Lehigh Valley Early-Stage Technology Companies Receive Boost
By Colin McEvoy on December 19, 2014
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania have announced two local early-stage technology companies will receive $115,000 investments to help support regional economic development.
The loans are part of the group’s effort to lead the state to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage.
Orbweaver Sourcing and EggZack, two companies based at the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator in Bethlehem, received the investments, being awarded $65,000 and $50,000, respectively.
Orbweaver Sourcing seeks to develop a “supplier pricing infrastructure” in cloud-based software solution for electronic circuit board manufacturers. This will allow end customers and other industry participants to collect a more robust set of data from component manufacturers and distributors.
According to the company, current sourcing and procurement models in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly inefficient. Orbweaver’s software platform seeks to allow for more well-negotiated terms with suppliers, which in turn will reduce costs and increase productivity for clients.
“With the support of our partners at Ben Franklin, we continue to build out our product suite and gain traction in the marketplace,” said Tony Powell, Orbweaver’s chief technical officer. “We are particularly excited about the Supplier Pricing Infrastructure product. It fulfills a very real need in the industry.”
EggZack provides an automated sales and marketing system specially designed for companies that serve local markets. The loan will expand its sales effort by adding more resellers and increasing its direct sales force.
The company’s web- and mobile-based platform automates the management of the website, search engine optimization, social media, local search, email marketing, blogs, video and directory optimization to generate more local leads.
“Moving to the Lehigh Valley from New Jersey is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made,” said Jon Zack, founder and CEO of EggZack. “Based upon the resources that are here, and what Ben Franklin and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation have done for us, it’s helped us grow every year. Moving here changed our company.”
This month, in a matter unrelated to the loan, EggZack announced the acquisition of the commerce company Trellis Technologies, creating a partnership it says will enable the company to deliver superior automated sales and marketing systems to more than 4,500 local business clients.
“We’re very excited about our acquisition of Trellis because our solution, together with theirs, creates a simplified and automated way to enable local companies to promote and transact with local consumers effectively,” Zack said.
In rewarding the loans, Ben Franklin concentrated on three 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.
Other northeastern Pennsylvanian companies to receive loans were OPTiMO Information Technology, of Bloomsburg, which uses forensics software to electronically wade through large amounts of data, and East Coast Erosion Control LLC, of Bernville, which produces erosion blankets. Those businesses received $65,000 and $25,000, respectively.
Since beginning operation, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania has helped start 458 new companies, create 16,214 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers, and retain 22,155 existing jobs.
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