Brian Phillips is a nationally recognized pioneer in business investing in opportunity zones. Brian launched the Pearl Fund (www.thepearl.fund), the country's first opportunity zone venture capital fund.
December 2019 Forbes ranked Brian and the Pearl Fund as one of the top 10 OZ funds in the country. The fund invests in early-stage high potential startups that are in or can be founded or relocated into opportunity zones, with a focus around NY, NJ, and PA.
In addition, Brian is a leading force in creating what he calls the OZ Movement, sustained and diversified investment into OZ businesses (OZB), which he sees as core to achieving the ambition and promise of OZ, for both investor returns and social/economic impact. To this end, he partners with entrepreneurs and fund managers across the country to launch and run OZB funds (www.ozb.fund), each with its own specific geographic and industry focus and its own Managing Partner. Brian is a noted writer and sought-after advisor and speaker on OZB.
Brian's OZB leadership stems from his unique background as a repeat entrepreneur himself and from a decade working in global economic development. His expertise is entrepreneurship in all its forms. Brian has been part of the founding team of a number of startups; two went public, two were acquired and one was sold via an MBO. Brian has seen firsthand how entrepreneurship drives social and economic development in disadvantaged communities. For a decade, he selected, advised, and supported thousands of promising entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, and Central/South America via NGOs including Technoserve, and as the entrepreneurship expert for Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women Initiative.
Additionally, Brian has been an advisor to Ivy League faculty on how to convert their inventions into viable businesses, and an intrapreneur in several global organizations. Brian is an active member of the Academic Venture Exchange, a collaboration between the technology transfer offices at Ivy League universities and experienced entrepreneurs.