Wisconsin Roundup: BuySeasons, Uber, 96square, Nuclear Energy
Here’s a rundown of notable news items in Wisconsin’s tech and innovation community this past week:
—On Monday, I featured Milwaukee serial entrepreneur Jalem Getz’s latest startup, Wantable. Meanwhile, his former company, BuySeasons, continues the CEO carousel that began when Getz left in 2010. On Tuesday, BuySeasons announced that Dev Mukherjee had stepped down and is being replaced by former Leisure Arts CEO Rick Barton. As the Milwaukee Business Journal noted, it’s BuySeasons’ third CEO since Getz resigned.
—The debate over ridesharing services Uber and Lyft intensified this week in Madison after police reportedly issued tickets to two drivers (one from each company) exceeding $1,300 each, The Capital Times reported. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Technology Council hosted a panel discussion with Uber and Lyft representatives, Green Cab of Madison general manager Phil Anderson, and Madison Common Council member Scott Resnick, who wants to introduce legislation that allows the startups to operate in Madison while addressing critics’ concerns. Read more about the panel discussion here and here.
—Fontarome Chemical, a Milwaukee-area pharmaceutical ingredients supplier that employs 40 people, has been acquired out of receivership by a local investment group, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. I reported in January that Fontarome had filed for receivership.
—Phoenix Nuclear Labs (PNL), the Monona startup that has developed a particle accelerator-based neutron generator, announced a two-year, $1 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department to design and build a “high current negative hydrogen ion source.” PNL will modify the ion source technology used in its neutron generator to produce negative hydrogen ions, which will be used to help power a $1 billion-plus particle accelerator being developed at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. The project has applications for physics research, medical cyclotrons, semiconductor manufacturing, and—over the long term—trying to achieve “abundant, clean, nuclear fusion energy,” PNL said.
—Milwaukee co-working space 96square continued to diversify its tenant list with the addition of its first nonprofit, Project: Community Computers, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. The nonprofit recycles computers and sets up labs in areas that lack technology access. 96square is also home to entrepreneurs, startups, an equity crowdfunding platform, and an angel investment fund.