Finalists named in 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest

The field has been narrowed to 12 finalists in the 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which began with 200 entries in January.

Now, the “Diligent Dozen” in the Wisconsin Technology Council contest will pitch their tech-based startups at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison on Tuesday, June 5.

The contest includes four categories: Advanced Manufacturing; Business Services; Information Technology; and Life Sciences. Applicants submitted their business plans to a panel of more than 110 judges, describing their core product or service, defining their customer base, estimating market size, identifying competition, describing the management team and offering key financial data.

The 12 finalists will each receive a cash prize. The top 25 competitors will receive a combination of cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design and event space from contest sponsors. Among the lead sponsors is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. WTC has not yet determined the amount of the cash prize, but the cash and services combined will be roughly $190,000, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The finalists are:

“With all of them, it’s a matter of writing a really cogent plan that describes the problem, talks about their solution, and then suggests how they plan to make money on it,” Still said of the finalists. “They have all hit the mark on those basic parameters.”

Still also described why each of the 12 finalists made it through to the finals:

  • “AmebaGone, I think that stood out because they have been through the contest before, they have gotten stronger as they’ve gone along and they have really pinpointed what they want to do.”
  • “AquaMetals, the notion of working on especially industrial water streams and waste is a big deal no matter where you’re at and they had a great plan.”
  • “DataChat I think is a great example of successful technology around artificial intelligence.”
  • “Fast Forward Forensics is another company that had been in the contest before and keeps improving; they really hope to help solve some of the problems around keeping DNA samples in the right kind of state.”
  • “Impact sports, everybody’s talking about football helmets and concussions in sports and they think they’ve got a better helmet.”
  • NovoMoto has a global outlook on producing better water quality systems, specifically in Subsaharan Africa.
  • Pyran is developing a more environmentally-friendly ingredient to replace a common chemical in paints and plastics.
  • “Pyxsee is all about what drives a lot of parents batty, which is the notion of kids spending too much time on screens.”
  • “ReNeuroGen, they want to help with the stroke aftermath and what they have is a system that can help with that.”
  • Replace-A-Lace: “It’s kind of a low-tech but ingenious way of replacing shoe laces.”
  • Shockray Self-Defense: “With all the news about how police handle certain situations, they have a device that combines a variety of things that are better able to stay on an officer’s belt and provide a non-lethal response.”
  • “Swirl Insurance Services is a great example of using technology in the financial services world.”

‘Diligent Dozen’ selected to present live June 5 at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference

Finalists representing diverse tech-based sectors in Wisconsin’s early stage economy will present live to judges in the 15th Governor’s Business Plan Contest during the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

The 12 contestants emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with about 200 entries; more than 3,700 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

This year’s finalists will deliver seven-minute pitches on their business ideas beginning

3:05 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, during the conference. Winners will be announced June 6 during a closing luncheon. To register for the conference at Madison’s Union South, visit www.WiTrepsConference.com.

Software and business service plans include a chatbot that allows business users to extract insight from their data simply by talking to the chatbot; a digital platform that leverages the data on mortgage loans and renter’s applications to deliver quotes within seconds; a prototype of a football helmet modeled after the infant human skull to allow for freedom of movement not seen in other helmets; and a nylon shoe strap that replaces standard shoelaces.

Entries focused on social or educational innovations include a social media app with a self-timer for awareness to social media addiction; and a social enterprise that provides clean electricity for off-grid rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa with solar-powered systems.

Manufacturing ideas include chemo-sensor films to continuously measure the concentration of heavy metals in flowing water; a new process to produce an environmentally friendly chemical to replace a legacy chemical in the manufacture of paints and plastics; and a combination of a pepper-spray pistol and electrical stun-gun weapon.

Life sciences plans include a natural alternative to antibiotics that secures crop yields for growers without chemicals and metals; a way to accept any swab used to collect a non-invasive biological sample and preserve the sample years after its collection; and a drug that is used to mitigate the aftermath of a stroke and eliminate significant brain damage.

Entries were submitted in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of more than 110 judges. Each plan describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, describes the management team and provides key financial data.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.

