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Three Lehigh Valley startups compete tonight for Ben Franklin Venture Idol

Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, ArioTech,  LifeAire Systems or Virtual Celebration
 
One of these three Lehigh Valley startups will be the next Ben Franklin Venture Idol  after pitching tonight to a panel of judges and a live audience. No record contract is in the offing. Instead the new Idol will win a $5,000 investment.
 
"The criteria will be the strength of the management team, defined market need, viability of the product or service, development of distribution and channel strategy, financial projections and overall presentation by the principal, among others," explains Laura Eppler of Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
 
Instead of Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson, this Idol will be judged by experienced venture capitalists: Denny Boyle works with Mid-Atlantic companies for Silicon Valley Bank; David Drahms of Osage Partners is involved in several venture organizations; Stephanie Olexa is founder and president of the Lehigh Valley Angel Investors; and Doug Petillo of Navigant Ventures is a seasoned director, investor, and serial entrepreneur.
 
To thank them, BFTP is giving each an iPad dock designed by a budding Saucon Valley entrepreneur, 11-year-old Dino Zaharakis. Dino developed the product idea and, with his dad’s help, worked with Northampton Community College’s Fab Lab to create 3D solid models. Hill Metal Company, Bracalente Manufacturing and Electrospace Fabricators helped produce the final product. 
 
Idol fans will also hear a solo from keynote speaker Paul Martino, managing director of Bullpen Capital, which focuses on the social-mobile web sector and makes follow-on investments in startups funded by super-angels.
 
Tickets to tonight's event are still available at the door at the Innovation Institute at Ben Franklin TechVentures
 
Source: Laura Eppler, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Writer: Elise Vider
 
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