Impact 2016

Impact Report 2016

BFTP

Who Is BFTP?

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP) was founded by Governor Dick Thornburgh and the Pennsylvania Legislature on December 6, 1982. BFTP has since become the gold standard for technology-based economic development in the United States. BFTP is a national and international model, honored with numerous awards and commendations from the President, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, International Economic Development Council and others.

BFTP has played a central role in the Commonwealth’s transition to a globally competitive, knowledge-based economy. The success of BFTP’s portfolio clients ripples throughout the Pennsylvania economy, creating new jobs, new growth, new investments and a higher Gross State Product.

Between 1989-2011, BFTP has GENERATED...

  • $235 Billion

    to boost to the PA economy

  • 51000

    jobs in client firms

  • 89000

    Additional Jobs

    beyond our client firms

  • 140000

    Total New Jobs

    attributable to BFTP’s support

3

Decades of Growth

BFTP has served as a catalyst for economic growth by providing access to the capital, knowledge and networks that foster innovation, growth and success for both early-stage firms and established manufacturers throughout Pennsylvania.

With four regional headquarters and six satellite offices positioned strategically throughout the state, Ben Franklin Technology Partners builds on regional strengths, capitalizes on new opportunities and addresses the specific needs of diverse communities. Our impact, through the advances and successes of our client companies, reaches throughout Pennsylvania and beyond—as evidenced by alumni companies that have expanded into international operations, revolutionized entire industries, tackled global health issues and changed the way businesses operate and people communicate.

Even in these challenging times:

  • From 2007-2011, the Commonwealth received a total increase of $502 million in state revenue as a direct result of BFTP investments in client firms
  • New state tax revenue generated as a result of BFTP represents a $3.60 to $1 payback to the Commonwealth on its $137.7 million investment in BFTP
Impact data in this report is taken from “Achievement in Uncertain Times: The Economic Impact of Ben Franklin Technology Partners, 2007-2011,” a report by the Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting published in 2013.

Impact Statistics 2016

Ben Franklin rigorously measures and quantifies its impact annually.

$903,438,178

SALES REVENUES GENERATED
BY CLIENT COMPANIES

NEP

Custom Processing Services

Custom Processing Services reduces larger particles into ultra-fine and nano-sized particles for chemicals, polymers, pigments, pharmaceuticals, and other applications. CPS has earned successive Ben Franklin investments, first as an early-stage firm and then as an established manufacturer, in work ranging from refining the business plan to substantial process and energy improvements. CPS has achieved double-digit revenue growth almost every year since inception. Increasing sales allowed the company to purchase two additional facilities, and increase their capabilities and service offerings. Starting with just two founders, the company now employs approximately 138 and plans to expand its workforce.

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CNP

Acoustic Sheep

Acoustic Sheep

Not getting enough quality sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breast cancer, and even becoming overweight. To address this problem, AcousticSheep, developed SleepPhones, the first and most comfortable headphones designed to be used in bed. Winner of Ben Franklin’s BIG IDEA Contest 2015 and a recipient of a $100,000 investment from the program, AcousticSheep was also named the 2015 Small Business of the Year by the Consumer Technology Association.

The company’s SleepPhones, which are made with thin flat speakers housed in a stretchy, washable headband, allow users to comfortably listen to soothing audio at bedtime, ensuring a good night’s slumber without the use of medication. The company, whose sales were at nearly $4 million in 2015, also offers an athletic line of headphones called RunPhones that are perfect for someone looking for a comfortable listening solution while exercising. Recently, the company’s CEO, Dr. Wei-Shin Lai was named the SBA 2016 Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year.

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1,412

Companies
Assisted
by bftp

1,383

Jobs Created
By Client
Companies

NEP

TMG Health

With seed capital and business support resources from Ben Franklin Technology Partners at a critical stage in the company’s development, TMG Health was able to design, test, and implement HIPPA-compliant proprietary software modules to help customers securely access government-mandated materials electronically. Since then, they’ve experienced explosive revenue and employment growth, generating significant income and jobs. Supported by Ben Franklin as a start-up in 1998, the company effectively gained market share and emerged as a major Scranton employer. With more than 1,300 on staff, TMG Health has substantially boosted the information technology sector in northeastern Pennsylvania.

