The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $342,378 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:
- developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
- helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
- 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 15,820 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,645 existing jobs, to start 442 new companies, and to develop 1,189 new products and processes. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
BFTP/NEP owns and manages Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem at which it is headquartered. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.
Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments that are provided to clients in the form of loans.
Bison Analytics, LLC, Lewisburg, Union County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Continue developing and provide marketing support to Bison Analytics’ planning and business intelligence software for small businesses that use QuickBooks™ or mid-market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) accounting software systems. The Bison Analytics’ suite of products allows clients to easily utilize QuickBooks or ERP data for comprehensive financial planning, analysis, and management. Bison Analytics will implement software enhancements, develop a sales strategy for the company’s cloud-based product, and analyze follow-on funding tactics.
Cerora Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Finalize software and hardware, and commercialize a cloud-based, medical-grade, neuro-diagnostic solution. Cerora makes real-time neuro-diagnostic information available to non-specialists in the field. The company’s first device under development is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions, yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions/Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions. There are currently no easy-to-use, portable, and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders, and certified athletic trainers.
CEWA Technologies, Inc., Wyomissing, Berks County
Ben Franklin Investment: $75,000
Complete design, construct, and test prototypes of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish that will deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and construction. The dish is capable of providing thermal power for HVAC, power generation, desalination, and process heat applications at a cost comparable to fossil fuel-based sources of energy without government subsidy. Such cost competitiveness is novel in solar power dishes, and critical to the growth of this alternative energy source.
Skaffl, LLC, Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: 50,000
Complete development of Braket, a new mobile application through which teachers and students can exchange class materials, assignments, completed homework, assessments, and grades. This digital application capitalizes on the exponentially growing use of iPads in K-12 classrooms and the needs of teachers as they develop tools and curricula to enhance real-time educational interaction. There are no other applications that address these needs comprehensively while also being simple to use for students, teachers, and administrators.
Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.
Crispin Valve, Berwick, Columbia County
University Partner: Utah State University
Ben Franklin Investment: $8,740
Determine the flow characteristics of a new plug valve for the wastewater industry at this manufacturer of industrial and commercial valves. Building on its success in the butterfly valve market for the municipal water industry, Crispin Valve is expanding into this new product line.
GenPore, Reading, Berks County
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Ben Franklin Investment: $8,638
Complete work to expand and optimize operating space, including construction of new clean rooms and addition of new warehouse space, at this manufacturer of porous plastic filters. GenPore specializes in innovative and cost-effective solutions for a broad range of filtration, controlled flow, and separation applications for liquids and gases.