WI Watchlist: Epic, Frontdesk, Shine, StartingBlock Madison & More

With summer coming to a close, it’s time to catch up on recent happenings in Wisconsin’s innovation clusters. Read on for details.

—Epic Systems, the electronic medical records giant, unveiled several new products at its annual Users Group Meeting held at its headquarters near Madison. Per a report by the Wisconsin State Journal, the additions include software called Cosmos that can crunch anonymous patient data across different healthcare organizations to spot trends and study how treatments are faring; software technologies to make clinical operations more efficient; and speech recognition software to make it easier for doctors to capture important information during patient visits. That last one is in the early stages and won’t be ready for a few years, according to the report.

—Frontdesk scored $2.75 million in venture funding, a “bridge round” from La Macchia Holdings, Sand Hill Angels, Motivate Ventures, and earlier backers, according to a press release. The two-year-old Milwaukee startup develops and manages short-term rental “suites” for business professionals and “leisure guests” looking for an alternative to hotels. With the investment, Bill La Macchia of La Macchia Holdings has joined Frontdesk’s board. He previously founded Milwaukee-based The Mark Travel Corp., which merged with Apple Leisure Group last year.

—Marquette University assistant professor of computer science Serdar Bozdag received a $1.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for his precision medicine research. Specifically, Bozdag is trying to develop methods of analyzing biological and clinical data to predict which genes are associated with diseases and how specific patients will respond to certain drugs, according to a Marquette press release.

—American Provenance won the annual Pressure Chamber pitch contest hosted by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce during the city’s Forward Festival, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The prize is a free trip to San Francisco to meet with potential investors. American Provenance sells natural and “cruelty-free” personal care products, such as deodorant and lip balm.

—StartingBlock Madison, the entrepreneurial hub located downtown that mainly houses early-stage startups, will fill its last empty floor with six later-stage businesses, according to The Cap Times. The new tenants include LÜM and Hardin Design and Development. Hardin’s chief operating officer Scott Resnick was previously StartingBlock’s executive director and is currently its entrepreneur in residence, according to his LinkedIn profile.

—Paul Ryan, the former US Speaker of the House, has joined the board of Shine Medical Technologies, which is based in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, WI. The company is developing particle accelerator technology used to produce a crucial medical radioisotope. Shine is constructing a manufacturing facility in Janesville that is expected to begin commercial production in 2021, the company said in November.

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