When Alan Kraus first joined Ben Franklin Technology Partners, you had to hear this before getting online.
After 18 years as Director of Investments in Information Technology for the Navy Yard-based, state-backed investment group, Kraus will be stepping down Sept. 9. Over the past four years, Krause oversaw 20 exits from a portfolio of around 40 companies.
Omar Mencin — BFTP’s current Director of Investment Partnerships — is taking over the portfolio. Mencin, who joined Ben Franklin in 2011, has managed a portfolio of some 20 companies, including MilkCrate, Cloudmine and ROAR for Good, with investments in the $100,000 to $500,000 range.
So why the sudden departure of a piece of Ben Franklin’s institutional memory? First of all, Kraus says it wasn’t all that sudden.
“I’d been thinking about this for a good amount of time,” said Kraus.
According to Kraus, the timing for his departure felt right, with Scott Nissenbaum closing in on his six-month mark as Chief Investment Officer, and Mencin — who had already been helping out with the hefty Ben Franklin portfolio — ready to take over his role.
“I felt that Ben Franklin will be in good hands and the region will be in good hands,” Kraus said.
That still doesn’t point to a clear reason why Kraus left. There’s no bitterness in his voice, and he spoke of the folks over at Ben Franklin as his family. Pressed for a specific reason, Kraus turns to a classic ’70s flick:
“Ruth Gordon has a quote in Harold and Maude, one of my favorite movies: ‘Live! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.’ Well, I had 18 years at Ben Franklin and I needed something else in my work life that I would have to talk about in the locker room,” said Kraus.
About the next move, not much is clear. “I need time to see and hear what the availability is, but at least in the short term, I expect to be taking various consulting projects,” Kraus said.
Though one thing is certain: his desire to stay in the Philly region, which Jason Bannon, Director of Marketing at Ben Franklin, finds to be a silver lining.
“[Kraus’s departure] is a loss, but he’ll continue to stay here and that’s pretty cool to me,” said Bannon.
As for what Kraus learned from running around the Philly tech scene, the countless pitches he heard, the exits and shutdowns and all of that good stuff, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for his upcoming guest post on Technical.ly Philly.