E-commerce jeweler gets $375,000 venture capital investment

White Rose Ventures has committed $375,000 to a Lancaster-based e-commerce jewelry company started by two West Point graduates – the milestone 10th investment from its White Rose Impact Fund.

The business, WOVE, specializes in customized engagement rings.

A release from the York-based venture capital firm described WOVE, founded by Drew Wolgamuth and Brian Elliott, as “a revolutionary online custom jewelry service that empowers customers to express their individuality through personalized elegance.”

White Rose Ventures praised WOVE’s “robust go-to-market strategy” designed to make a lasting impact. “By strategically utilizing social media ads, collaborating with influencers, and implementing targeted email campaigns, they are successfully building brand awareness and capturing the attention of their desired audience.”

It also cited WOVE’s “seamless” online experience, including a user-friendly website powered by cutting-edge 3D modeling technology; its “exceptional” customer service; and its forging of strategic partnerships with established jewelry retailers.

With the $375,000 earmarked for WOVE, the total invested from the White Rose Impact Fund is $5.35 million.

The other nine businesses that received money from the fund are CyberconIQ, $1.333 million; Reflexion, $800,000; Naqi Logix, $200,000; Pledgelt, $400,000; EVERMIND, $250,000; Return Logic, $1 million; TEAMology, $250,000; The Pretzel Co., $250,000; and Gilson Snow, $500,000.

According to its website, White Rose Ventures is “a network-driven venture firm working with entrepreneurs, foundations, private investors and corporate partners to deliver solutions that enhance and promote entrepreneurial-led economic development in southcentral Pa.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Great Lebanon County PITCH competition opens

The Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, a free business resource for Lebanon County, has opened the third annual Great Lebanon County PITCH, offering entrepreneurs the chance to win seed money to start their dream business or expand their existing business.

They will compete for a portion of $8,000 in grant money – $5,000 to the winner and $3,000 to the runner-up. This year’s PITCH program will culminate in a presentation Oct. 24.

The center’s chairperson, Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, said in a release that “the winners from previous PITCH competitions have done very well – expanding their business offerings, opening their doors, and more. We’re glad we were able to provide some assistance in helping them reach their goals.”

Interested participants will need to complete a business plan. Now through October, the center will provide workshops and SCORE mentoring for entrepreneurs to develop and create their comprehensive business plans.

An Interest to Participate in the PITCH must be submitted no later than Sept. 4. This does not require participation; it just shows a level of interest.

Deadline for the final application and business plan is 4 p.m. Oct. 6.

The Great Lebanon County PITCH will be presented at the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence, 989 Quentin Road, Suite 1, Lebanon, from 3-5 p.m. Oct. 24.

The competition is open to the following:

  • A business in Lebanon County that is expanding or altering its business model.
  • Entrepreneur(s) with an idea to create a new business that is or will be in Lebanon County.

There is no cost to participate; all the information and the applications are online at thecenterlebanon.org.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Gannett Fleming Investment deal to help meet infrastructure demands 

Camp Hill-based Gannett Fleming said it received a strategic investment from a private equity firm to help it meet a growing demand for improved infrastructure. 

Gannett Fleming, an engineering and infrastructure solutions provider for the transportation, water, federal, power and energy markets, said the investment from New York-based OceanSound Partners will help it meet the backlog of work from government contracts. 

Gannett Fleming will continue to operate under the leadership of its existing management team, who will retain a significant ownership interest in the company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

“Our rich 107-year history is built on solving complex infrastructure challenges with innovation, reliability, and excellence. The Gannett Fleming team is excited to continue this journey into our second century with OceanSound at our side,” said Bob Scaer, CEO of Gannett Fleming. “With record backlog and accelerating demand due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are entering the OceanSound partnership from a position of strength.” 

Scaer said OceanSound has a proven track record of accelerating the growth of companies serving government agencies. 

“This partnership will help us attract and retain the best talent, make significant investments in emerging technologies, expand and deepen our geographic footprint, and support our employees so they remain at the top of their field.” he said. “Together with OceanSound, we expect to substantially increase our market share in our key service offerings while maintaining the time-tested culture and mission that our employees and clients value.” 

