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Ben Franklin Technology Partners Launches New Fund to Boost Life Science Startups | WDIY Local News

The Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem.
Contributed photo
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania
The Ben Franklin TechVentures business incubator in Bethlehem.

A major regional tech company and business incubator is launching a new fund to help life science startups find their feet. WDIY’s Sarit Laschinsky has more.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania recently announced that it is launching the Life Science and Healthcare Technology Fund.

This fund provides up to $250,000 to match investments by regional healthcare providers and specialists, corporations and academic institutions which are creating spinoff companies, or developing technologies that are of interest to their organizations.

According to a release, investments from the new project can be used for life science and healthcare improvements like new biologics or pharmaceuticals, medical devices, community health solutions and more.

Participants must commit at least $50,000 into the startup. The founder must be full time with the company, and the new startup must be located in, or relocate to, Ben Franklin Northeast’s 21-county service territory.

The organization operates in Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

Wayne Barz, Chief Investment Officer for Ben Franklin Northeast, spoke recently on Lehigh Valley Business Beat about the factors the organization considers when evaluating residents for its incubator services.

“Probably 20% of our clients are life science, so it’s a little difficult to get early traction in those businesses,” Barz said.

“But we like some evidence that actual customers have looked at what they’re producing and expressed ongoing interest in it.

“Whether that’s agreeing to be a beta, even at no cost, maybe as an early customer, maybe just as support and ongoing development assistance...bring some evidence of customer demand for the product or the service.”

The new fund was partially financed from Pennsylvania Small Business Credit Initiative funds from the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

(Original air-date: 2/10/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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