Maia Benson, ​Partner, Forum Ventures; President, Nifty Luxe

Maia Benson

Forum Ventures Partner, Nifty Luxe President

The Transformation Trailblazer

As the great granddaughter of immigrants who ran small businesses, Maia Benson is passionate about entrepreneurship. “I’m a what’s possible gal,” she says. “I have a deep connection with folks who are brave enough to wake up every morning and build something on their own.”  

An experienced founder-entrepreneur herself, Benson brought that ethos to global shipping company Pitney Bowes, data analytics business LexisNexis and e-commerce giant Shopify, where she helped the platform master shipping and fulfillment. After a lengthy corporate career, Benson decided to launch her own startup, Nifty Luxe, which brings innovation to the luxury fashion industry via non-fungible tokens (NFTs), one-of-a-kind digital images that are verified on a blockchain like crypto currency. 

Although NFTs are verging on mainstream adoption—even Taco Bell and Charmin toilet paper have auctioned them for charity—the luxury fashion world is still finding their place in the metaverse. And bringing these high-end brands, who are often family owned businesses, into the digital sphere has been both a challenge and true passion project for Benson. Her company helps define digital asset strategies and create buzz-making content, ranging from digital art to tokens that unlock exclusive access and experiences. Moreover, she sees the potential of the blockchain to authenticate fashion purchases: “Provenance and authenticity are the very essence of luxury brands,” she says. 

There’s no greater joy for me than building tools with real value. The kind that give entrepreneurs more time, money or domain expertise to survive and thrive.

After nearly 20 years advising entrepreneurs, Benson is elevating her impact as a partner at startup accelerator Forum Ventures. She’s turned her focus to the next generation of e-commerce and logistics tech while providing hands-on guidance to new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. Her goal remains the same: bolstering budding businesses through nuanced technology that solves complex problems. “There’s no greater joy for me than building tools with real value,” she says. “The kind that give entrepreneurs more time, money or domain expertise to survive and thrive.”   

In this new role, Benson leans on her vast expertise as an operator in e-commerce, supply chain and logistics to help business leaders navigate digital transformation powered by advances in the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence and robotics. “We’re undergoing nothing short of a revolution, where data and technology meet people and physical products in the same space,” she says. “As those worlds collide, it creates a ton of opportunity, changes how we think about the movement of goods and gives humans superpowers to simplify that process.”