RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, recent President, CEO and member of the Board of Directors of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) since 1996, has over fifty years of experience in business investment, regional planning, and economic development. Praised by regional leaders as an invaluable resource for the tri-state area, she has earned a strong international reputation with her development of innovative partnerships and extraordinary initiatives. As of this year, Rosenthal has transitioned to CEO Emeritus and Director Emeritus, providing coaching and guidance to the organization.
Rosenthal significantly enhanced Ben Franklin’s investment, technology commercialization, and business service initiatives, and brought the organization national and international recognition. With a current portfolio of over 250 advanced technology companies, Ben Franklin continues to build upon its proven track record of seeding hundreds of southeastern Pennsylvania’s technology leaders across all areas of technology, making it the region’s most active seed investor and one of the most active in the Mid-Atlantic. Since 1983, Ben Franklin worked with over 2000 regional technology enterprises, many of which have become leaders in the region’s growing technology sector. It provided over $200 million in seed capital to companies that went on to raise billions of follow-on capital. Ben Franklin companies created more than 32,000 jobs and were responsible for more than $5.1 billion in economic activity in southeast Pennsylvania.
In February 2019, Rosenthal led Ben Franklin to launch the GO Philly Fund, a $22M regional venture fund that allows private investors to invest in a broad variety of early-stage technologyfocused enterprises located in the Greater Philadelphia region. This followed earlier work that led to the creation of the Rittenhouse I Venture Fund and its follow-on Rittenhouse II. In 2013, Rosenthal worked with Ben Franklin partners across the Commonwealth and the Greater Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT) to secure passage of Innovate in PA, a state initiative that provided $85 million for early-stage investment.
Rosenthal led and supported initiatives to stimulate angel investment in early-stage technology companies including efforts focused on women (AWE) and minority-owned (MAIN) technology enterprises, and she championed Ben Franklin’s engagement and investment in innovative regional accelerators and incubators, among them Dreamit Ventures and the PA Biotechnology Center of Bucks County. In 2015, she co-founded, and chairs, Broad Street Angels, a 100+ member angel investment network housed in the Philadelphia Union League. BSA invests in early-stage enterprises in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Rosenthal’s leadership and alliance-building attributes proved invaluable to the region. In 2015, Rosenthal helped design and launch the region’s Health Care Innovation Collaborative, an openinnovation model unifying universities, corporations, investors, healthcare providers and insurers in development of new solutions. In 2016, she catalyzed the development and launch of ImpactPHL, a regional alliance focused on growth of the Greater Philadelphia’s impact economy. In 2000, Ben Franklin partnered successfully with the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University to create the Nanotechnology Institute™. The NTI secured over $23 million from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and leveraged almost $300 million in federal research grants and corporate support, engaging 13 regional research and education institutions. It attracted national recognition for its multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, research to commercialization approach and has become a model for similar regional partnerships including the Energy Commercialization Institute (ECI), launched in 2009. and the EEB HUB that secured $130 million for energy efficient research and commercialization.
Rosenthal worked with PA’s Dept of Community & Economic Development to design the state’s $40 million Alternative Energy Development Program (AEDP). In Southeastern PA, AEDP supported work to coalesce and leverage the Greater Philadelphia Region’s significant energy assets. Rosenthal took the first step in this strategy in 2007, when she partnered Ben Franklin to develop the Building 100 Innovation Center at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, a catalyst for the formation of new enterprises and commercialization partnerships, particularly in physical sciences, engineering and energy. In 2010, the US DOE, with other federal agencies, awarded the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster $130M to create a national Energy Efficiency Hub at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Ben Franklin was one of the lead partners in this effort and supported its business development and commercialization functions.
