Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin to Invest $420,000 In Regional Economic Development

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors approved the investment of $420,000 in support of regional economic development. The investments are with five early-stage technology companies and one established manufacturer. 

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 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 14,301 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,236 existing jobs, to start 408 new companies, and to develop 948 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 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:

Blue Spark Interactive, LLC., Kingston, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin Investment: $35,000
Appoint a business consultant to further develop Blue Spark’s strategic plan for vertical market penetration and engage an intellectual property firm to enhance the company’s patent position. Blue Spark has launched a two-way, real-time communications platform that will change the way business professionals communicate. The company’s proprietary technology offers “next-generation” communication to various vertical markets.

Geostellar, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $150,000
Complete a software platform that computes the precise renewable resource potential over vast landscapes, providing location-specific energy intelligence. Geostellar is testing and commercializing a geomatics processing software platform. This platform applies mathematical models to data pertaining to the earth’s atmosphere and surface. The software identifies the best utility-, commercial- and residential-scale solar power sites for particular configurations based upon the resources, land use, transmission, and other factors. Additional software models are under development for natural gas, kinetic hydro-power, advanced biofuel feedstocks, and wind power location analysis.

Hydro4GE, Inc., Scranton, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin Investment: $35,000
Complete product beta testing, licensing documentation, and branding necessary for full release of Hydro4GE’s new Online-Development-Environment (ODE) software tool. This platform allows programmers to generate and support whole database systems from high-level specifications. Traditional software construction practices are often repetitive and labor intensive, and thus prone to error. Hydro4GE’s software delivers substantial programmer productivity gains, rapid application prototyping, and dramatic ongoing support efficiencies. This significantly reduces programming time and increases the accuracy in attaining the desired software program functionality.

Makefield Therapeutics, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Continue pre-clinical testing toward commercializing Makefield’s innovative, proprietary, nanoparticle-based drug delivery platforms. The company has begun two development efforts in applications that offer extensive market opportunities, with the potential to generate a pipeline of additional medications. The first program is in anti-infectives, therapeutics in which drug resistance is a critical and growing problem in both community and hospital settings. Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be severe, rapidly spreading, and life-threatening, and currently represent a significant burden to worldwide healthcare systems.

rVibe, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Continue commercialization of video conferencing services for sales training and other business instruction. rVibe’s software platform provides multi-point, high-definition, live-streaming video conferencing. Through its proprietary, highly interactive services, client companies significantly reduce training costs while retaining the effectiveness of communications.

Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investment.

Kraft Foods, Inc., Allentown, Lehigh County
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Conduct a baseline sustainability assessment at Kraft’s Lehigh Valley facility to identify opportunities for the implementation of alternative energy sources and greatly improved energy efficiencies for process improvement. Kraft Lehigh Valley produces snacks, confections, and quick meals. It has a strong reputation in the Kraft network for innovation as a facility that develops and implements a pipeline of new approaches.