Gener8tor, ParqEx, 4490, RPRD, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist
Catch up on news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:
—Gener8tor, a startup accelerator that has held programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota, has named Eric Martell managing director of its Twin Cities programming, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported. Martell is a co-founder of EatStreet, a Madison-based food-ordering startup, and previously served as the company’s chief information officer. Last June, Gener8tor announced it was expanding into Minnesota, and tapped entrepreneur Mark McGuire to lead its programming there. McGuire will now be focusing on Gravy, a new startup he’s helping launch, though he will remain a venture partner at Gener8tor, according to the Business Journal report.
—Speaking of food-ordering technology, UberEats is now available in Milwaukee, according to the website of San Francisco-based Uber. The company, best known for its ridesharing technology, says its UberEats meal ordering and delivery service currently serves 50 cities worldwide.
—ParqEx, a Chicago-based startup whose technology allows users to find or rent out private parking spots, will be available in Milwaukee and Madison starting this spring, BizTimes Media reported. ParqEx graduated from Gener8tor in November, and last month announced that it raised $1.2 million from investors as part of a seed funding round.
—Wausau-based UAS Laboratories raised more than $21.2 million in equity financing from 12 investors. The company formulates, blends, packages, and distributes probiotic products, which are aimed at stimulating the growth of so-called “good” bacteria in the gut.
—More funding news: The value of Madison-based Allergy Amulet’s seed financing round has climbed to nearly $1.3 million, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators. The startup, which is developing a compact device designed to quickly test food for common food allergens, previously pegged the value of the round at $1.1 million.
—The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which manages patents and licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published a Q&A with Greg Robinson, managing director of 4490 Ventures. After spending over a decade in Silicon Valley, Robinson moved to Wisconsin in 2014, the year 4490 started making investments in startups. WARF is one of the fund’s two primary backers.
—Organizations of all sizes and stripes are increasingly using data to make business decisions, according to a panel of leaders at Wisconsin-based technology companies that discussed the trend and implications of “big data.” Companies such as Propeller Health and PerBlue were represented on the panel, which also spoke about lessons learned from efforts to give employees the needed access and tools to query and analyze data sets.
—Two Milwaukee-based organizations, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation and NEWaukee, have teamed up to create HATCH, a new series of events where entrepreneurs living in central Wisconsin pitch ideas and compete for cash prizes. BrightStar invests in startups using an unconventional venture philanthropy method, while NEWaukee puts together events and programs to connect young professionals and other residents of the city. According to NEWaukee’s website, the 2017 HATCH series will begin with four “semi-final” events held between April and July, where winners will be awarded $2,000 apiece. The four champions will then square off at a final competition in October for a grand prize of $10,000.
—The Milwaukee-based pharmacogenomics startup Right Patient Right Drug (RPRD) Diagnostics announced a collaboration with Children’s Minnesota, a pediatric care provider based in the Twin Cities. RPRD, which launched in October and is developing technology to examine how patients’ genetic profiles affect their likelihood of reacting to particular drugs, said that Children’s Minnesota will use RPRD’s technology in its cancer and blood disorder clinic, as will as in its neurology-psychology practice. According to a news release, the collaboration reflects a commitment by Children’s Minnesota to make pharmacogenomics a more significant part of how it cares for patients.
—The UW-Madison School of Business recently opened what it’s calling the Center for Corporate Innovation (CCI), “a hub for innovation, programming, and thinking … to accelerate innovation for corporations while solving real-world business problems.” Sandra Bradley has been named director of the CCI; she previously served as research director for consumer and retail applications at UW-Madison’s Internet of Things Lab. Madison-based American Family Insurance has agreed to provide financial support for programming at the center, the school said. For more details, see this report from the university’s news service.
—We profiled Lynx Biosciences, a Madison-based startup that’s seeking to commercialize a device that would allow clinicians to test cancer drugs on a patient’s own cells. The company, which was formed in 2013 and currently has three employees, is currently seeking to raise between $800,000 and $1 million in seed funding.
—Madison-based Semba Biosciences, which makes instruments and reagents that researchers use to purify biomolecules and chemicals, introduced a new system for chromatography, or separating out parts of a mixture. Semba said in a news release that it can be extremely costly to produce drugs for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis, “in large part due to the chromatography steps required for their purification.” The company has raised at least $2.4 million from investors since launching in 2005.