JSOnline: Company with new type of life jacket wins Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Hyde Expedition LLC, an Elm Grove start-up company that is developing a sleek, patented life jacket, took the top prize in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest on Wednesday.

As the largest such contest in the state, the competition is key to identifying high-potential start-ups that might help boostWisconsin’s lackluster performance in forming new businesses.

Hyde, which raised more than $67,000 in a Kickstarter campaign last year, isplanning to release its first product this summer. The thin life jacket — which Hyde co-founder Pat Hughes wore under his suit jacket while presenting his plan at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference — is designed so that users pull a ripcord to puncture a CO2 canister, causing the gas to inflate a built-in bladder that makes the life jacket buoyant. Read the full Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story here.

State Journal: Wingman, a skinny flotation jacket, wins business plan contest

When a man drowned during a triathlon that Pat Hughes was also competing in several years ago, it was a life-changing moment for the shaken Hughes.

“It seemed like a very preventable tragedy,” Hughes said.

So Hughes and suburban Milwaukee high school classmate Mike Fox set out to develop what they envision as “the world’s thinnest, most versatile life jacket.”

Their product, the Wingman, won the top award Wednesday for their startup company, Hyde, at the 2016 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan contest. Read the full State Journal story here.

WisBusiness: Hyde’s slim life jackets win Governor’s Business Plan Contest

The idea behind Pat Hughes’ slimmer life jacket came when someone drowned at his first triathlon.

Hughes, whose company, Hyde, won the Governor’s Business Plan Contest yesterday, decided to make a thinner life jacket that people can inflate during emergencies.

“I was incredibly saddened by how tragic it was and how preventable it all seemed,” Hughes said.

The life jacket is called the Wingman; it has a CO2 cartridge that people can pull with a cord, which inflates the vest and gets someone’s head above the water. The reusable jacket will cost around $225, Hughes said.

It looks to replace the bulkier life jackets or the “awkward-fitting” inflatable ones that “no one likes” when doing any other water sports.

Read the full WisBusiness.com story here.

News: Five UW spinoffs among finalists in Governor’s Business Plan Contest

Startups that emerged from the University of Wisconsin—Madison will vie for the top prize at the Governor’s Business Plan Contest this week during the 14th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

On June 7, each contestant will deliver a seven-minute pitch on their business plan at the Alliant Energy Center. Awards will be announced June 8.

The 13 contestants emerged from about 200 entries and three rounds of judging in the contest organized by the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the event in conjunction with partners and sponsors. Statewide, the finalists include systems and applications to authenticate and standardize bioactive compounds in foods and supplements, analyze water utility real-time information, and remove compostable products.

Read the full story here.

‘Diligent Dozen’ selected to present live June 7 at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference

Finalists representing diverse tech-based sectors in Wisconsin’s startup economy will present live to judges in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest during the 14th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

The 13 contestants (the total includes one tie) have 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; about 3,350 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.

This year’s finalists will deliver seven-minute pitches on their business ideas beginning 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, during the conference. Winners will be announced June 8 during a closing luncheon. To register for the conference at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center, visit www.WiTrepsConference.com.

Software and business service plans include systems and applications to authenticate and standardize bioactive compounds in foods and supplements; analyze water utilities’ real-time information; and remove compostable products.

Entries focused on social or educational innovations include platforms to track weightlifting performance data; vote and communicate with local government; and raise money for K-12 schools.

Manufacturing ideas include technologies for on-site treatment of industrial wastewater; a disposable nozzle for two-part adhesives; a three-dimensional metal printer to enable high resolution manufacturing within a large build volume; and an inflatable life jacket for water sports.

Health-related plans include a robotic-computed tomography device for equine veterinarians; anti-CRR9 antibodies to inhibit lung and pancreatic tumor growth and sensitize tumors to chemotherapy; and assay technologies enabling the prediction of clinical treatment response for multiple myeloma and other blood cancer patients.

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 100 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.

Lead sponsors of the 2016 contest thus far include 3Rhino Media; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; Ascendancy Advisors; AT&T; BizTimes; Madworks Co-working; Michael Best & Friedrich; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Racine Metal-Fab; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE Wisconsin; University Research Park; Vertz Marketing; Ward4; Whitewater University Technology Park; and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Associate sponsors include 100state; Cresa Madison; Keane Consultants; Kinetic Compliance Solutions; Kollath CPA; Makin’ HEY Communications; Midwest Prototyping; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; Smith & Gesteland; and Wisconsin Public Radio. Additional sponsors are Aberdean Consulting; BizStarts; Bublrbikes; Evolution; EZ Office Supplies; Fine Point Consulting; Madison BCycle; Madison Gas & Electric; PowerBuy 4 You; Red Arrow Production; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; Summit Credit Union; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and the Wisconsin Technical College System. To become a sponsor, contact Cassidy Wartenweiler at 608-442-7557.

The 2016 “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
Asto CT David Ergun Madison
Classmunity Alana Platt Whitefish Bay
Complete Phytochemical Solutions LLC Christian Krueger Cambridge
Compost Crusader LLC Melissa Tashjian Milwaukee
Essential Biotechnology LLC Michael James Big Bend
Hyde Pat Hughes Elm Grove
Iconac Harrison Richarz Milwaukee
Linectra Brandon Walker Madison
Lynx Biosciences Chorom Pak Madison
Mikroflot Technologies Jose Ramirez Milwaukee
POLCO Nick Mastronardi Madison
WeightUp Solutions Daniel Litvak Madison
Xemex Mixer Eric Ronning Madison