Ben Franklin Approves $1.9M for Ten Early-Stage Companies
PHILADELPHIA, PA (www.sep.benfranklin.org) – 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 $1,890,000 in funding for ten early-stage companies.
“We’re excited that this round of investments is comprised of such a diverse group of companies, companies who are creating a range of solutions that will benefit Alzheimer’s patients, to users of business data, to energy-efficient building developers,” said RoseAnn B. Rosenthal, President & CEO of Ben Franklin.
“We’re also proud to report that BFTP/SEP is ranked the 5th national venture fund by number of deals for Q4 2012, by PwC MoneyTree™. This ranking underscores the importance of the Commonwealth’s continued support for seeding the enterprises that will be future job generators,” she added.
Companies approved for funding:
AboutOne – Paoli – Chester County
Approved Investment: $200,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $100,000)
The expanding market for family management and caregiver technology lacks cohesion and uniformity. AboutOne is a secure and private online subscription service that makes it easy for anyone to manage family life, providing a location for users to conveniently enter, store, manage and share family memories (text, photos, and videos) and household information (health, possession and education records, contacts and more) and access this data from anywhere, through any device.
AboutOne’s patent-pending technology saves time on the everyday tasks parents and caregivers manage by auto-entering information. It not only complements the file cabinets, books, boxes, multiple web, desktop and mobile applications that are used to store personal information; it also enables users to reap the benefits (both time and money) of being able to easily put their information to work through alerts, reminders, intelligent reports and private sharing. AboutOne’s business mission is to be the global de‐facto standard for family management systems.
The company is led by Chief Executive Officer Joanne Lang, a Forbes “Top Ten Female Entrepreneurs to Watch” and StartupNation winner; Chief Financial Officer Lorraine LoPresti; and Chief Architect Nathan Bayles.
Dynamis Skin Science, Inc. – Jenkintown – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $500,000
Dynamis Skin Science develops and markets topical skin health and anti-aging products that utilize the meglumine-based substance Supplamine® – a compound proven to interfere with and reverse the breakdown of skin. Supplamine® skin technology is the key component of the company’s MEG 21 skin care products which, unlike other traditional cosmetics, aims to improve skin health and integrity. In addition to aesthetic improvement, skin texture is improved, ensuring MEG 21 products make it is easier to monitor skin for harmful changes.
Dynamis Skin Science founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Annettee Tobia is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Dynamis Therapeutics.
Luxtech, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $200,000
The global energy-efficient LED lighting market is growing rapidly. LED lighting systems currently represent about 7% of the general lighting market, but are projected to grow by 64% by 2020. Luxtech designs and develops AC and DC LED modules to serve the needs of legacy lighting fixture manufacturers in the general ambient lighting space.
Luxtech initially focused on developing DC LED modules, which represent 98% of the LED module market, and then developed modules for troffers, a ceiling light fixture that represents about 70% of the commercial lighting fixture market.
The company is led by Sean Darras, Founder & President; Ron Lenk, Chief Scientist; and Robert Small, Interim Chief Financial Officer.
Luxtech is a client of the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub Commercialization Center (HCC). The HCC houses and supports startup, emerging and established companies engaged in developing and marketing energy efficient building retrofit products and services. The HCC provides virtual programs and services through the Ben Franklin Navigator™ program, which offers market entry assistance for both national & international companies.
MVP Interactive – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $125,000
MVP Interactive is a digital interactive software company focused on bringing highly engaging user experiences to client-sponsored events, such as professional sports games, theme parks, movies, and other entertainment venues.
After almost a year of concept and product development, the company launched in February 2013 at the NBA All-Star Game, helping to land contracts with the Philadelphia Flyers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Houston Dynamo.
MVP delivers interactive experiences to increase brand awareness and loyalty among fans and event attendees, while providing valuable consumer behavior analytics for sponsors. They do this currently through their first product, an advanced technology kiosk called the “MorphingStation™” that provides fans with “morphed” photos and avatars of themselves with team, event and sponsor related content.
The company is led by CEO & Founder James Giglio.
