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Phil Wickham

Exec. Chairman & CEO Emeritus

Phil Wickham

Having spent more than 5 years as both President and CEO of Kauffman Fellows, Phil now serves as Executive Chairman. The mission of the organization is to develop the next generation of leaders in venture capital—success, for Phil, means that entrepreneurs are building more enduring companies and investors are achieving superior returns. As Executive Chairman, he shares the mission and message of the organization, continues to evolve the mission, supports the program’s international expansion, and and connects Society members together in new ways. He also has a special passion for venture capital’s opportunities globally in helping to meet societal needs.

Phil is a veteran venture investor and startup entrepreneur. Early in his career Phil co-founded the publishing company Reference Media in Tokyo, Japan, grew it to scale and sold it to the Princeton Review, where he became VP of Sales for Japan and Korea. Later, Phil served as General Partner at JAFCO America Ventures, a billion-dollar fund backed by leading Japanese financial and technology players such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi, NEC, Itochu, Nomura, and Nippon Life Insurance. Phil went on to become a partner and run US operations for Copan, a European venture fund based in Munich, Germany, and served on its board. He has shepherded more than 40 investments, including Ikanos, Web Methods, Com21, Square, Twitter, Palantir, ServiceMax, Lotame, and Handshake. Phil currently serves on the board of Lotame and is an advisor to Angular Ventures (London), Cross Culture Ventures, and Taro Ventures (Tokyo). He is a past advisor to the Creandum Fund (Stockholm).

Since handing the mantle of CEO to Jeff Harbach, Phil is now a General Partner of Sozo Ventures, which he co-founded in 2011. Sozo invests in and supports IT ventures with their global expansions, connecting entrepreneurial teams with the world’s most advanced and respected customers and distributors.

Phil holds a BS from the Aerospace Mechanical Engineering School at the University of Arizona, and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. When not working—or playing hockey—Phil can be found in Los Gatos with his wife and two daughters.

A Charter Class member of the Kauffman Fellows Program, Phil served his fellowship at OneLiberty/Flagship Ventures in Boston with mentor Ed Kania. Phil was a Kauffman Fellows founding board member and currently serves on the board.