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CNP

Acoustic Sheep Creates 30 Jobs in 2016

Not getting enough quality sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breast cancer and weight gain. To address this problem, AcousticSheep developed SleepPhones, the first and most comfortable headphones designed to be used in bed. Last year’s winner of Ben Franklin’s BIG IDEA Contest and named the 2015 Small Business of the Year by the Consumer Technology Association, the company’s SleepPhones are made with thin flat speakers housed in a stretchy, washable headband. These innovative headphones allow users to comfortably listen to soothing audio at bedtime, ensuring a good night’s slumber without the use of medication. The Erie-based company also offers an athletic line of headphones called RunPhones that are perfect for someone looking for a comfortable listening solution while exercising. AcousticSheep’s sales reached nearly $4 million this year and the company’s CEO Dr. Wei-Shin Lai was recently named the SBA 2016 Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year.

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CNP

VideoMining Creates 32 Jobs

VideoMining Corporation is the leader in in-store shopper behavior analytics for consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers. VideoMining’s patented technology platform is used by a majority of the top 50 CPGs and retailers for optimizing their marketing and merchandising strategies. The company’s current technology enables unobtrusive measurement of actual shopper behaviors and automatic conversion of video data into meaningful analytics at the store and aisle levels. This innovative approach has many advantages over traditional methodologies, like surveys and manual observation, in that it provides insights based on real shopper behavior in actual retail settings. Retailers and CPGs utilize these insights to make better informed decisions in areas ranging from store design and display planning to promotions optimization and package design. VideoMining received early stage funding in 2014 and 2015 from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern Pennsylvania, as well as support from Ben Franklin’s Transformations Business Services Network.

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446

New Products
& Processes
Launched
by Client
Companies

SEP

Lia Diagnostics

Lia Diagnostics

Lia Diagnostics is developing a new pregnancy test for women who value privacy and sustainability. Through the use of innovative materials and unique manufacturing techniques, Lia has created a flushable, biodegradable test that costs less to produce. Led by Bethany Edwards, Ana Couturier and Sarah Rottenberg, the company has received Ben Franklin FabNet grants for development of their prototype and investment from Ben Franklin in development of their core business, including contributions from AWE Ventures—Powered by Ben Franklin specifically for women-led ventures.

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SWP

Rorus

Clean water, anywhere

SXSW award winner Rorus uses new nanotechnology to make their Filter Pack, the first comprehensive solution for carrying and instantly purifying drinking water. They pride themselves on producing the simplest filters in the world by focusing on user-centered specifically for humanitarian relief. After getting independent lab verification for their filters to WHO standards, they ran a pilot with Emmanuel Hospital Association and spent two weeks deploying filters in rural India.

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CNP

A New Product with Social & Environmental Impact

Our health, environment, and economy are all negatively impacted by a lack of clean water. Acidified mine water drainage (AMD), flowing from strip and sub-surface mining of coal, dissolves metals from the surrounding earth and releases them into our common rivers and streams – the sources of our drinking, agricultural, and industrial water. Increasingly stringent government regulated pollution effluent limits make systems that were once adequate no longer in compliance. Located in Altoona, EcoIsland’s patent pending bio-remediation technologies have unique capabilities for treating AMD in a miniaturized, cost effective, synthetic wetland. The products and services offered by the company are smaller, cheaper to maintain and operate, and offer a higher return on investment than traditional technologies. Ben Franklin provided a pre-seed grant of $10,000 to help commercialize this unique water remediation tool as well as two additional early stage investments in 2015 and 2016.

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CNP

More Profitable Fundraising Platform/Service Created

Today, there are more than one million amateur sports teams in the United States including NCAA institutions, high schools, and youth leagues. Located in Harrisburg, Pledge It by PledgePlatform, LLC is a fundraising app that allows teams and athletes to raise money for a charity or a specific cause based on their performance. Pledge It is a do-it-yourself fundraising website that enables teams and athletes to create powerful campaigns in minutes. Whereas net profits from candy, magazine subscriptions or other seasonal products sales programs typically result in a mere 30 to 50% to support the organization, with Pledge It, fans can pledge any amount for every touchdown, home run, or goal scored. Pledge It is also unique among other peer-to-peer fundraising platforms in its appeal to corporate brands as a sports-specific sponsorship asset. To help grow this exciting new fundraising tool and company, Ben Franklin provided an investment in 2015. In addition, Pledge IT has been working with Ben Franklin’s Transformation Business Services Network to help with improving their various business

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CNP

Innovative Drone Software

Located in State College and a graduate of the BFTP TechCelerator, Airnest’s mission is to simplify the use of drones. While many industries have a need for drone technology, the problem is that these devices are extremely difficult to use and integrate within commercial markets. Through the use of a combination of mobile software and cloud solutions, the company enables software companies to easily and efficiently build software for drones across multiple manufacturers. Because of Airnest’s innovation, the users experience is now easier, safer, and just more fun.

