BETHLEHEM, PA--(Marketwire - Mar 27, 2013) - The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $315,700 in regional companies. BFTP/NEP is an award-winning, state-funded economic development organization that links early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs and retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.50 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program.
BFTP/NEP will invest in early-stage technology firms through loans:
Bison Analytics, LLC (http://bisonanalytics.com/), Lewisburg - $35,000
Complete development of Bison Analytics' business intelligence software for small businesses that use QuickBooks™ accounting software. Bison Analytics' product allows clients to easily utilize QuickBooks data for comprehensive financial analysis and management. Bison Analytics will continue software enhancements, develop a sales strategy for the company's cloud-based product, and analyze follow-on funding tactics.
Cerora Inc., (www.cerora.com), Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem - $50,000
Re-engineer software and hardware, and commercialize the Cerora brainwave sensor. This is a medical-grade, portable, and affordable electroencephalogram (EEG) that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain. Rapid diagnosis of brain disease and injuries can lead to early and effective intervention with improved clinical outcomes and cost savings for patients with concussions, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurologic and neuropsychiatric conditions. There are currently no affordable, portable, and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, first responders, and certified athletic trainers.
EggZack (www.eggzack.com), Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem - $48,000
Complete efforts to improve the inbound sales process, which promotes EggZack through informative social media content marketing. Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers and draws customers to the website by providing interesting and useful content. EggZack markets a patent-pending software as a service (SaaS) solution that requires only a single entry to update a client's website and other marketing functions, broadcasting the information immediately to 19 types of media, including social media such as the company website and blog, email, local media, and publications. Such tools are needed by small- to medium-sized retailers, restaurants, and other companies to promote themselves more effectively and profitably.
Everest Business Services (http://everest.us.com/), West Wyoming - $50,000
Establish brand recognition and sales by leveraging partnerships and Internet sales strategies. Everest Business Services utilizes proprietary software to provide short-run digital print products at a low price and with expanded features not previously available on short runs. Design techniques such as die cutting, embossing, and foiling are costly for short print runs using traditional printing methods. Economically utilizing these techniques for short runs is innovative, and a currently unmet need in publishing.
GiveGab, (www.GiveGab.com), Dunmore - $35,000
Implement a sales and marketing strategy to begin commercializing premimum features to GiveGab's proprietary web-based software platform. GiveGab.com is a social network of volunteers, nonprofits, schools, and businesses. It is available for free, and premium features will be offered for a subscription fee. GiveGab's proprietary tool allows volunteers and nonprofits to connect, manage communications, and record and promote achievements using a single network solution rather than multiple, separate networks.
Ben Franklin will invest in the following established manufacturer companies in 1:1 matching grants for work with a university partner.
Consolidated Storage Companies, Inc., (www.equipto.com), Tatamy - $25,000
With Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center, complete a plant-wide production analysis at this manufacturer of storage systems and tool chests in order to optimize manufacturing processes. Consolidated Storage's Equipto division will optimize facilities and productivity, identify costs and benefits of various improvements, and develop a plan for future growth.
EcoTech Marine LLC, (www.ecotechmarine.com), Allentown - $22,700
With Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center, complete implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system with features to accommodate expansion and maintain quality. EcoTech's patented VorTech™ propeller pump is located outside of hobby reef aquariums, providing better heat control and flow. EcoTech has enjoyed outstanding sales with the pump. Its new Radion™ LED lighting unit improves aquarium growth, coverage, and energy efficiency, and provides a customizable spectral output.
Hydro Recovery LP, (www.hydrorecoverylp.com), Blossburg - $50,000
With Pennsylvania State University, investigate the economic extraction of useful materials from residual "frac" water, used in the development of natural gas wells. Hydro Recovery is located in Tioga County, a central location in the Marcellus Shale drilling region. The company's process converts the used water to a Hydraulic Stimulation Fluid (HSF™) that can subsequently be reused to extract more natural gas. This process will eliminate the need to transport wastewater over long distances. Further, recycling frac water into a reusable product will reduce the environmental impact of gas extraction by saving millions of gallons of freshwater each year. Hydro Recovery recycles 100% of recovered waters used in the treatment process; thereby eliminating discharge of treated water into Pennsylvania waterways.