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Newtown Square's growing Kibow Biotech takes aim at kidney failure

Kibow, a small biotech in Newtown Square, has scored an important legal victory on its path to growth.
 
In a recent decision, India’s top intellectual property board upheld Kibow’s 2009 patent for its marquee product, a probiotic dietary supplement for those with kidney failure.
 
The decision will help Kibow expand its sales of Renadyl to overseas markets. The product is sold online and is classified as a dietary supplement to benefit and help promote healthy kidney function. “We walk a very fine line,” says CEO Natarajan Ranganathan. “We cannot use the word ‘disease’.”
 
Kibow developed Renadyl over 10 years and has performed three clinical trials to demonstrate its efficacy in humans. Ranganathan says Renadyl is aimed at those with advanced renal failure, but not in dialysis. The domestic market alone is huge: 26 million Americans are estimated to suffer from chronic kidney disease and forecasts are that the figure will increase by eight percent annually. 
 
The company also developed Azodyl, a similar supplement for the veterinary market. Licensed since 2006 to Vetoquinol SA, a French company, Azodyl hit $10 million in end-market sales in the U.S. and Canada in 2011.
 
Established in 1997 at Philadelphia’s University City Science Center, Kibow, a family-owned company, is now aiming to transition to professional management, raise capital and launch new probiotic products in its pipeline. Kibow employs 13.
 
A personal goal, adds Ranganathan, a native of India, is reducing health care costs, both in the U.S. and in poor nations where chronic kidney disease often goes untreated.
 
Source: Natarajan Ranganathan, Kibow Biotech
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Netrepid Virtual Incubator aims to grow PA entrepreneurial ecosystem

With the goal of creating a "pre-screened Rolodex of how to start up a company," Netrepid  is launching a pro bono, virtual business incubator for Pennsylvania entrepreneurs.
 
The Netrepid Virtual Incubator will enroll three startups each month for a year of technology services, mentoring and other support.
 
CEO Sam Coyl of Enola's Netrepid, a veteran of Silicon Valley, says the need became apparent to him during involvement with startup weekends in Harrisburg and Lancaster and that the incubator will initially focus on central PA. "That ecosystem just doesn't exist [there]. These entrepreneurs don’t feel they have access to mentors and the support they need to get off the ground."
 
From its data center in Harrisburg, Netrepid will manage the incubator and provide enrolled startups with up to $500 a month in customized technology solutions, such as email, web or cloud hosting. Participants will also get a one-year membership to the Technology Council of PA and access to business mentoring from the incubator's board of advisors, which includes established businesses and organizations including TechQuest PA, the Ben Franklin Incubation Network at Carlisle and the Harrisburg Regional Chamber.
 
The incubator launches on January 1 and applications are being accepted. So far, Coyl says, applicants include several technology startups, a manufacturer focused on streamlining, a medical device maker and a robotics firm.
 
Each month, the board will select up to three participants – two early-stage startups and one startup with a working prototype or minimum viable product – through a rolling nomination and competition process.
 
Coyl hopes the incubator will foster a more robust environment for startups, ultimately providing more access to capital, creating jobs and driving economic growth. "The state of Pennsylvania has a very innovative, talented ecosystem of entrepreneurs, but it’s a best-kept secret," he says. "The goal of this program … is to help accelerate the growth of this ecosystem."
 
Source: Sam Coyl, Netrepid Virtual Incubator
Writer: Elise Vider

Bethlehem's Pivitec is the 2013 Ben Franklin Venture Idol

With a laser focus, a clear grasp of its market, realistic goals and a strategy for achieving them, Bethlehem's Pivitec has emerged as the 2013 Ben Franklin Venture Idol.
 
The company, which develops, manufactures and markets software for live professional audio productions, competed against 10 finalists to wow a live audience and a panel of investors to win the title at a late November event billed as "a cross between  Shark Tank and American Idol." Hosted by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the evening was also the region's first in-person crowdfunding event.
 
Tom Knesel, Pivitec's president and  co-founder, says his company has grown steadily since its founding in 2010. For the first few years, supported by about $290,000 in BFTP investments, Pivitec focused on research and development. It started shipping small quantities of product  in late 2012 and is now manufacturing and shipping a line of five products to domestic and international markets. (World Electronics in Reading is Pivitec's contract manufacturer.)
 
