Company with tech to rapidly clean water in sewer backups wins 2022 Biz Plan Contest

Company with tech to rapidly clean water in sewer backups wins 2022 Biz Plan Contest

A Milwaukee-based firm with a system to help stop untreated sewage from being dumped into waterways during floods is the grand prize winner of the 19th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Rapid Radicals Technology, which can treat water at a municipal scale where there is a spill point confluence of storm and sanitary sewers, was also the winner of the contest’s Advanced Manufacturing category.

Founder and chief technology officer Paige Peters presented for Rapid Radicals, which was among 13 “Diligent (Baker’s) Dozen” finalists to present Wednesday to judges and others during the 20th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. The company is commercializing technology developed at Marquette University.

“Rapid Radicals was born of a flood in Milwaukee that frustrated homeowners, businesses and city officials alike,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “At a time when the resiliency of municipal water systems is vital, our judges saw the value of Rapid Radicals’ ability to dramatically speed up the cleaning of effluent.”

Independent judges recruited by the Tech Council heard pitches from 12 other finalists in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. Other category winners were:

Business Services: Stellar Tech Girls, Madison, exists to inspire and empower girls to see their potential as engineers. Stellar Tech Girls provides engineering camps and events for middle-school girls, taught by female engineering role models. They focus on a different engineering discipline: mechanical, civil, electrical, chemical and aerospace. Presenter: Marina Bloomer

Information Technology: HeyGov, Sturgeon Bay, provides e-government management software. It is the first mobile suite of tools that helps cities conduct business digitally versus on paper. HeyGov’s suite includes: Hey311: Allows citizens to report & track issues; HeyGov Pay: Allows payment for services with a credit card, HeyLicense: Digital forms that citizens can fill out online; HeyReserve: Allows people to book and rent municipal facilities. Presenter: Dustin Overbeck.

Life Sciences: Cold Water Technologies, Verona, has created an over-the-counter, science-based pet nutraceutical for itch relief: Dermigan. Dermigan is an IgA-based, pat­ented product invented at UW-Madison to supplement IgA (an antibody blood protein) in these dogs to eliminate the itch. Packets are sprinkled on top of the pet’s food daily. Presenter: Jordan Sand.

Thirteen 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; more than 4,500 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

Finalists also submitted a 15-minute video pitch deck for judges to score for the 19th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Second- and third-place category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: ChloBis Water, Margaret Lumley, Madison; CompRex, Zhijun Jia, La Crosse.

Business Services: Reinventauctions, Todd Wilkins, Fontana; ContraDoc, David Meyers, Brookfield.

Information Technology: FANTM, Finn Kuusisto, Madison; Angelo, Ryan Brown, Madison; Betterbin, Michelle Goetsch, Kronenwetter.

Life Sciences: My Hearing Care, Santhosh Yegnaraman, Milwaukee; Contrast Dynamics, Erick Oberstar, Verona.

The winner for the “Bright New Idea” award was Reinvenauctions.

The contest is produced 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, event space and more. About $2.5 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 2022 contest thus far include AirDeck; AT&T; Michael Best; Quarles & Brady; Reinhardt Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; Starting Block; The Creative Company; and Ward4; Associate sponsors include  Aberdean Consulting; Makin’ Hey!; Murphy Desmond; Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi. Additional sponsors are Applied Management; Expansive; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Reverbal Communications; Versiti; Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. 

To learn more about the contest, visit