Wisconsin Roundup: Exits, New Jobs, FDA Approval, & More

In this week’s roundup of Wisconsin innovation and technology news, we’re tracking a startup’s exit, ballooning staff at the state’s largest healthtech firm, FDA approval for a medical device, a groundbreaking for a medical isotopes factory, and the new leader of a key Madison business park. Read on for details.

—Madison-based Idle Free Systems was acquired for an undisclosed price by Phillips & Temro Industries, based in Eden Prairie, MN. Idle Free created a battery-based auxiliary power unit aimed at truck drivers, which captures and stores energy produced by the vehicle’s alternator when it’s in motion. When the engine is shut off, Idle Free’s equipment powers the vehicle’s air conditioning, heat, and appliances like TVs and microwaves. The technology is meant to reduce the need for idling the engine, saving fuel costs and reducing vehicle emissions.

The company was founded in 2003 by Robert Jordan, who drove trucks for 20 years. Idle Free previously raised at least $2.8 million from investors, including early investor Madison-based Kegonsa Capital Partners, according to SEC filings.

—Franklin-based CPR RsQ Assist recently received FDA approval for its device that helps guide people performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The startup was formed in September by Joe and Leila Hanson after they sold their defibrillator distribution business in Florida, the newspaper reported.

—Madison-based NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes broke ground on a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Beloit. The company is responding to a shortage of the radioisotopes used in medical diagnostic imaging, for which there are currently no domestic manufacturers and the international manufacturing facilities are aging. (Another Wisconsin company, Shine Medical Technologies, is simultaneously planning on opening a domestic radioisotope production facility in Janesville.) NorthStar’s new facility is the first phase of a planned 32-acre campus in Beloit. The company is working at the University of Missouri Research Reactor to develop a neutron-capture process for making radioisotopes.

— Aaron Olver, the former secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Commerce, was named the new managing director of the University Research Park in Madison. Olver has also served as director of economic development for the city of Madison. In his new role, Olver will oversee a 260-acre research park that generates $826 million in economic activity through its 126 tenant companies that employ 3,600 people, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison press release.

—Epic Systems, the huge electronic health records software company based in Verona, keeps getting bigger. The company told the Wisconsin State Journal that it now has 7,400 employees—a 600-person increase since February, the newspaper reported. That’s good news not only for local economic development, but also Madison’s aspirations to be a major healthtech player nationally.

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