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$474,890,377

Post-bftp Financing
Secured by client Companies

SEP

OneTwoSee

OneTwoSee

OneTwoSee Acquired by Comcast

OneTwoSeeThe OneTwoSee platform is a state-of-the-art suite of technologies that augments sports fans’ experiences through any screen, allowing television broadcasters, online publishers, sports arena owners and smart TV manufactures to deliver a rich interactive experience to their audience via their connected devices. The product enhances what viewers are watching by simultaneously making the experience interactive through their connected devices and linear broadcast.

The platform is currently being used by six Comcast SportsNet stations, Root Sports (Direct TV), YES Network, TSN & RDS(Bell Media), Cox Media, The Montreal Post Gazette, and Bloomberg Sports, and was recently awarded the “Best White Label Sports Social TV Execution or Solution.”

Ben Franklin led OneTwoSee’s first round of fundraising from regional investors, and participated in two more subsequent rounds prior to its sale to Comcast. OneTwoSee CEO Chris Reynolds has been an active member and contributor to Ben Franklin’s Success Teams groups, leveraging group insights to assist OneTwoSee’s development.

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CNP

Nearly $5M in Follow-on Funding

Several CNP Portfolio Companies, in aggregate, have raised nearly $5 million in follow-on funding this year. Here are 3 examples:

 


Sensor Networks, Inc.,
with a $300,000 investment from CNP, is developing permanently installed monitoring systems that remotely measure and report wall thickness data and corrosion rates to on-land and off-shore assets where metal degradation is a major problem. Visit www.installedsensors.com.

AIONX Antimicrobial Technologies, with an initial CNP investment of $250,000, has been developing products for hospitals to fight drug-resistant bacteria and other microbes that contribute to the costly problem of hospital-associated infections.
Visit www.aionx.com.

Energy Wall, with a total investment by CNP of $535,000, has developed an advanced, high-efficiency energy recovery membrane that actively transfers heat and moisture, while blocking particulates and many gaseous contaminants. A unique manifold design permits flexible control of air flow, and modular stacking of the cores to create an “energy wall”.
Visit www.energywall.com.

236

Patents And Software Copyrights
Awarded to client Companies

NEP

EcoTech Marine

EcoTech Marine

Protecting aquatic life with better heat and flow control

EcoTech’s principals founded the company while still undergraduate students, and built it into a multi-million-dollar enterprise with the help of Ben Franklin as well as several other regional partners. EcoTech’s patented VorTech propeller pump allows for better heat control and flow to protect aquatic life, substantially enhancing the aquarium ecosystem, and their new Radion LED lighting improves aquarium live coral growth and more. The company now employs 47 in Pennsylvania, 65 worldwide, and has recently relocated to a new facility that increases its previous space by more than eight times. EcoTech’s success represents true regional economic development collaboration.

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SWP

Digital Dream Labs

Toys that cross the physical-digital divide

Digital Dream Labs grew out of a project at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. The team incubated and tested their project at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum before being accepted in AlphaLab, the accelerator program of Innovation Works (the Ben Franklin partner in Southwest PA) that helps startups get off the ground quickly and successfully. At the time, the prototype for a large-scale game to be played in a museum setting needed to be market-tested and re-designed for a consumer audience interested in games that teach children logic, sequencing and fine-motor skills.

The AlphaLab program of intense mentoring and early capital led the Digital Dream Labs team toward their first “Puzzlets” game called Cork the Volcano. Puzzlets connect real puzzle pieces (which are manually controlled) to a video game played on a variety of devices. Now used in schools across the country and sold to consumers by global retailers, Digital Dream Labs is a great example of a company that started in a university setting, moved through the product and market development experience of the AlphaLab accelerator, and went on to receive additional funding and business assistance from Innovation Works as a portfolio company.

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7,919

Jobs Retained
by client
Companies

OUR PARTNERS & CLIENT COMPANIES

{ say it best }

“If growth and progress are a measure of success, as Ben Franklin suggests, then BFTP may be one of the most successful projects EDA has ever supported.”

