Ben Franklin News

LifeAire Systems wins Ben Franklin Venture Idol

 It was a cross between Shark Tank and American Idol, and with great networking and workshops. “Ben Franklin Venture Idol” illustrated a significant way in which early-stage entrepreneurs seek and obtain seed capital. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania hosted the event on Thursday evening, November 15th, at the Innovation Institute at Ben Franklin TechVentures®, the award-winning technology incubator/post-incubator on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus.

(l to r): Dr. Kathryn Worrilow, Founder/CEO, LifeAire Systems; Fred Beste, Managing Partner, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds; Chad Paul, President and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Chris McDemus, Director, Lehigh University VENTURESeries; and Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital.


The event began in the afternoon with two optional workshops. “Getting to a Term Sheet” was presented by moderator Chris McDemus, Lehigh University VENTURESeries and panelists Ben Goldberg, MAG Fund; Jack Rosenbloom, Rosenbloom Law Group LLC; and Don Yount, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds. “Negotiating a Term Sheet” was presented by moderators Brian McTear and Tom Dwyer, Blank Rome LLP, and panelists Jim Peters, Geisinger Ventures; Jeff Snellenburg, Delaware Crossing; Neal Simon, Azevan Pharmaceuticals; and Mike Whitman, Micro Interventional Devices

Approximately 190 guests attended the sold-out Ben Franklin Venture Idol session, which included pre- and post-event executive networking receptions. The evening event began with a keynote address by Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital, entitled “The Lean Venture Capital Disruption.” 

After the keynote, three previously selected early-stage technology company entrepreneurs presented pitches to a panel of professional investors and the audience and competed for a $5,000 cash investment in their companies. Skaffl, winner of the StartUp Weekend event recently held at TechVentures also presented but did not compete. Led by emcee Chris McDemus, the investors critiqued presentations, the audience voted, and LifeAire Systems, LLC was named the 2012 winning Ben Franklin Venture Idol. Dr. Kathryn Worrilow, Founder/CEO of LifeAire Systems accepted the investment on behalf of her company. 

LifeAire Systems, LLC, Allentown, develops and manufactures patented in-duct air purification equipment for environments in which air quality is critical. Recent research indicates that 30-80% of hospital-acquired secondary infections among patients are caused by airborne pathogens. This technology addresses this problem, particularly in highly sensitive clinical settings such as In Vitro Fertilization, infection control, operating rooms, intensive care units, burn centers, and long-term care facilities. 

ArioTech Inc. and Virtual Celebration, LLC were also selected as chosen finalists. 

ArioTech Inc., Bethlehem, has developed a new type of information-sharing platform for hospital-discharged chronically ill patients and their care providers. With this platform, released hospital patients will be better able to adhere to their medication regimens, manage their symptoms, and learn more about their diseases. They will more efficiently communicate with their care providers about important physiological information including blood sugar, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and others. This will help hospitals lower costs and improve patient experiences and health outcomes. 

Virtual Celebration, LLC is a proprietary virtual platform in which hosts and guests privately gather to connect, play, share, give, and gift. This on-line celebration can either supplement a live celebration or stand alone. Either way, more guests are able to participate in the celebration, and, as a result, create an enduring virtual scrapbook that can be enjoyed by all.

Investor panelists included Denny Boyle, Silicon Valley Bank; David Drahms, Osage Partners; Dr. Stephanie Olexa , Lehigh Valley Angel Investors; and Doug Petillo, Navigant Ventures. The event was hosted by Fred Beste, Managing Partner, Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds, and Chad Paul, President and CEO, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.