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Ben Franklin to Invest $260,000 in PA Technology Companies


October 4, 2012 - Bethlehem, PA

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $260,000 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 funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 15,479 new jobs and retain 21,459 existing jobs, to start 429 new companies, and to develop 1,127 new products and processes. Ben Franklin has returned $3.50 to Pennsylvania for every $1.00 invested in the program.

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

PROVA Systems, LLC, Carbondale - $50,000
Support the launch and commercial development of PROVA™ System's new Fleet Genius™ Pro SAAS application for fleet management. PROVA™ manufactures a cloud-based diagnostic device that collects, monitors, and analyzes the performance of every vehicle and every driver in a vehicle fleet. The system works for small to medium enterprise (SME), larger enterprise, and local government fleets using PROVA's plug-and-play Fleet Manager-in-a-box™. This device allows proactive management of vehicles using data derived from their usage patterns and collected from on-board computers, thereby increasing efficiency. PROVA's data can also be shared with third-party fleet management systems. The system can reduce fleet operations costs by more than 60% versus current technology, and in many instances pays for itself in less than a year.

SuccessTSM LLC, East Stroudsburg - $85,000
Commercialize a proprietary new disaster recovery management software tool, called Maggie Bare Server Restore (MBSR), and establish procedures that will be used to implement a repeatable sales process. This software application supports Tivoli Storage Manager, IBM's widely used enterprise-wide network storage management solution. The MBSR process requires only a 15-minute down time following a disaster or test, versus the current industry standard of at least four hours.

ZeroTruck Corporation, Allentown - $120,000
Complete development of ZeroTruck's next-generation electric drive integration system, which will be installed in new or existing truck chassis to convert gasoline and diesel trucks to zero-emission plug-in electric vehicles. With surging fuel costs, expanding environmental protection regulation, and public demand for environmentally friendly transportation, the electric vehicle market continues to grow. ZeroTruck plans to establish its production facility in the Lehigh Valley.

Ben Franklin will invest in the following established manufacturer companies in 1:1 matching grants.

Electro Chemical & Manufacturing Company, Emmaus - $5,000
With Lehigh University, develop an adhesive primer that will allow lined vessels used in corrosive fluid handling environments to be utilized in applications requiring a greater range of temperature and pressure conditions than the company's current product line. Electro Chemical Engineering & Manufacturing Company produces thermoplastic and fluoropolymer lined steel vessels used to manufacture, distribute, and store corrosive chemicals. The company will work with a team from Lehigh University's Materials Science Department to identify and evaluate primer systems with high thermal stability to perform successfully against the required criteria of the new applications. This will allow the company to broaden its product offerings and promote sales and employment growth.

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