Ben Franklin Approved $1.1M in 5 Early Stage Companies

Avisi Technologies: Avisi technologies is a pre-clinical stage company developing a nanotechnology-enabled defense against blindness from glaucoma. RealLIST startups 2020 honoree Avisi Technologies, maker of an ocular implant to treat glaucoma, is the recent recipient of a $1M Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) – fund cofounder Rui Jing Jian said will go toward bringing the startup’s research to life in preclinical work. Read more here.

Yellowdig: Yellowdig is an educational software company that provides a social learning platform designed too promote peer learning and improve learning outcomes for students.

Yellowdig is the latest investment by SustainVC, a venture capital firm focused on social or environmental impact. Yellowdig provides schools with discussion board platforms, similar to those used by learning management systems such as Blackboard and Canvas, enabling professors to post questions to the class about a given topic, and let students respond. “Their main focus is to ensure higher learning quality,” said CEO Shaunak Roy. Part of his inspiration in creating Yellowdig was to help make education more accessible at a lower cost. Read more here.

Neuroflow: NeuroFlow is a platform that integrates remote patient monitoring capability into non-behavioral health settings and optimizes the way evidence based behavioral health therapy is delivered with objective data and techniques to increase compliance and engagement.

Mental health startup NeuroFlow will partner with the U.S. Air Force on a yearlong $1.5M contract that spans across a handful of major commands aiming for airmen to be able to manage their own mental health and build resilience for performance purposes. The tech will allow administrators to monitor the “combat readiness” of airmen, form positive routines and create a more streamlined process for identifying at-risk individuals, as well as adjust their treatment plans in real-time. Read more here.

Companies featured:


Suitable – Philadelphia County

Suitable is the top student success platform for universities. Their web and mobile app help universities increase student engagement in experiences outside of the classroom, better track and assess student involvement, and provides every student with an Experiential Transcript that showcases their skills and accomplishments.

Suitable is lead by Mark Visco Jr., Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer; Dominic Visco, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Avisi Technologies – Philadelphia County

Avisi is a pre-clinical stage medical devices company developing VisiPlate, a nanotechnology-enabled ocular implant for treating glaucoma. Glaucoma is the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness and will affect over 160 million people in 2025.

In glaucoma patients, excess aqueous humor builds up inside the eye, putting pressure on and permanently damaging the optic nerve. VisiPlate is a novel drainage implant that creates a new outflow pathway for aqueous humor in the eye. VisiPlate’s small scale, nonfibrotic materials, and unique multi-channel design will translate to greater safety, efficacy, and value for patients and stakeholders. 20x thinner than a human hair and up to 300x thinner than competitors, VisiPlate works by shunting excess fluid via a network of open microchannels to a subconjunctival pocket, where it is slowly absorbed into surrounding tissue over time. This alleviates pressure on the optic nerve and prevents blindness.

Avisi Technologies is led by Co-Founder and CEO Rui Jing Jiang, Co-Founder and CTO Brandon Kao, and VP of R&D Georgia Griggs, MSE. Scientific Advisors include Dr. Eydie Miller-Ellis, Dr. Richard Lewis, Dr. Ike Ahmed, Dr. Vivian Lee, Dr. Thomas A Barbolt, Dr. Nicholas Benetatos, Dr. Samuel Nicaise, and Dr. Igor Bargatin. Gary Pruden is a Strategic Advisor to the Board.

RightAir – Philadelphia County

RightAir is developing a wearable device that relieves the terrible shortness of breath and allows COPD patients to engage in life again.

RightAir is led by Marek Swoboda, Ph.D. CEO; Jake Brenner, MD, Ph.D. Founder; Michal Swoboda, MS. CTO

Pression – Chester County

Pression is developing a unique intermittent pneumatic compression device that provides precisely timed compression to the calf muscles which are tuned to the heart rate of the user.

Pression is lead by Adam Salamon, CEO.

Deepwave Digital – Philadelphia County

Deepwave Digital directly enables the incorporation of artificial intelligence into radio frequency and wireless systems by providing a full-stack (hardware and software) development and deployment solution.

Deepwave Digital is lead by John D. Ferguson Ph.D, President & CEO.