Ben Franklin Approves $1.6M for Nine Early-Stage Companies

PHILADELPHIA, PA ( – Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP), celebrating its 30th anniversary of helping our region’s talented entrepreneurs bring their Dreams to Reality, recently approved $1,550,000 in funding for nine early-stage companies.


Companies approved for funding:


Agile-Switch-logoAgileSwitch, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $250,000

(Ben Franklin previously invested $300,000)

Renewable and high-efficiency energy options are expanding at an exponential rate.  Along with these new solutions comes a new set of power needs—and that’s where AgileSwitch comes in.  AgileSwitch develops power converter technology to produce useful energy from renewable energy technologies, including solar panels and wind turbines.

AgileSwitch’s products can be fully customized to meet the needs and demands of virtually any customer application, and are better able to monitor and prevent problems such as overheating.

In 2011, Ben Franklin invested $50,000 through its Technology Commercialization Fund for AgileSwitch to develop early prototypes.  These prototypes enabled the company to attract its first corporate customer.  Later that year, Ben Franklin invested $250,000 through its Competitive Energy Consortia program, to secure a commercialization partnership with a major electronics manufacturer.

The company is led by Rob Weber, CEO.  Weber was previously President of Intellifit, a Ben Franklin alumni company that was successfully acquired in 2009.  He also co-founded Robin Hood Ventures and the Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, both Ben Franklin investment partners today.

Other company leaders include Albert Charpentier, CTO and Co-Founder; Alan Smith, Senior Product Development Engineer; and Ben Van Leer, Layout Designer.

brflogobrownBrad’s Raw Foods – Pipersville – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $100,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $100,000)

Brad’s Raw Foods, which are manufactured with an advanced dehydration technology, was launched when its founder and creator made significant changes in his life.  Brad discovered the health benefits of eating raw, and 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.

Brad’s Raw Foods are only sourced from Certified Organic and Non-GMO farmers, and are considered “raw” because they are not baked or fried, but rather are dehydrated to preserve all the nutrients and enzymes. The company is currently developing other raw food products, including dog treats, onion rings, and zucchini sticks.

Brad’s Raw Foods is led by Brad Gruno, CEO & Founder.

CCBE LogoCocurrent BioEnergy – Doylestown – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $250,000

Formed with the goal of combating the negative effects that current waste management practices and fossil fuel dependencies are having on our health and economy, Cocurrent BioEnergy is creating alternative solutions to landfills that produce renewable energy, at competitive rates.

The company’s plan is to develop and operate renewable energy assets (which repurpose solid waste into sources of fuel) throughout North America over the next 20-30 years.  Cocurrent’s community-friendly platform will allow municipal, industrial, forestry and agricultural waste producers to easily harvest a significant amount of their waste into energy.

Cocurrent Bioenergy is led by Andy Stevenson, Chairman; Donald MacLeod, CEO and President; and Cary Widener, CTO.

logoOneTwoSee (Mobile Reactor, LLC)  – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $75,000
(Ben Franklin previously invested $300,000)

The OneTwoSee™ platform is a state-of-the-art suite of technologies that augments sports fans’ experiences through any screen.

The business-to-business platform is licensed to television broadcasters, online publishers, sports arena owners and smart TV manufactures.  It allows them to deliver a rich interactive experience to their audience via their connected devices.  The product enhances what viewers are watching on TV, online or live in the arena by simultaneously making the experience interactive through their connected devices and linear broadcast.

Currently, up to 85% of television viewers are engaged with a connected device as they watch television; OneTwoSee™ allows broadcasters to keep this distracted audience engaged.  OneTwoSee™ was recently awarded the “Best White Label Sports Social TV Execution or Solution” at The Sports Social TV Summit and Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles, for the use of the OneTwoSee™ platform in association with TSN’s broadcast coverage of NHL Hockey.

The OneTwoSee™ platform is currently being used by six Comcast SportsNet stations, Root Sports (Direct TV), YES Network, TSN & RDS(Bell Media), Cox Media, The Montreal Post Gazette, and Bloomberg Sports.

The company is led by Chris Reynolds, CEO; Jason Angelides, COO; and Patrick Clark, Lead Developer.

