Ben Franklin to Invest $471,450 in Regional Companies

11/17/17

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Nov. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $471,450 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 17,415 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 27,384 existing jobs, to start 492 new companies, and to develop 1,591 new products and processes. Since 2007, BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.4623 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program. Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

BFTP/NEP owns, manages, and is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments that are provided in the form of loans with warrants.

ChannelApe, www.channelape.com, Scranton
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Support customer integrations and marketing and sales efforts for an integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) for e-commerce store owners. ChannelApe is a suite of cloud commerce services enabling development, execution, and governance of data integration flows. The platform helps e-commerce stores automate and integrate their redundant inventory, order, and fulfillment management tasks. The product connects established channels, such as Amazon, eBay, and Shopify, into a single point of access for an ecommerce client.

Grovara, LLC, www.grovara.com, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Continue to develop a web-based marketplace platform that will connect "Made in USA" natural foods, beverages, and other health and wellness retail brands with international B2B buying partners. Grovara provides end-to-end foreign market distribution and international brand management solutions, lowering the barriers to entry for global trade. The portal will make international trade faster and more cost-effective and efficient, while giving brands and buyers more options and flexibility.

Rocket Cloud, Inc., www.RocketCl.com, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $50,000
Complete a software platform interface for use in the building materials supply industry. The company will provide innovative cloud- and machine-learning-based software solutions to streamline the supply chain. The platform will allow traditional wholesalers of equipment and supplies to supplement their physical locations with third-party ecommerce channels, such as Amazon and eBay. Easy on-line access through e-commerce sites will increase sales.

webCemeteries.com, www.webcemeteries.com, Fleetwood
Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000
Help scale the company’s product lines with software enhancements. webCemeteries.com's offerings include website portals and mobile applications for locating loved ones, GPS navigation of cemeteries, sharing memories and photos, and online memorials for funeral homes. The work will improve the software, lower costs, expand value, and accelerate sales.

Ben Franklin announces the following established manufacturer company investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.

JED Pool Tools, Inc., www.jedpooltools.com, Scranton
Ben Franklin Investment: $21,450
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Implement an Enterprise Resource Planning tool at this manufacturer of pool and spa maintenance equipment and provider of plastic fabrication toll manufacturing through its custom injection molding division, Northeastern Plastics. JED Pool Tools is the only domestic producer of its line and is vertically integrating to address difficult international competition and promote reshoring initiatives.

Pleasant Mount Welding, Inc., www.pmwi.net, Carbondale
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
College Partner: Johnson College
Complete a field unit Sequencing Batch Reactor, an advanced wastewater treatment system that removes pollutants from wastewater at treatment facilities. Pleasant Mount Welding is a specialty metals fabricator serving the wastewater, water treatment, and environmental industries.

Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products, www.quadrantepp.com, Reading
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
College Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technology Applications Center
Complete a compression molding heat transfer and energy analysis for the leading global manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastic materials, in the form of semi-finished products and finished parts.

Rea.deeming Beauty, Inc., www.beautyblender.com, Bethlehem
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Design and implement improved operational processes at this manufacturer of the award-winning elliptical-shaped beautyblender® makeup applicator. Rea.deeming supplies high-quality products for the beauty, professional, and retail markets. This work will improve the company’s ability to meet steep increases in consumer demand and enhance production and fulfillment capabilities.

Simplex Industries, Inc., www.simplexhomes.com, Scranton
Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Fully integrate and implement AutoCAD 3D architecture and line automation equipment and processes, thereby improving production flow and increasing throughput. Simplex is a manufacturer of high-end, top-quality modular homes that incorporate innovative designs and provide energy-efficiency.

BFTP/NEP invests $471,450 in companies - Early-Stage Firms: @ChannelApe, Scranton; @Grovara, LLC, Bethlehem; Rocket Cloud, Inc., Bethlehem; and @webCemeteries.com, Fleetwood; Established Manufacturers: JED Pool Tools, Inc., Scranton; Pleasant Mount Welding, Inc., Carbondale; Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products @quadrantepp, Reading; Rea.deeming Beauty, Inc. @beautyblender, Bethlehem; and Simplex Industries, Inc. @simplexmods, Scranton. More - http://bit.ly/2yYGYoc

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