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  • Writer's pictureErie Innovation District

EID Welcomes New "Venture Team"

ERIE, PA. April 11, 2019 – The Erie Innovation District has welcomed 3 new team members that will participate in the “Ventures Team” within the organization and they include; Rebecca Styn, Brian Slawin and John Ferry. The EID Ventures team seeks to create a new ecosystem of funds, grants and startups that bring talent and services to Erie.

“Moving into 2019, it’s increasingly important for EID to keep its venture momentum,” said Karl Sanchack, CEO, Erie Innovation District. “So, we are thrilled to announce the hiring of Rebecca Styn, who brings entrepreneurial leadership from both Idea Fund Erie and her own local business endeavor. We will be augmenting her expertise with dedicated consultative insights and support from Brian Slawin of Ben Franklin Technology Partnership along with a widely respected business leader in John Ferry. Together, we anticipate raising Erie’s startup acceleration and opportunity zone initiatives from a local and state to national stage.”

Rebecca Styn has been named VP of Ventures. Prior to her new role at EID, Rebecca served as Executive Director of Idea Fund, a local non-profit that supports early stage entrepreneurs through funding and education, as well as a proprietor of Room 33. She has continually dedicated her energy to advancing community-oriented organizations and is excited for her next chapter with EID.

Brian Slawin, the Northwest Regional Director and Portfolio Manager for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northern & Central PA, will continue to support the Erie Innovation District, working directly with Rebecca Styn and John Ferry. By bringing his expertise identifying, mentoring and investing in small manufacturing and technology companies, Ben Franklin’s goal is to help these startup and accelerating companies to grow and commercialize their products.

John Ferry will act as a Philanthropic Consultant for EID, bringing with him over 30 years of experience from both for-profit and non-profit enterprises. He founded the first identity theft protection service in the US with over 2 million dues paying members and negotiated, acquired and rebranded Experian’s consumer credit reporting service (later named He has also founded several nonprofit organizations, including the US Marshal’s Association, The Foundation to Preserve Privacy Rights for Americans and The Vince Lombardi Cancer Research Center.

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