10 Jun Waukesha County startup wins Governor's Business Plan contest
MILWAUKEE – Eso-Technologies, a Waukesha County startup company that has developed a monitoring device to reduce the risk of heart attacks for people undergoing surgery, won the grand prize in the 2009 Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
The Hartland-based company won $50,000 in cash and services for capturing the grand prize in the sixth annual contest. The 12 finalists gave live presentations Tuesday morning at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, with the winners announced later that evening at a dinner reception at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which organizes the business plan contest, noted that like past winners, Eso-Technologies’ Bonnie Reinke came up through the ranks to ultimately win the grand prize. Last fall, Reinke won the “Elevator Olympics” for her 90-second company presentation at the Early Stage Symposium in Madison.
“We were impressed by the depth of the field this year, especially when we got in to the final round,” Still said. “I think it’s representative of the fact that Wisconsin has great startups across a variety of tech sectors. We saw everything from companies that have better solutions for travel, to new ways of cleaning up water, to a device that helps save lives on the operating room table.”
Eso-Technologies also won the Life Sciences category in this year’s contest, which had 326 total entries. The company is led by a team of medical and device design experts who have worked in settings ranging from GE Healthcare to medical start-ups. Eso-Technologies’ goal is to launch a new esophageal cardiac monitoring device for use in surgical and critical care within three years. The company aims to replace an existing product, which is an invasive pulmonary artery catheter.
Other category winners, including the second and third place finishers, include:
NxtMile Custom Running Shoes – The Madison-area company’s shoes are engineered and custom assembled to address the specific biomechanical and orthopedic needs of runners age 40 and older, helping them prevent injury. NxtMile utilizes proprietary pressure-mapping technology.
FiberMX is a green, low-cost blend of recycled cellulose and synthetic fiber used to dramatically reduce cracks in concrete. FLEx is an early-stage company that has developed a method of capturing and diffusing LED light.
Green 3 Organic Apparel – The Oshkosh company designs, sources, markets and distributes environmentally friendly apparel and soft home products through a nationwide network of specialty stores, as well as global catalog retailers such as Sundance, the Discovery Channel and others.
Sandbox International, LLC has developed a proprietary web application to help market researchers identify creative individuals to participate in consumer co-creation initiatives. FlyingCart.com is a store website that offers credit card processing, an administrative interface for managing products and orders as well as marking tours and business training.
Scopia is a Bayside-based online utility that provides global travel networking, developing innovative online software solutions in two main areas: intermodal itineraries, which integrate air, ground and sea transportation modes into a single trip, and multi-fare level pricing from multiple sources and programs.
Second place in this category went to Brian Cole of Innovative Sports Strategies for developing a budgeting, accounting, accounting, reporting and benchmarking tool in the college athletic financial management market. Dan White, PLEX Labs a Fox Valley game development studio creates next generation learning games.
Second place in this category when to Behnam Ghasemzadeh, of AviMed Pharamaceuticals for a first-in-class schizophrenia drug and optimized technology for developing central nervous system drugs. Third place went to Kyle Montgomery of AquaMost, an advanced water treatment technology that efficiently and economically destroys water-borne pathogens and pollutants.
From the inception of the business plan contest in 2004 through 2008, there have been a total of 1,532 entries from 1229 people. Of that number, 98 percent of the finalists are still in business, and over half have received financing from angel investors, venture capitalists, banks, or from federal funding sources, said Wisconsin Dept of Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel, while noting the Governor’s Business Plan Contest is the only statewide, technology-based competition of its kind in the nation.
“I think that speaks very well of our interest in fostering a constantly improving entrepreneurial climate,” Leinenkugel said. “At a time when the economy is causing pain for so many, entrepreneurs often see opportunity in dysfunction,” he said, adding that small businesses create 80 percent of all new jobs. “Here in Wisconsin, we want to do all we can to foster the growth and the development of startup companies that are going to grow into tomorrow’s market leaders.”
Still says Wisconsin has a strong entrepreneurial economy that continues to get better.
“We were really thrilled by the quality of the presentations – all 12 of the finalists who presented did a superb job,” he said. “These companies are producing business plans that can attract investors and actually move on to form companies.”