• Ben Franklin 4 PA

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of NE Pa to Invest $547,500 in the Regional Economy

POSTED ON THURSDAY, JUNE 11TH, 2020 IN BEN FRANKLIN NEWS


The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $547,500 in support of regional economic development. Clients are six early-stage, technology-based firms, eight established manufacturers, and nine business incubators in BFTP/NEP’s 21-county service area.

Investments identified as continuation projects indicate that the client achieved pre-determined milestones and is receiving more funding to accomplish additional project work. BFTP/NEP announces the following early-stage company investments, which are provided in the form of loans with warrants.


Alive Fitness, LLC, Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County – Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000


Continue to develop the platform and initiate a launch of Alive Fitness’s Exercise Analysis System™, a cloud-based software platform. The system uses inertial sensors from wearable devices, a system of algorithms, and proprietary software to analyze movements, track exercise data, and send personalized, real-time feedback.


Build My Team, LLC, The Stourbridge Project, Honesdale, Wayne County – Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000


Support marketing and lead generation for this Software-as-a-Service job placement tool. Build My Team uses online assessments to determine an applicant’s match and aptitude for each role. This streamlines the hiring managers’ work in reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates. It also reduces turnover, which is beneficial to both the employer and the employee. The platform is initially targeted to office workers in physicians’ practices and can be used to benefit any size company.


ConnexiCore, LLC, Milford, Pike County – Ben Franklin investment: $18,000 – increase on current project due to success in marketplace


Support strategic marketing and expand sales efforts while growing an elite national network of licensed drone pilots. Using its exclusive cloud-based Software-as-a-Service flight management and analysis platform, ConnexiCore’s turnkey approach manages the entire process, from aerial data collection, to image and video analysis, to delivering measurable actionable tasks to support decision making for industry. ConnexiCore helps clients leverage drone-based aerial data to create efficiencies to save time and money.


Geri-Safe, Ltd, The Scranton Enterprise Center, Scranton, Lackawanna County – Ben Franklin investment: $50,000


Conduct a clinical trial to measure medication adherence, health outcomes, and healthcare utilization using Medi-Trust. Medi-Trust is a medication-dispensing device with patent-pending technology that improves medication adherence among high-risk patients. The tabletop unit reminds patients to take their medicines, tracks adherence, takes a video of the individuals while taking their medications, and communicates the action to caregivers, physicians, and pharmacists. Many individuals, including some senior citizens and people with cognitive impairment, have complicated medication regimens. This complexity often leads to poor adherence, which can be life threatening to patients and difficult and costly to address. More than 125,000 patients die each year due to medication non-adherence and the annual cost to the healthcare system is estimated to be close to $200 billion.


MDS Link, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County – Ben Franklin Investment: $40,000 – continuation project


Complete development of a simple, inexpensive, and patent-pending solution that significantly increases data transport capacity using existing coax cable. There is a growing market need for greater data transmission bandwidth to homes and apartments. Broadband operators can deploy MDS Link’s small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) device using existing coax cable systems, delivering massive increases to “last mile” bandwidth in less time and with dramatically lower cost than “fishing” new fiber lines through buildings.


Thread Bioscience, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County – Ben Franklin investment: $100,000


Establish a prototype production facility and R&D laboratory for a new diagnostic test, CultureStat, which uses a patented technology to detect urinary tract infections (UTIs) faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost than current testing approaches. There is an urgent worldwide need for a more efficient diagnostic test for UTIs at the Point of Care to reduce the incidence of improperly prescribed antibiotics. With an estimated 150 million UTIs annually, it is the most common infection among women and the second leading cause of infection overall, accounting for $6 billion in health care expenditures.


Eight established manufacturers in BFTP/NEP’s 21-county service area are applying new technology to help them succeed globally by producing better, faster, and/or at a lower cost. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding to established manufacturers for work with a college or university partner on technology-based innovation.


Bally Ribbon Mills, Inc., Bally, Berks County – Ben Franklin investment: $20,000

University Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technology Applications Center


Determine an alternative process for the heating and curing of ribbon materials at this manufacturer of specialized engineered woven webbing, tapes, narrow fabrics, specialty broadcloth, and woven structures for composite applications. By improving the operating efficiency of the ribbon production line, the company will enhance quality and reduce costs.


Bearing and Drive Solutions, Reading, Berks County – Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000 – continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Management

Implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system and review manufacturing processes at this multi-service company to improve system integration and costing, and streamline operations. Reading Bearing and Drive Solutions repairs electric motors, stand-by generators, and welders; provides production-machining processes; stocks and sells new electric motors, bearings, and power transmission components; provides electrical and mechanical field service and construction; and sells and services its unique Trailer Tester product.


Custom Laminating Corporation, Mt. Bethel, Northampton County – Ben Franklin Investment: $10,500


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Complete the analysis of two laminating processes to improve overall operational efficiencies at this manufacturer of custom-designed, wide-web industrial laminates. Applications include automotive components, safety and protective products, building materials, electronics, closure systems, and other industries.


Heyco Metals, Inc., Reading, Berks County – Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000 — continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research

Analyze business processes and requirements, and then select and implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system. Heyco Metals is a precision mill that produces copper and copper alloy coil and stainless steel strip to exacting specifications, primarily for electronic connectors and consumer electronics.


Misco Products Corporation, Reading, Berks County – Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000 – continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research

Evaluate the current manufacturing process, office area, and warehouse operations to develop a facility master plan for projected space requirements that will handle current and future needs for the next five years. Misco Products manufactures cleaning and maintenance chemicals for the industrial, food service, health care, and institutional markets.


PMA-13, Inc., Allentown, Lehigh County – Ben Franklin Investment: $12,000 – continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research

Implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system at this producer of signage for government organizations, hospitals, and companies. The new system will streamline and simplify processes to accommodate anticipated growth.


Straight Arrow Products, Inc., Bethlehem, Northampton County – Ben Franklin investment: $10,000 – continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Research

Implement an enhanced warehouse management system at this manufacturer of exclusive hair and skin care products for the equestrian and personal care markets. The work will improve efficiencies by streamlining operations, enhance inventory accuracy, and improve customer service, helping the company optimize its newest facility in Forks Township.


Summit Utility Structures, West Hazleton, Luzerne County – Ben Franklin investment: $17,000 – continuation project


University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Management

Implement an Enterprise Resource Planning software solution at Summit Utility Structures (SUS), a manufacturer of tubular poles for use in the utility, lighting, transportation, and communication sectors to improve processes and costing, and to streamline operations. SUS is becoming an industry leader in the production of transmission poles, substation structures, distribution poles, high-mast lighting, wireless poles, davit arms, crossarms, and cross braces.


BFTP/NEP announces the following infrastructure initiative, which is provided in the form of grants to nine regional incubators in the Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network.

Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network – Ben Franklin investment: $45,000; 9 incubators at $5,000 each


BFTP/NEP’s leadership in business incubation is national in scope, and Ben Franklin TechVentures has earned two international Incubator of the Year Awards for best practices. The Ben Franklin Business Incubator Network is among the largest of its kind in the world. Ben Franklin staff support members through meetings, advising, and serving on incubator boards. This year, nine of the incubators received funding to support operations: Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, Allentown; East Stroudsburg University Business Accelerator; Scranton Enterprise Center; Innovation Center at Wilkes-Barre; Carbondale Technology Transfer Center; Hazleton Can BE; The Stourbridge Project, Honesdale; TekRidge, Scranton; and the Alan P. Kirby Enterprise Center at Wilkes-Barre.

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