Venture Deals, Orbitec, & Connecture: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist

Xconomy Wisconsin — 

Last year’s venture capital totals, a startup that will help deliver cargo to space, a public offering registration, and other news from Exact Sciences, HealthMyne, Johnson Controls, and Stealth Therapeutics:

—In 2015, Wisconsin companies raised $87.9 million in venture capital across 23 deals, according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. The Badger State’s funding total is up about 22 percent from $71.9 million in 2014, but still represents only a tiny sliver of the $58.8 billion raised nationally last year. In Wisconsin, the biotech and medical devices industries accounted for $56.7 million, or nearly two-thirds of the state’s total.

—Another report, this one from PitchBook—a Seattle-based firm that monitors investment trends—found that in 2015, the most active investors in Midwest companies were Gener8tor, a Wisconsin startup accelerator, and Wisconsin Investment Partners, a Madison-based venture capital fund. According to the report, the Midwest accounted for 2.9 percent of total global venture capital invested and 6 percent of total deals.

—NASA selected Sparks, NV-based Sierra Nevada Corp., the parent company of Madison-based Orbitec, as one of three companies that will bring supplies to the International Space Station between 2019 and 2024, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Orbitec will reportedly produce heat and air management systems inside SNC’s shuttle, as well as rocket thrusters that attach to the vessel. It wasn’t clear how much of the $14 billion contract would go to SNC, or to the other two companies chosen: Hawthorne, CA-based SpaceX and Dulles, VA-based Orbital ATK.

—Brookfield-based Connecture (NASDAQ: CNXR) filed a $50 million mixed securities shelf registration. This type of form is filed when a company seeks to register a public offering, but does not intend to immediately sell all the securities being registered. According to the document, Connecture, which makes Web-based software that helps consumers shop for health insurance, plans to use money raised in the offering for “working capital and other general corporate purposes.” As of this writing, the company’s stock had decreased nearly 40 percent from its close on Jan. 8, the date of the filing.

—Shares in Madison-based Exact Sciences suffered double-digit losses Jan. 11 after the company announced preliminary results for the final quarter of 2015 and the year as a whole. Exact (NASDAQ: EXAS) made two other announcements that day: first, that its stool-based DNA diagnostic for detecting colorectal cancer is covered for members of the health insurer Anthem BlueCross of California; and second, that modeling data in the journal Clinical Colorectal Cancer support using the test every three years.

—The FDA cleared Madison-based HealthMyne’s analytics software package. In a press release, HealthMyne said the software is designed to offer decision support to radiologists working on oncology cases, and save these clinicians time. The company’s tools can track changes in a tumor or nodule’s size, which can have important implications for a patient’s treatment regime.

—Madison-based Ebullient, which makes systems for cooling computer components, has altogether raised about $2.3 million from investors. About half of that total was pledged in the past year, says co-founder and CEO Tim Shedd, and the startup will likely disclose another $1.2 million in new financing this month, as Xconomy reported last week. Shedd says the money will help fund operations through mid-2017, as Ebullient shifts some of its focus from product development to sales and marketing.

—Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) announced its new automotive spinoff … Next Page »

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