Orion Fleet Intelligence – Conshohocken – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $75,000 (Ben Franklin previously invested $100,000)
Orion Fleet Intelligence provides GPS/telematics enhanced business intelligence services to companies who rely on fleet operations as a significant part of their revenue/cost structure, and to their insurance carriers and brokers.
By tracking, analyzing and organizing the data of fleet vehicles and drivers, and combining this with operating data (such as billing, dispatch, HR, fuel-cards, timesheets, payroll, etc.), Orion enables fleet operators and the commercial auto insurance industry to unlock revenue, become more operationally efficient, and enable cost savings. Orion also benefits commercial auto insurers, agents, and brokers by making underwriting more profitable, improving service, and making risk management services more efficient.
The company is led by Chief Executive Officer Peter Jacobson, and Executive Vice President A.J. Kait.
Powerlytics – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $150,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $150,000)
Powerlytics provides financial statement benchmarking, market sizing and business research products, underpinned by the tax return data of all businesses and households in the United States. The tax return data is harmonized with other government data sources, providing the most complete and accurate business decision tools available in the market today.
The company has two primary business models; one is a typical licensing model to access the complete or a select portion of the data set through a typical SaaS arrangement. Alternatively, the company can enable its data sets to serve as the automated data source for a customer’s existing software or to allow them to create additional unique products.
The company is led by co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Sheetz, and co-founder, Chairman, and Chief Research Officer Jose Plehn-Dujowich, Ph.D.
QLIDA Diagnostics – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $200,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $300,000)
QLIDA develops next-generation biomarker diagnostic tests. The company’s proprietary portable, hand-held platform can be used for diagnosis of life-threatening diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, through the use of a nanotechnology-based protein detection.
QLIDA has been collaborating with Drexel University to develop its proprietary test, Quantum-dot Linked Immuno-Detection Assay (QLIDA), to create a quantitative biomarker detection platform, enabling early detection of proteins associated with disease. The company is currently developing an ultrasensitive test for cardiovascular disease to be used in point of care testing.
QLIDA is led by Chief Executive Officer Michael Boyce-Jacino, Ph.D, previously Chief Executive Officer of BioNanomatrix, Inc (now BioNano Genomics, a Ben Franklin client), and Vice President of Engineering Michael Kochersperger.
QR Pharma, Inc. – Berwyn – Chester County
Approved Investment: $140,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $610,000)
QR Pharma is a specialty pharmaceutical company founded to develop novel treatments for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. The company has two compounds in clinical development: Posiphen® targets early stage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and may stop or slow the progression of the disease. BNC is expected to work in later stage Alzheimer’s.
The company is led by CEO Dr. Maria Maccecchini, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Grundman and Chief Financial Officer Reid McCarthy. In 1992, Ben Franklin invested in Dr. Maccecchini’s Symphony Pharmaceuticals, which sold to Transgenomic in 2001.
RMH Sciences, LLC – Doylestown – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $50,000, through the Technology Commercialization Fund
RMH Sciences aims to commercialize newly discovered antibiotics by Dr. Harvey Rubin, University of Pennsylvania Professor of Medicine. One of RMH’s most promising ventures focuses on creating antibiotics to combat hospital acquired bacterial pathogens, a largely unmet need in the current marketplace.
The $50,000 investment will help in the transitional process of moving the lab’s research into the beginning stages of drug development. This aligns with RMH’s long term goal of developing compounds for human clinical trials.
The company is led by co-founder Dr. Harvey Rubin; Chief Executive Officer and President Glenn Mattes; and Vice President George Hobbs.
ZSX Medical, LLC – King of Prussia – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $250,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $50,000, through the Technology Commercialization Fund)
ZSX Medical is a pre-clinical-stage company dedicated to the improvement of internal surgical closure via its Zip-Stitch™ bio-absorbable technology. Zip-Stitch™ clips aim to ease internal closure, often the most difficult part of minimally invasive surgery, reducing procedure time, post-operative infections and tissue adhesions that can cause scarring, pain, and additional surgeries.
Ben Franklin previously invested Technology Commercialization Funding for the company to conduct an animal study. The success of that study prompted Ben Franklin’s additional investment in ZSX Medical.
The company is led by founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dan Mazzucco, and founder and Chief Operations Officer Eric Rugart.