2021 Calendar Year Wrap Up
Approved Investments By Sector
Approved Companies by Sector
|Cecilian Partners||Real Estate Tech||Information Technology|
|CollX||Real Estate Tech||Information Technology|
|Employee Cycle||Software||Human Resources|
|GoWellbenefits.com||Real Estate Tech||Information Technology|
|Houwzer||Real Estate Tech||Real Estate|
|Lula||Real Estate Tech||Information Technology|
|Noble||Software||Food & Beverage|
|Sweft||Real Estate Tech||Information Technology|
|Astarte Medical Partners||In-hospital Monitoring||Healthcare|
|Avisi Technologies||Medical Devices||Healthcare|
|CrossBridge||Clinical Decision Making||Healthcare|
|Eliksa Therapeutics||Biologics, Cell & Gene Therapy||Biotechnology|
|Envara Health||Chronic Disease Management||Healthcare|
|Friends Life Care Consultants||Improving Practice: Improving Medical Decision Making, Delivery of Care, Breaking Down Siloed Care||Healthcare|
|Mitochon||Small Molecule (Chemical Entity) Therapeutics & Formulation||Healthcare|
|Nobias Therapeutics||Small Molecule (Chemical Entity) Therapeutics & Formulation||Healthcare|
|RecoveryLink||Improving Practice: Improving Medical Decision Making, Delivery of Care, Breaking Down Siloed Care||Healthcare|
|SOLUtion Medical||Medical Devices||Healthcare|
|Strados Labs||Digital Therapeutics||Healthcare|
|VESTECK, Inc||Medical Devices||Healthcare|
|AmorSui||Consumer Product / Other||Healthcare|
|Impact Wrap||IOT / Integrated Solutions||Electronics|
|Naturaz||Consumer Product / Other||Retail|
CEO Letter & Vision
Here matters now.
In 2021, the innovation of the Philadelphia region began to get the global recognition it deserves. Yet for as many discussions we’ve had about “Philadelphia making it,” the rise of the remote workforce has put us into even more conversations about “does place still matter?”
In the 1970’s and 80’s, the migration of Pennsylvania’s manufacturing-based industries to so many different global markets created a need for a stream of new industries that would yield new businesses, jobs, and growth opportunities, and ensure future generations of Pennsylvanians against further unforeseen tumultuous market events. At that critical time for Pennsylvania’s economy, the statewide partnership which founded our organization began, with bipartisan support led by then-governor Dick Thornburgh.
What the governor knew in 1982 was that adopting and building a place-based culture of innovation would not just create “technology jobs,” but would bolster the resilience of EVERY job. How this would happen would later be articulated by economist Enrico Moretti in 2012, who posited that “for each new high-tech job in a city, five additional jobs are ultimately created outside of the high-tech sector in that city, both in skilled occupations (lawyers, teachers, nurses) and in unskilled ones (waiters, hairdressers, carpenters).”
Moretti understood that prosperity happens best when communities are fostered – and while some of its jobs may become remote, life happens in places. By his theory, the effect of the nearly 4,000 jobs created or preserved by Ben Franklin companies last year may have made as many as 20,000 additional non-tech jobs possible to help the Philadelphia region weather the pandemic’s continued effects.
The work we’ve highlighted in this year’s Performance Profile samples the accomplishments of our companies and aggregates their impact, while sharing some of our strides taken toward making its growth more equitable. But make no mistake, it certainly gives our answer to the question above:
Not only does place matter, but this place matters.
After a Pandemic Growth Spurt, COVID-19 Test Maker Biomeme is Moving its HQ to North Broad and Looking to the Future
About this time last year (2020), Biomeme — makers of a rapid COVID-19 test and other diagnostic hardware — had about 35 people in its 10th and Chestnut streets HQ.
Enter a global pandemic. The company, now about 280 employees across the U.S. and about 120 in the Philadelphia region, has outgrown its office. It will join esports company Nerd Street Gamers at a 44,000-square-foot office, lab, testing and manufacturing in a new corporate headquarters at 401 N. Broad St., owned by Netrality, operator of fiber-dense data centers that allow for super-fast internet.
Biomeme currently produces mobile, real time-PCR devices and other testing hardware. It’s currently manufacturing products including a FDA emergency use authorized COVID-19 test.
The move will help the expansion of the company’s manufacturing capacity, and is supported by a $3 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. It will allow Biomeme to produce more than 10 million tests annually, the company said. Biomeme has been working with Strada Architecture LLC to build out the space to meet all of its office, manufacturing and lab needs.
One of the Philadelphia region’s fastest-growing private companies is acquired
Overland Park, Kansas-based New Directions Behavioral Health bought the tech-oriented company to dramatically reduce the time between when patients are screened and when they receive care.
New Directions and Tridiuum partnered on a program in Florida that launched in December. As of Jan. 14, the partnership screened more than 450 people, with average speed to first appointment of about four days, according to a release. That compares with a current standard of care average of 25 days.
Tridiuum, founded in 1997, automates behavioral health screening, triage, matching and online scheduling. The company ranks No. 41 on the Philadelphia Business Journal’s List of the area’s fastest-growing companies, with a two-year average revenue growth of 20.69%. Tridiuum reported revenue of $7.3 million in 2020. The company is headquartered in Center City and led by CEO Mark Redlus.
Roundtrip and ACS Remove the Roadblock to Cancer Care
Roundtrip, the leading technology solution for patient transportation, announces the addition of the US’s largest health-focused charity, the American Cancer Society, as a partner.
Every day, thousands of cancer patients need a ride to treatment, but some may not have a way to get there. The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves. Together, Roundtrip and ACS will work to ease the stressful process of transportation coordination and allow patients to focus on what is most important – their care and recovery.