Rosenthal garnered 18 years of her economic development experience at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC). As Senior Vice President for Strategic Development, she launched regional initiatives including the Southeast Pennsylvania Export Consortium, now the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, and was a leader of Strategy 21 that coalesced regional economic development organizations around a framework for growth. As a member of the City’s Defense Adjustment Team, she structured the $50-million Defense Conversion Fund. She was responsible for shaping, growing, and managing PIDC’s direct-lending capability from an initial capital base of $3 million, to over $200 million of direct loans to commercial and industrial clients. And, in 1982, she launched the PIDC Penn Venture Fund to invest in technology-based enterprises.
Earlier in her career, Mrs. Rosenthal staffed and led efforts in support of manufacturing competitiveness, waterfront development and historic district renewal.
Rosenthal has served on Mayoral and Gubernatorial transition committees of both parties and on several public and private boards and committees. She was named as an inaugural member of the Obama Administration’s National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship in 2009. The Council advised the US Department of Commerce Secretary and the Administration on key issues relating to innovation and entrepreneurship. Rosenthal contributed to its work on the Capital Formation and Technology Commercialization Sub Committees that inform the JOBS Bill.
She was an active advisor on state and regional nanotechnology initiatives through the National Nanotechnology Initiative and the National Science Foundation for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Partnership for Innovation programs. Over the years she has served on several national task forces including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
Rosenthal served on the Economic Advisory Council of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve and the Fox Chase Bank Board and is on the Boards of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology. She is on the Advisory Committee of Rittenhouse Ventures, and has served on numerous, regional advisory committees focused on technology-based economic growth and entrepreneurship, including the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Board in Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Life Sciences Congress, the Life Sciences Leadership Advisory Council, the Science Center’s Community Development Advisory Committee, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the national Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. She has been active at the national level with the State Science and Technology Institute, the National Venture Capital Association, and was a Board member of the National Council for Urban Economic Development, now the International Economic Development Council, where she helped to develop the curriculum for its Technology-led Economic Development Course.
Rosenthal has presented and consulted on various economic development initiatives around the country and has testified on issues of innovation policy at both state and federal levels. She was a delegate to the November 2008 Small Business Financing Forum and a presenter at the March 2011 meeting of the National Governor’s Association.
She has a B.A. from Temple University. She started by earning an Associate Degree from the Community College of Philadelphia which recognized her accomplishments in 2005 and again in 2018. In 2007 she was awarded an Honorary PhD in Humane Letters from Philadelphia University.
In April 2019, Rosenthal was honored by the Pennsylvania Society, receiving its coveted “Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth” award. In 2018, Rosenthal received honors from the National Venture Capital Association, the Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, and Temple University for her innovation in investing, technology commercialization, and development of new possibilities for Philadelphia and its citizens. In May 2014 Rosenthal was awarded the Enterprise Awards Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2012 Rosenthal was inducted into Temple University’s Entrepreneurial Women Hall of Fame and became a member of its College of Liberal Arts Board of Visitors, and Board of Fellows of its Center on Regional Politics. In December 2011, the Board of Directors of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania formally acknowledged her fifteen years of leadership and service to the organization. In 2009 she was presented the Blair Thompson Lifetime Venture Award from the MAC Alliance and the Champion of Small Business Award by the National Capital Coalition and received the Early Stage East Founders Award in 2008. In 2004 Rosenthal was presented the leadership Award by the Chester County Economic Development Council. In 2003 the National Science Foundation acknowledged her work on the federal SBIR and STTR programs. In 1998 Rosenthal was recognized by the National Council for Urban Economic Development for her contribution and commitment to the field of economic development; and was honored in the same year by the Mayor of Philadelphia and the State of Israel for her work to establish internet community centers.
Rosenthal is active in support of women leadership. She is a member of Women Corporate Directors, the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum, and the Forum of Executive Women, which acknowledged her 31 years of on-going commitment to the organization in 2011 and awarded her their STARGNOC award in 1998. She was also one of the 1997 Business Philadelphia’s Women to Watch; and she was an early supporter of predecessor organization to the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs, serving on its Advisory Board, leading the development of reports on high-growth women entrepreneurs and housing the organization in its start- up years at Ben Franklin/SEP. In 2013, AWE recognized Rosenthal with its Iris Newman Award.