Additional lead sponsors of the 2018 contest thus far include @1403; 3Rhino Media; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; COLLABORATORcreative; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Hudson Business Lounge; Iron Forge Development; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; StartingBlock Madison; The Creative Company; University Research Park; Ward4; Whitewater University Technology Park; and ZEBRADOG. Associate sponsors include 100state; Aberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa Madison; Industrious Madison; Kinetic Compliance Solutions; Makin’ Hey!; Murphy Desmond; Reverbal Communications; Smith & Gesteland; and Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are BloodCenter of Wisconsin; DXC Technology; Idea Fund of La Crosse; The Ideas Network 90.7FM; Irontek; Kollath CPA; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Neider & Boucher; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and Wisconsin Technical College System.

The 2018 “Diligent Dozen” are listed below. Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Wisconsin Technology Council by calling 608-442-7557.

Submission Name First Name Last Name City
AmebaGone Amy Jancewicz Madison
AquaMetals Bruce Bathurst Wauwatosa
DataChat Jignesh Patel Madison
Fast Forward Forensics Randy Nagy Madison
Impact Sports Joshua Cleveland River Falls
NovoMoto Mehrdad Arjmand Madison
Pyran Kevin Barnett Madison
Pyxsee Dayne Rusch Oshkosh
ReNeuroGen Stephen Naylor Elm Grove
Replace-A-Lace Nancy Brekke-Jones Rhinelander
Shockray Self-Defense Lorne Forsythe Oak Creek
Swirl Insurance Services Terry Wakefield Mequon

 

SBA, SCORE sponsor Small Business Week virtual conference, May 1-3

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE will host a free, three-day virtual conference during National Small Business Week. The conference will take place Tuesday, May 1 through Thursday, May 3 between 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time each day. Check here for details

Stay up-to-date with the SBA Office of Advocacy and provide comments on regulatory reform needs at the federal level.  Advocacy is an independent voice for small business within the federal government, the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the source of small business statistics. Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, the federal agencies, the federal courts and state policy makers. Stay up-to-date with the Office of Advocacy by joining the email list!

The Wisconsin Office of Business Development works with Wisconsin business owners to provide appropriate assistance, problem solving and resources to improve interactions with government. We can only help those that know we exist so we give  presentations across the state when requested.  Learn more at our website or call to schedule an appointment or if you need help.

50 plans advance to semi-finals in 2018 Gov’s Biz Plan Contest

From Rhinelander to River Falls, 50 entries advance
in 2018 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Fifty entries from 28 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 15th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced.

The contestants were selected from a field of about 200 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of 110 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.

The semi-finalists reflect the diversity of Wisconsin’s economy and are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (11), business services (13), information technology (13) and life sciences (13).

A security system that immediately detects gunshots, a new wrinkle in laundry service, metal 3D printing, wearable technology, an electricity generator, a water quality detection device and organic baby food are among the top 50.

Among entries that advanced are software or information systems related to zoning in municipalities, organ transplant transportation, education and language learning, public transit innovation, managing food service employment and using artificial intelligence “chat bots” to mine data.

Also moving on to the next round were plans tied to medical breakthroughs, such as treating or diagnosing cardiac arrhythmia, breast cancer, preserving medical samples, strokes and an app to improve diagnosing prostate cancer.

“Trends reflected in the top 50 entries match up well with Wisconsin’s traditional and emerging strengths,” said Greg Lynch, chairman of the Tech Council. “Good ideas come from all high-growth sectors of the economy.”

The 50 entries competing in Phase 2 of the contest will write 1,000-word executive summaries. Each summary describes the core product or service, defines the customer base, estimates the size of the market, identifies competition, lists members of the management team and provides key financial data.

Once Phase 2 judging is complete in early April, the 50 entries may be made available for inspection by accredited investors through the Tech Council Investor Networks, which has about two-dozen angel networks, early stage funds or corporate strategic partners. About two-dozen plans will move on to Phase 3, in which contestants will write a full 15- to 20-page business plan.

The top dozen contestants will give live presentations at the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 5 at Union South in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2018 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 6.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, marketing, web development, prototyping and more. About $2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.

Additional lead sponsors of the 2018 contest thus far include @1403; 3Rhino Media; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; COLLABORATORcreative; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; University Research Park; Ward4; Whitewater University Technology Park; and ZEBRADOG. Associate sponsors include 100state; Aberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa Madison; Industrious Madison; Makin’ Hey!; Murphy Desmond; Smith & Gesteland; and Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are BloodCenter of Wisconsin; DXC Technology; Idea Fund of La Crosse; The Ideas Network 90.7FM; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Neider & Boucher; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and Wisconsin Technical College System.

