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Business Catalyst: May 2011




BizStarts Catalyst

May 2011

BizStarts Milwaukee
In this issue of the Catalyst:

BizStarts Milwaukee Expands Board, Names Dan Steininger President

Dan-CoatBizStarts Milwaukee announced seven new additions to its Board of Directors and promotions within its Officers structure.

BizStarts’ Co-founder Daniel Steininger was elected President of the organization. John Torinus, CEO of Serigraph and the other Co-founder of BizStarts, moves to the newly created role of Chairman of the Board. Bill Haberman was elected Vice-President, while Tony Berndt and Karen Ellenbecker remain Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.

The Board also approved seven new members:

  • Dave Baumgarten, CEO of Bank Mutual
  • Marilyn Vollrath, President & CEO of Vollrath Associates
  • Bev Greenberg, Community Leader
  • Bill Haberman, President of the Herzfeld Foundation
  • Jennifer Bartolotta, Bartolotta Restaurants
  • Ann Hanna, President & CEO of Commercial Restoration
  • Kishor Patel, CEO of GS Hydraulics
  • David Aragón, Senior Executive & Owner of the Site Group and President of MAP Engineering Services

Click here for the full news release

Five Mason Wells Collegiate Business Plan Winners Announced!
RenwigBizStarts Milwaukee, in conjunction with MSOE and the Rader School of Business, welcomed over 100 attendees to the Mason Wells Collegiate Business Plan Competition and Networking Event Wednesday night, April 27th.

Read about the five Collegiate Business Plan Competition finalists and which one was nominated to join the Governor’s Business Plan.

Renwig won first place in the Mason Wells
Collegiate Business Plan Competition.

Bob Hillis, founder of Direct Supply, served as keynote speaker and shared his story with the audience. Read Bob’s inspiring story here and watch his presentation here!

Special thanks go out to Mason Wells for their generous support for this event!

BizStarts Milwaukee adds Fred Brooks to entrepreneurial servicesFred Brooks2

BizStarts Milwaukee is pleased to announce the addition of Fred Brooks to the BizStarts team. Mr. Brooks will work with entrepreneurs new to BizStarts, assessing the investment and market potential of their ideas and companies. He will also help qualify start-ups for BizStarts’ comprehensive Venture Track program and, when they are ready, assist with connections to outside investors.
An engineer by trade, Brooks has a long history of innovation and leadership experience in the automotive, plastics, printing and medical device fields. He led the first plastics processing startup in General Motors for their Oldsmobile division, served in multiple VP capacities at Racine-based Medical Engineering Corporation in the 1970s prior to its acquisition by Bristol Meyers Squibb, served as president and owner of commercial printer BCT of Wisconsin for 16 years and most recently has served as an adjunct professor of enterepreneurship and small business management at Carroll University in Waukesha.

“Fred’s breadth of entrepreneurial experience brings additional dimension in our capacity to assess and serve the needs of new, innovative companies,” said Eric Paulsen, Executive Director of BizStarts Milwaukee, “We look forward to getting more companies launched, more jobs created and playing an ever-increasing role in the growth of the region as our team grows.”


Story Behind the Startup

LearningEncountersLearning Encounters, Racine

The founders of a Racine start-up have found a way to mix science and toys, hoping to inspire a whole new generation of scientists with their products and supporting educational tools.

Learning Encounters LLC was founded in March 2010. It manufactures and distributes affordable science education products including telescope kits, digital microscopes, an astrophotography camera and accessories. The company’s Web site,, is creating an online community for buyers and other science buffs with content such as experiments, blogs and lesson plans.


From Left to Right: John Wagner and Tom Smith, Founders; Tim O’Connor CEO

Co-founder Tom Smith, who also is founder of Merit Models in Racine, drew the inspiration for Learning Encounters from his work on the Galileoscope. Smith was involved in the design and manufacturing of the telescope, which was produced to celebrate the 400thanniversary of the telescope and the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.

Click here for the full story



BizTimes - BizTech ExpoBizTech Conference and Expo

BizStarts Milwaukee has discounted tickets to share for the upcoming BizTech Conference and Expo, May 11-12 at State Fair Park. For tickets, contact Eric Paulsen at We’ll be there with a booth—stop by and see us—but first get registered! Visit


Venture Track UpdateVentureTrack-Logo

Venture Track recently unveiled an investor web page that allows investors to sign up to be contacted when new companies are ready for consideration. It also reinforces to investors that we are not a broker and we do not raise money, provide advice or endorsements, but that we ARE a key source of connection to investor-ready companies in this region. Take a look here: (


“Ugly Babies” Make the Pitch

The Ugly Baby panels return this week!  Part of BizStarts’ Venture Track program, Ugly Baby panels give entrepreneurs a chance to present their companies and pitch to investors and judges who ask the right questions and help them improve as they prepare for the “real thing.” Our three companies in this round are:

Kallows, Milwaukee, WI
Kallows makes medical and fitness monitors based on high-tech smartphones and tablets for a quickly growing mobile health market, also known as the mHealthmarket. Kallows’ mission is to design, develop, patent and market new technologies in the mobile medical and fitness market.

Vuvacoo, Milwaukee WI
Vuvacoo (pronounced voo-vah-coo) answers the age-old travel question “Where can I go for $500” (or whatever your budget is).  Our technology combines travel planning, search and booking into a single, intuitive experience.   Vuvacoo allows the user to search for travel fares using Region, Budget, and Interests (such as ski, beach, shopping, etc).  Vuvacoo is the first true Research and Booking, all-in-one engine and reduces travel search from weeks to seconds.  Vuvacoo’s easy to use interface produces a list of destinations and cities that meet your criteria, sorted by price.  Leisure travelers spend $490 Billion a year.  Many of them are not focused on an exact destination but rather, are searching for something that meets their interests, budget, and a general location.  They are searching for the Vuvacoo solution

IV Diagnostics Valparaiso, IN
IV Diagnostics solves the efficacy and efficiency problems in cancer diagnostics. They create biomarkers and a drug-device combination for diagnosing blood borne diseases. Their in-vivo based technology utilizes targeted circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that can be optically scanned. By mitigating high false positives and providing real-time analysis, IV Diagnostics results in a better diagnosis. They currently have began operations in Indiana and will be opening a second site in SE Wisconsin in the near future.

Mark Your Calendar

The next Inspirational Entrepreneur event is Tuesday, May 17th, 8am at We Energies Headquarters, 231 W. Michigan Street. We will honor and hear from Ken Szallai, founder of Lake Express, and David Lubar, President of Lubar & Company. We will send invitations and post more on the website soon!

For up-to-date information on BizStarts Milwaukee, be sure to visit the website:

Classes and events relating to business can be found on the BizStarts calendar at:

Pass The Catalyst newsletter on to your friend and associates! They can subscribe to our free newsletter on BizStarts Milwaukee’s Home Page under BizStarts Milwaukee Catalyst.


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