Meet the team: Ben Phelan
What do you focus on at B Capital?
I work as part of the Finance team at B Capital and focus primarily on fund reporting, management company accounting and reporting, and portfolio company monitoring. For the funds, I primarily assist with quarterly reporting, valuation updates, managing line of credits, and reviewing management fees and capital call calculations. The management company work I focus on includes creating budgets, quarterly FP&A reporting, and monitoring expenses to forecast cash flows for the firm. Separately, I work alongside our investment team and platform team members to track the performance of our portfolio companies and create internal and external reporting for our funds.
What attracted you to working at B Capital?
Coming from performing audits on real estate investment companies while at PwC and working as a fund accountant at Leonard Green & Partners, I’ve been closely involved in accounting for funds and investment firms. I was looking to grow professionally and expand my skill set beyond day-to-day accounting operations. B Capital stood out as an opportunity to work alongside a firm of ambitious, focused, and bright professionals ready to build something monumental. B Capital’s global investment focus in technology interested me as I believe that tech will continue to shape our future. Technology is critical to accelerating growth, and from my experience, I knew that accounting, portfolio analytics and reporting would all benefit from tech-enablement.
How have you seen technology innovation impact your function or field?
Technology has been crucial for our finance team at B Capital. We are a lean team and support the firm as B Capital invests globally across multiple funds. It is crucial for our team to leverage technology as we continue to onboard new portfolio companies and B Capital employees. In terms of innovation, I have seen interesting products developed to process and analyze expenses, book and manage travel, and track and monitor portfolio performance.
B Capital has implemented new software products which have had a direct impact on the finance team. For example, we recently implemented a tech solution that collects, organizes, and provides various reporting on our portfolio holdings by leveraging the underlying legal (transaction) documents. Our auditors are able to access the tech platform, which is crucial as they now have a one-stop-shop to efficiently access, review and test our holdings for the annual audit. Internally, our legal and investment team can leverage the platform in real-time to track and manage our holdings. Additionally, B Capital has implemented various cloud-based tech solutions that communicate via API to ensure that our data is real-time and accessible by employees around the world.
What is something someone might not know about non-investing roles at a VC firm?
We are all on the same team at B Capital, and I believe the amount of cross-department collaboration may be overlooked by someone new to the space. B Capital is primarily split into the operations team, investment team, and platform team. Whether we are investing in a new portfolio company or working with the founders to discuss growth initiatives, each B Capital department has a key part in the process.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you be doing?
I’ve always enjoyed woodworking and believe that there is something unique and rewarding about the process. Woodworking requires patience and attention to detail, which are both applicable to work and life. Most importantly, woodworking continues to teach me how to enjoy the process of building more than the end result. I would not consider myself a craftsman by any means, but I can say that I look forward to the challenge and process.
Connect with Ben on LinkedIn today!