BETHLEHEM, PA--(Marketwire - Jan 17, 2012) - The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) board approved the investment of $315,582 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.

Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 14,922 new jobs and retain 21,358 existing jobs, to start 420 new companies, and to develop 1,017 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 five early-stage technology firms:

A Sound Strategy, Inc., East Stroudsburg - $35,000
Design a national product expansion plan and assist the company in developing a more comprehensive business strategy that will help raise additional capital. A Sound Strategy, Inc. is a software development company that provides solutions that manage business processes more efficiently. The company's flagship product, siteMaster®, helps clients utilize web-based platforms to increase customers' bottom lines and improve internal operations. These custom proprietary applications will be expanded in existing vertical markets.

Appalachian Apps, LLC, Wilkes-Barre - $35,000
Complete a financial model and develop investor documentation, including a revised business plan and investor presentation materials. Appalachian Apps seeks to become the industry leader in Appertainment™. Appertainment is smart phone applications for the entertainment industry that feature a more robust platform and greater social media interconnectivity than the competition.

Element ID, Inc., Bethlehem - $50,000
Support the increased sales and marketing effort and customer support for Element ID's robust, proprietary, and affordable radio frequency identification (RFID) tag reader. These systems are used to help customers track assets and improve manufacturing accuracy and efficiency, to automatically manage clinical and environmental lab testing, and for fully automated, EPA-compliant chemical disposal. It is the first fully integrated hardware and software solution for RFID data capture. Systems have been deployed in North America, South America, and the Middle East.

K.C. Larson Industries, Inc., Williamsport - $21,582
With Bucknell University, conduct translational research to determine the feasibility of manufacturing and marketing a new hybrid solar energy system that combines a solar photovoltaic panel and solar thermal heat transfer to generate both electricity and hot water. The company's product provides retrofit capability, cost advantages, and energy efficiencies in generating both electricity and hot water. The system will serve the residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional markets.

PROVA Systems, LLC, Carbondale - $50,000
Support the launch and commercial development of Fleet Genius™ Fleet Manager in a Box. PROVA manufactures a wireless OBD-2 diagnostic device and trip logger for use in passenger cars and light-duty trucks. This device allows proactive, real-time field management of vehicles using data derived from its usage patterns and collected from its on-board computers. The devices provide a unified set of data points for analysis from any vehicle, allowing for an efficiency comparison among a company's entire fleet. The system can be used in fleet management applications and by dealers and outsourced fleet maintenance services. It also supports applications in usage-based insurance (UBI), drive-by emissions testing systems, and secure vehicle access control systems.

BFTP/NEP will invest in the following established manufacturers:

Future Power of PA Inc., Moosic - $74,000
With Wilkes University, analyze geological formations near the Good Spring IGCC facility to determine if it is a viable location for carbon dioxide utilization when gasifying coal. The project will assess the availability of brine water to combine with carbon dioxide to produce key raw materials. The project will also analyze the transportation of carbon dioxide to identified utilization sites. The 270-megawatt Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plant being proposed for Good Spring, PA, has the ability to capture or repurpose its carbon dioxide by-product.

Harvel Plastics, Inc., Easton - $50,000
With Lehigh University, complete a sustainability analysis at Harvel with the goal of reducing energy consumption by at least 15%. Harvel is an international leader in the field of thermoplastic extrusions, primarily manufacturing PVC and CPVC piping. Energy costs are one of the top drivers of manufacturing expenses in extruded plastic production. A cost savings in this area is significant.

Contact Information:

Laura S. Eppler
Director of Marketing
Phone: (610) 758-5237