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Ben Franklin to Invest $488,400 in the Regional Economy

by The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA

Jun 13, 2019
Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Investments in 5 Early-Stage Firms and 7 Established Manufacturers

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $488,400 in support of regional economic development. Clients are early-stage, technology-based firms and established manufacturers in BFTP/NEP’s 21-county service area.

Investments are 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.

ConnexiCore, LLC, Milford, Pike County
Ben Franklin investment: continuation project $100,000
Support strategic marketing and expand sales efforts while growing an elite national network of licensed remote 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 telepresence and data collection, to image and video analysis, to extracting insights from that data, 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.

Mystic Mountaintop Productions, LLC, Kunkletown, Monroe County
Ben Franklin investment: continuation project $11,000
Complete the development and fabrication of a market-ready, proprietary, “smart” LED lighting system for the middle- to low-end entertainment industry. The system will include a hybrid analog/digital computerized lighting console, local and wireless remote control via a smart phone or tablet, a lighting power and control distribution unit, and installation hardware. Primary clients will be small venues, such as auditoriums, churches, and nightclubs, which want a lighting system that is affordable but offers the quality and functionality of systems designed for larger facilities.

MXTR Automation, Williamsport, Lycoming County
Ben Franklin investment: $100,000
Complete enhancements to MXTR’s software platform, scale the offering, and improve sales at this producer of software tools for marketing automation. MXTR Automation’s platform integrates clients’ marketing automation processes, including emails, social media, and website content posting with custom pre-programmed solutions. The process enables MXTR’s enterprise and franchisor clients to implement a consistent lead-development and lead-nurturing program throughout all their locations.

Ophidion, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin investment: continuation project $20,000
Support a definitive pre-clinical study to optimize delivery of central nervous system therapeutics to targeted sites in the brain. Ophidion is leveraging its proprietary blood-brain barrier transport technology to advance a systemically delivered gene-silencing siRNA product for the treatment of Huntington’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no current cure.

Rocket Cloud, Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County
Ben Franklin investment: continuation project $100,000
Continue to improve the technology platform and implement a new marketing and sales strategy for this software platform interface for the building materials supply industry. The company provides innovative cloud- and machine-learning-based software solutions to streamline the supply chain. It allows traditional wholesalers of equipment and supplies to supplement their physical locations with third-party ecommerce channels, such as Amazon, eBay, Jet.com, and Walmart. Easy on-line access through e-commerce sites will increase sales.

Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based innovation in established manufacturers.

Bearing and Drive Solutions, Reading, Reading, Berks County
Ben Franklin investment: $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Management
Implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system and review of 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 the Trailer Tester product.

Brenntag Northeast, Inc., Reading, Berks County
Ben Franklin investment: $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Improve warehouse and operating efficiencies at the Reading Plant. Brenntag manufactures custom-made distribution solutions for industrial and specialty chemicals. The company provides specific application technology, extensive technical support, and value-added services including just-in-time delivery, product mixing, formulation, repackaging, inventory management, and drum return handling. With more than 10,000 products and a comprehensive supplier network, Brenntag serves 195,000 customers globally.

Heritage Sign & Display, Inc., Nesquehoning, Carbon County
Ben Franklin investment: $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center
Design a new, innovative sign product and conduct industrial engineering work to increase manufacturing efficiency. Heritage Sign & Display is a full-service Point-of-Purchase (POP) display supplier serving high-profile retail brands worldwide. The company leverages a line of in-house POP display design, development, and production capabilities to enhance clients’ messaging and merchandising.

JED Pool Tools, Inc., Scranton, Lackawanna County
Ben Franklin investment: continuation project $25,000
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Management
Further develop JED’s sales, operations planning, and continuous improvement processes to enhance efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. JED Pool Tools manufactures pool and spa maintenance equipment as well as provides plastic fabrication toll manufacturing through its custom injection molding division, Northeastern Plastics. As the only domestic producer of its line, JED is vertically integrating to address difficult international competition and promote reshoring initiatives.

Mountain Productions, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin investment: $14,150
University Partner: Wilkes University
Design and implement an automated wash system for flooring panels. Mountain Productions is the largest staging and event production company in North America, having supported thousands of events. The temporary floor panels frequently used as infrastructure at these events, often numbering in the hundreds or even thousands, currently must be hand washed. This investment will provide an automated pressure wash system for the flooring that will allow the company to better utilize its workforce.

Penn Dairy, LLC, Winfield, Union County
Ben Franklin investment: $25,000
University Partner: Bloomsburg University
Complete a marketing strategy and develop messaging tactics for Penn Dairy. Penn Dairy utilizes a combination of traditional and innovative methods to produce award-winning cheeses, yogurt, and other value-added dairy products that are high-quality, organic, non-GMO, project-verified, and use locally sourced ingredients in support of small dairy farmers. Many consumers today, especially millennials, seek cleaner ingredients in their food and are focused on alleviating food waste, both of which are key elements of Penn Dairy’s mission. The firm works with private-label customers and partners in co-packing.

Summit Utility Structures, West Hazleton, Luzerne County
Ben Franklin investment: $18,250
University Partner: Lehigh University’s Center for Supply Chain Management
Implement an Enterprise Resource Planning software solution at this manufacturer of tubular poles for use in the utility, lighting, transportation, and communication sectors to improve processes and costing, and to streamline operations. Summit Utility Structures is becoming an industry leader in the production of high-voltage power transmission poles and cellular communication poles, positioning the company strongly with continued growth in these industries.

About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) creates and retains highly paid, sustainable jobs by investing in and linking companies with experts, universities, follow-on funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. It is part of a four-center economic development initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

BFTP/NEP’s strategy encompasses three key areas:

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies;
  2. supporting established manufacturers as they creatively apply new technology to help them succeed globally by producing better, cheaper, and faster;
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that supports Pennsylvania’s business technology ecosystem.

Since beginning operations in 1983, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 18,536 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 37,328 existing jobs, to start 520 new companies, and to develop 1,935 new products and processes. Since 2007, BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.5597 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners network has returned $3.90 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program.

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