Stratatech, Immucor, Tech Canary, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist
Stay current on the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community, starting with these recent headlines:
—Mallinckrodt finalized its acquisition of Madison-based Stratatech, which is developing cell-based human skin tissue for treating burn wounds, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. Mallinckrodt (NYSE: MNK), a drugmaker based in the U.K. whose clients include burn centers, was reportedly one of several companies vying to purchase Stratatech. Its operations and 55 employees are expected to remain in Madison, as a Mallinckrodt spokesperson told Xconomy last month.
—Madison-based Cellular Dynamics International is dividing the company into two business units, a change that went into effect on Thursday. One of the divisions, therapeutics, will focus on developing and bringing to market therapies that use neurons, retinal cells, and heart cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells. The other unit, life science, will focus on research products, which have been core to Cellular Dynamics’ business since it was launched in 2004.
—Immucor, a Norcross, GA-based medical device maker focused on transfusion and transplantation diagnostics, will invest more than $1.5 million in its Milwaukee-area facility and hire up to 64 new employees to work there, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) said. Immucor will be able to claim as much as $480,000 in tax credits over the next three years if it meets certain investment and job creation benchmarks, WEDC said. Frank Langley, CEO of TAI Diagnostics—also based in the Milwaukee area—was an executive at Immucor before joining TAI last year.
—Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems (NYSE: GNRC) said it will partner with Boston-based Tank Utility to integrate the company’s technology into monitoring systems for some of Generac’s propane-powered generators. The goal is to let homeowners who use the generators as a backup power source know exactly how much propane is left in a tank, said Generac CEO Aaron Jagdfeld. Tank Utility also announced it had raised a $2.2 million seed funding round, with Generac contributing some of the money.
—Tech Canary, a Glendale-based startup that’s developing tools to help insurance industry professionals manage customer relationships and track productivity, raised $200,000 from a single investor, according to a regulatory filing. Tech Canary, which launched in 2013, could raise another $300,000 as part of the equity financing round, per the filing. For more details, see this BizTimes Media report.
—More fundraising news: Abodo closed a $4.8 million Series A round, with participation from previous backers 4490 Ventures and American Family Ventures, as well as Flyover Capital, a first-time investor in the Madison-based startup. Abodo has developed software that allows apartment-seekers in 32 markets to browse listings and contact property managers. The company, which has now raised more than $8 million from investors, is aiming to move into an additional 28 cities by the end of next year.
—Wisconsin trailed the U.S. as a whole in the share of total companies that have existed for less than two years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs. Nationally, nearly 9 percent of businesses that have employees are younger than two years old, while in Wisconsin that figure is about 6.7 percent, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The release of the survey comes on the heels of news that the Badger State once again finished dead last in a ranking of states’ startup activity by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
—In deciding where to construct new data centers, two key factors for companies like Google and Las Vegas-based Switch are tax incentives and access to renewable energy sources. State and local governments believe that new jobs are likely to result from attracting these companies to build data centers, facilities where servers rented or owned by high-tech businesses store information and transmit content to Internet users. Wisconsin has shown it’s willing to offer large companies, such as Amazon, tax credits for creating jobs in the state; however, Wisconsin still lags other states when it comes to renewable energy, said Mark Pischea, a cleantech advocate whose political consultancy is based in Michigan.