Ben Franklin Technology Partners Uses Additional Funds to Focus on ‘Surviving and Thriving’ firms during pandemic

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, a state-backed nonprofit, invested $6.9 million in 46 companies last year, an increase of over $2 million from 2019.

BFTP receives funding from the state, the previous year’s returns, and partner capital – which includes universities like Temple and Drexel along with health care companies like Independence Blue Cross Blue Shield. Roughly two-thirds of BFTP’s funding comes from the state, though the figure was slightly higher in 2020.

The seed fund received an additional $1 million in April 2020 from the Department of Community and Economic Development to supplement its $3.5 million from Pennsylvania’s standard challenge grant. BFTP matched the $1 million to deploy $2 million in total new capital to help struggling startups stay afloat and help fight Covid-19.

The state’s additional $1 million helped BFTP fund 23 different startups in six weeks at the beginning of the pandemic.

Rather than having the flexibility to do new investments, we really wanted to focus on the deals that we already have to make sure the companies that we work with are surviving and thriving,” Nissenbaum said. “Many of the new companies we would normally invest in were either dissolved, wound down, or liquidated quickly due to the pandemic.

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