United States Economic Development Administration

  • CENTRAL & NORTHERN PA

    “BFTP is not just about seed funding; it’s really about challenging and training entrepreneurs to be truly great. The entire team believed in my company and my abilities, and that made all the difference.”
    Zak Stahlsmith,
    ApexDrop Influence Marketing
    Read More
  • Northeastern PA

    “Ben Franklin provided our company with a business plan and sales process assistance, seed investments, and Solutions Network support. We have been growing 30-40%, more than tripling revenue over the last three years.”
    Scott Dawson, President,
    Core Business Solutions, Inc.
    Read More
  • SOUTHWESTERN PA

    "Innovation Works and AlphaLab provided SolePower with invaluable access to mentors and seed stage capital. BFTP remains a strategic partner as we grow."
    Hahna Alexander, Co-founder & CEO,
    SolePower
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  • SOUTHEASTERN PA

    "BFTP has been incredibly supportive and we could not have achieved our accomplishments without their advisory and financial support."
    Mike Daley, President & CEO,
    OrthogenRx
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CAPITAL

Ben Franklin provides critical seed and risk capital to start and grow innovative firms throughout the Commonwealth. Thanks to a rigorous vetting process, a BFTP investment is respected as a key endorsement for our client companies. This enables companies to attract the follow-on investment they need to move beyond start-up and into full-fledged commercialization, or to secure the necessary partners and resources to move products into the marketplace.

Ben Franklin’s disciplined investment approach accelerates economic growth.

BFTP also invests in established manufacturers, helping them innovate to remain competitive in the global economy. The result is the strengthening of Pennsylvania manufacturers and the creation of the technology manufacturing jobs of the future.

Ben Franklin invests in a number of seed- and early-stage PA venture funds, working closely with venture capitalists, angel groups and other sources of public and private investment to help our portfolio companies secure the capital they need to grow their businesses. BFTP’s disciplined investment approach accelerates economic growth and enhances the resilience of the state’s economy-boosting businesses and programs that spur innovation and commercialization. By prudently investing scarce public resources, BFTP nurtures and supports Pennsylvania’s most promising technology enterprises.

Penn Venture Partners
CNP

Penn Venture Partners

Penn Venture Partners, PVP, makes venture capital investments in the high growth-potential companies located in the Center’s central and northern footprint. PVP has a diverse portfolio consisting of companies in varied industries; some of which are also Ben Franklin companies. As a limited partner in PVP, the Center can make introductions to the fund managers for portfolio companies who are ready to access to this valuable follow-on funding opportunity.

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Micro Interventional Devices
NEP

Micro Interventional Devices Earns FDA Market Clearance and CE Mark

Ben Franklin TechVentures graduate Micro Interventional Devices, Inc.™, Newtown, earned U.S. FDA Market Clearance and European CE Mark Approval for its Permaseal™ transapical access and closure device, a disruptive technology that addresses structural heart disease. The device allows surgeons to access and close the left-ventricle instantaneously, reliably, and without suturing the myocardium. It has been used by surgeons to replace aortic valves on a beating heart without opening the chest cavity and without blood bypass.

BFTP/NEP linked MID with key local and regional media that publicized the company’s initiatives and market opportunity. In addition to investing a total of $200,000 in seed funding, BFTP/NEP also introduced MID to Originate Ventures, a Lehigh Valley venture capital fund in which BFTP/NEP invested, that helped fund the firm through a clinical trial and led MID’s latest fundraising round. These investments complemented early funding from Battelle Ventures. With the support, endorsement, and introductions provided by BFTP/NEP, MID has received a substantial amount of follow-on investment.

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Thread LLC
SWP

Thread LLC Transforms Waste into Jobs

With the aim of “cleaning up” the textile industry, Pittsburgh-based Thread LLC takes waste from the poorest places in the world, Haiti and Honduras, and transforms it into jobs. Plastic bottles and other waste are transformed into a soft yarn produced in the U.S. and used in products such as t-shirts, totes, shoes and other apparel.

Since 2013, Innovation Works has invested $200,000 in this unique B Corporation, a company equally focused on social benefit and profit.  In 2016, the venture fund of Innovation Works, called Riverfront Ventures, participated in a seed round lead by Pittsburgh venture capital firm Draper Triangle which raised nearly $3 million. Far greater than the dollars raised by the company, Thread has removed nearly 2 million pounds of waste from Haiti and Honduras, supported more than 3,800 income opportunities in those countries, employs 12 in Pittsburgh (and growing!) and partners with multiple US textile manufacturers and brands to produce and promote the most socially responsible fabric supply chains on the planet.

