Ben Franklin Approves $2.2M for Nine Early-Stage Companies
October 31, 2013
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 $2,175,000 in funding for nine early-stage companies.
Companies approved for funding:
Cloudnexa – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $250,000
Cloudnexa is the next generation cloud management solutions leader for business and government. The company delivers cloud management solutions, migration, deployments and professional services, allowing clients to move and manage their applications into the cloud with streamlined managed services capabilities.
Founded in 2008, Cloudnexa is one of the first cloud service provider (CSP) companies dedicated to managed services based on Amazon Web Services, working with the company as an Advanced Consulting Partner.
Cloudnexa migrates information and applications such as SharePoint, Mobile, ERP, CRM and custom applications with ease to the cloud, leveraging its revolutionary vNOC™ Managed Services Platform. Their team delivers 24/7 monitoring and support so clients achieve lower costs, save time and drive business results.
The company is led by Joel Davne, Founder & CEO; Bill Testa, CFO; MJ DiBerardino, Vice President, Technology; and Josh Resnick, Director of Engineering.
Community Energy, Inc. – Radnor – Delaware County
Approved Investment: $400,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $400,000)
Community Energy (CEI) is a clean energy company uniquely positioned on both sides of the supply-demand equation, building solar and wind energy projects by engaging customers through products and services. Since its founding in 1999, the company has developed over 700 MW of wind and 40 MW of solar power with the help of its more than 100,000 residential and commercial customers, and over 20 partnerships with electric utilities and suppliers.
Throughout its strong development history, CEI has helped finance renewable energy projects by marketing the benefits of renewable energy to residential and commercial customers, as well as various partners including electric utility companies and leading corporate brands. CEI’s green power programs regularly earn notable rankings on the nation’s top ten green power programs lists.
In 2012, CEI constructed the Keystone Solar Project in Lancaster County, the largest solar project in Pennsylvania.
Community Energy is led by Brent Alderfer, CEO & co-founder; Eric Blank, Executive Vice President and co-founder; Brent Beerley, Executive Vice President; and Dr. Tom Tuffey, Vice President, Project Services.
EyeIC, Inc. – West Conshohocken – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $25,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $725,000)
EyeIC is a cutting-edge healthcare technology firm dedicated to commercializing image analysis technologies for medical applications. EyeIC’s MatchedFlicker® is a new technology for monitoring the advent and progression of retinal disease and glaucoma through change detection in time series images.
EyeIC was founded around patented technology developed by Dr. Jeffrey Berger and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, who were interested in the application of information technology to medical imaging.
EyeIC is led by Philip Heifetz, President & CEO; Michael DellaVecchia, MD, PhD, FACS FICS, Consulting Chief Scientific Officer; Boz Coburn, Business Development; and Steve Bakanov, MS, Ph.D., Technology Director.
FLOWatch, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $250,000
The company’s flagship product of the same name, FLOWatch®, is a next generation data management system focused primarily on the water utility and environmental fields. FLOWatch leverages extensive water utility and IT expertise with over 100 years of combined experience, in order to offer clients cutting edge, truly flexible and affordable solutions.
FLOWatch is a web-based, enterprise-wide operational data management system, primarily serving water and wastewater utilities, as well as sectors that use water in their processes or generate wastewater. It provides a back-end neutral data-management solution, giving control over data definition and access directly to plant managers and operators.
With the help of FLOWatch, managers can review and report on operations data in the context of other processes, and operators can see the near-real-time results of process changes. Compliance staff can produce (or even automate) reports in a fraction of the time it takes to assemble them by hand, drastically reducing costs and without compromising security or data integrity.
This May, FLOWatch partnered in the Philly Enterprise Hackathon, designed to foster collaboration between Philadelphia-area enterprise companies and the region’s burgeoning software development community. Developers were presented with real business problems facing enterprise companies and challenged to come up with a solution prototype within three weeks. Ben Franklin, working with our Delaware River Water Alliance, sponsored the Technology Infrastructure track for $25,000, where teams competed to develop a mobile app for FLOWatch, LLC. Team My Flow won the track.
FLOWatch is led by Dr. Bruno Levine, President & COO; Dr. Kapal Madireddi, CTO; and Arvind Pang, VP of Technology and Infrastructure.