Real_Food_Works_ColorReal Food Works – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $175,000

Founded by successful tech entrepreneurs with a passion for healthy and great-tasting food, Real Food Works provides customers with a subscription plan of meals that are cooked by local partners – restaurants, caterers and personal chefs – and delivered fresh.

The meals are mostly plant-based and are targeted to those who want to lose weight, enhance their energy levels, have special dietary restrictions (ie. gluten free, diabetes) and improve their overall health.  In the process, subscribers are able to transform their eating habits to become healthier.

The company is led by Lucinda Duncalfe, CEO.  Duncalfe is a successful serial entrepreneur and Ben Franklin alum.  She was CEO of ClickEquations, a Ben Franklin alumni company that was acquired by Channel Intelligence in 2011.  She co-founded TurnTide, which was acquired by Symantec for $28 million.  Duncalfe was also CEO of Destiny WebSolutions, a Ben Franklin alumni company.

Real Food Works is also led by Mary Beth Colucci, VP of Marketing; Jay Brown, VP of Product; and David Friedman, CTO.

Smart Structures – Southampton – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $150,000

(Ben Franklin previously invested $230,000)

Smart Structures has developed a system that tests and monitors the health of the nation’s physical infrastructure, such as highways, bridges, tunnels and buildings.  Its technology can also dramatically alter the cost and time dynamics of traditional evaluation programs, by enabling real-time testing of all foundation elements.

Smart Structures’ monitoring is conducted by tiny wireless sensors that are cast directly into wet concrete as it is poured into the structure.  From those sensors, state and federal agencies can read data on the structure’s health and stability.  The technology potentially allows the agencies to fix problems before they occur.  In the event of an emergency, they will also notify authorities to quickly reroute traffic, and dispatch public safety officials, fire and rescue squads, and/or repair squads.

Smart Structures is led by Thomas Chiarella, Founder, CEO and President; and Rich Hecht, COO.

SnipSnap App, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $100,000

(Ben Franklin previously invested $100,000)

What if snipping a coupon was as simple as snapping your smartphone camera?  That’s the idea behind SnipSnap, the first app to scan, save and redeem printed coupons through your mobile phone.

The technology allows users to more efficiently and effectively organize their coupons, maximize their savings, and be reminded to use their coupons before expiration dates.  They are also able to share their coupons both within their own social networks and with all other SnipSnap users.

SnipSnap is successfully taking advantage of Philadelphia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.  In 2011, the company was shaped by DreamIt Ventures, a nationally renowned entrepreneurial accelerator with early funding and support from Ben Franklin.  SnipSnap was part of the inaugural class of companies at the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, housed by the Interstate Media Group (owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and, funded by the Knight Foundation, and operated and supported by Ben Franklin.  The company is also a prior winner of Philly Tech Week’s Switch Philly competition.

SnipSnap is led by Ted Mann, CEO; Kostas Nasis, CTO; and Kyle Martin, VP of Product.

Telefactor Corp – West Conshohocken – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $400,000

(Ben Franklin previously invested $230,450)

An offshoot of Chatten Associates, Telefactor is continuing its growth in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal marketplace, which is the process of rendering explosive devices safe.

Telefactor is procuring the next-generation Advanced Robotic Systems for the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology division (which purchases robots for the Army, Air Force, Marines, and Navy). Telefactor’s new technology has the lightest, most energy efficient vision systems for this next generation of robots.

Telefactor is led by Martha Jane Chatten, President; and John B. Chatten, Founder & CEO.

TicketLeap, Inc. – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $50,000

(Ben Franklin previously invested $525,000)

TicketLeap is an e-commerce, do-it-yourself system for ticketing and registration that enables event organizers to sell tickets to their events online. Services include event registration, event promotion, virtual box office software, and social network integration.

The company also provides barcode scanning, instant credit card swiping, customized ticket design and ticket tracking services.

The company has grown from three to 25+ employees since Ben Franklin first invested.

In 2012, Ticketleap handled $55M+ in gross ticket sales on its platform.

TicketLeap is led by Tim Raybould, President and COO; Beah Burger-Lenehan, VP of Product; and Brian Frantz, VP of Engineering.