Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) recently approved $1,375,000 in funding for seven early-stage companies.
“We’re excited that this round of investments is comprised of such a diverse group of companies — with target consumers ranging from energy efficient manufacturers to diabetic patients to television viewers,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President & CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. “Southeastern Pennsylvania is becoming a leader in developing technologies that affect just about every facet of our lives,” she added.
Companies approved for funding include:
ARB Geowell — West Conshohocken — Montgomery County — Approved Investment: $125,000
ARB Geowell has developed a novel geothermal heating/cooling platform that permits better heat transfer in the underground well. Using a unique design that provides more surface area and better contact with the earth, ARB Geowell’s system offers higher energy efficiency. In most cases, the increased efficiency allows the project to eliminate the need to drill multiple holes on site, and thus markedly lower the cost of construction.
Its target market ranges from residential homes to commercial buildings, schools and developments.
The company is led by Harry R. Halloran, Jr., President; Kathryn Coffey, COO; and Albert A. Koenig, Ph.D., Vice President.
Brad’s Raw Chips, LLC — Pipersville — Bucks County — Approved Investment: $100,000
Brad’s Raw Chips, manufactured with an advanced dehydration system, was launched when its founder and creator, Brad Gruno, made significant changes in his life and discovered the health benefits of eating raw. In order to still be able to enjoy crunchy snacks, he began making his own raw chips in his kitchen.
The snacks he developed are now the basis of the company’s line of healthy, crunchy snacks made from dehydrated raw, healthy foods—such as fresh vegetables, nuts, and seeds. All of the company’s products contain no chemicals, preservatives, trans-fats, or gluten.
The company’s products are sourced from local farms whenever possible, and are considered “raw’ because they are not baked or fried, but rather are dehydrated to preserve all the nutrients and enzymes. It is currently developing other raw food products including dips, granola, pizza crust, and crackers.
Brad’s Raw Chips is led by CEO & Founder Brad Gruno, and COO Walter Gruger.
Drakontas, LLC — Glenside — Montgomery County — Approved Investment: $250,000
Drakontas has created mobile collaboration software that helps teams share information while working together, via smartphones, tablets, computers, etc. to enable real-time exchange of critical data.
Their solutions primarily serve government factions, such as police, military, fire, emergency response, and public service teams; helping them to improve operations and efficiency, make decisions more quickly, and enhance their own and the public’s safety.
Drakontas’ flagship product, DragonForce™, combines geo-tracking (which allows for tracking of personnel on maps and floor plans), a whiteboard for coordinating tactics, shared media and files of critical information, and text messaging; to allow law enforcement teams to act faster, safer, and more efficiently.
The company is led by Dr. Brian Regli, CEO; James J. Sim, President & COO; Dr. Alan Kaplan, CTO; and Joseph Madgey, CAO.
Kerathin, LLC — Chester — Delaware County — Approved Investment: $200,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $150,000)
Kerathin is a medical and home health device company focused on tools for the care of foot disorders, particularly in the diabetic population. Kerathin’s initial product, PodiaPro, is a major improvement for toenail disorders. PodiaPro is safer and easier to use than current nail debridement systems. PodiaPro is in clinical validation at leading centers associated with podiatric medical schools.
Kerathin is led by Founder and Executive Chairman Tom Fitzsimons. Serving on the company’s Board are Lucinda Duncalfe Holt, Paul Haslanger, and Ellen Toplin.
OneTwoSee (previously Mobile Reactor, LLC) — Devon — Chester County — Approved Investment: $150,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $150,000)
The OneTwoSee™ platform is a state-of-the-art suite of technologies that support TV programming, including sports, reality, news, scripted and event-based broadcasts.
The business-to-business platform is targeted to television broadcasters and producers. It allows them to deliver a rich interactive television experience to their viewing audience via their connected devices, enhancing what viewers are watching on TV by simultaneously making the experience interactive through their connected devices.
Currently, up to 85% of television viewers are engaged with a connected device as they watch television; so OneTwoSee™ allows broadcasters to keep this distracted audience engaged.
OneTwoSee’s platform is currently being used by four Comcast SportsNet stations, including the one in Philadelphia.
The company is led by Chris Reynolds, CEO; Jason Angelides, COO; and Stu Farber, CTO.
S4 Worldwide LLC — Doylestown — Bucks County — Approved Investment: $250,000
Targeted toward drilling companies in Pennsylvania who have started production in the Marcellus Shale, S4W Worldwide offers a variety of effective integrated solutions to help drillers protect against intrusions, theft and vandalism; document safety and security efforts; and support environmental and regulatory compliance mandates.
Every S4W SENTRY is uniquely configurable, with systems deployed for specific client-defined remote site missions. The SENTRY systems are self-sustained, relying on solar power to extend service life for months or years. Customers can receive updates using satellite, cellular, Wi-Fi, and even terrestrial radio or microwaves; and information is delivered to their computer, tablet or smartphone through a secured data center.
S4W is led by Gary Uphouse, CEO; Paul Soult, President; and Gil Zimmerman, COO.
Tangent Energy Solutions — Kennett Square — Chester County — Approved Investment: $300,000
Tangent Energy Solutions saves commercial and industrial (C&I) companies 10% to 20% in energy costs by optimizing the energy grid behind the customer’s meter. The company combines efficiency technologies with clean generation assets (such as solar panels or geothermal energy) to intelligently balance supply and demand, resulting in lower energy prices for customers.
Energy costs are often large and difficult-to-control expenditures for C&I companies. As a mission critical resource, energy is directly linked to all aspects of operational success — including productivity, safety, compliance and comfort. For these reasons, Tangent helps them cut costs in ways beyond merely curtailing usage.
Tangent was founded in 2009 by a management team that has been providing commercially successful energy innovations to mainstream C&I customers for 30 years. The company is led by Dean Musser, CEO; Charles Costenbader, Executive Vice President; Mark Schaefer, CFO; and David Turner, COO.