A musician with an engineering background, Knesel saw the opportunity to replace extensive cables and "big, ugly boxes" onstage with software and wireless mobile devices. Pivitec's primary market so far has been theatrical venues and houses of worship – itself an $8 billion U.S. market.
 
Now Knesel is looking to leverage Pivitec's technology into other markets – convention and conference centers, recording studios, airports – a move that could grow Pivitec's market opportunity to $18 billion worldwide. The company, a resident at Ben Franklin TechVentures, employs three full-timers; Knesel says Pivitec is now transitioning from engineering positions to building a sales force and could potentially add as many as five new jobs in the next year.
 
In the final round of judging, Pivitec completed against Bethlehem's Cerora, a healthcare information technology firm, and Hawley's eVendor Check, which provides high-tech, vendor-selection tools.
 
Source: Tom Knesel, Pivitec
Writer: Elise Vider
 
 

LoanLogics, offering technology for the mortgage industry, wins $11.2 million in venture capital

Fort Washington's LoanLogics, created only seven months ago by a merger, has raised $11.2 million in venture capital to broaden its customer base in the mortgage lending industry. The investment comes from Volition Capital in Boston and existing investors.
 
The mortgage industry has been rocked to its foundation in recent years "and therein lies the opportunity," says CEO Brian Fitzpatrick. "It's been storming pretty bad and we offer shelter."
 
Or, more specifically, software solutions that improve the transparency and reliability of the mortgage process – from loan origination through sales and servicing of loan assets to eventual pay off.
 
Outdated technology can't cope with the battery of rules, requirements and scrutiny resulting from the mortgage crisis, says Fitzpatrick. So, five years ago, Aklero Risk Analytics, a client of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and New Jersey's NYLX began looking at a merger.
 
The combined company, LoanLogics, claims to be the industry's first enterprise loan quality and performance analytics platform that improves loan quality, validates compliance, improves profitability and manages risk. Fitzpatrick says the technology makes it possible for five to do what was once the job of 50 – and with more accuracy – at any concern that has to vet loans – banks, mortgage insurers, investors and others.
 
LoanLogics has a workforce of 92, about 50 at the  Pennsylvania headquarters and the rest in offices in New Jersey and Florida. The company plans to hire sales and marketing personnel as it expands its reach domestically and Fitzpatrick projects a workforce of about 170 in two years. Most of that growth will be in Trevose, where the company is moving in March to a new, 11,000-square-foot headquarters.
 
Source: Brian Fitzpatrick, LoanLogics
Writer: Elise Vider

Bucknell entrepreneurs' ScheduleFast takes off

Working out his sophomore year class schedule at Bucknell, Tony Tomashefski started writing software to navigate conflicts. Now a senior majoring in computer engineering and management, his ScheduleFast is used by roughly 57% of the Bucknell student body.
 
Tomashefski and business partner Zach Crowley, were the first-place winners at last month's Business Pitch Competition, hosted by Bucknell University's Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 
 
"Tony and Zach identified a clearly  understandable problem from their own experience as students and have developed a great solution in ScheduleFast," says Steve Stumbris, the SBDC's director. "The traction they've already achieved was perhaps the most impressive part of their pitch; the majority of the freshman class at Bucknell are already users of their product."
 
Tomashefski says he had never built a website when he decided to share his idea with other Bucknell students. "People started to use the site (feedback was really encouraging) so I kept developing it further and further." He registered ScheduleFast as an LLC a year ago and started to generate some revenue with advertisements. Crowley joined last semester to focus on expansion and marketing.
 
The two young entrepreneurs are currently experimenting with different business models, says Tomashefski, and are attempting to generate revenue off the sale of books through Amazon's affiliate program.
 
"I am currently in the process of writing a mobile app for Android and we should have an iOS app in production sometime next semester," he adds. "We plan on building up the website and pursuing a viable revenue model in the coming months."
 
As first-prize winner, the pair will be helped with their prize of $1,500 and one year's membership in Bucknell's Entrepreneurs Incubator
 
Source: Tony Tomashefski, ScheduleFast
Writer: Elise Vider

Penn's new hybrid incubator/seed fund supports education entrepreneurs

With funding from an array of venture capitalists and investors, four education startups are getting support from the Education Design Studio Inc. (EDSi), a new hybrid incubator and seed fund established by the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.
 
