Ben Franklin to Invest $671,000 in Regional Economic Development


The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s (BFTP/NEP) Board of Directors has approved the investment of $671,000 in support of regional economic development. BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:

  1. developing and growing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
  2. helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
  3. promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 16,986 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 23,761 existing jobs, to start 482 new companies, and to develop 1,433 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.424 billion in follow-on funding since 2007. The work of the Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners networkhas generated $3.60 of additional state tax revenue for every $1.00 invested in the program.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

BFTP/NEP owns, manages, and is headquartered in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility on Lehigh University’s campus in Bethlehem, PA. BFTP/NEP also manages the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg.

Ben Franklin announces the following early-stage company investments that are provided in the form of loans with warrants.

Care Technology Solutions, LLC, ( Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Complete development of an infrastructure to greatly expand marketing and sales efforts for Care Technology Solutions’ platform. The software platform is for patient interaction with health care providers. It addresses the needs of patients with chronic diseases and other at-risk individuals who wish to stay at home during treatment while engaging with care teams to reduce ER visits and hospitalizations. The platform targets provider cost problems like readmissions and also accommodates customer needs such as long-term care management.

Ethnic Beauty Store, LLC, East Stroudsburg, Monroe County

Ben Franklin Investment: $65,000

Complete the formal launch of an e-commerce platform,, which features personal care and wellness brands targeted to multicultural consumers. Ethnic Beauty Store intends to become the central online ecosystem for ethnic personal care, a one-stop destination to purchase, learn, and share beauty ideas within the ethnic community. The company will also expand the retail distribution of its Game Face skin care line. The company will also expand the retail distribution of its Game Face skin care line into national retailers such as Rite Aid, GNC, and Walmart.

FrameCrafters, Scranton, Lackawanna County

Ben Franklin Investment: $30,000

Complete the launch of FrameCrafters’ new e-commerce platform for eye care professionals. Its Frameworks platform enhances the doctor-patient relationship by leveraging technology to let doctors offer a larger array of frames, allowing them to develop, retain, and monetize their patient bases while sharing in eyeglass revenue. Patients enjoy a greater selection of fashionable frames at more competitive prices.

Grovara LLC, (, Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Develop a web-based platform to permit rapid scale-up for this B2B eCommerce portal that facilitates international distribution of “Made in the USA” natural foods, beverages, and other fast-moving retail packaged consumer goods. By connecting domestic suppliers with international buying partners, the company acts as a cultural intermediary, lowering the barriers to entry for global trade. Grovara provides end-to-end foreign market distribution and international brand management solutions.

MindMe, Inc., ( Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $66,000

Expand commercialization of a web-based marketing and business productivity platform designed for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. Also facilitate the beta release of MindMe Solo, a new mobile marketing, communication and productivity app. MindMe Solo offers a robust contact manager, communication via SMS, email and voice calling, and multi-channel lead capture. Future capabilities will include dynamic mobile landing pages, chat, scheduling, lead generation, payment management and more.

Orbweaver Sourcing, LLC, ( Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Complete an e-commerce solution for this proprietary cloud-based software platform for electronic component distributors. The work will allow selected component data and pictures to automatically upload to clients’ websites. Current sourcing and procurement models in the electronics manufacturing industry are highly inefficient. Orbweaver’s solution allows for more well-negotiated terms with suppliers, thereby reducing costs and increasing productivity for clients.

Signallamp Health, LLC, ( Scranton, Lackawanna County

Ben Franklin Investment: $100,000

Complete work with a strategic partner to develop Signallamp Health’s Care Management technology platform. Signallamp utilizes technology to efficiently deliver chronic care management services to Medicare beneficiaries. Using Signallamp’s services, doctors provide a value-added service to a larger number of patients, generate new practice revenue, and achieve better health outcomes for patients.

Ben Franklin announces 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.

ABEC, Inc., ( Bethlehem, Northampton County

Ben Franklin Investment: $10,000

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Optimize purchasing and inventory processes at this provider of engineering, equipment, and related services to the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry. ABEC manufactures bioreactors and related process equipment used by biopharmaceutical companies around the world. These supply chain enhancements will help ABEC respond to customers’ higher volume and shorter lead time requirements.

Bio Med Sciences, Inc., ( Allentown, Lehigh County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Complete implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system at this producer of innovative and specialized materials for burn and wound care, and aesthetic skin care. Expected growth over the next three to five years necessitates a robust information technology system to improve operational efficiency, provide scalability and flexibility of operation, and meet customers’ demands.

East Penn Manufacturing Company, ( Lyon Station, Berks County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

College Partner: Northampton Community College’s Emerging Technology Applications Center

Develop a complete analysis of recycling considerations at East Penn, especially as it relates to the growing need for new battery technology due to the growth in the hybrid electric vehicle market and other alternative energy uses. East Penn is a leading manufacturer and recycler of advanced lead-acid battery products, and the largest manufacturing employer in Berks County.

InterMetro Industries Corporation ( Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

University Partner: Pennsylvania State University

Analyze and improve coating adhesion, thickness, uniformity, and durability for this manufacturer of wire rack shelving products. Optimize the manufacturing process to increase performance and reduce corrosion.

Simplex Homes, Inc. ( Scranton, Lackawanna County

Ben Franklin Investment: $25,000

University Partner: Lehigh University’s Enterprise Systems Center

Fully integrate AutoCAD 3D architecture and finalize the implementation plan to transform two plants into one for production and the other for finishing, improving production processes and increasing throughput. Simplex is a manufacturer of high-quality modular residences and is positioning itself as an industry-leading builder of energy efficient homes. The company built a prototype Net Zero house that is both environmentally friendly and economically prudent for homeowners.