Movers, shakers, well-wishers, and folks looking to network swarmed Lehigh University's Zoellner Arts Center last night for the 18th annual i-xchange hosted by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
“There's a lot of money in this room,” said Tom Garrity, managing partner with Compass Point Consulting LLC Bethlehem. That money, above all else, is essential for the business start ups Ben Franklin incubates through its 21-county coverage area, he told Lehigh Valley Business. A one-time beneficiary of the business incubator, Garrity received a partnership award last night for his dedication and commitment.
Last night's turnout —which reached 500 guests— was a testament to what Ben Franklin has done for early stage technology companies. “These companies are the future,” Garrity said. At his company, Garrity provides strategy, execution, and ownership transition services to middle-market family and closely held businesses.
Lee Batel, owner of Galaxy Manufacturing Co., a Scranton, Pa.-based manufacturing company attended the event last night to support Ben Franklin Technology Partners, as well. “Ben Franklin helped in getting us started, they offer great programs for start-ups,” he said. Others were attending the event to hear the keynote address by Leonard Brody, who was touted as a highly respected entrepreneur, venture capitalist, best selling author and two-time Emmy-nominated media visionary.
Michael Kahn, an investment banker A.R. Schmeider & Co., based in New York City, came to get leads on trends. “It helps us make more informed decisions when we hear what the trends are,” he explained. “And there's always the food.”