Gov. Wolf’s Proposed Budget Would Give Ben Franklin Technology Partners $8M to Fund More Startups

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s ambitious $43.7 billion budget proposal includes an $8 million boost for Ben Franklin Technology Partners, a move that the organization’s leadership says could get more Philadelphia-area startups funded.

Wolf’s budget proposal sets aside $2 million for each of the four Ben Franklin Technology Partners offices — located in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, State College and Bethlehem — as well as an additional $10 million in competitive grants to the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority. The additional capital would bring total funding to $32.5 million for the program, compared with $14.5 million in the 2021-22 fiscal year.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania currently funds about 50 startups per year, and the new funding proposed by Wolf could support an additional 10 to 15 companies, CEO Scott Nissenbaum said. BFTP is approached by about 600 to 800 companies per year, he added, and about 200 of those go through a formal review process with Ben Franklin. Only a quarter of the reviewed startups receive funding.

“We’ve had a pretty sexy sports car, and we really haven’t had the fuel to let it do what it can do,” Nissenbaum said.

Early-stage investments from Ben Franklin help startups get growth capital while signaling to other investors that they’re a good bet, Nissenbaum said, and the organization is “ecstatic” about what new funding could allow it to do.

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