Ben Franklin Northeast Announces New TechVentures Portfolio Manager

NEWS RELEASE Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin Northeast) has announced the appointment of Saima Farooq to TechVentures Portfolio Manager.

In this role, she will manage the 40+ early-stage companies housed at TechVentures, a 130,000-square-foot incubator/post-incubator facility located on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus. Portfolio companies include AI and software developers, advanced material and semiconductor companies, and life science companies, among others. She will be actively engaged in the Lehigh Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through outreach initiatives, partnerships, and events. Additionally, Farooq will support client initiatives like the SPARK Mentorship Program, educational sessions, Venture Idol, and others.

“We are thrilled to have Saima join the portfolio group team at Ben Franklin Northeast. Our current and future portfolio companies will benefit from her background in technology and innovative thinking,” said Wayne Barz, Chief Investment Officer.

She is currently an Information Sciences and Technology Adjunct Instructor at Penn State University, teaching courses in emerging technologies and human-centered design practices.

Before coming to Ben Franklin Northeast, Farooq spent several years with Pfizer as the Digital Innovation Lab Partnership and Innovation Challenges Lead, launching Pfizer’s global healthcare innovation challenge engine, developing the Breakthrough Change Accelerator, and founding and producing Pfizer’s global TEDxPfizer events from ideation to execution, reaching 60 countries.

In her prior role as an Emerging Technologies Analyst, she consulted Pfizer business units on emerging technologies to enhance patient experiences and scouted and onboarded startup vendors.

Farooq earned her MBA with an Innovation Management concentration from Temple University, a B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology, and a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Biology, both from Penn State University. She also has a User Experience (UX) Design certification from General Assembly.

“Our TechVentures incubator facility is an incredible resource for not only Bethlehem, but our region as a whole,” said Farooq. “I’m excited to collaborate with the bright entrepreneurs and promising startups we have here to help them achieve their full potential.”


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