Lumigent, LLC – Glenside – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $375,000
Lumigent is a lighting retrofit company that offers energy efficiency products and services. Its Services + Software platform enables lighting businesses to focus on their products by taking care of “back office” services. Clients include fixture & controls manufacturers, electrical distributors & contractors, turnkey lighting providers, professional sales and management organizations, facility maintenance organizations, and lighting agents.
The Lumigent model enables clients to participate in the lighting retrofit market with limited investment in infrastructure costs. It offers a single-source solution, from audit through proposal, to customers competing for turnkey retrofit lighting projects.
The company is led by Skip Pasternak, President & CEO and co-founder; Bart Pasternak, Chairman and co-founder; Emily Schapira, Acting VP of Marketing; and Dipesh Pandya, VP of Technology and Operations.
OrthogenRx, Inc. – Doylestown – Bucks County
Approved Investment: $175,000
OrthogenRx is a late stage product development and marketing organization developing generic Class III medical devices in orthopedics.
The company utilizes a new business model focused on a product portfolio of generic medical devices with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal therapeutic area: rheumatology, physiatry, orthopedics and sports medicine specialties.
OrthogenRx’s model is to sign exclusive license and supply agreements with companies that manufacture and sell products in the EU and Asia-Pacific Rim, and then seek product approval in the U.S. utilizing their existing preclinical and clinical data. Its initial focus is on a class of products that reported over $800MM in sales in 2012. OrthogenRx will use their seed funding to file their first FDA application by the end of 2013. It is estimated that generic class III medical devices could save the healthcare system $6-8 billion dollars per year similar to the savings associated with generic drugs.
The company is led by Michael J. Daley, Ph.D., President; David Toledo-Velasquez, Ph.D., VP of Manufacturing, Quality and Alliance Management.
RxSport Corporation – Norristown – Montgomery County
Approved Investment: $500,000
RxSport (Chandler Bats) originated when its founder, a furniture maker in Greensboro, NC, noticed the increased number of broken maple bats in Major League Baseball and realized flaws in how they were designed and manufactured. Assembling a specialist team of experienced craftsmen and engineers, he launched RxSport and perfected a technologically advanced and labor-intensive process that maintains the utmost strength of materials and quality of design.
Since its inception three years ago, RxSport has gone from being an unknown manufacturer to being certified to provide MLB bats, and capturing nearly 22 percent of the MLB market for maple and ash handcrafted bats. The bats are used by teams including the Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. Bat wood is partially sourced from Western PA.
RxSport also values the positive community impact that is possible with athletic success by connecting its athletes to communities in need, and supporting their foundations and causes.
The company is led by David Chandler, Founder and President; Lauren Saylor, Office Manager; Sean Ward, Production Manager; and Allan Donato, Sales Manager.
Shenandoah Studio, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $150,000
Shenandoah is a game studio focused on turn-based strategy games for the iPad and iPhone, allowing hobby gamers to play serious board games on their mobile electronic devices.
The company’s first product, an iPad simulation of the Battle of the Bulge, was released in December 2012 with great success. Since then it released a free version of the game, and created an iPhone version. Shenandoah is slated to release three new games: Drive on Moscow, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, and El Alamein
Shenandoah is led by Eric Lee Smith, CEO; Nicholas R. Karp, COO; Patrick Ward, Art Director; and David Dunham, Development Manager.
TuvaLabs, LLC – Philadelphia
Approved Investment: $50,000
TuvaLabs has created an online platform that takes interesting news stories of significant events taking place around the world, and transforms them into interactive math learning units for students.
The math problems TuvaLabs creates meet Common Core Learning Standards and offer real-world contexts with recent (as little as 24 hours), actual data involving sports, news and other areas of interest that will engage students and demonstrate real-world problem-solving.
The company currently offers two products. First is the web-based math learning platform offered for teachers, parents, schools and districts on a yearly subscription basis. Second is TuvaLabs Digital Learning Cards, offered to news publishers to increase engagement and bring new audiences to their platform.
TuvaLabs is a member of the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, housed by the Interstate Media Group (owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com), funded by the Knight Foundation, and operated and supported by Ben Franklin. The Incubator is stimulating the establishment and growth of digital media startup companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. TuvaLabs is collaborating with the Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com to integrate a Digital Learning Card into their sports section.
TuvaLabs is led by Harshil Parikh, Founder & CEO; and Jaimin Patel, Co-founder and VP of Engineering.