Ben Franklin Invests $465,000 in 11 Companies and 12 Business Incubators
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP_NEPA) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $465,000 in support of regional economic development. Eleven companies and 12 business incubators from BFTP_NEPA’s 21-county Pennsylvania service area received funding.
BFTP_NEPA announces the following early-stage company investments, which are provided in the form of loans with warrants.
Brewpub Jerky, LLC, Waymart – $60,000
Design and implement a high-speed manufacturing line at this producer of beef-based snack food products. Brewpub’s high-protein jerky is crafted to pair well with beer. Its high-throughput facility will help the company scale to meet growing demand and target high-volume customers on a national level.
Click-Video, LLC, Scranton Enterprise Center, Scranton – $15,000
Develop product messaging and establish/test a strategic marketing plan for this provider of digital media communication tools. Click-Video’s REACHUM product is a proprietary communication platform that allows for instantaneous product purchases from within a video, advertising, or a virtual presentation platform, providing a more interactive and engaging user experience than other tools.
MDS Link, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem – $100,000
Support manufacturing and sales and marketing efforts for this producer of an inexpensive and patented hardware/software solution that enables gigabit data transmission across existing coax cable. There is a growing market need to increase bandwidth rates in buildings like hotels and apartments that have pre-existing coax infrastructure. MDSlink’s module can be installed into modern networking equipment configurations to deliver massive increases in bandwidth at a substantially lower cost than the installation of new fiber lines through buildings.
Showcase Ventures, Inc., Falls – $35,000
Support the product rollout of this new digital music discovery platform and streaming service. Designed by music industry professionals, Showcase Daily intersects human curation and editorial viewpoints to spotlight high-quality new music from emerging artists. Every day it will showcase musicians across a variety of genres through its well-designed application. With no initial paywall, advertisements, required sign-in, or algorithms, Showcase Daily is the first dedicated service to offer music fans early access to talented up-and-coming artists.
Slick Leagues, Scranton Enterprise Center, Scranton – $50,000
Support marketing efforts to showcase Slick League’s impact on the youth sports management industry while building a holistic overall strategy including building brand awareness. Slick League’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) sports management platform streamlines clients’ marketing, registration, payment collection, rostering, player safety, scheduling, and concession operations, so league administrators, coaches, and volunteers can focus on growing their organizations and developing their athletes. The platform is a comprehensive solution for automating and analyzing sports facilities and athletic leagues.
UnityLab, Dushore – $50,000
Update the e-commerce platform with sales and support features and incorporate newly acquired product lines at this manufacturer of commercial-grade equipment that serves small businesses and nonprofit clients. These improvements will help UnityLab upgrade services to existing customers and acquire new ones.
Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based innovation in established manufacturers.
Dynalene Inc., Whitehall – $25,000; University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research
Conduct product validation and testing for large customer specifications for manufacturing de-ionizing filter cartridges that are used in the coolant loops of fuel cells, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, and heat-producing electronics and computers. Dynalene develops, manufactures, and distributes innovative industrial heat transfer fluids and related accessories. This work will allow Dynalene to improve manufacturing efficiencies and increase production yield to continue to grow in the fuel cell/automotive and electronics industry.
eti, Inc., Morgantown – $25,000; University Partner: Alvernia University’s O’Pake Institute
Increase capacity to meet growing customer demand by focusing on Operational Process Excellence to improve throughput. eti manufactures chemical formulations for industrial water treatment for cooling and boiler water systems and membrane systems, as well as process, potable, and wastewater treatments. eti’s formulations are used by regional, national, and international water treatment companies.
Myers Emergency Power Systems, LLC, Bethlehem – $7,500; University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Implement Lean Manufacturing processes and develop configure-to-order capabilities at this manufacturer of highly engineered emergency power backup equipment, such as emergency lighting, traffic, rail, and broadband, as well as components. Myers provides integrated technology solutions mandated by safety codes in industries including data centers, government buildings, and healthcare centers. Work will help Myers enhance manufacturing efficiencies and lead times, allowing the company to increase sales.
PowerRail Holdings, Inc., Duryea – $12,500; University Partner: Wilkes University
Support phase 2 of layout and design to maximize productivity and material flow for this manufacturer, re-manufacturer, and global distribution center of locomotive parts, as it transitions to a new facility. The firm has completed phase 1, valued at $5.4 million, with future expansion to follow.
Schott Advanced Optics, Duryea – $25,000; University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Identify process improvements associated with automating the manufacturing transition from molten glass to molds, in order to increase yield while maintaining or improving product quality. With a portfolio of more than 120 glasses, Schott Advanced Optics produces specialty glass and ceramics for optics, astronomy, opto-electronics, augmented reality, life sciences, and research, and other industrial and consumer applications.
Business incubators are an important component of the entrepreneurial and technology ecosystem in northeastern Pennsylvania. Establishing the Ben Franklin Business Incubator (now Ben Franklin TechVentures) in 1983, BFTP_NEPA was one of the pioneers of business incubation in the nation. Ben Franklin TechVentures has earned two international Incubator of the Year awards. BFTP_NEPA leads the 14-member Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network, which is one of the largest such networks in the world. BFTP_NEPA owns both Ben Franklin TechVentures and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center. The 12 other Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network members each received a $5,000 BFTP_NEPA investment to help support operations, totaling $60,000.
Bridgeworks Enterprise Center – Allentown Economic Development Corporation, Allentown
CAN BE Innovation Center, West Hazleton
Carbondale Technology Transfer Center, Carbondale
East Stroudsburg University Innovation Center, East Stroudsburg
Innovation Center @ Wilkes-Barre, Wilkes-Barre
Allan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre
O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship at Alvernia University, Reading
Scranton Enterprise Center, Scranton
Startup Danville – Bucknell University, Danville
Startup Lewisburg – Bucknell University, Lewisburg
Stourbridge Project, Honesdale
TekRidge Center, Jessup
Name: Laura Eppler
Job Title: Chief Marketing Officer
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