Roundtrip is a simple, comprehensive patient ride ordering software that connects patients with non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT). Roundtrip supports all levels of transport: volunteer drivers, rideshare, taxi, medical cars, wheelchair vans, stretcher vehicles, ALS/BLS ambulances, all payers, and all trips delivered when and where they are needed.
Houwzer’s Next Move
As a first grader in Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey, Mike Maher launched his earliest small business: selling Blow Pops and construction paper.
“Back in the day, colored paper was in high demand and kids always like candy, so I thought it was a great way to subsidize my own love of art and candy,” Maher says, laughing at the memory.
Now, as the CEO of Philly-based Houwzer—the five-year-old real estate brokerage firm that’s disrupted the industry both by employing salaried (versus commissioned) brokers, and committing so deeply to doing good that they’re a certified B Corp—Maher is continuing to recognize needs where others miss them, with a deep sense of empathy, hard work and service.
Audigent Secures $19.1 Million Series B Financing Round Led by EPAM Systems/The Go Philly Fund
Audigent, the “2.0” data management platform (DMP) and leading edge “data agency” that has pioneered data-driven private marketplace deals through its cookieless HALOM Identity product suite has announced that it has completed a $19.1 million Series B round of financing.
The funding will allow Audigent to continue its expansion as the premier first party data platform for the entertainment, sports, lifestyle and Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) eCommerce verticals as well as further its innovation as one of the leading next-gen data monetization platforms for major retail and CPG partners. The Go Philly Fund, a joint venture between Ben Franklin Technology Partners and EPAM Systems, Inc., has led the investment round with additional participation from both existing and new investors including: Broadscale Group, Raised in Space, MathCapital, Riverpark Ventures and others.
The investment brings Audigent’s total funding to $33.6 million since launch and will help the company broaden the reach of its cookieless PMP products and HALO IDTM while also aggressively expanding its sales and marketing efforts globally.
ROAR for Good Closed a Round of Funding as it Eyes Expansion Throughout the US
2020 was a crushing year for the hospitality industry. But ROAR for Good founder Yasmine Mustafa is keeping her eyes on encouraging recovery numbers as the company places its personal safety device technology in more hotels across the United States.
The company just closed a round of growth capital and is planning to add to its team this year, it announced Thursday. The round — Mustafa told Technical.ly she’ll be keeping the size private for now — closes as many states face impending deadlines to reach safety compliance standards.
Often called “panic button laws,” many regions are making it mandatory for hotels to provide their staff with personal safety devices. It’s exactly what Mustafa had in mind when she pivoted ROAR’s original product, the Athena, to this B2B business model a few years ago.
Employee Cycle Eyes $2.5M Seed Round After Completing Comcast Accelerator Program
Philadelphia human resources tech startup Employee Cycle is raising a $2.5 million seed round after wrapping up its time at the 2021 Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator powered by Techstars.
Employee Cycle is a human resources startup that takes HR data, analyzes it and presents it on a dashboard. It was one of 11 startups that participated in the recent LIFT Labs Accelerator, and it was the only local startup in the mix this year.
The company already has several investors on board for the seed round, including venture capital firms, family offices and angels, Co-founder and CEO Bruce Marable said. He declined to share the names of investors and how much the company has raised so far.
“The next round of funding is really about us establishing ourselves as a leader in the space,” Marable said. “Now that we’ve built a comprehensive product, our goal is to get as many HR leaders as possible using our product.”
Burro Raises a Nearly $11M Series A to Scale its Autonomous Robots
NextFab-based Burro, formerly known as Augean Robotics, has raised a $10.9 million Series A round of financing a little more than two years after its seed round, the company announced Tuesday.
The four-year-old company makes an autonomous, collaborative robot called Burro, which assists in farming labor. And as field labor workforces have shrunk in recent years, the Series A will help in the company in producing more than 500 robots next year for its existing and growing list of customers.
“Fast forward to our having nearly 100 robots running in the field, used by people who almost universally only speak Spanish, and along the way it became pretty clear that none of our end users knew or cared about our original name,” Andersen said.
Partnerships that Drive Impactful, Diverse and Inclusive Entrepreneurship
ImpactPHL Ventures Celebrates Five Years of Impact
The co-investment program led by Ben Franklin to focus on technology-focused enterprises that support outcomes of social impact
Ben Franklin and PACT Partner with 1Philadelphia to Support Historically Underrepresented Founders
Created by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Ben Franklin) and the Philadelphia Alliance for Capital and Technology (PACT), Mentor Connect expanded its accessibility to qualified entrepreneurs and mentors outside of the Ben Franklin portfolio or PACT membership in an effort to support diversity and inclusion as part of Coded by Kids’ 1Philadelphia initiative.
Mentor Connect pairs entrepreneurs with teams of three to five volunteer mentors who share their insights and expertise across a range of industries. Underrepresented entrepreneurs participating in Mentor Connect will receive support in a bevy of areas, including leadership, sales, business development and marketing, operations, investment and raising capital.
JVS Philadelphia Fund for Women Provides New Capital for Women Entrepreneurs in Philadelphia
Judee von Seldeneck, Founder and Chair of Diversified Search Group, established the JVS Philadelphia Fund for Women, a multi-million-dollar partnership with Ben Franklin to provide capital and to coach women-owned enterprises with strong growth potential in the Philadelphia region.
The JVS Philadelphia Fund for Women deploys capital in two primary methods: through grants made to women-owned and led businesses that are positioned for their next stage of growth, selected through a process directly overseen by Ms. von Seldeneck and an Advisory Committee; and through investments in technology-focused ventures in the region that match Ben Franklin’s investment criteria. By leveraging the experience of women leaders, the fund serves to connect women-owned and operated enterprises to resources that accelerate their growth.