Dairyland Innovation: Xconomy Wisconsin’s Top Stories Since December Launch

4/1/14Follow @XconomyWI

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been just over three months since Xconomy launched in Wisconsin.

Although it still doesn’t quite feel like spring in the Midwest, in the spirit of the (technically) new season, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the important stories Xconomy Wisconsin has told thus far. Most of these are our top local stories as measured by readership, but I included a few fun ones that people might have missed the first time around.

The stories range from an in-depth look at the environment for Wisconsin startup exits over the past several years to the efforts of a rural healthcare system to boost tech transfer. The stories illustrate the Badger State’s broad base of innovation in life sciences, software, renewable energy, and water technology. And yes, there are even stories that show the high-tech sides of beer and dairies.

Without further ado, here are the key stories of Xconomy Wisconsin’s first quarter:

1. For Xconomy Wisconsin’s launch day, I wrote a story examining the group of at least 19 Wisconsin startup exits since 2008. One takeaway? Some local angel investors are tapped out and waiting for the next wave of exits.

2. Can Madison evolve into the nation’s healthtech hub? The former Epic Systems employees who recently started healthtech startup incubator 100health think so.

3. Around the same time that I reported on 100health’s launch, I broke the news that another Epic veteran was launching a new venture, Branch2, that will build healthcare apps.

4. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is betting that water will play an indispensable role in the region’s economic future. Here’s my series on four local water tech startups.

5. Arguably the most closely watched Wisconsin innovation story over the past 16 years has been stem cells, after University of Wisconsin-Madison biologist James Thomson derived the first line of human embryonic stem cells in 1998. In this story, biotech whiz Luke Timmerman explores how Cellular Dynamics, co-founded by Thomson, is turning stem cells into a business.

6. Luke strikes again with a great feature about Exact Sciences rising from the ashes after its move from Boston to Madison. Since then, I’ve tracked the progress of Exact’s colon cancer screening test through publication of a peer-reviewed study in the New England Journal of Medicine and unanimous endorsement of the test by an FDA advisory committee.

7. Here’s another Timmerman story, this one about a promising Madison biotech that is flying under the radar, even among local players.

8. Plenty of people in Wisconsin want to turn dairy waste into energy, but as Ben Romano reports, there are plenty of hurdles before the market can take off.

9. How can a rural healthcare system grow into a thriving tech transfer machine? One model could be joining forces with larger healthcare organizations around the country, as Wisconsin-based Marshfield Clinic is doing with Cleveland Clinic and others.

10. Lucigen, a small Madison biotech, is taking on the big boys with its planned on-the-spot tests for inflections like flu and strep.

11. Wisconsin startup accelerator program gener8tor doesn’t yet have the national name recognition of Techstars or Y Combinator, but if its latest crop of startups is any indication, the group is gradually raising its profile—and in the process, the state’s as well.

12. My personal profile of Milwaukee angel investor Tim Keane, also an avid photographer, provides a window to the lighter side of the local startup world.

13. Wisconsin has beer. Wisconsin also has beer-tech startups. Enjoy.

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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