StartingBlock, Cellectar & 500 Startups: This Week’s WI Watchlist
—StartingBlock Madison, an entrepreneurial center that would be located within a proposed $69 million building project just east of the city’s downtown, no longer plans to feature Sector67 as an anchor tenant, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Sector67, a maker space in Madison, reportedly decided it couldn’t agree to the terms of a contract it was offered by StartingBlock earlier this year.
Madison’s city council will likely begin evaluating the proposal for StaringBlock in July, and the project’s leaders hope that construction will begin by December, the newspaper reported.
—Cellectar Biosciences said in a press release that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published identification numbers for Cellectar’s patent applications for phospholipid drug conjugates, a key part of the Madison-based company’s core technology. That brings the applications another step closer to approval.
As of this writing on Friday, shares in Cellectar (NASDAQ: CLRB) were trading at $3.83, more than triple the previous day’s closing price. Earlier this week, Cellectar said in a separate release that it had satisfied all criteria for its shares to continue being listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, after the company had faced the possibility of removal.
—Chefs for Seniors, based in Madison, recently joined 500 Startups, a Mountain View, CA-based business accelerator. Nathan Allman, co-founder and chief operating officer of Chefs for Seniors, said in an e-mail that his company received a $125,000 investment from the accelerator “to fuel growth and market expansion.” The startup hires chefs in Madison, Chicago, and Boca Raton, FL, to come to the homes of seniors and cook several meals, which are then stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
—Jon Keevil, a cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, has decided to hang up the white coat to devote his full energies to HealthDecision, a Madison-based company he founded in 2004. The company’s software retrieves data from a healthcare provider’s electronic medical records and presents the information to patients in a way that helps them make a plan with their doctors, a process known as shared decision-making. HealthDecision’s tools are configured to work with UW Health’s patient records database—which runs on software developed by Epic Systems—and are also being used at two other health systems.
—Speaking of Epic, the Verona-based healthtech giant’s software is presenting challenges for staff at Partners HealthCare, a Boston-based health network that includes Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and several other organizations. According to a Boston Globe report, Epic’s software will allow clinicians at Partners to receive gather more patient information—and to get it more quickly—than was possible with the organization’s previous computer systems. However, care providers say the time-consuming documentation requirements within Epic have caused disruptions in patient visits and led to longer shifts for hospital staff.
—The Badger Fund of Funds, an initiative aimed at pumping public and private dollars into startups, launched its first two “recipient” funds earlier this month. One, called The Idea Fund, is based in La Crosse and is being managed by Jonathon Horne; the other is the Neenah-based Winnebago Seed Fund, where David Trotter serves as managing partner. The fund-of-funds proposal submitted to the state of Wisconsin calls for the creation of four additional “seed” recipient funds, as well as two larger, “early-stage” ones.
—VibeTech, a Sheboygan-based startup that makes a leg press machine that exercises your leg muscles by delivering tiny vibrations to the skin, is out raising money from investors, the Sheboygan Press reported. Founder Jeff Leismer told the newspaper that his company’s current focus is on getting the machines into “nursing homes, hospitals, and physical therapy clinics,” but the technology could also eventually be used to help astronauts stay in shape, a prospect Xconomy explored in this profile from September. At the time, Leismer said that VibeTech had raised about $1 million via research grants, state loans, awards, and partners who had become investors.
—Mequon-based Smart Choice MRI raised $7 million from Edward-Elmhurst Health, a hospital system based in Naperville, IL. Smart Choice CEO Rick Anderson said his company will use the latest financing to help fund its expansion from Wisconsin and Illinois into the Twin Cities and potentially other metropolitan areas such as Indianapolis, Denver, and Salt Lake City. Edward-Elmhurst now owns a 10 percent stake in Smart Choice, Anderson said; the $70 million valuation is a sharp increase from last year, when the company was valued at less than half that amount.