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InstaMed
SEP

Healthcare’s Most Trusted Payments Network

InstaMed is healthcare’s most trusted payments network, connecting providers, payers and consumers on one platform. Their rapidly growing network connects over two-thirds of the market and processes tens of billions of dollars in healthcare payments annually. Led by co-founders Bill Marvin and Chris Seib, InstaMed reduces the risks, costs and complexities of working with multiple payment vendors by delivering one platform for all forms of payment in healthcare, designed and developed on one code base and supported by one onshore team of experts in healthcare payments. Ben Franklin initially approved investments in InstaMed in 2005.

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KNOWLEDGE

Early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers have needs beyond funding. Our team provides client companies with real-world expertise in product development, marketing, fundraising, accounting, operations, human resources and more.

Each of our four regional partner offices couples its financial commitment with access to a wide range of mentoring and business and technology development services — through both the BFTP staff and our established network of partners — to chart a clear growth path for our clients. We also build regional technology commercialization partnerships to bring products to market faster.

TechCelerator & Transformation
CNP

Boosting Business Success with Boot Camps & Transformation Services

The BFTP TechCelerator Boot Camps have been providing startup business training more than five years. This year’s Boot Camps have resulted in more than 70 new startups, nearly 150 new jobs, and $2 million invested in 16 of the new companies (many of which were developed on PSU technology). The Boot Camps were also officially recognized by U.S. Small Business Administration as a winner of SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

Three examples of 2016 Boot Camp graduates include:

  • Project Team, a web-based, anti-bullying platform that went on to receive a $75,000 investment from CNP, won $25,000 at the Penn State Venture Fair, and already has $45,000 in school sales
  • MathEdge Fantasy Sports, a recent winner of the BIG IDEA Contest, developed an innovative, web-based software platform, DraftHog, that uses a proprietary algorithm, developed by math professors, to help both novice and experienced customers win their draft.
  • Aleo BME, a company that developed a new liquid bandage solution currently in the FDA approval process. The company recently closed on a $1.7 million equity round.

BFTP’s Transformation Business Services Network also supported Penn State spinout company ViroLock Technologies in 2016. ViroLock Technologies is developing an exciting new technology to improve the speed and accuracy of genetic testing for human, plant and animal infectious diseases. After participating in the TechCelerator program, winning a $10,000 grant from BFTP for most promising new technology. Transformations assisted the ViroLock team with the process of legal company formation, as well as how to properly assess founder ownership, operating priorities, and management responsibility.

Community Connections
NEP

Custom Processing Services Benefits from Community Connections

Custom Processing Services (CPS) has earned successive Ben Franklin investments, first as an early-stage firm and then as an established manufacturer, in work ranging from refining the business plan to substantial process and energy improvements. BFTP introduced CPS to the Greater Berks Development Fund, which helped the company access a number of federal and state investment programs to fund equipment and working capital needs. BFTP has also connected the company with Lehigh University for a logistics study to improve manufacturing efficiencies, with Penn State for failure mode effects analysis, and with Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technologies Applications Center for energy-related work. Today, the company has three manufacturing facilities in Greater Reading, a new warehouse at the East Greenville, and can now perform contract manufacturing on-site at clients’ plants. Since its inception, CPS has achieved double-digit revenue growth each year. Starting with two founders, the company now employs 142 and plans to continue to expand its workforce.

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Startable Pittsburgh
SWP

Building a Diverse, Resilient Economy by Helping Young Entrepreneurs

Startable Pittsburgh

Innovation Works’ program Startable Pittsburgh teaches teens ages 16 to 18 how to design, prototype, build and market products. Startable Pittsburgh engages a diverse mix of teens from different backgrounds, demographics and experience levels to help create an on-ramp for entrepreneurship that is inclusive and broad. During the Startable Pittsburgh summer program, teens earn a stipend while working with Innovation Works’ AlphaLab Gear accelerator, Tech Shop and City of Play to learn entrepreneurial and maker skills, identify market opportunities, design, prototype and build commercially appealing products, and market the goods with retail partners and through other distribution channels. Last year, the Startable Pittsburgh cohort of young entrepreneurs included 36 students — most from neighborhoods near the AlphaLab Gear and TechShop locations in East Liberty. A goal of the program is to make the world of technology, business and ‘makership’ more accessible to all.

