Franklin Partners invests $342,378 to help companies

Innovations include solar power dish, neuro-diagnostic device

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Investments totaling $342,378 to support regional economic development have been approved by the board of directors of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The goal of the partners is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage.

Early-stage investments are provided to clients in the form of loans:

Bison Analytics, LLC, of Lewisburg, Union County, is getting $100,000. It will be used to continue developing and provide marketing support to Bison Analytics' planning and business intelligence software for small businesses that use QuickBooks™ or mid-market Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) accounting software systems.

The Bison Analytics' suite of products allows clients to easily utilize QuickBooks or ERP data for comprehensive financial planning, analysis, and management.

Bison Analytics will implement software enhancements, develop a sales strategy for the company's cloud-based product, and analyze follow-on funding tactics.

Cerora Inc., Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, also is getting $100,000, which will be used to finalize software and hardware, and commercialize a cloud-based, medical-grade, neuro-diagnostic solution.

Cerora makes real-time, neuro-diagnostic information available to non-specialists in the field.

The company's first device under development is a portable electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave biosensor that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain.

Rapid diagnosis of brain injuries and disease can lead to early and more effective interventions, yielding cost savings, improved clinical outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction for people with concussions/Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurologic and psychiatric conditions.

There are currently no easy-to-use, portable, and accurate neuro-diagnostics available to physicians, nurses, first responders, and certified athletic trainers.

CEWA Technologies, Inc., Wyomissing, Berks County is getting $75,000 to
complete design, construct and test prototypes of a new kind of point-concentrated solar power dish that will deliver power for industrial and institutional applications at a lower cost due to its innovative shape and construction.

The dish is capable of providing thermal power for HVAC, power generation, desalination, and process heat applications at a cost comparable to fossil fuel-based sources of energy without government subsidy.

Such cost competitiveness is novel in solar power dishes, and critical to the growth of this alternative energy source.

Skaffl, LLC, Allentown, Lehigh County, is getting $50,000 to complete development of Braket, a new mobile application through which teachers and students can exchange class materials, assignments, completed homework, assessments, and grades.

This digital application capitalizes on the exponentially growing use of iPads in K-12 classrooms and the needs of teachers as they develop tools and curricula to enhance real-time educational interaction.

There are no other applications that address these needs comprehensively while also being simple to use for students, teachers and administrators.

Ben Franklin also announced the following established manufacturer company investments. Ben Franklin provides 1:1 matching funding for work with a college or university partner on technology-based manufacturing innovation in established manufacturers.

Crispin Valve of Berwick, Columbia County, will get $8,740 to determine the flow characteristics of a new plug valve for the wastewater industry. Building on its success in the butterfly valve market for the municipal water industry, this manufacturer of industrial and commercial valves is expanding into this new product line. Its university partner is Utah State University.

GenPore of Reading, Berks County, will get $8,638 to complete work to expand and optimize operating space, including construction of new clean rooms and addition of new warehouse space. The manufacturer of porous plastic filters specializes in innovative and cost-effective solutions for a broad range of filtration, controlled flow, and separation applications for liquids and gases. Its university partner is Lehigh University's Enterprise Systems Center.

 Ben Franklin Partners' staff concentrates its efforts on three key areas: developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies, helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, the organization has helped to create 15,820 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,645 existing jobs, to start 442 new companies, and to develop 1,189 new products and processes.

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