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Ben Franklin Venture Idol Start-Up Contestants Announced, Event Scheduled for November 6th


Northeastern Pennsylvania - The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania will host its sixteenth annual Ben Franklin Venture Idol on Wednesday, November 6, 5:00 – 9:00 PM. The event will be held at the Innovation Institute in Ben Franklin TechVentures®, the award-winning business technology incubator on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus in Bethlehem.


Ben Franklin Venture Idol is a cross between Shark Tank® and American Idol®, but with entrepreneurs and investors instead of vocalists and celebrities. The event illustrates a significant way in which early-stage entrepreneurs seek and obtain seed capital. Ben Franklin Venture Idol will also be an in-person “crowdfunding” event.

Seven Ben Franklin Venture Idol contestants were selected competitively.


American Paper Bag, LLC,, Wilkes-Barre, PA

American Paper Bag (APB) is the first to manufacture and sell an innovative new style of paper shopping bag and paper mailer in North America. Produced with proprietary machinery, APB’s products are highly customizable (sealing strips, die cutting, etc.), provide operational cost savings (fit more bags on each pallet/truck), and are more environmentally friendly (use less paper) than traditional paper bags.


Apis Innovation,, Bethlehem, PA

Apis Innovation is developing technology that will allow for remote monitoring and autonomous adjusting of methane generating wells at landfill sites. The product will significantly reduce fugitive methane gas emissions and increase the yield of methane utilized for renewable energy generation.


Build My Team,, Honesdale, PA

Build My Team produces Software-as-a-Service job placement tools. The company provides clients an automated, proven, and proprietary screening process that includes detailed profiling. The technology substantially reduces the time and effort required to identify and hire new staff, and improves the chances that the new hire will succeed and stay at the organization.


Ophidion,, Bethlehem, PA

Ophidion is commercializing a new technology that enables the delivery of therapeutics, including large molecules, to the brain following systemic administration. The company is leveraging its proprietary blood-brain barrier transport technology to advance a systemically delivered gene-silencing siRNA product for the treatment of Huntington’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no current cure. The technology may also be applicable to the delivery of other important therapeutic modalities, including oligonucleotides, peptides, and monoclonal antibodies, to the brain to treat various neurodegenerative diseases and brain cancer.


PrintElements Corp.,, Honesdale, PA

PrintElements is developing digital tools to streamline the bid process and project management of multi-faceted print projects. As a Print-as-a-Service model, PrintElements targets consumer packaged goods companies by combining digital technologies and a diverse network of suppliers. It supports an end-to-end experience with industry experts that efficiently organize and manage projects on a central online platform.


Skillion, Inc.,, Bethlehem, PA

Skillion provides a mobile app and Internet of Things (IoT) device for remotely monitoring and controlling micro-mobility products such as electronic bikes (e-bikes) to provide safety, prevent theft, and/or manage rentals. Both the American and European micro-mobility markets are expected to grow significantly over the next five years, particularly in urban centers, creating the need for technology to support the sector.


studio BE Mindfulness, LLC,, Wilkes-Barre, PA

studio BE provides scientifically-backed mindfulness techniques to corporate executives, managers, and other employees by integrating ancient Buddhist teachings and professional enhancement curriculum. Combining the reach of an online e-learning platform and the nuance of individualized instruction, participants increase productivity, reduce stress, improve interpersonal communications, and enhance resilience through the coursework.

In the afternoon prior to the evening event, these seven companies will pitch to a group of experienced private investors, who will select the three company finalists. After each finalist pitches in the evening, a short critique will be presented by a panel of investors. The audience members will then “fund” the companies, crowdfunding style.

Each attendee will rank the three companies. Guests can vote on their smartphones using a new voting app produced by Ben Franklin client UBMe, or by using paper “Ben Bucks.” Ben Franklin will allocate a total of $15,000 in prize money among the presenters based on the audience vote.


Ben Franklin Venture Idol includes pre- and post-event executive networking receptions with refreshments.

Registration is now open!

$40 in advance and $50 on the day of the event



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