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Three startups share their story Thursday at the next WIN-Milwaukee lunch

Three startups share their story Thursday at the next WIN-Milwaukee lunch
The Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) and BizStarts Milwaukee are pleased to invite you to the next local WIN Lunch, this Thursday, April 12th. Founders of three web-based startups, Offermation, Shindig and UConnect, will share stories about the evolution of their companies. WIN lunches in this region are held in cooperation with BizStarts Milwaukee.
Find out more and register here!


BizStarts Collegiate Business Plan Competition & Networking Event April 26th

The BizStarts Milwaukee Collegiate Business Plan Competition & Networking Event, sponsored by Mason Wells, will take place Thursday, April 26th from 4:00-6:30pm at the Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Todd Wehr Conference Center, 1047 North Broadway in Milwaukee.

Mason Wells

 Over a dozen colleges and universities from around Southeastern Wisconsin have had students submit business plans to BizStarts, and we’ll be furnishing $15,000 in total prize money to five finalists!


One plan will automatically be entered into the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which will be held at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference here in Milwaukee June 5-6.
This is a great opportunity to discover up-and-coming student business ideas and meet over 200 students, mentors, service providers, investors in a networking setting.
Our keynote will be Jami Doucette, MD, entrepreneur, angel investor, former Milwaukee Rampage player, 


and Founder & CEO of ModernMed, a forward-thinking health care service firm designed to create a better health care experience for patients, physicians andbusinesses. ModernMed was purchased by Paladena Health in January of this year.
This event is free. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available.
April 26th is turning out to be a busy day for student entrepreneurship! UW-Milwaukee is also hosting an event earlier in the day, a Workshop on Entrepreneurship & Technology Management from 9:00am-1:30pm. It will take place at the UWM Zelazo Center (2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.) in Room 171. Among the speakers will be our own Chairman, John Torinus. It’s a great event to check out prior to joining us for the Collegiate Business Plan Competition & Networking Event. Get all the details here!


MIT Club of Wisconsin honors three, BizStarts with Technology Achievement Awards

The MIT Club of Wisconsin and BizStarts teamed up to host the MIT Club’s 10th Annual “Wisconsin Technology Achievement Awards” at the Zoofari Conference Center on March 14, 2012. We congratulate the award winners, including:
  • Phoenix Nuclear Labs of Madison
  • Generac Power Systems of Waukesha
  • Hector DeLuca, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry, UW-Madison
Dr. DeLuca also served as the keynote speaker, bringing it all together by presenting on the topic: “Evolution of Startup Companies, Related to Universities.”
BizStarts Milwaukee was also honored with an award recognizing our support of entrepreneurs and technological startups since launching in 2008 and was accepted by John Torinus. Allyn Ziegenhagen, Vice President of Membership and Programs for MIT Club, noted: “The MIT Club of Wisconsin Board of Directors realizes how important BizStarts Milwaukee is to the generation of new businesses in the Milwaukee area. This Special Award is given to enablers, people and organizations, that don’t normally fit our category of individual, medium and large sized companies. BizStarts is very important to the Milwaukee 7 region and greatly deserved this award.”

Accepting the award from MIT Club of Wisconsin’s Dave DeBruin is BizStarts Chairman & Co-founder John Torinus. Behind, from left to right, are BizStarts Executive Director Eric Paulsen, Barbara Nestingen, Fred Brooks, Kathryn Spranger and Tom Lieven.

BizStarts Chairman John Torinus wrote a great piece on Dr. DeLuca and how universities can invest in their own start-ups in his blog, check it out here!

New Venture Debt program can help start-ups 

Venture Debt has new funding available for technology based or fast growth companies. The Milwaukee 7 region will receive debt financing to help an early revenue generating company reach a positive cash flow. These funds will complement matching equity funding that must be invested concurrently but this equity can be reserved for company growth.

The maximum Venture Debt investment will be $300,000, which will require a minimum of $450,000 in matching equity investment. The Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will be administering the program and has created an oversight board of investors and entrepreneurs to launch the program.   

MEDC has a long history in Milwaukee of partnering with the private banking community lending to businesses in all sectors that are expanding and creating jobs. For more information, contact Marcia Theusch at or 414-286-5839.


BizStarts welcomes Kathryn Spranger


BizStarts Milwaukee welcomes our newest team member Kathryn Spranger, our new Administrative Coordinator.  She is responsible for social media communications, managing Venture Track companies and updating our website.  Prior to joining us, she was employed at CATI, Inc. and the UW-Parkside Small Business Development Center (SBDC) building social media, website presence and administrative assistance for entrepreneurial classes and workshops in Racine and Kenosha.  She is currently completing an MBA, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems and Business Administration and a Certification in Entrepreneurship, all from UW-Parkside.


Investor Practice Pitch Panel (aka “Ugly Baby” Panel) views three more start-ups

Our handy investor practice pitches, currently called “Ugly Baby” Panels, continue to serve as strategic opportunities for start-ups to polish their presentation and get feedback and advice from seasoned entrepreneurs, mentors and investors in a setting designed to help them “pretty up” everything in preparation for investment and launch.
On Wednesday, March 28th, BizStarts hosted an Ugly Baby panel in its Wauwatosa headquarters, giving attendees the opportunity to view three future up-and-comers: Comfy Crutch/Daily Healthcare, Equipatron, and EasyG, LLC.
Let’s take a brief look at each company:

ComfyCrutch Company 1: Comfy Crutch

Mission: to become the premier tee time reservation portal for golfers and golf courses. 

