Built on Trust, Powered by Technology, Governed by Transparency
Carolina Opportunity Funds was created in mid 2019 to showcase tertiary markets within the Carolinas that we believed would be overlooked by the large Qualified Opportunity Funds that were beginning to populate the space for Opportunity Zone investment. The idea was to highlight projects in smaller markets that not only represent the spirit of the Opportunity Zone provision of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, but also met the investment criteria required by private equity, venture capital, and family office investors. To date, we have directed over $25,000,000 in capital to communities in North Carolina that might not otherwise attract economic investment from investors located outside of the region.
Managing Partner: Hannah Kirby
In 2019, Hannah Kirby was chosen to participate in the Catalyzing Investment in Opportunity Zones sponsored by the White House Council of Economic Advisors and the US Department of Housing & Urban Development. The Opportunity Project was championed by Secretary Ben Carson and the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, Scott Turner. The national group was tasked with creating digital tools and resources to connect investors with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and workers within the 8,764 Opportunity Zones in the US. As a User Advocate for North Carolina, Hannah traveled the state interviewing community leaders and economic development directors. The experience became the impetus for launching funds that went beyond real estate development and focused on businesses that are locating within Opportunity Zones and the transformative power that new businesses have to transform lives.
Carolina Opportunity Funds is supported by an extended group of highly specialized professionals that provide legal, fund management, tax auditing, and banking services and is continually evaluating support partners that have the expertise and drive to transition Qualified Opportunity Funds into the mainstream of financial investment structures. Opportunity Zone investment provides a natural extension to management and financial skills that Hannah has refined over the thirty-year span of her career in corporate finance, securities trading, and commercial real estate. Driven by Fintech financial specialization, Hannah is able to take on complex commercial projects and communicate how technological advances in capital structuring provide value to builders and commercial buyers through alternatives that streamline process, balance risk, and clarify exit strategies.
Hannah’s entrepreneurial career has taken her throughout the world. Whether exploring the plight of widows in India or educational engagement in Zimbabwe, Hannah has welcomed opportunities to nurture relationships that create pathways for sustainable growth and improving the quality of life of those less fortunate. Hannah is an active equestrian and understands the role that trust plays in establishing relationships with flight animals. She is also an avid golfer, although often wishes that she was a better avid golfer. Hannah volunteers her time with the First Tee of the Triangle, an organization that teaches life skills through golf. Down time is spent with her best friend and husband, Jamey, and their two incredibly spoiled dogs, Lily and Marty.
Senior Associate: Ben Felix
Ben is an experienced Venture Capital professional who has specialized in sourcing startups for the past three years. He has sourced and vetted startups in the AgTech, Enterprise SaaS, Blockchain, FinTech, InsuraTech, and many more industries. Ben has also served as a Venture Consultant for startups and venture funds focusing on corporate development and fundraising.
Ben’s previously founded, Sourcing Startups, a Texas based Venture Capital contracting firm for VC deal-sourcing. Sourcing Startups provided multiple deals per month to their clients and conducted the first screening process for all the startups reviewed, providing mid-pipeline deal flow. After reviewing startups, the deals that Sourcing Startups believe would fit the profile of their client, a package of the startup is sent with a comprehensive due-diligence report, and all relevant documents with all contact information to the startup.
Decidedly nimble, Hannah and Ben’s extensive technological and venture backgrounds have laid the groundwork for them to leverage their suppliers to provide a fully automated investor back office providing full transparency and compliance. The team has also developed a predictable investment process for evaluating potential investment candidates.