Introducing The Pearl Fund: The First Venture Capital Opportunity Zone Fund Opens in the U.S.

Brian Phillips, managing partner of The Pearl Fund

The Pearl Fund ( announced the launch of a new investment vehicle focused on Opportunity Zone businesses. Following the recent traunch of Opportunity Zone regulations, the 2019 Fund will raise $25 million from investors with capital gains who are seeking tax-free venture capital returns.

The specialized boutique fund focuses on three key areas:

  • Generating high returns that will be completely tax mitigated to investors via Opportunity Zone tax laws. The Pearl Fund is a Qualified Opportunity Zone Fund as designated by the IRS and is an SEC Regulation D: Rule 506(c) private placement compliant fund. There are significant tax benefits for investors who put their capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds within their 180-day window.
  • Early-stage startups that can yield a 10X or more return. The Pearl Fund focuses exclusively on high-potential, early-stage startups that can generate greater economic impact for their communities, while delivering significantly higher returns for investors than real-estate specific Opportunity Zone funds.
  • Qualified Opportunity Zones in New York and Pennsylvania. While establishing the nation’s first Opportunity Zone incubators™, the Fund is ideally located in two of the hottest locations in the nation: The Brooklyn Navy Yard–a 300-acre waterfront park with 4.9 million square feet which now has some 400 companies that generate $2.3B in annual revenue, which is expected to triple by 2020 as New York continues to beat out San Francisco as the world’s best city for tech; and North East Pennsylvania’s Jessup Small Business Center –a 132-acre mixed-use park that is not only a designated Opportunity Zone but also a Keystone Opportunity Zone and a Keystone Innovation Zone, which affords businesses located here special Federal, State, and City tax advantages.

“There couldn’t be a more opportune or exciting time to launch our fund than now,” said Brian Phillips, founder and managing partner of The Pearl Fund, who brings more than three decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur and expert on emerging economies. “We will be working closely with our portfolio companies to ensure high returns for our investors who are seeking to diversify their portfolios at such an unprecedented time.”

Mr. Phillips, who has been a founding member of over a dozen startups, has spent time working with and advising hundreds of SME entrepreneurs for Goldman Sachs in dozens of countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Brazil, and India. Additionally, he is also a trusted advisor to Ivy League faculty on how to convert their inventions into viable businesses.

Opportunity Zone businesses: a ‘sweet spot’ for investors with measurable economic development and social impact

Opportunity Zone venture capital has the potential to generate stronger returns than similar investments in real estate. As with venture investing in general, the target returns for Opportunity Zone business investing is at least 10X, with the holy grail being to fund the next Apple or Google (by comparison, average real estate investments target returns are 2-3X). Further, a 2014 Goldman Sachs study found that investment in rapidly scaling small-to-medium enterprise is the most effective way to drive economic development.

The news of the Fund’s launch follows the recent announcement that The Pearl Fund has added several key advisors who bring diversified expertise across business development strategy, marketing, and public relations.

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The Pearl Fund is the first Opportunity Zone fund that is also a venture capital fund investing in early-stage startups and their founders. Led by serial entrepreneur and global economic development expert Brian Phillips, who has been a founding member of over a dozen startups (two IPOs, two acquisitions and one sold via an MBO), The Pearl Fund focuses on high-potential businesses that can yield a 10X+ return. 



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