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$200,000 awarded by Ideadvance Seed Fund to transform UW System ideas into new businesses

The 2017 awardees of grants from the Ideadvance Seed Fund have been announced. This year's awards total $200,000 and will be distributed among five innovative Wisconsin startups.

Ideadvance is a rigorous two-stage process of seed funding and mentoring meant to develop innovative ideas into feasible and successful businesses. It is open to all staff, faculty, students, and alumni of any University of Wisconsin System school except for the flagship campus, UW-Madison. All awardees must demonstrate significant progress toward a profitable business model in order to receive the entirety of the awarded seed fund, which is distributed in increments.

Stage 1 awardees are eligible for up to $25,000, earned by meeting goals over a six-month period of mentorship. Out of the 23 applicants for Stage 1 awards, the selected 2017 recipients are:

  • Forsytch & Storms Technologies of Oak Creek, which devised an innovative, less-lethal self-defense device for law enforcement and corrections.
  • VetNEX of River Falls, which assists veterans in the VA Service Connected Disability Claims process.

Stage 2 companies are eligible for up to $50,000 in matching funds within a 12-month period by demonstrating progress developing and executing a customer acquisition strategy. Stage 2 drew seven applications this year. The 2017 awardees are:

  • High 5 Academics of Oshkosh, which developed TTL, a cloud-based series of tools to help K-8 school principals collaborate with literacy teachers.
  • Pivot Interactives of River Falls, which designs innovative educational activities that teach scientific reasoning and critical thinking through interaction with a customizable video interface.
  • Northern Star Fire of Eau Claire, whose flagship product a illuminated navigational device to assist firefighters in disorienting, low-vision conditions.

Learn more about this year's Ideadvance Seed Fund awards here.