The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) recently approved $675,000 in funding for six early-stage companies.
“This round of investments reflects the growing number of entrepreneurs choosing to create their web, app, social media and mobile technology companies here, in our region,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President & CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The companies approved for funding include:
Cross X Platform, LLC – Audubon – Montgomery County – Approved Investment: $100,000
Cross X Platform (CXP) accelerates the capacity of professional services firms to scale and deliver the sustainable results that business leaders expect. CXP’s top-tier clients leverage the company’s shared services platform – including cloud-based collaborative sales and recruiting engines, efficient back-office support, leadership and capital – to increase speed and operational agility to better serve clients and expand the business. And with CXP managing most non-core business functions, clients are in a superior position to improve delivery outcomes and time-to-market advantages across mid-to-large organizations and Fortune 500 companies.
CXP is led by Terry Williams, co-founder and CEO. Williams is also Managing Partner of NextStage Capital, a Mid-Atlantic region venture capital firm focused on financing start-up technology companies.
Christopher Betzler is the co-founder and CFO; and Christopher Mengel is the VP of Marketing.
GroupAppz Inc. – Fort Washington – Montgomery County – Approved Investment: $150,000
As individuals around the world are increasingly turning to social networks as their primary means of accessing information, communicating and collaborating; so are businesses – making it necessary for them to leverage these networks for applications and online computing services.
GroupAppz was founded to address this need, developing mobile and web based apps which improve group-oriented activity. By exploiting the power and widespread adoption of popular social networks and ubiquitous mobile technologies, the company’s platform allows groups and their members to create, manage and share their processes and activities online, build membership, engage with their members, deliver news and information, and conduct commercial transactions, enabling them to be more productive and successful.
The company is led by Stephen Layne, CEO and co-founder. Layne has started five companies, all which have been successfully sold or merged with multinational firms including, Sprint, IBM, Xerox, and The Active Network.
Joseph Cellucci is the CTO and co-founder; and Elizabeth Murray is a co-founder and head of Operations.
PeopleLinx, LLC – Philadelphia – Approved Investment: $150,000
PeopleLinx improves the way businesses respond to the unique challenges and opportunities thrust upon them by social media technologies – such as LinkedIn®, Facebook®, blogs and Twitter®.
While social media presents tremendous opportunities, most organizations lack the strategies, best practices, training, and tools needed to minimize risk while maximizing return on their social media sales and marketing efforts – which is where PeopleLinx steps in, with software that shapes and directs employees’ use of social media tools.
PeopleLinx Advisor™ develops the strategic foundation from which the social media information contained in an organization’s employee database can best be defined, accessed and utilized with optimum efficiency. PeopleLinx Navigator™ provides in-depth training and guidance needed to ensure that personnel set up, maintain and continuously optimize their social presence and usage of social media tools. PeopleLinx Connector™ gives organizations the ability to harness their employees’ collective social network relationships, and leverage that data to drive the goals of both the individual and the organization.
The company is led by Nathan Egan, Chairman & CEO. Prior to PeopleLinx, Nathan was an early employee at LinkedIn, where he helped create and execute the sales process for their corporate solutions.
Other company leaders include Rick Genzer, COO; Patrick Baynes, Senior VP of Social Business Solutions; and Rick Eastland, CFO.
SnipSnap App, LLC – Philadelphia – Approved Investment: $50,000
What if snipping a coupon was as simple as snapping your smartphone camera? That’s the idea behind SnipSnap, the first app to scan, save, and redeem printed coupons on your mobile phone.
The technology allows users to more efficiently and effectively organize their coupons, maximize their savings, and be reminded to use their coupons before expiration dates. They are also enabled to share their coupons via social networks.
SnipSnap is successfully taking advantage of much of Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. In 2011, the company was shaped by Dreamit Ventures, a nationally renowned entrepreneurial accelerator, which is funded and supported by Ben Franklin. This year, SnipSnap is part of the inaugural class of companies at the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, housed by the Philadelphia Media Network, funded by the Knight Foundation, and operated by Ben Franklin. This April, SnipSnap won Philly Tech Week’s Switch Philly competition.
The company is led by Ted Mann, CEO; Kostas Nasis, CTO; and Kyle Martin, VP of Product.
Syandus, Inc. – Exton – Chester County – Approved Investment: $25,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $150,000)
In an effort to produce more knowledgeable and experienced doctors, Syandus, Inc. has developed unique medical education programs that use learning simulations to help doctors better learn to diagnose and manage diseases.
ALIVE MedTM Digital Delivery Platform uses simulation models, 3-D animation, and game technology to enable interactive education for healthcare professionals, allowing them to better learn and adopt new therapies.
The intelligent simulations enable doctors and other healthcare practitioners to explore complex disease states, and learn how specific drugs and therapies work in the human body. Rather than watching a video, or a slide presentation, doctors can actually interact with 3D virtual patients, and dive into an organ system to observe the impact of disease.
The company is led by president and CEO Douglas Seifert, Ph.D.
Zonoff, Inc. – Malvern – Chester County – Approved Investment: $200,000
Home automation systems are relatively difficult to install and use, unless one wants to do only one thing, such as lighting. To remedy this problem, Zonoff has developed the Diplomat Home Control Platform – a suite of hardware and software products that integrate into individual automation networks (no matter the brand or function), and make it easy to add new automation products at any time.
Zonoff is also developing software to transform the Connected Home to the Intuitive Home – allowing a Zonoff home automation system to learn and become self-adaptive to the residents’ behaviors. For example, if during weekday evenings residents turn off indoor lights at 11 p.m., then lower the thermostat to 65 degrees followed by activating outdoor lighting and a security camera, only to reverse the process weekday mornings; Zonoff software will learn these actions and automatically invoke them without human interaction.
Automation subsystems that Zonoff can program include window shades, lights, thermostats, home entertainment systems, and more.
Zonoff is a company spin-off of BuLogics, another Ben Franklin portfolio client, focused on establishing wireless control and automation.
The company is led by Mike Harris, Founder and CEO. Harris previously co-founded AnySource Media. AnySource, a Ben Franklin alumni company, was a pioneer of Internet-TV technology that was successfully acquired by DivX in 2009.
Zonoff is also led by Michael Balog, Ph.D., CTO; Bob Cooper, CMO (acting); and Natalie Cooper, Director of Finance.