Brian Brackeen is a General Partner at Lightship Capital, the Cincinnati-based firm investing in the most remarkable innovators and ecosystems across the nation with a focus on CPG, E-Commerce, Sustainability, Artificial Intelligence, and Healthtech.
Brian is a thought leader in the Artificial Intelligence space, having founded and led a globally recognized provider of face recognition technologies. His leadership saw the company positioned alongside tech giants like Microsoft and Face++ as one of the industry’s foremost providers, with operations in the US and Asia. Brian’s early acknowledgment of the dangers associated with algorithmic ethnic bias, stance against the government's use of facial recognition, and commitment to eliminating racial bias in its datasets inspired the current movement toward organized regulation and oversight of the technology.
As a general partner at Lightship Capital, Brian Brackeen finds and funds tech innovators operating in underserved cities throughout the Midwest. Since the launch of the venture fund this year, under Brian's leadership Lightship Capital has raised nearly $40MM and to date invested $2.5MM into minority-owned, tech-driven businesses ranging from Healthtech to Foodtech. Brian also facilitates Hillman, a tech focused entrepreneur education program, and NewMe, a bootcamp preparing startup founders with instruction in product development, brand building, leveraging artificial intelligence for business, fundraising, and more. His dedication to minority innovation is tireless, as he lends himself to countless underrepresented tech startups and organizations as an advisor and mentor.
Previous to Lightship Capital, Brian’s early work as an involved organizer and recruiter for the Miami tech ecosystem contributed to the city’s growth from an industry “no way” to now being one of the most desirable places to operate a technology company in the country. His constant advocacy for underestimated regions and founders is motivated by his own experiences as a Black tech founder struggling to find meaningful mentorship and funding in and outside Silicon Valley-- and for Brian, this foundation creates for him a personal connection to the founders he helps, each day. In addition to his work at Lightship, Brian lectures extensively around the world on entrepreneurship, code, the digital economy, AI and machine learning — and participates in mentorship programs for organizations like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code and The School District of Miami, and is an advisor to the University of Chicago Science Commercialization Center.
Prior to becoming a tech entrepreneur, Brian served as a Senior Project Manager for Apple Inc. and as a Senior Managing Consultant at IBM.