BIG IDEA CONTEST: Two startups win prize packages valued at $150,000

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BEN FRANKLIN TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS is a partner in Keystone Edge. They will be sharing insights from their leadership and news from their portfolio companies in the Ben Franklin On: section.

On Thursday, May 26 in Harrisburg, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Central & Northern PA announced the winners of this year’s BIG IDEA contest: Dennis Dias, founder of FORAC LLC, and Ben Galluzzo and Dave Kennedy of MathEdge Fantasy Sports.

Located in York, PA, FORAC LLC developed an insurance solution (Share Tempus) for consumers and online marketplaces engaged in the “sharing economy.” The sharing economy allows consumers to rent or borrow virtually any item or service through online platforms. Despite its rising popularity, this growing marketplace currently has few options for customers to insure themselves from damages or liability. FORAC’s management team has designed a proprietary solution and is already partnering with several sharing platforms.

Draft Hog is a website developed by MathEdge Fantasy Sports in Carlisle, PA. Co-founders Ben Galluzzo and Dave Kennedy are math professors who have developed a proprietary algorithm that lets fans easily rank football players in order to draft a winning fantasy football team. For just $19, the customer receives an annual subscription for Draft Hog which updates ratings in real time and actually tells the customer who to pick. Fans are also offered video tutorials that describe the full fantasy football experience.

As two of eleven finalists who made presentations to an independent panel of judges, both companies were awarded prize packages that include $35,000 in cash; an Innovation Adoption Grant up to $25,000 to work with a PA-based research university; priority access to a low-interest $100,000 investment from Ben Franklin; a one-year pass to seminars offered by Ben Franklin’s eMarketing Learning Center; free working space at the BF TechCelerator@Carlisle by CREDC valued at $10,000; and consultation (and proposal prep) for accessing Federal R&D grant money from the Innovation Partnership.

“We had so many strong finalists this year that we decided to also provide a $10,000 merit award,” adds Jill Edwards, Executive Director of Ben Franklin’s Venture Investment Forum. “As CEO of The Lethean Company, Peter Eaton and his team will use the money to further develop an innovative medical device that keeps airways open during surgery.”

“Our BIG IDEA competitions help entrepreneurs take the first step toward starting or growing a business while participating in a fun, risk-free environment,” explains Stephen Brawley, President and CEO of Ben Franklin. “This year’s contest attracted the attention of nearly 6,000 people. We had so many great applications, it was difficult for the judges to choose just a few finalists.”

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