Dr. Barbara Kurshan of GSE describes the  $2.1 million EDSi as a "new innovation ecosystem we are building for entrepreneurs, researchers, investors and teachers." A mash up of an incubator, design studio, seed fund and social impact company, EDSi is virtual for now, as it helps launch four startups: Adidapter, ApprenNet, Raise Labs and scrible.  GSE is actively searching for a physical location in Philadelphia, where it expects to locate EDSi next year. 
 
The four startups were among the winners and finalists at the 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. A new cohort of education entrepreneurs will be chosen from participants at the May 2014 competition.
 
Investors in EDSi include Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania; McGraw-Hill Education; Ron Packard of K12 Inc.; Drs. Steve and Jessica Melman from Dermazoo; John H. Cammack, Managing Partner of Cammack Associates; John Katzman, CEO of The Noodle Companies LLC; the Brigitte and Donald Manekin Family Fund; Gregory Milken; Richard Binswanger, President/CEO of Away To Donate; Dr. Wallace Boston, CEO of American Public Education, Inc.; and Eric Aroesty. 
 
For McGraw-Hill Education, the investment  –  "the company's biggest and most formal foray into the world of startup incubators," according to spokesman Brian Belardi – is an opportunity to potentially partner, acquire or hire innovators in the fast-evolving education technology arena. "We get to lend capital, time and experience," says Belardi, "and we get access to these education startup companies and an ear to the ground in education technology."

Source: Dr. Barbara Kurshan, Penn GSE and Brian Belardi, McGraw-Hill Education
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Bellefonte's Actuated Medical continues to grow with new FDA clearance, new products, more jobs

In August 2012, when Keystone Edge last checked in with Actuated Medical,  the Bellefonte company had just gotten FDA clearance to begin U.S. sales of its TubeClear medical device.
 
Not resting on its laurels, the company has now received additional FDA clearance for its expanded line, is preparing to launch a new product and continues to grow its workforce.
 
President Maureen Mulvihill reports that latest FDA clearance "expands our market significantly." TubeClear is a device that removes clogs in medical feeding and decompression tubes without the discomfort and expense of detaching them from the patient. The new FDA clearance gives the green light to new models that are of particular use with chronically ill patients in long-term care with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or cancer, says Mulvihill.
 
The system can provide annual savings of $243,000 for a typical 500-bed facility, she adds, and Actuated has recently signed with a large hospital system and is in process with another.
 
Actuated is also preparing for the January launch of an altogether new product, General Sharp, for low-force insertion of lancets and needles for more humane blood sampling. And the company expects to go back to the FDA again in 2014 with additional models of TubeClear to enable further applications.
 
All of this activity means scaled-up manufacturing in Bellefonte. The company just hired a director of manufacturing  -- its workforce now stands at 24, up from 17 last August – and Mulvihill anticipates continued job creation.
 
Source: Maureen Mulvihill, Actuated Medical
Writer: Elise Vider
 
 

In only a year, prospects for Philly's Cloudnexa are sunny

In less than a year, Philadelphia's Cloudnexa has completed its first round of fundraising, generating $2.3 million in investments, signed multiple, multi-million-dollar contracts, created a workforce of 16 and has just moved into new corporate headquarters at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
 
And been designated by Amazon Web Services as one of only 22 "premier consulting partners" for 2014.
 
Cloudnexa delivers cloud-management-as-a service through Amazon Web Services with its proprietary software platform. CEO Joel Davne, Bill Testa, MJ DiBerardino and Josh Resnick established the company in December 2012.
 
Davne attributes the company's strong growth to, among other factors, the growing acceptance of cloud computing and its wide application across market segments. "The value proposition is clear," he says. "Do you want to purchase servers or save money on infrastructure? We save [clients] time and energy and we insure their success [with 24/7 customer service out of Philly.]"
 
So far, the public sector, notably federal government and higher education, is the biggest revenue driver for Cloudnexa, Davne says. Major contracts include a $250 million, four-year contract with the Army and others with the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the University of Minnesota and, most recently, Carnegie Mellon University. Other market segments include large and mid-market private enterprise ("our bread and butter," says Davne) and, recently, Internet service providers.
 
With its success in raising $2.3 million from sources including lead investor Milestone Venture Partners,  Gabriel Investments and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Davne anticipates expanding into global sales and doubling the Philadelphia-based workforce to 32 in 2014.
 
