Med-tech app that detects infant skull condition earlier wins 2024 Biz Plan Contest

Med-tech app that detects infant skull condition earlier wins 2024 Biz Plan Contest

CranioSure, a Madison-based company that has designed a mobile app to screen infant head shapes to detect risk of craniosyntosis – accurately and early enough to help avoid surgeries – is the grand prize winner of the 21st annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Designed by a team that included craniofacial plastic surgeons and others, the CranioSure app can detect the premature fusion of infant skull bones. If craniosynostosis is not identified by a pediatrician within four months, it’s twice as likely that a late referral would require open surgery.

The app’s algorithm can spot abnormalities with more specificity and sensitivity than physical exams. Once fully developed, the app will become available to pediatricians, parents and others.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Dr. Daniel Cho presented for CranioSure, which was among 13 “Diligent (Baker’s) Dozen” finalists to present Wednesday to judges and others during the annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference.

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:

Advanced Manufacturing: Spraycision, Madison.  Spraycision is an agricultural sensor system used in orchard spray applications. It retrofits to conventional sprayers and automatically selects tree canopies for treatment versus open space by using LiDAR technology. It can reduce chemical cost and use as well as cutting use of water and fuel. The company’s first unit was sold to a 20,000-acre almond farm in California. Presenter: Dervis Gursoy.

Business Services: Rockhopper Ice Collective, Pewaukee. Rockhopper Ice Collective allows businesses to serve multiple types of ice from a single machine – from flakes to cubes, and from pebbles to custom – catering to diverse consumer preferences. By leveraging the Rockhopper platform, brands can enhance customer satisfaction and drive profit through more drink sales and customer visits. Presenter: Daniel Guenther.

Information Technology: Scriptive, Dodgeville.  Scriptive’s “WriteStories” is a SaaS creative writing platform for elementary-age children in classrooms and families. It allows them to choose a picture book from a curated online library and see its illustrations with the former story text removed. Children then write their own creative story to match the pictures and share the resulting eBook with friends, teachers and family. Presenter: Bob Wood.

 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 4,600 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 21st annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Second- and third-place category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: Lotza, Laura Markewicz, Waukesha; Luna, Thomas Kauer, Brookfield; Dirac Labs, Sanket Deshpande, Madison.

Business Services: SideShift, Nick Lawton, Madison; Vessey, Brandon Johnson, Janesville.

Information Technology: Spectacle, Erika Poole, Fitchburg; TRT Speech Labs, Ben Taft, Racine.

Life Sciences: Venus Rehabilitation Technologies, Sheila Schindler-Ivens, Shorewood; ImgGyd, Terrence Oakes, Middleton.

The winner for the “Bright New Idea” award was Rockhopper Ice Collective, Pewaukee.

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 $2.8 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 2024 contest thus far include AT&T;  Phil Ouellette EOS Implementer; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; AmpliPhi + Spencer X Smith; StartingBlock; Associate sponsors include Aberdean; Makin’ Hey!; UW Madison Office of Business Engagement; Wisconsin Technology Council and. Additional sponsors are Applied Management  Forward Biolabs; Madison Gas & Electric; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. 

To learn more about the contest, visit