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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Announces More Funding for Lehigh Valley Startups

By Colin McEvoy on July 25, 2019

Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem

Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates the Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem

For the second time in as many months, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) has announced funding for two early-stage companies based in the Lehigh Valley.

Med-Con Technologies, LLC, which is developing a digital mobile solution for increasing patient adherence to medication and enhancing clinical oversight, will receive a $100,000 investment from BFTP/NEP.

Skillion, Inc. will also receive $100,000 in funding from Ben Franklin. The startup has developed the Skillion Ride System, which is an Internet of Things (IoT) device for remotely monitoring and controlling electronic bicycles (e-bikes).

Both companies are based in Ben Franklin TechVentures, a 129,000 square-foot Bethlehem business incubator owned and managed by BFTP/NEP, located on the Mountaintop Campus of Lehigh University.

Med-Con Technologies will use the funding to begin commercializing its digital mobile solution, which will complement Med-Con’s patented tab-based label solution that has already been successfully implemented in clinical trials in more than 30 countries.

Skillion will use its investment to complete the development of its mobile app and IoT device, which will help provide safety, prevent theft, or manage rentals of e-bikes. Both the American and European micro-mobility markets are expected to grow significantly over the next five years, particularly in urban centers, creating the need for technology to support the sector.

Ben Franklin is one of several components of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lehigh Valley, which includes business incubators, financial resources, educational institutions, government and non-profit economic development organizations, and more.

“Lehigh Valley’s entrepreneurial community is one of the many things that makes this region special, as we’ve been sharing in our Made Possible in Lehigh Valley campaign,” said Don Cunningham, President & CEO of Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “All of the elements an entrepreneur needs to start a successful company can be found right here in Lehigh Valley.”

The announcement of Ben Franklin’s new investments comes just one month after BFTP/NEP announced a combined $120,000 in funding for two other Lehigh Valley startups: Rocket Cloud, a developer of HVAC software tools, and Ophidion, a manufacturer of drugs targeting receptors in the central nervous system.

For this month, BFTP/NEP approved the total investment of $392,200 in support of regional economic development, serving three early-stage firms and seven established manufacturers in Ben Franklin’s 21-county service area in Pennsylvania.

In addition to Med-Con Technologies and Skillion, the funding includes a $25,000 continuation investment to Freshpet, a pet food manufacturer based in Hanover Township, Northampton County.

The funding will be used to complete revisions of Freshpet’s standard operating procedures and training manuals, and apply advanced analytical techniques for correlating customer data with production information to improve product and customer satisfaction.

In a separate project, Freshpet broke ground last month on the construction of its second Freshpet Kitchen facility in its Lehigh Valley campus, a project that is expected to create as many as 200 jobs and increase production of the company’s signature fresh pet food.

BFTP/NEP also announced this month the appointment of Anthony Durante as Manager of Entrepreneurial Support. Durante previously worked as Program Manager for the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, an incubator owned and managed by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation.

In his new role, Durante will manage Ben Franklin TechVentures, directing and developing new incubator programs and policies that provide business and technical assistance, educational, networking, and other entrepreneurial support services to clients located in the incubator.

Cunningham: Lehigh Valley is a Fascinating Jigsaw Puzzle

This column, written by LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham, originally appeared in The Morning Call and on the newspaper's website on July 24, 2019. (Click here to read Cu[...]

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