Business North: Winners announced in Wisconsin business plan contest

Business North: Winners announced in Wisconsin business plan contest

BPC-Logo-2COLOR-2019A UW-Madison spinoff company that has developed a device to better monitor the heart during surgery, thus saving lives and cost, is the grand prize winner of the 18th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, according to a Friday news release.

Atrility Medical, which was launched by a pediatric heart surgeon who noticed recurring issues in some operations, won with its plan for bringing AtriAmp to market.

The device facilitates more efficient monitoring and treatment of atrial arrhythmia, which is a rhythm disruption that can be difficult to pick up with current equipment. Undetected, the condition can cause complications, extra costs and even death.

Dr. Nick Von Bergen presented for the company, which includes a larger team of scientists and managers. AtriAmp has been cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Like 11 other “Diligent Dozen” finalists, Von Bergen presented June 2 to judges and others during a prelude to the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

“This company is an excellent example of a practitioner noting a problem, devising a solution, and working with others within and outside academia to make it as practical and efficient as possible,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “It’s really ‘tech transfer’ at its finest.”

Independent judges recruited by the Tech Council heard pitches from 11 other finalists in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. Atrility Medical won the Life Sciences category. Other category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: SmartWell, Fond du Lac. This company has built a device to eliminate the need to open a sealed well for monitoring or maintenance by placing a remote monitor in the well to track well levels, water usage and replenishment, and monitor pump activity and health.  Presenter: Christian Timm.

Business ServiceseCourt Reporters, Burlington. This company provides law firms, government entities and court reporting agencies access to certified court reporters and other support for legal proceedings held outside of the courthouse. Presenter: Karen Renee

Information Technology: Nurse Disrupted, Fitchburg. This company’s business plan stemmed from the development of its “Care Station,” an all-in-one telehealth video kiosk for sites with few resources. Presenter: Bre Loughlin

Twelve 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 251 qualified entries; more than 4,300 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

Finalists also submitted a 15- to 20-page written business plan for judges to score for the 19th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Second- and third-place category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: Pursesuitz, Barbara Zabawa, McFarland; Universal Real Time Power Conversion, Debiprasad Panda, New Berlin.

Business Services: Compost Crusaders, Melissa Tashjian, St. Francis; Mathetria, Laura Gallagher, Madison.

Information Technology: Pivotal Health, Dr. Andrew Culp, Madison; Story Squad, Graig Peterson, Shorewood.

Life Sciences: Estrigenix Therapeutics, Kylee Marks, Burlington; ReNeuroGen, Stephen Naylor, Elm Grove.

As new contestants this year, there were two winners for the “Bright New Idea” award: SmartWell and Nurse Disrupted.

Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of 80 judges established by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. Each plan described the core product or service, defined the customer base, estimated the size of the market, identified competition, described the management team and provided key financial data.

Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.4 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.