as Chief Investment Officer in 2015 after more than 20 years of venture capital, entrepreneurship, academic, and operational leadership. During Nissenbaum’s five years at Ben Franklin, Ben Franklin grew the portfolio by more than 100 companies, streamlined the organization’s investment processes, spearheaded fundraising for the $20M GO Philly Fund and managed Ben’s co-investment partnerships.
Nissenbaum began his career at Novitas Capital, a family of early stage venture capital funds affiliated with Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE:SFE). During his 11 years at Novitas Capital, he helped raise more than $235 million in capital and held Board seats on more than 14 companies including Traffic.com (NASDAQ:TRFC), USA Technologies (NASDAQ:USAT), EZ Prints, Inc. (acquired by Café Press), and ImageTree (acquired by GeoDigital). In 2008, he founded and led Finite Carbon, a venture backed startup which was successfully sold in 2015 to a public oil company. He also held senior positions at JP Morgan, Brown Brothers Harriman, and Merion Investment Partners. He held an adjunct faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he taught the graduate course on venture capital. Nissenbaum has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Penn State and an MBA in finance from Saint Joe’s University.
“Under RoseAnn’s leadership, Ben Franklin has set the standard for world class economic development,” said Nissenbaum. “With more than 2,000 companies funded, tens of thousands of jobs created, and a quantifiable $3.9:$1 return to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is a privilege and honor to lead the organization into the future.”
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania
is the Philadelphia region’s Partners with a Purpose. Nationally ranked among the most active seed and early-stage investors, Ben Franklin works to help high-growth innovative enterprises plant and nurture their roots, creating both immediate connections and lasting economic growth. As a 501(c)(3), Ben Franklin has supported more than 2,000 companies to deliver an impact of more than $5 billion and 32,000 jobs in the Philadelphia region. Whether in tech, life sciences, manufacturing, or industries and breakthroughs still yet discovered, we work each day to raise our community of innovation higher, to benefit present and future generations of Pennsylvanians. We are part of a statewide network of Ben Franklin organizations that work to catalyze growth throughout Pennsylvania by providing resources that foster innovation and success for both startup companies and established businesses. Follow us on Twitter at @bftp_sep.