Smart Choice MRI, WARF, & Promega: This Week’s Wisconsin Watch List

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customers boxes of curated goods each month, says Jalem Getz, founder and president of Wantable. Getz, whose Milwaukee-based startup places clothing, makeup, and accessories in boxes that it sends to its mostly young, female client base, says companies that make customers jump through hoops to unsubscribe from such services will be among the first wave of casualties. Those policies are typically in place to “create friction,” he says, not for the security-related reasons some sellers claim.

—Seiva Technologies announced that U.S. Speedskating will outfit some of its athletes with smart fitness apparel developed by the Milwaukee-based startup as they train for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The announcement came during a pitch event that marked the end of the second gBETA program, a mini-accelerator for early-stage companies affiliated with colleges and universities in Wisconsin.

—Speaking of pitch events, Essential Biotechnology was the biggest winner of the nine startups who presented to a group of investors as part of the Healthcare Innovation Pitch contest in Milwaukee. The event was organized by Bridge to Cures, a nonprofit that gives medical entrepreneurs funding and mentorship to build their companies. Essential, which won $50,000 in the contest, was founded by Michael James, an assistant professor of surgical oncology at Medical College of Wisconsin. The startup is developing a treatment for pancreatic cancer that targets a molecule which helps allow tumor cells to survive.

—Somna Therapeutics, based in the Milwaukee area, is gaining traction after several months selling its Reza Band. The device, which costs $299 and is worn around the neck, is designed to combat laryngopharyngeal reflux, a condition in which acid and other stomach contents are regurgitated, eventually reaching the throat and lungs. Somna has distributed more than 1,000 Reza Bands, with monthly sales up more than 25 percent through September, says co-founder and CEO Nick Maris.

—Capital Midwest Fund, a venture capital fund based in the Milwaukee area, has raised nearly $30 million for its third fund. Thirty-two investors took part, and Capital Midwest could raise as much as $120 million more for the latest fund. Its first two funds, which were launched in 2008 and 2010, respectively totaled $5 million and $40 million.

—Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced they’ve used stem cells to make a specialized nerve cell capable of creating serotonin, a chemical thought to be conducive to feelings of happiness.

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