Ben Franklin Tech Partners Pumped $3.7M Into These 21 Philly-Area Startups Last Quarter

Companies in the physical sciences sector got the biggest chunk of the investment. Funds were also funneled to companies through Ben Franklin's new digital health partnership with Safeguard Scientifics and Independence Health Group.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners HQ.

Tech investment powerhouse Ben Franklin Technology Partners released their third quarter investment plan this week and 21 early-stage companies got approved for investment. A total of $3.7 in funding has been approved, and eight companies in the physical sciences sector got approved for the biggest sum of investment. The eight companies will receive $1.4 million in total.

The group’s three other divisions – information technology, digital health, and health – each hold 5 or fewer companies.

The busy quarter can be partly attributed to the four-year digital health partnership between Ben Franklin, Independence Health Group and Safeguard Scientifics, that was launched back in December 2016. The partners pledged $2 million each to specifically fuel local, early-stage, digital health startups. Four companies listed below were approved for investment through the new fund.

“The companies we chose to fund last quarter really demonstrate the robustness of the digital health tech scene here,” David Luk, a principal at Safeguard, told Philadelphia magazine. “And the fact that there’s not really a common thread between them shows how broad the depth of talent is here.” On the companies approved for investment through the digital health fund since it launched last year, Luk said there’s a big variety in their backgrounds and business models: One was started by a repeat entrepreneur, another by a Wharton MBA and another founder moved to Philly to build a school. And one of the companies is selling to big pharma, one to home care providers and another is a consumer-oriented business. In total, the digital health fund has approved investments for six startups since December, which includes investments in VitalTrax and The One Health Company (one of our startups to watch for 2017), both funded in previous quarters.

Here’s a complete list of the 21 companies Ben Franklin approved for third quarter investment:

  • EnviroKure
    • EnviroKure’s products allow chicken manure to be converted into liquid organic fertilizer for improved organic farming with reduced waste.
  • Biomeme
    • After creating the first iPhone add-on capable of performing molecular diagnostics, Biomeme has continued to explore scientific solutions at the convergence of biology, chemistry, and computer-based technology.
  • MyDealerOnline
    • Based in Bucks County, this SaaS platform allows used car dealers to sell cars before they themselves have purchased them, minimizing markups and widening the selection of cars consumers can choose from.
  • TriviaNote
    • This helpful note-taking platform utilizes natural language processing to automatically generate study materials for students and enable classmate collaboration.
  • Folia Water
    • Folia Water manufactures a cheap paper water filter that has the potential to provide safe drinking water across the world at a low cost.
  • Guiding Technologies*
    • This Philadelphia-based startup created the first haptic feedback instruction management software platform designed exclusively for Applied Behavioral Analysis based therapy for individuals with autism.
  • Grand Round Table, Inc.*
    • Grand Round Table’s software send primary care providers time-saving personalized daily digest reports at the end of each day, including a list of the next day’s patients.
  • Astarte Medical Partners, Inc.*
    • This microbial health informatics company is working on a clinical software tool that monitors the gut health of preterm infants and allows NICU teams to optimize infant nutrition and care.
  • Sciaderm
    • Based in Chester County, Sciaderm is developing a novel treatment for psoriasis involving a previously unused mode of action.
  • BarVision
    • BarVision’s technology automatically records alcohol pours, matching them with a bar’s transactions to reduce costs and improve profits within the hospitality industry while creating a solid base of business intelligence.
  • WhoseYourLandlord, Inc.
    • This review service for landlords and rentals will also provide verified tenant information and real-time available listings.
  • Electro-Tech Systems, Inc.
    • Around since 1970, this ETS’ electrostatic measuring, monitoring, and simulation test instruments have provided innovative assistance within numerous scientific fields.
  • CampusESP
    • CampusESP works with colleges and universities to maximize recruiting effectiveness, student retention, and parent giving
  • Clem’ (Clean Mobility)
    • Originally operated in France, this Electric Vehicle car-sharing solution implements original projects and programs to connect the “Smart Grid” for “Smart City” projects in peri-urban hubs.
  • GrowFlux LLC
    • Large scale horticultural growers can utilize GrowFlux’s innovative horticultural lighting + sensing + cloud platform to maximize the efficiency of their vertical farms, greenhouses, and seed manufacturing facilities.
  • LIA Diagnostics
    • One of Philly Mag’s startups to watch for 2017, Lia is producing the first flushable, biodegradable pregnancy test that is cheaper to produce and more sustainable than traditional pregnancy tests.
  • Oncora Medical*
    • Also one of our startups to watch for 2017, Oncora Medical’s software develops data-driven, personalized radiation therapy for cancer patients by effectively organizing patient information presented to physicians.
  • Advanced Chocolate Technologies

*Denotes companies that received investment through the Digital Health Fund. 

Fabiola Cineas contributed to this report. 

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