News & Media

WiSys gives student tech startup a boost

Four young entrepreneurs are turning an innovative app concept into a startup business with help from WiSys.

Taking advantage of two WiSys entrepreneurship programs, UW-Eau Claire alums Sam Fitzhenry, Max Bossert, Logan Ickert  and UW-Madison graduate Nick Hersperger have been advancing their startup company, ParityBlu. Their work and ideas were impressive enough to win the WiSys AppStart Challenge, which included a prize package totaling more than $10,000 in cash and services to help launch their business.

The recent graduates founded ParityBlu and developed a product they call ParityLink, which is an all-in-one solution to connect multiple Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as TVs, speakers or smart thermostats into one centralized app.

“Using the best Bluetooth mesh solution available, ParityBlu is able to provide the user with an intuitive network package that makes every device more accessible than before,” Fitzhenry said during a startup pitch event.

The four friends first pitched their idea for ParityBlu as part of the WiSys AppStart Challenge in the fall of 2020. Their idea stood out among the 73 ideas submitted from across Wisconsin, and the team was named one of three finalists in the challenge.

As a finalist, the team received initial app development support and business mentorship over the course of several months from WiSys partners.

Building on their experience with the WiSys APPStart Challenge, the ParityBlu team applied to participate in another WiSys program designed to help startups get off the ground. In February 2021, ParityBlu was accepted into the Level Up!™ seed accelerator program at WiSys VentureHome® - Eau Claire.

The program is a five month action-oriented program to take scalable businesses or ideas to the next level. Participants learn to validate customer needs, identify go-to-market strategy, find early adopters, and demonstrate market traction, among other important steps of launching a successful startup.

ParityBlu graduated from the WiSys Level Up! program in July 2021 and is currently seeking technical partners and funding.

To learn more about the WiSys APPStart Challenge visit, and to learn more about the WiSys VentureHome program.