Founders: Matthew Buerosse, Jesse Daily

Comfy Crutch was issued a US patent on a new foot attachment for crutches, canes, and walkers that will modernize, and revolutionize the durable walking aid industry. There are over 22 million pairs of crutches, and 19 million canes and walkers sold each year for a combined market of over $600 million in just the USA alone; this new concept provides 3 specific improvements/solutions to current crutches and other walking aids by reducing patient fatigue, soreness, and risk of re-injury.

The new crutch design provides a stainless steel absorption spring, along with a 300% larger foot that also swivels to meet and conform to any ground surface. Their revenue objective is to achieve a 1.0% market share in crutches plus a 0.5% share in the canes and walkers within 5 years, and generate over $12.0 million in sales. The firm has self-funded all prototypes to date, and intends to launch by the end of Summer 2012; they are seeking additional funds for a more vigorous sales and marketing program.

EquipatronCompany 2: Equipatron

Founders: Scott Alderton, Peter Liesch is an online retailer of consumer and commercial-grade durable goods and related parts & accessories that currently serves the U.S. market. They differentiate their brand by serving as an advocate for the consumer while maintaining competitive, everyday low prices. launched in May, 2010 and has quickly grown its sales from $145,000 in 2010 to $1.27 million in 2011.

Equipatron employs a “lean” operating model that allows it to compete with large competitors such as The Home Depot and Amazon. Some of the products sold on include pressure washers, generators, compressors, small engines, outboard motors, snow blowers, grills, saws, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and many other items, with large brand names including Briggs & Stratton, Kohler, Generac, Snapper, Ariens, and many more.

Equipatron is seeking funds to expand and enhance its online brand presence by launching additional product lines and brands including its own private label offerings, enhancing its website, management systems and inventory position and expanding its marketing efforts to drive significant sales increases and higher profits.

EasyGCompany 3: EasyG, LLC

Founder: Thomas Evans

EasyG has developed and patented a small portable “pocket” ECG medical device that displays cardiac readings in an instant without the need to attach the device to the patient’s chest using standard electrodes. Emergency Responders (ER’s) can get a quick reading of the heart’s electrical activity on a wireless, detachable LCD display.  This device can also wirelessly communicate with existing devices (Zoll, LifePak, Phillips monitors). The EasyG can use both capacitive (non-contact) and resistive (standard contact) technology by using on top of clothing or under a shirt.  The device also has the capacity of delivering one defibrillation shock treatment for patient in cardiac arrest. Ambulance and ER’s will benefit from this device because of the speed at which the can administer and provide treatment.

The global ECM market is expected to reach $2.46 billion by 2015 and is growing at 9.7% annually; there are over 100,000 ECG machines sold to ambulances annually. The EasyG will be sold as an add-on to the larger ECG units, as well as a stand alone for the emergency cardiac market. EasyG will initially be manufactured by Wireless 2000 in Canada and imported to Wisconsin for marketing/sales. It is expected that the device will clear the FDA in 2014 and sales are expected to reach $8.0 million in 2017.

EasyG is seeking funding for initial prototype development and FDA approval.

Thomas Evans of EasyG, LLC, explains how his product, which can clip onto someone’s clothing to get an EKG reading, reduces the need for the traditional EKG machine, sitting on the table next to him.

Want to find out more about these companies? Contact us at 414-921-0909


News & Investment activity in the region 

Buzz Peddicord, the Founder and CEO of InControl Medical LLC, has raised $3.2 million from six angel investors and service providers to market InTone, a new FDA-cleared medical device.  It is the world’s only inflatable female incontinence device that provides quantitative data about the user’s progress to the physician.   With 19 employees, In Control plans to double its production staff by next week and plans to hire an additional 25 national salespeople by the end of 2012.
BJ Gaddour, CSCS, CEO and Fitness Director of StreamFIT and his wife, Naomi Nazario, NSCA-PT, Co-founder, Director of Marketing, provide 30-minute express metabolic bootcamp workouts that can be streamed through computers, televisions or mobile devices for a $20 monthly membership. Innovation in Milwaukee, also known as MiKE, helped with startup. StreamFIT finalized $100,000 in funding from private investors in October and launched their site in December. The company has generated buzz locally and nationally, in part through a humorous online video, and has offered 1,400 free seven-day trials.
Entrepreneurial activity continues to increase… new business formations in Wisconsin are up 12% during the first quarter of 2012! Read more here.
More Act 255/QNBV activity
Congratulations to Golf Pipeline and Shindig, two area start-ups that just received approval in the state’s QNBV (Qualified New Business Venture) program. This means investors in these companies will receive a 25% tax credit on their amount of investment.
Wisconsin’s Incubation ranking moves up
An annual competitive measure released by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston moved Wisconsin up from 43rd to 29th in its latest ranking. Read more here.
MATC is going to add a degree program in entrepreneurship. Read more here.


Mark Your Calendars 

April 12, 11:30am-1:30pm: WIN/BizStarts Lunch featuring three recent start-up technology companies: Offermation, Shindig and UConnect. Register
April 14, 9:00am-Noon: Women’s Entrepreneurial Workshop at Carroll University. Details
April 26, 9:00am-1:30pm: Entrepreneurship & Technology Management Workshop at UW-Milwaukee. Details
April 26, 4:00-6:30pm: BizStarts Collegiate Business Plan Competition, sponsored by Mason Wells, Todd Wehr Center on the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) campus. Details and Registration

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