Ben Franklin News

Finalists Selected: Ben Franklin Virtual Venture Idol

Program Book Preview Available

 Rocket Cloud, Inc.; studio BE Mindfulness, LLC; and Thread Bioscience, Inc. were selected as the three finalists for the 2020 Ben Franklin Venture Idol competition by a panel of experienced private investors. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania will host its 17th annual Ben Franklin Venture Idol on Tuesday evening, November 17, 2020, 6:00 – 7:45 PM. This year’s event will be held virtually and is offered free-of-charge. Register at

These entrepreneur finalists will present their investment opportunities at Ben Franklin Venture Idol on November 17.

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.

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 presentation by Joe Blair, Cota Capital; Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital; and Todd Pietri, Activate Ventures. Wayne Barz, Chief Investment Officer, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, will moderate.

Then the Venture Idol competition will begin. The three finalists will be evaluated by a new 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.

Anyone interested in a “sneak peek” of this year’s Venture Idol can preview the program book at The program includes venture profiles of each of the seven competitors, an article, “What Has 2020 Taught Us About Start-Ups And Funding Them In 2021?” by Paul Martino, General Partner of Bullpen Capital, bios on investor panelists and emcees, a listing of regional venture capital resources, and event sponsors.

Seven Ben Franklin Venture Idol semi-finalists were selected competitively from among BFTP/NEP’s early-stage clients to be the Venture Idol 2020 contestants. Those companies pitched to investors, who selected the finalists. In addition to the finalists, this year’s competitors are: Heudia Health LLC; Hootboard, LLC; IntelliGreen; and ProdHealth, Inc.

Ben Franklin Venture Idol registration is open to the public and free-of-charge at Coverage via Lehigh Valley Live; Lehigh Valley Business