Lehigh University
Lehigh University


Ben Franklin incubator listed with nation’s top 10

The 47,000-square-foot addition to the TechVentures incubator, shown here in an architect’s rendering and scheduled for opening this fall, has already won an EPA energy award.

In the past seven years, Saladax Biomedical Inc. has earned ten patents—with many additional U.S. and international patent filings—raised $20.5 million in funding, and increased employment from its two original founders to 27 people.

Not bad for a medical start-up whose new slate of blood tests is helping oncologists heal cancer patients by customizing their chemotherapy treatments.

Saladax is one of nearly 50 technology-based start-ups to emerge from Ben Franklin TechVentures®, a 35,000-square-foot workspace and high-tech incubator on Lehigh’s Mountaintop Campus that houses early-stage companies.

The editors of Inc.com know that story, too, which is one reason the magazine named Ben Franklin TechVentures as one of the nation’s top ten “Start-up Incubators to Watch” in July.

It’s the latest accolade for a thriving business incubator that has helped launch cutting-edge technology companies since 1983. Start-ups housed in the incubator have access to a unique blend of state-of-the-art labs and office space from which to grow their companies. The innovative space is among America’s largest, most advanced and environmentally friendly business incubators.

An award-winning addition to meet market demand

Ben Franklin TechVentures2, a 47,000-square-foot addition constructed to respond to burgeoning market demand, will be finished this fall.

Seeking LEED certification upon its completion, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 recently won first-place national honors in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 ENERGY STAR Challenge. With a projected reduction in CO2 emissions of 51 percent, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 received an ENERGY STAR score of 93 out of a possible 100.

To date, TechVentures and its predecessor business incubators have graduated 48 successful technology companies that, combined, have grossed more than $408 million in annual revenue. During that time, they’ve created more than 4,500 jobs.

TechVentures is operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, an organization that invests in technology-oriented companies and links them with funding, business and technical expertise, universities, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

The northeastern Pennsylvania branch is one of four regional headquarters across the commonwealth, with others located in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and State College.

A “cornerstone” in America’s economic recovery

“Ben Franklin TechVentures provides an entrepreneurial culture that fuels innovation,” says Chad Paul, president and CEO of Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “It grows as a world model in developing early-stage technology companies, creating jobs, and advancing our region’s economy.”

The editors at Inc. magazine aren’t the only media to take notice of Ben Franklin’s growing national reputation. This past week, portfolio.com put the spotlight on what makes the incubator so unique.

“Don’t put Ben Franklin Technology Partners in the same bucket as 500 Startups, TechStars, or YCombinator, even if it is in basically the same business of providing space, funding and mentorship to startup entrepreneurs,” says the magazine. Ben Franklin stands alone, according to porfolio.com, because of its location in the Lehigh Valley and its mission of job creation.

500 StartUps, TechStars and YCombinators, located in such entrepreneurial hotbeds as Silicon Valley and Boulder, Colo., also made Inc.’s top ten list.

“A cornerstone of the American economic recovery will be the creation and retention of high-value, sustainable jobs in technology sectors,” says Paul. “Like its predecessors, Ben Franklin TechVentures2 will be a job-creation factory that will accelerate our region’s economic growth.”


Story by Tom Yencho

Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011

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