From Healthtech to Beer Tech, Xconomy Wisconsin’s 1st Year in Review

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Shine’s round is a combination of equity and debt financing, and the debt will come in phases based upon Shine hitting certain undisclosed milestones.

—The next-biggest funding round announced in Wisconsin this year (unless something hits in the next two weeks) was Madison-based Propeller Health’s $14.5 million Series B round.

—Madison-based Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) had a big year, coming back from near-death to publish results of a successful clinical trial of its DNA-based stool test for colorectal cancer, which led to FDA approval and Medicare reimbursement of the diagnostic. Now, the company must win over private insurers and prove that doctors will want to prescribe the test in droves—and that patients will take it.

—Cellular Dynamics (NASDAQ: ICEL), another one of Madison’s high-profile biotech stories, took a small but notable step into regenerative medicine.

—In a rare move for a Wisconsin software company, Brookfield-based Connecture (NASDAQ: CNXR) went public—just not at the price it was hoping to get.

Fun stories

—Mequon, WI-based Geppetto Avatars has created virtual characters that it envisions becoming, to a certain extent, our complementary caregivers, teachers—maybe even friends. These are the kinds of stories—science fiction blurring with reality—that are a thrill for a journalist to tell.

—The founders of Whitewater, WI-based BomBoard think they’ve developed the next big thing in the watersports world: a smaller, cheaper jet ski. This story also features my favorite Xconomy headline of the year. (Kudos to my editor, Rebecca Zacks.)

—Milwaukee-based OnKol wants to help grandma and grandpa join the “Internet of things” movement with a slick but easy-to-use device.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak stopped by a Milwaukee tech conference, and I asked him about wearable devices. He didn’t disappoint, explaining why he likes Google Glass while also completely trashing Samsung’s Galaxy Gear.

—This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Wisconsin’s brewing heritage, so please enjoy these stories on the intersection of beer with new technology and a bar-hopping mobile app. Cheers, Xconomy readers, and here’s to 2014.

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