NovaScan LLC is located at the Cozzens-Cudahy Research Center in Milwaukee, Wis., and has developed patented technology that electrically images objects. While there are a number of potential applications for the technology, the company's initial focus is on identifying different tissue types to improve cancer detection. Tissues exhibit electrical behavior that varies by tissue type and disease condition and because of the unique electrical properties of each tissue, it is possible to measure and distinguish diseased from normal tissue. The company has developed prototype units and has completed preliminary clinical feasibility studies.
Shamrock Energy Corporation is focused on becoming a leading supplier of energy storage devices and materials. The company's primary aim is to commercialize its energy storage technologies for use in ultracapacitors and batteries. Founded in 2011 and spun out of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Shamrock Energy plans to deliver a novel ultracapacitor to the market with energy densities similar to what is typically found in rechargeable batteries.
Led by Shamrock Partners investment group and backed by the WiSys Technology Foundation (an affiliate of WARF), the company received early stage funding and began operations in early 2011. The initial investment round will allow the company to complete development work on its proprietary materials as well as fund initial commercialization efforts for the ultracapacitor. Shamrock Energy's current offices are located at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, with plans to move to its own facility late in 2011.
Xolve Inc. (formerly Graphene Solutions) has solved the problem that has most significantly constrained practical applications of nanomaterials: these materials have proven to be insoluble--they aggregate in clumps and bundles. This tendency to aggregate dramatically compromises the performance potential that should make these materials candidates for myriad industrial applications.
Xolve's technology addresses the performance restraints of nanomaterials as well as the cost of making them useful. The company's mission is to be a high-value supplier of technical solutions and materials for the industrial advanced materials and products markets by fundamentally changing the price/performance ratios of nanomaterials. Xolve's technology will trigger a revisiting of the entire field of nanomaterials, facilitating applications previously thought impossible and others that have failed due to the price/performance ratios of these materials in their current state.
Developing antimicrobial drugs from natural sources is the focus of Mycophyte Discovery, founded in 2006 by UW-La Crosse Professors Aaron Monte, William Schwan, Marc Rott and Thomas Volk. The research was funded in part by UW System, WiSys and the Wisconsin Connecting Opportunity Research and Entrepreneurship Jobs Act in 2010. The Mycophyte Discovery team, which won the 2009 WiSys Innovation Scholar Award, has isolated several antimicrobial compounds. Discussions are in progress with several pharmaceutical companies regarding potential drug therapies based on these compounds.
Tomorrow River Biotechnologies
Tomorrow River Biotechnologies is a young startup that is genetically engineering a path for bioenergy from a cellulose-based feedstock. This important area of research could have a major impact on Wisconsin's economy; the company is currently forming a business plan and beginning discussions with potential partners. Singsaas and fellow UW-Stevens Point research team members Don Guay and Amy Wiberley are recipients of the WiSys Innovation Scholar Award (2010).
UW-Eau Claire Professor David Lewis, in partnership with Marshfield Clinic, has applied his expertise in drug metabolism and synthetic chemistry to develop a safer form of Warfarin, the anticoagulant drug that, while effective, contributes to significant patient morbidity and mortality due to challenging dosage issues. Lewis co-founded McDel-Topology in 2011 to advance and commercialize his research on novel drug designs based on genetics.
A Wisconsin Small Company Advancement Program (WiSCAP) grant at UW-Eau Claire is supporting further development of advanced anticoagulant compounds in order to optimize the Warfarin variant for fewer patient side effects. In addition, other variants may be useful as next-generation rodenticides that improve over traditional Warfarin by acting more quickly and with improved potency.
Foundry Solutions was formed in 2012 as acollaborative venture by Eric Hellstrom (former UW-Madison professor) and Dan McGuire (UW-Whitewater) to solve some fundamental problems in foundries. The team has developed new foundry materials to accelerate the production of ceramic shells and reduce the time for fabrication of parts, leading to increased efficiency and reduced costs. The company is currently validating these products for industrial applications and commercialization is in the near future.
In an effort to decrease costs and provide updated versions of textbooks for students, M. Ryan Haley, a UW-Oshkosh economics professor, and several colleagues co-founded CoreTxt Plus. The company's base online statistics textbook can be tailored by each professor in his/her department to create their own version of the text. Students in Haley's department have already saved between $100,000 and $150,000 over three semesters using these online books, which are peer-reviewed like any published textbook.
Annamalai Karthikeyan, currently at UW-Platteville, founded Microionic Systems to develop and commercialize the fast, economical synthesis of high-quality activated carbon from recycled raw materials. This technology could have applications in mercury removal, catalysis, medical purification and electrochemical cells. Thanks to its cost-effective approach in a growing market, Microionic Systems is poised for success.
Prentice Technologies was co-founded by Professors Anthony Ellertson and Trudi Miller of UW-Stevens Point to develop cutting-edge digital tools for health care. Specifically, Prentice Technologies is developing patient and hospital management software as well as mobile apps and augmented-reality tools to help patients. The company's products will offer significant cost savings in a growing market.
Orange Power Systems
Orange Power Systems is based on a novel hydrogen fuel cell technology developed by founder Ken Smith of UW-Stout. A recipient of the 2012 WiSys Innovation Scholar award, Smith has discovered an effective method of auto balancing the pressure of hydrogen and oxygen/air within a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell, using a diaphragm that allows gas flow between the two chambers without intermixing. The diaphragm eliminates the need for complex gas flow regulation, greatly extends the life of the membrane and leads to cost reduction as well as overall improved fuel cell efficiency.
Smith credits his entrepreneurial spirit as a motivating force for the startup formation. His advice to students regarding entrepreneurship? "First, keep trying and don't give up. Second, never stop looking for opportunities. Third, be prepared to be creative and extremely resourceful."