Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $315,582 In Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors approved the investment of $315,582 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas: 

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies. 

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 14,922 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,358 existing jobs, to start 420 new companies, and to develop 1,017 new products and processes. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania is headquartered on the campus of Lehigh University and operates Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility, in Bethlehem, and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.50 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. 

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments from its Challenge Grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development:

A Sound Strategy, Inc. (, East Stroudsburg, Monroe County
Ben Franklin Investment: $35,000
Design a national product expansion plan and assist the company in developing a more comprehensive business strategy that will help raise additional capital. A Sound Strategy, Inc. is a software development company that provides solutions that manage business processes more efficiently. The company’s flagship product, siteMaster®, helps clients utilize web-based platforms to increase customers’ bottom lines and improve internal operations. These custom proprietary applications will be expanded in existing vertical markets. 

Appalachian Apps, LLC (, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin Investment: $35,000
Complete a financial model and develop investor documentation, including a revised business plan and investor presentation materials. Appalachian Apps seeks to become the industry leader in Appertainment™. Appertainment is smart phone applications for the entertainment industry that feature a more robust platform and greater social media interconnectivity than the competition. 

Element ID, Inc. (, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Support the increased sales and marketing effort and customer support for Element ID’s robust, proprietary, and affordable radio frequency identification (RFID) tag reader. These systems are used to help customers track assets and improve manufacturing accuracy and efficiency, to automatically manage clinical and environmental lab testing, and for fully automated, EPA-compliant chemical disposal. It is the first fully integrated hardware and software solution for RFID data capture. Systems have been deployed in North America, South America, and the Middle East. 

PROVA Systems, LLC (, Carbondale, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Support the launch and commercial development of Fleet Genius™ Fleet Manager in a Box. PROVA manufactures a wireless OBD-2 diagnostic device and trip logger for use in passenger cars and light-duty trucks. This device allows proactive, real-time field management of vehicles using data derived from its usage patterns and collected from its on-board computers. The devices provide a unified set of data points for analysis from any vehicle, allowing for an efficiency comparison among a company’s entire fleet.  The system can be used in fleet management applications and by dealers and outsourced fleet maintenance services.  It also supports applications in usage-based insurance (UBI), drive-by emissions testing systems, and secure vehicle access control systems. 

Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Development Program (AEDP) was created in July 2008 to incent collaboration to save energy costs, reduce dependence on foreign fuels, expand clean energy production, and create energy-related jobs in the state. Under the AEDP, BFTP/NEP receives funding to invest in the development and growth of energy-related companies in its 21-county area. There is a diversity of industrial activity related to energy throughout northeastern Pennsylvania, including several Ben Franklin clients in sectors such as advanced energy storage, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and alternative/clean fuels. 

Ben Franklin will invest in the following established manufacturers through its AEDP grant. 

Future Power of PA Inc. (,  Moosic, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $74,000
University Partner: Wilkes University
Analyze geological formations near the Good Spring IGCC facility to determine if it is a viable location for carbon dioxide utilization when gasifying coal. The project will assess the availability of brine water to combine with carbon dioxide to produce key raw materials. The project will also analyze the transportation of carbon dioxide to identified utilization sites. The  270-megawatt Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plant being proposed for Good Spring, PA, has the ability to capture or repurpose its carbon dioxide by-product. 

Harvel Plastics, Inc. (, Easton, Northampton County
University Partner: Lehigh University
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Complete a sustainability analysis at Harvel with the goal of reducing energy consumption by at least 15%. Harvel is an international leader in the field of thermoplastic extrusions, primarily manufacturing PVC and CPVC piping. Energy costs are one of the top drivers of manufacturing expenses in extruded plastic production.  A cost savings in this area is significant. 

The following early-stage firm will receive funding through Ben Franklin’s AEDP. 

K.C. Larson Industries, Inc. (, Williamsport, Lycoming County
University Partner: Bucknell University
Ben Franklin Investment: $21,582
Conduct translational research to determine the feasibility of manufacturing and marketing a new hybrid solar energy system that combines a solar photovoltaic panel and solar thermal heat transfer to generate both electricity and hot water. The company’s product provides retrofit capability, cost advantages, and energy efficiencies in generating both electricity and hot water. The system will serve the residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional markets.