Ben Franklin Tech Partners Just Launched a New Venture Investment Fund

The organization is attracting private investors who will provide up to $50 million in capital to support the region’s early-stage tech companies.

Philadelphia skyline

iStock | curtrog

Local seed investor Ben Franklin Technology Partners has a new plan to funnel funds to startups in the region, and it involves tapping into private investors.

On Thursday, the company announced the Global Opportunity Fund (GO Philly), with product developer EPAM Systems as the lead investor, to allow private lenders to invest in new tech companies across the Philadelphia region.

Working mostly as a co-operated fund, GO Philly will make initial investments of $50,000 to $500,000 and follow-on investments up to $3 million total. For its first contract, the fund has already raised $15 million, but intends to raise $50 million to compliment Ben Franklin’s investments. So far, the fund has selected 50 out of 1,000 companies reviewed by Ben Franklin to receive investments.

“This fund allows us to expand our regional impact by inviting a new group of investors to share in the opportunities our region offers,” said RoseAnn Rosenthal, Ben Franklin’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“Thanks to surging opportunity in Greater Philadelphia, the newly formed GO Philly Fund is well-positioned to attract investors and contribute to the growth of our region,” she said.

To make things easy, GO Philly Fund will also incorporate blockchain technology following its first close. This will allow the company to accept its own form of cryptocurrency, called GO Philly Fund Tokens, which blockchain provider Securitize will manage.

According to a recent report from the Economy League and KLIOS Consulting, Ben Franklin added $4.1 billion to the state’s economy between 2012 and 2016. As reductions in state funding limit how much Ben Franklin can invest, GO Philly intends to cover any gaps in funding to prevent missed business opportunities.

“As venture capital investors have shifted their focus to growth-stage investing, a gap in early-stage funding has developed. Philadelphia has not been immune and bolstering Ben Franklin’s good efforts with new funding is critical,” said Charles Robins, managing director of Fairmount Partners and chairman of Ben Franklin’s board of directors.

Along with EPAM, local companies Provo Group, Fulton Bank, and SRI Capital have already agreed to contribute. The fund is open to domestic and international investors.

“With our participation in the GO Philly Fund, we hope to reach regional startups in their earliest stages, working together with Ben Franklin to help them become the next wave of innovators and disruptors,” said Arkadiy Dobkin, CEO at EPAM.