Source: Joel Davne, Cloudnexa
Writer: Elise Vider

Bethlehem's Azevan is developing novel treatments for stress, mood and behavioral disorders

Anti-depressants are a multi-billion-dollar market in the United States, but a full half of patients do not respond to existing drugs. Nor are there any approved medications for a host of other stress, mood and behavioral disorders.
 
Bethlehem's Azevan Pharmaceuticals is aiming squarely at those markets by targeting a different neurochemical system than the conventional SSRI drugs that dominate the market. "We're developing medications that target the vasopressin receptor antagonist system, which is widely recognized for its role in social and emotional behaviors," says CEO and co-founder Neal Simon.
 
The company's most advanced compound, SRX246, a treatment for intermittent explosive disorder, will begin phase-two, clinical trials in the first quarter of 2014 and are expected to take about 18 months, says Simon.  At present, he adds, there is no such pharmaceutical treatment.
 
Azevan is also developing treatment for anger, aggression and impulse control disorders, which often spring from traumatic brain injury, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and personality disorders. Again, no treatments.
 
PTSD itself is the most rapidly growing psychiatric diagnosis in the United States and a major issue in military medicine. Yet, says Simon, most of the drug treatments available are repurposed anti-depressants that are "minimally if at all effective." He is cautiously optimistic that a clinical trial for Azevan's PTSD treatment will get underway in 2014.
 
Founded in 2005, Azevan has raised about $9 million overall from the National Institutes of Health. Other funders are Ascent Biomedical Ventures, Scientific Health Development, the National Institutes of Mental Health,  the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central PA  and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA
 
Azevan is in ongoing discussions to partner with a large, pharmaceutical maker to ultimately commercialize its drug treatments. For now, the company employs seven, and Simon hopes to add more jobs as clinical trials proceed.
 
Source: Neal Simon, Azevan Pharmaceuticals

Writer: Elise Vider
 
 

Norristown's RxSport is building a better baseball bat and creating jobs

As a fan, David Chandler followed professional baseball's concerns about how frequently bats break, a costly and potentially dangerous problem. As a woodworker, Chandler thought he could build a better bat.
 
His RxSport Corporation in Norristown has perfected a technologically advanced and labor-intensive process that results, says Chandler, in baseball bats of exceptional strength, reliability and performance.
 
In 2010, only one year after its founding, Rx won certification to manufacture bats for Major League Baseball. Since then, the company has captured nearly 22% of the MLB market for maple and ash handcrafted bats.  Players on teams including the Phillies, Washington Nationals and NY Yankees use the company's Chandler bats.
 
Now Rx has received $500,000 in funding from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.  The investment will go, says Chandler, to boost production by acquiring "an arsenal of raw material in order to capture market share."
 
High quality wood – much of it sourced from Pennsylvania or nearby – is essential.  More wood bats break today than in years past, the company says, because wood billets are increasingly sawn rather than split from logs to increase yield and efficiency. Sawn wood is less likely to have a straight grain (the straighter the grain, the stronger the bat) and natural defects are harder to detect. Rx uses a labor-intensive method of hand selecting the highest-quality wood, then drying, manufacturing and finishing to extremely high levels of tolerance for dimensions and weight.
 
The company currently employs 13 and is adding another three production jobs by the end of the year. In 2014, Chandler envisions four more hires and five internships. He is also looking at expanding the product line to include metal bats, apparel and other on- and off-the-field products "to help [customers] feel more confident as athletes."
 
Source: David Chandler, RxSport Corporation
Writer: Elise Vider
 

From wine stoppers to flower pots, Jessup's Besta Cork turns recycled cork into consumer wares

In only a few months, a Scranton-area startup has kept tens of thousands of corks – 91,750 as of October 8, to be precise – out of landfills. Instead, Besta Cork recycles all those wine stoppers and crafts them into an expanding line of consumer products.
 
Shawn Whitiak founded the company earlier this year with partners Michelle Mendez and Paula Corrales after the trio of young entrepreneurs won the Great Valley Technology Alliance Business Plan Competition. Casting about for an innovative business idea, Whitiak, an undergraduate business major at Keystone College, saw a cork chair designed by Corrales and "was completely blown away by the possibilities of cork."

Cork, says Besta Cork, is the ideal, sustainable material for consumer products: it is highly durable, light, compressible and elastic, non-toxic, biodegradable, antibacterial, non-conductive and not flammable.
 
