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First Live Lehigh Valley-Based Crowd Funding Simulation at Ben Franklin Venture Idol

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During GEW

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania will host the first live, simulated crowd funding event in the Lehigh Valley on Thursday, November 21st at Ben Franklin Venture Idol. Ben Franklin Venture Idol is a cross between Shark Tank® and American Idol®, but with great networking and food.

After earning their way through two rounds of judging, three start-up technology company entrepreneurs will briefly pitch their venture to investors and the audience of approximately 175 attendees during the evening event that begins at 7:00 PM. After short critiques from a panel of investors, the audience will “fund” a winning Ben Franklin Venture Idol. With $100 of “Ben Franklin money,” guests will distribute their investment dollars in whole or part as they see fit. Ben Franklin will later invest $15,000 in real dollars in the companies based on the audience vote.

Crowd funding for early-stage firms involves the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, typically via the internet, to fund a company.  Although selling shares of stock is not yet allowed over the internet, companies seeking funding on crowd funding sites like RocketHub often provide token gifts for contributions. This form of crowd funding has recently received attention from U.S. policymakers with direct mention in the 2012 JOBS Act, legislation that allows for a wider pool of small investors with fewer restrictions. Portions of the JOBS Act that will permit wider publicity of companies seeking to sell equity, including use of the internet, are currently open for public comment to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Venture Idol company finalists will be drawn from a pool of about 10 company candidates identified by Ben Franklin and Lehigh Valley Tech. The principals of these companies will present to one panel of investors at 3:00 PM, and some will advance to a second panel of investors at 4:00 PM, at which point the field will be narrowed to three for the Venture Idol competition and a third panel.

Beginning in early October, there will be a Ben Franklin Venture Idol page on Interested individuals may contribute real cash on-line prior to the event.

Ben Franklin Venture Idol will be held in the Innovation Institute at Ben Franklin TechVentures®, 116 Research Drive, on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus in Bethlehem. Networking for the evening event begins at 5:30 PM.  Admission is $35.00 in advance and $40.00 at the door; register online at

Entrepreneurs / Startups
Admission is $35.00 in advance and $40.00 at the door
  • When: 5:30 PM
  • Start: 21 November 2013
  • End: 21 November 2013 23:59
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania


Bethlehem, PA

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