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Ben Franklin to Invest $342,378 in Regional Economic Development

BETHLEHEM, PA -- (Marketwired) -- 12/18/13 -- The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $342,378 in regional companies. BFTP/NEP is an award-winning, state-funded economic development organization that links early-stage technology firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation. BFTP is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,820 new jobs and retain 21,645 existing jobs, to start 442 new companies, and to develop 1,189 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.60 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program.

BFTP/NEP will invest in early-stage technology firms through loans:

Bison Analytics, LLC, Lewisburg - $100,000
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 - $100,000
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 - $75,000
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 - $50,000
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 will invest in the following established manufacturer companies in 1:1 matching grants for work with a university partner.

Crispin Valve, Berwick - $8,740
With Utah State University, determine the flow characteristics of a new plug valve for the wastewater industry at this manufacturer of industrial and commercial valves. Building on its success in the butterfly valve market for the municipal water industry, Crispin Valve is expanding into this new product line.

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

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