Here are the 2018 semi-finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.  Reporters wishing to contact individual contestants may do so through the Wisconsin Technology Council by calling 608-442-7557.

Submission Name First Name Last Name City
Compost Connect Harini Aiyer Shorewood
NovoMoto Mehrdad Arjmand Madison
Nanolytix Harjeet Bajaj Milwaukee
Pyran Kevin Barnett Madison
AquaMetals Bruce Bathurst Wauwatosa
GrowthChart Records Josh Benner Madison
Onsite Bike Rental Andy Bettinger Whitewater
Replace-A-Lace Nancy Brekke-Jones Rhinelander
OmniValley Grady Buchanan Madison
MedSync-Rx Sharon Chappy Plymouth
Impact Sports Joshua Cleveland River Falls
Floa Ingles Benjamin Curtin Madison
LeanVO Fabien Edjou Menomonee Falls
MOTOgoal Nelson Ennis Wisconsin Dells
Shockray Self-Defense Lorne Forsythe Oak Creek
Sales Buddy Charles Jackson Madison
AmebaGone Amy Jancewicz Madison
Trinity Gunshot Alarm System Stacy Jax Baraboo
Energy Tech Innovations Bryan Johnson Milwaukee
Toolingquotes.com Mike Jumbeck Galesville
10 Newtons Shane Kennedy Middleton
Atrility Medical Matthew Knoespel Madison
CricClubs LLC Visweswara Kottapalli Franklin
Clock’d Marc LaPierre Madison
Radiopathomix Peter LaViolette Milwaukee
SkinMeta Sarah Lewis Madison
Mag Gen Andrew Maltbey Ringle
Intraband Rob Marsland Madison
Pathogenomica Jacqueline Mejia Madison
iMETx Kathy Monetti Madison
Fast Forward Forensics Randy Nagy Madison
ReNeuroGen Stephen Naylor Elm Grove
DataChat Jignesh Patel Madison
Seventeenth Radish Online Allison Plumer Madison
Tixora Aaron Redlich Glendale
Pyxsee Dayne Rusch Oshkosh
Little Food Company Amanda Santoro Appleton
LineLeap Max Schauff Belleville
ZoningHub Tim Schwecke Lake Mills
HealthTech Solutions Dalton Shaull Coralville, IA
Athletic Recovery Complete Noah Stamsta Whitewater
PROMISS Diagnostics Jalal Sulaiman Wauwatosa
Spectronix Samuel Sutherland Madison
Melius Outcomes AkkeNeel Talsma Whitefish Bay
Sidejob Wizard Mike Terry Greendale
CauVal Toby Thomas Pleasant Prairie
Xensr David Troup Green Bay
Swirl Insurance Services Terry Wakefield Mequon
Zero Barrier Evan Wolfenden Madison
Mamas Al Yang Madison

*Entries from outside the state are eligible if committed to locating some aspect of their business within Wisconsin.

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Week remains to enter 2018 Biz Plan Contest

The deadline to enter the 2018 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31, at www.govsbizplancontest.com. It’s a chance to win cash and other valuable in-kind prizes while building ideas into companies.

The contest is designed to help entrepreneurs write business plans, prepare them to launch a company, get feedback from mentors and to interact with investors and other professionals. Past finalists have created companies that have attracted more than $200 million in grants, loans and private equity financing – all while creating jobs and value for Wisconsin.

For their initial entries, contestants will submit 250-word idea abstracts online at www.govsbizplancontest.com.  Contestants who advance to subsequent contest rounds will have the opportunity to expand their plan in stages. More than 110 judges drawn from the finance, sales, marketing, research and technology sectors across Wisconsin will score the entries and provide feedback on submissions.

Since its inception in 2004, more than 3,500 entries have been received and about $2.2 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded. Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences.

Wisconsin residents 18 years old and older are eligible, as are teams from Wisconsin-based businesses and organizations. Businesses or teams from outside the state are also eligible to compete if they demonstrate intent to base or expand their business in Wisconsin. Entrepreneurs may also enter multiple ideas, though each idea must be separate and distinct.

Companies or individuals that have raised less than $25,000 in private equity for their plans in a current form are eligible to enter. Generally speaking, private equity refers to angel and venture capital.

As with past contests, the 2018 competition will take place in stages and culminate at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, June 5-6 at Union South.

To enter, become a judge or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit www.govsbizplancontest.com.

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