New Entrepreneur in Residence: Bennett Thomas
Bennett Thomas is the latest Entrepreneur in Residence to join Rev: Ithaca Startup Works. Thomas is the co-founder and General Partner of Triple Impact Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund investing in startups providing products and services that drive financial, environmental, and social impact. During his time at Rev, Thomas will offer mentorship to Rev members and other startup founders within the Cornell entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Prior to founding Triple Impact Capital, Thomas served as the Senior Vice President of Finance and Sustainability with Hersha Hospitality Trust, publicly traded investment firm with a portfolio of upscale, luxury, and lifestyle hotels across the United States. During his 13 years with Hersha, Thomas raised and refinanced $4 billion in debt and equity capital, and held responsibilities across strategic planning, portfolio transactions, financial reporting, recruiting, and investor relations. Thomas also founded EarthView, Hersha’s sustainability platform, which created $100 million in value, reduced the company’s carbon emissions and waste—by 44%, and 30%, respectively—and launched global initiatives focused on clean water access and hygiene. Notably, EarthView’s sustainability efforts have been recognized by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT)—the sustainability platform is a four-time winner of NAREIT’s Leader in the Light Award for the Lodging & Resorts sector—and was also included in Newsweek’s 2020 list of the most responsible companies, along with business leaders including Nike, Salesforce, and Apple.
Before his time at Hersha, Thomas served as a Senior Manager in Mergers and Acquisitions with Medco, a Fortune 50 healthcare company, as a Senior Technology Consultant with Ernst & Young, and as a Fund Manager with Big Red Ventures, Cornell’s student-run venture fund.
“I am excited to join the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) and Rev teams as an Entrepreneur in Residence for many reasons—one of the most important being the opportunity to help founders at the earliest stages of their businesses. I hope to bring a unique and timely perspective to founders given that I spent the majority of my career as an investor at the intersection of finance and sustainability. I am now launching a new early-stage venture capital fund as well, so it is very synergistic to be a contributing member of the ecosystem here,” expressed Thomas. “Also, as a Cornell MBA alum, it is fulfilling to reconnect with Cornell and the region through CREA. The impact of the organization is very impressive; the Rev companies’ stats say it all—$21 million in capital raised to continue expansion, scale-up production, and hiring of more employees in 2020—I am proud to be a part of the team!”
With Cornell, Thomas is a guest lecturer, a Board Member for the Institute for Healthy Futures, and a member of the Sustainability Roundtable. He received his B.S. in Civil Environmental Engineering with honors from Virginia Tech and graduated as a Park Leadership Fellow from the Johnson MBA program at Cornell University.