Bethlehem Innovation Center for Startups Featured on Fox Business Network
By Colin McEvoy on May 24, 2019
Factory LLC, a Bethlehem-based innovation center for startup food, beverage, and pet health companies, is receiving national attention.
Fox Business Network paid a visit to Factory and did a segment about the facility, which converted a former Bethlehem Steel mill into a place where small companies can rapidly build value and work in a collaborative environment with fellow entrepreneurs.
“It used to churn out steel; now it churns out ideas,” anchor Connell McShane said during the four-minute on the show After the Bell. “(This is) a very unique type of company.”
McShane interviewed Richard Thompson, the former Freshpet CEO who founded Factory LLC, which includes a team of experienced operators with $250M of investable capital who acquire meaningful equity stakes in client companies and partner with them to grow.
The 40,000 square-foot laboratory currently houses five companies, and Thompson expects to host as many as 25 within the next 12 to 18 months. Factory LLC opened in January in the former Bethlehem Steep Corp. building 96, which used to make steel during World War II.
Thompson considered several locations around the country – including Austin, Texas; Bolder, Colo.; and Portland, Ore. – but ultimately decided there was a particular need for a facility like this on the East Coast, and he chose the Lehigh Valley as the best possible East Coast site.
“Between New York and Philadelphia, and this Lehigh Valley area is just a great region for distribution, manufacturing, and schools,” Thompson said in the segment. “There are great schools: Lehigh, Lafayette, Penn State, Moravian College.”
Factory LLC was also recently awarded the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Development Adaptive Reuse Award from the the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. Thompson accepted the award during the Chamber’s 2019 Commercial Real Estate Outlook last month.
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