Ben Franklin News

Ben Franklin Virtual Venture Idol Nov. 17, Free to Attend

Crowdfunding-Style Event Celebrating National Entrepreneur’s Day

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania will host its 17th annual Ben Franklin Venture Idol on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 6:00 – 7:45 PM. This year’s event will be held virtually and is offered free-of-charge; register at

November 19 is National Entrepreneur’s Day. In celebration, leading up to that day, Ben Franklin Venture Idol will be held on November 17 and Factory’s StartUp Lehigh Valley will be held on November 18. The purpose of these virtual events is to build awareness of and support regional entrepreneurship.

Ben Franklin Venture Idol is a cross between Shark Tank® and American Idol®, but with entrepreneurs and investors instead of vocalists and celebrities. The event illustrates a significant way in which early-stage entrepreneurs seek and obtain seed capital. Ben Franklin Venture Idol will also be a “crowdfunding” event.

The program will start with a keynote panel addressing “What Has 2020 Taught Us About Start-Ups and Funding Them in 2021?” The discussion will be moderated by Wayne Barz, Chief Investment Officer, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania; and include panelists Joe Blair, Cota Capital; Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital; and Todd Pietri, Activate Ventures.

Seven Ben Franklin Venture Idol contestants were selected competitively from among BFTP/NEP’s early-stage clients to be the Venture Idol 2020 competitors. A week prior to the public event, these companies will pitch their investment opportunity to a group of experienced private investors, who will select three finalists. This year’s company competitors are:

Heudia Health LLC, East Stroudsburg, offers a software platform that reduces the cost of care for hospitals and managed care groups by enabling community organizations to better connect with and empower low-income individuals and families. The goal is to help people obtain the optimal set of health, social service, education, and economic services.

Hootboard, LLC, Bethlehem, is transforming the way visitor information is delivered by destinations and destination partners in travel, tourism, and events industries. HootBoard-based concierge kiosks, plugins, and apps give control back to destination organizations and their partners to provide the best in real-time destination information to their leisure visitors, event attendees, and citizens. In addition to Destination Management Organizations, HootBoard has digitized information desks in industries including higher education, travel, and health care.

IntelliGreen, West Hazleton, offers products and services focused on technology that enables society to maintain its well-being better. The company’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform works with its Intelli-Temp Facial Recognition Temperature Scanner, which can detect and identify a face, including for an individual wearing a mask; direct a person to put on a mask as a requirement to entry; detect a reference temperature within 0.5 degrees accuracy; and provide alerting for fever conditions; all within one second.

ProdHealth, Inc., Bethlehem, is a digital health and wellness solution that provides users with personalized health coaching, remote patient monitoring, and telehealth services. Its platform lets users learn, track their habits, and communicate with their healthcare teams seamlessly, improving the probability of adherence. ProdHealth targets self-funded employers and individuals who want to minimize the risk of chronic disease and its associated costs while optimizing health and environmental impact.

Rocket Cloud, Inc., Bethlehem, provides innovative cloud-based software solutions for wholesale distributors. The firm creates visibility for clients’ inventory on major internet marketplaces by connecting and syncing directly with their existing systems without expensive software-changing costs. Rocket Cloud’s enterprise suite handles inventory replenishment, repricing, and accounting/ reconciliation, along with providing analytics to monitor performance.

studio BE Mindfulness, LLC, Wilkes-Barre, is a well-tech company leveraging a web interface to utilize proprietary, scientifically proven mindfulness techniques to empower employees to manage stress, optimize their mental health, cultivate work/life integration, and increase productivity. The company serves corporations, nonprofits, and individuals worldwide via on-site visits and/or remotely by utilizing a comprehensive e-learning platform.

Thread Bioscience, Inc., Bethlehem, produces a new diagnostic test, CultureStat, which uses a patented technology to detect urinary tract infections (UTIs) at the Point of Care faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost than current testing approaches. With an estimated 150 million UTIs worldwide annually and accounting for $6 billion in health care expenditures, there is a worldwide need for a more efficient test for UTIs to reduce the incidence of improperly prescribed antibiotics.

The three finalists will pitch to a virtual audience and a second panel of investors: Dan Loikits,  Lehigh Valley Angel Investors; Michael March, 1855 Capital; Margot Matouk, Next Act Fund, and Katherine O’Neill, Broad Street Angels, emceed by Don Yount, Activate Venture Partners. These investors will comment on the company presentations and audience members will then “fund” the companies, crowdfunding style.

Winners will be announced at 7:45 PM. Ben Franklin will allocate a total of $15,000 in investment funding among the finalists based on the audience vote. The event will conclude with optional post-event networking sessions that will begin immediately following the winner announcement.

Ben Franklin Venture Idol registration is open to the public and free-of-charge at