Presented Virtually via Zoom in 2021

Ben Franklin Venture Idol is a cross between Shark Tank® and American Idol®, but with entrepreneurs and investors instead of vocalists and celebrities. Audience members will watch three northeastern PA entrepreneurs pitch their ventures to a group of four experienced investors, and then hear the feedback each entrepreneur receives. It is a unique opportunity to step inside the world of venture investing.

Venture Idol will also be a “crowdfunding” event. That morning, at an investor-only event, a group of more than 40 investors will hear pitches from a total of seven companies and select the three finalists. At the evening event, guests will hear the three finalists and feedback from investors, and then they will “fund” the companies, each investing $100 in “Ben Bucks” among the three companies. Ben Franklin will allocate a total of $15,000 among the three finalists based on the audience vote.

Prior to the company pitches, the audience will learn more about what raising capital is really like from a panel of investors and entrepreneurs. The panel will be moderated by Liz Sigety, an angel investor with Delaware Crossing and a venture attorney with the Philadelphia firm, Fox Rothschild.

We’ll close the event with virtual networking rooms, where the presenting companies and Ben Franklin staff will host conversations and attendees can make connections.

The Entrepreneur,
Ben Franklin TechVentures, Bethlehem

The quintessential entrepreneur starts with a great idea and a real market need. It takes hard work, tremendous tenacity,
keen instincts, and support, notably from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, to survive.


Thread Bioscience Won 2020
Ben Franklin Venture Idol

Thread Produces a New UTI Diagnostic Test

Thread Bioscience, Inc.  was selected as the winner of the 2020 Ben Franklin Venture Idol competition. The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania hosted its 17th annual Ben Franklin Venture Idol, held virtually last year because of the pandemic, on Tuesday, November 17. More than 200 guests attended free-of-charge.

Thread Bioscience, Bethlehem, is poised to disrupt the urinary tract infection (UTI) testing market with its innovative new diagnostic test, CultureStat. Using patented technology, CultureStat detects UTIs at the Point of Care faster, more accurately, and at a lower cost than current testing methods.

UTIs are the number one infection afflicting women, and are responsible for the largest number of antibiotics prescriptions. Delays inherent in current testing methods lead to the greatest number of improperly prescribed antibiotics for any infection. There is an urgent need for a rapid, reliable, cost effective test for UTIs to provide results quickly to improve patient care and support proper antimicrobial stewardship by reducing the frequency of improperly prescribed antibiotics. With an estimated 150 million UTIs worldwide annually and accounting for $6 billion in health care expenditures, there is a global market for a more efficient test for UTIs to reduce the incidence of improperly prescribed antibiotics.

Ben Franklin Venture Idol started with a keynote panel presentation by Joe Blair, Cota Capital; Paul Martino, Bullpen Capital; and Todd Pietri, Activate Ventures on What Has 2020 Taught Us About Start-Ups And Funding Them In 2021?” Wayne Barz, Chief Investment Officer, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, moderated.