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Mentor Connect
SEP

Partnering Entrepreneurs with Expert Mentors

In collaboration with Ben Franklin Technology Partners and the Philadelphia Alliance of Capital and Technology (PACT), Mentor Connect partners entrepreneurs with expert mentors in Greater Philadelphia to help grow business. Modeled after the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, this free and confidential program provides entrepreneurs with coaching, connections and tools to build a successful roadmap for emerging growth. Mentees receive practical hands-on advice from teams of 2-5 mentors tailored to each venture’s needs, while mentors are vetted and trained with guidance of the MIT mentorship curriculum, providing impartial and unbiased advice by the code of ethics to which all mentors must adhere. All mentors volunteer from the business community who bring a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and contacts across a broad range of industries and markets.

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BFTP

NETWORKS

Ben Franklin seeds and fosters valuable business and technology networks that bring ideas and operational talent together to grow new businesses in Pennsylvania. These networks are often the early elements of regional clusters that spawn new companies and improve the region’s and state’s capacity for innovation.

Network members include:
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Venture capitalists
  • Business incubators
  • Universities
  • Economic development organizations
  • Corporations
  • Federal research labs
  • Government
Shale Gas Innovation Center
CNP

Helping Commercialize Shale Gas Technologies that Transform

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center (www.sgicc.org) and its partners target, support, and help commercialize technologies developed by startups, as well as established PA businesses that enhance responsible stewardship of the environment while properly utilizing this transformative energy asset.  SGICC’s efforts over the past few years have increased sustainable employment and wealth creation in Pennsylvania, while helping to establish or support many commercial ventures. Examples include HalenHardy, KCF Technologies, Compass Natural Gas, Sensor Networks, and TM Filtration.

The Center’s annual innovation competitions, which in 2016 attracted nearly 200 registrants to the Final’s Event, invite the submission of ideas on new products or services that can serve the natural gas industry or its pipeline of suppliers. In 2016, eleven industry and four university sponsors heard from finalists who were vying to split the $80,000 prize package.

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Lehigh U Enterprise Systems Center
NEP

Ben Franklin/Lehigh ESC Partnership Engaged 2,000 Students, Created/Retained 15,453 Jobs

Linking regional early-stage technology firms and established manufacturer clients with the resources of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities is an important part of BFTP/NEP’s mission. The Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center (ESC) is a key resource, providing pivotal technical expertise and support to BFTP/NEP clients for more than 30 years. This year, the number of Lehigh University students who have worked with clients through the ESC has officially topped 2,000.

The partnership helps companies by providing them with student workers who are bright, driven, and ambitious. And the partnership provides students with real-world working experience in commercializing technology in key technical sectors. The work completed over this long-standing partnership between BFTP/NEP and the ESC has resulted in the creation of 4,133 jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania client firms. An additional 11,320 jobs were retained in companies since 1983 in BFTP/NEP-funded projects with the ESC.

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Scalable Innovation
SWP

Partnership Help Keeps Truckers Safe

Left to right: Afshan Khan of InnovationWorks, Avi Geller of Maven Machines and Mary Jo Rodgers of SMG Global Circuits.

Scalable Innovation is a program of Innovation Works that links hardware startups with manufacturers who can help them design appropriately for manufacture, extend startup-friendly payment terms, and meet the small-scale requirements for orders until sales ramp up. One of the partnerships that has formed from the program is Pittsburgh’s Maven Machines and SMG Global Circuits located in Washington, PA. Maven Machines is installing SMG’s circuit boards in its “smart” headsets that alert truck drivers of dangerous behaviors such as drowsy driving. SMG began by providing just a few prototypes of circuit boards for Maven. Recently, that order grew to 2,000 circuit boards for Maven Machines to assemble into their headsets. According to Marven Machines CEO Avi Geller, “my trucking company customers like that my product is made in America.”

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FabNet Rapid Prototyping
SEP

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

The Ben Franklin FabNet™ is a partnership for rapid prototyping and fabrication utilizing advanced manufacturing technologies. Clients who use these services experience increased awareness of advanced technologies that require new materials, new manufacturing processes and new manufacturing software systems. Matching funds for regional companies that wish to utilize prototyping and design facilities and are available. Finally, Ben Franklin FabNet reduces the time and expense of prototype construction through access to specialized facilities, equipment, and expertise required for design, simulation, and fabrication of products.

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Ben Franklin Technology Partners
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