The competition awarded the trio $50,000 in cash and in-kind services, including business consulting, accounting services, web design and office space at the TekRidge Center, a technology incubator at the Jessup Small Business Center.
 
Besta Cork partners with Cork Reharvest, the nation's largest cork recycler. Besta Cork, Whitiak explains, grinds and mixes the cork with non-toxic materials in his garage. Next, it is packed into molds and heated up in his oven for 40 minutes, emerging as Besta Corks' line of bowls, flower pots and even a stool. 
 
The company's line of "Corkit" flower pots allow plants to breathe, eliminating the need for drainage. The "Acorn Chair" is a stool that can support up to 200 pounds.  
 
Source: Shawn Whitiak, Besta Cork
Writer: Elise Vider

Wanted: shale gas innovators; Reward: $25,000-plus

The Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center is looking for researchers, entrepreneur or innovators with great ideas in the shale gas space in Pennsylvania or West Virginia.
 
SGICC announced the 3rd annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest, with a purse of $25,000 in cash prizes for each of the four best shale gas-oriented innovations, new product ideas or service concepts that are either in the development stage or recently launched. Besides cash, the winners are also promised exposure to investors, potential partners and industry sponsors.
 
"Any idea related to the shale gas space is eligible - even if the product or service has already been commercially developed," said SGICC Director Bill Hall in a statement. "Examples include natural gas utilization products/services, remote site monitoring, well pad EH&S products or services, natural gas or NGL conversion technologies and water management or remediation technologies."
 
Applications are due February 1, 2014; a panel of industry experts will choose finalists.
 
This year's contest has been expanded to include West Virginia through a grant from the Benedum Foundation. The 3rd Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest is co-sponsored by Ben Franklin Technology Partners, ANGA, Acorn Energy, AquaTech, Baker Hughes, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, Chevron Technology Ventures, CONSOL Energy, Chesapeake Energy, First National Bank, GE Oil & Gas, Little Pine Resources, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Praxair, Range Resources and Seneca Resources Corporation.
 
Source: SGICC
Writer: Elise Vider
 

Pittsburgh entrepreneurs: It's Thrill Mill business plan competition time

Thrill Mill, a nonprofit accelerator for Pittsburgh startups, is choosing its next class of young businesses to get cash, mentoring, space at its incubator and, by the looks of it, a great time.
 
The Business Bout competition offers $25,000 to one winning team of entrepreneurs and $5,000 each to 14 others. They'll all also get mentoring, in-kind support and office space at the Hustle Den, Thrill Mill's incubator space in Pittsburgh's East Liberty section.
 
Business Bout, say the organizers, "is designed to be ultimately pro-entrepreneur: the competition is open to ideas across all industries (anything from bakeries, to non-profits, to high-tech)."
 
Applicants need only submit a two-page application – one page describing their idea, one page introducing the people behind the idea and why they want to grow their business in Pittsburgh. Proposals  should be submitted by email and are due by midnight, December 6.
 
Last year's top winner was Project Aura, which had the bright idea of attaching lights to bicycle wheel rims.
 
This year's finalists will hone their skills at the three-day Venture Boot Camp in January before making 30-minute presentations. The 15 winners will take up residency for one year at the Hustle Den in late February.
 
Thrill Mill  takes a 5% ownership stake in each of the winners. Over the course of the year, the winning teams will get intensive training in entrepreneurship by Carnegie Mellon professor Babs Carryer and C-Leveled, a Pittsburgh consultancy,  and will get to make investor pitches at the Thrival Innovation and Music Festival in September.
 
Source: Thrill Mill
Writer: Elise Vider

Lehigh's new master's in entrepreneurship wins N. American university honors

About 10 years ago, John B. Ochs, a mechanical engineering professor at Lehigh University, began to observe that students in the school's popular undergraduate Capstone program were less interested in working on industry projects as in developing their own ideas.
 
In recognition of that entrepreneurial impulse among today's students ("permanent and incredibly healthy," says Ochs), Lehigh launched its Master of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship (MTE) in 2012, graduating its first class of 14 entrepreneurs earlier this year.
 
Now the program has been recognized by the Pittsburgh-based University Economic Development Association as one of the top university economic initiatives in North America.
 
Product development and company launch are graduation requirements for the MTE program, which features dedicated curriculum, faculty and studio space. "You're going to learn by launching. You're going to figure out what it means to be an entrepreneur by being an entrepreneur," says Ochs, the MTE director. "It sounds trite, but we firmly believe that you learn by doing."
 