 Founded in 1915, Gannett Fleming employs over 2,800 engineers, scientists, technologists, and construction professionals charged with developing and maintaining sustainable and future-proof infrastructure. 

 “The need for sustainable infrastructure optimizing total lifecycle cost of ownership is becoming more urgent as climate change accelerates and decades of underinvestment in critical infrastructure accumulates,” said Joe Benavides, managing partner OceanSound. “Gannett Fleming has differentiated technology-enabled solutions spanning transportation, electrification, and water management that make them well-positioned to capitalize on growth of the infrastructure services market.” 

Benavides said, “We are confident that our approach to value creation can catalyze further growth at Gannett Fleming. Gannett Fleming is a storied franchise in the infrastructure consulting market, and we are thrilled to partner with its management and highly skilled employees to further enhance the company’s value proposition to its customers.” 

The transaction was unanimously approved by Gannett Fleming’s board of directors and existing employee stockholder base. Houlihan Lokey, Inc. acted as financial advisor and Holland & Knight LLP served as legal advisor to Gannett Fleming. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as legal advisor to OceanSound. 

Self-storage real estate firm relocates to downtown York

The Investment Real Estate Group of Companies, a full-service, self-storage real estate firm based in York, announced the move to its new headquarters at 320 N. George St. in downtown York.

The 43,000 square-foot, open-concept space “will foster collaboration and cooperation among employees, clients, professional partners and community members,” a release said.

Approximately 35 employees will work from the headquarters, which provides plenty of room for expansion.

The office building is also home to two of IREGC’s vendors who offer support in mergers and acquisition activities and internet marketing strategies.

“I love the energy and hustle and bustle of a thriving city,” said John Gilliland, CEO of the Investment Real Estate Group of Companies. “The continued revitalization of downtown York is important to us, and we wanted to contribute to that effort. We were searching for an office space that matched the same energy as our employees and the company. We have found the ideal space for our new headquarters, and everyone is excited to be a part of the downtown scene.”

The headquarters, purchased from the Kinsley family, is within walking distance to York’s arts and cultural scene, restaurants and shops. It also has a large community space that will be used by John and Denise Gilliland to host events for employees, clients, professional partners and community members.

Founded in 1998, IREGC offers a wide range of services in the self-storage industry, including brokerage, feasibility studies, construction, development and property management.

In addition to the York headquarters, the company has properties in Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Iowa and elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

To date, IREGC has listed and sold over $1 billion of self-storage in 500 transactions, managed more than 75 properties in eight states, and helped clients develop and build more than 2.5 million square-feet of self-storage.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Pa. sees billions in federal dollars one year after Bipartisan law

Since being signed by President Joe Biden in 2021, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided Pennsylvania with billions of dollars in support for projects. 

Thus far, investments have been made to improve the state’s infrastructure, support a cleaner environment, and create good jobs that pay well. 

“This $7.9 billion infrastructure investment is really an investment in people,” said Gov. Tom Wolf, who on Tuesday joined White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu to celebrate the anniversary of Biden’s historic investments in important infrastructure projects in Pennsylvania and across the country. 

For Pennsylvania, the investment includes funding for the following critical projects: 

  • Amtrak routes on the Eastern Seaboard 
  • Addressing aging infrastructure of the Philadelphia International Airport 
  • Replacing and repairing more than 7,540 miles of highway and 3, 353 bridges in poor condition 
  • Providing eligible families $30/month off their internet bills through the Affordable Connectivity Program 

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest federal investment in infrastructure in decades, and Pennsylvania has received in total the following: 

  • $58 million for clean school buses 
  • $62 million to improve electric vehicle infrastructure 
  • At least $100 million for broadband and internet expansion 
  • $119 million for airports 
  • $208 million for clean energy and energy efficiency projects 
  • $240 million for clean drinking water 
  • $349 million to cap orphaned wells and reclaim mind lands 
  • $614.8 million to improve public transportation 
  • $1.1 billion to improve infrastructure resilience and prepare for floods and extreme weather events 
  • $5.2 billion for road and bridge projects 
  • $110 billion for ports and waterways. 

“It’s an investment in safe travels to work, family, and friends; an investment in a secure supply chain, the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe,” Wolf said. “I am grateful for President Biden’s leadership and this bold investment to build a better future for all Americans.”