Students are immersed for a full 12 months in a tight, skunkworks atmosphere, with courses including intellectual property creation and management, visual thinking, prototyping, modeling and testing, product development and business planning.
 
The first graduating class has launched startups including Eleanor Kalle, a New York-based jewelry designer; Second Shift Innovations, which creates next-generation tools for first responders; and Venos,  which developed a device to attach iPads to MacBooks to create a mobile dual screen.
 
The second MTE class of 28 will graduate in spring 2014; the program's 10-year goal is to graduate 90 student entrepreneurs and launch 50 new companies each year.
 
The MTE students come from a wide range of majors, backgrounds and interests, says Ochs. But there is one essential common denominator. "If you're going to be an entrepreneur," he says, "you have to have passion for what you do because it's going to envelop your life."
 
Source: John B. Ochs, Lehigh University
Writer: Elise Vider
 
 
 
 
 

Baseball, energy, gaming and more: Ben Franklin funds 9 early-stage tech firms

Nine early-stage Philadelphia tech companies will receive nearly $2.2 million from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/SEP) to advance their businesses.
 
Cloudnexa,  $250,000
Philadelphia's Cloudnexa delivers cloud management solutions, migration, deployments and professional services, allowing clients to move and manage their applications into the cloud with streamlined managed services capabilities.
 
Community Energy, Inc., $400,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $400,000)
Based in Radnor, CEI is a clean energy company uniquely positioned on both sides of the supply-demand equation, building solar and wind energy projects by engaging customers through products and services. In 2012, CEI constructed the Keystone Solar Project in Lancaster County, the largest solar project in Pennsylvania.
 
EyeIC, Inc., $25,000 (Ben Franklin previously committed $725,000)
West Conshohocken's EyeIC is a cutting-edge healthcare technology firm dedicated to commercializing image analysis technologies for medical applications.  EyeIC's MatchedFlicker® is a new technology for monitoring the advent and progression of retinal disease and glaucoma through change detection in time series images.
 
FLOWatch, LLC, $250,000
The Philadelphia's company’s flagship product of the same name, FLOWatch®, is a next-generation, data-management system focused primarily on the water utility and environmental fields.  The web-based, enterprise-wide system provides a back-end, neutral data-management solution, giving control over data definition and access directly to plant managers and operators.
 
Lumigent, LLC, $375,000
Lumigent in Glenside is a lighting retrofit company that offers energy efficiency products and services. The Lumigent model enables clients to participate in the lighting retrofit market with limited investment in infrastructure costs.  It offers a single-source solution, from audit through proposal, to customers competing for turnkey retrofit lighting projects.
 
OrthogenRx, Inc., $175,000
Doylestown's OrthogenRx is a late-stage product development and marketing organization developing generic Class III medical devices in orthopedics. The company utilizes a new business model focused on a product portfolio of generic medical devices with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal therapeutic area: rheumatology, physiatry, orthopedics and sports medicine specialties.
 
RxSport Corporation,  $500,000
Norristown's RxSport (Chandler Bats) originated when its founder, a furniture maker in Greensboro, NC, noticed the increased number of broken maple bats in Major League Baseball and realized flaws in how they were designed and manufactured. RxSport perfected a technologically advanced and labor-intensive process that maintains the utmost strength of materials and quality of design and has gone on to supply bats to a number of major league teams.

Shenandoah Studio, LLC, $150,000
Philly's Shenandoah is a game studio focused on turn-based strategy games for the iPad and iPhone, allowing hobby gamers to play serious board games on their mobile electronic devices. The company’s first product, an iPad simulation of the Battle of the Bulge, was released in December 2012 with great success.  Since then it released a free version of the game, and created an iPhone version.  Shenandoah is slated to release three new games: Drive on Moscow, Gettysburg: The Tide Turns, and El Alamein.
 
TuvaLabs, LLC, $50,000
Philly's TuvaLabs has created an online platform that takes news stories about significant events taking place around the world and transforms them into interactive math learning units for students. TuvaLabs is a member of the Project Liberty Digital Incubator, housed by the Interstate Media Group, funded by the Knight Foundation, and operated and supported by Ben Franklin. 

Source: BFTP/SEP
Writer: Elise Vider
 
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