Fast-growing vegetables that can be delivered by bicycle, a traveling truck providing free legal advice, and a breath-analyzing device for rapidly detecting infections were among the 10 winners of the inaugural Wisconsin Innovation Awards held Tuesday night in Madison.
The winners were announced at a ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union as part of the city’s eight-day annual Forward Festival that ends Thursday.
The awards demonstrate the variety of ideas percolating in the Badger State. About 120 nominations were winnowed down to 31 finalists hailing from around the state, featuring creative products and services from startups and large companies spanning biotech, software, manufacturing, education, and more. (Full disclosure, I served as a judge for the awards.)
Here are the winners:
—Appleton-based The Boldt Company’s integrated lean project delivery service, which applies waste-cutting philosophies embraced by manufacturers to the construction industry.
—The Water Council’s BREW accelerator, a Milwaukee program that offers water technology startups a $50,000 grant, office space, and access to industry mentors and expertise. The accelerator announced its second class earlier this summer.
—Discovery World’s “Design Futurist” internship program in Milwaukee, which gives high school and college students experience in design and teaches them how to use equipment like laser cutters and vacuum formers.
—Madison-based Isomark’s “Canary” breath analyzer, which is meant to provide early indication of potentially deadly infections in patients, such as sepsis. In May, the startup received a $150,000 investment from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation to help fund a 110-patient study of the device’s efficacy at the UW Hospital and Clinics.
—The Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic, which travels to neighborhoods where residents might struggle to access free legal help. The clinic, a joint project between Marquette University Law School and the Milwaukee Bar Association, offers brief advice on civil matters like landlord-tenant disputes and family law.
—Milwaukee-based Microbe Detectives, which uses DNA sequencing to identify and quantify bacteria in water samples. The startup, which Xconomy profiled in January, participated in the BREW accelerator’s first class.
—Eau Claire-based RAI Stone Group, which created predictive analytics software to help small businesses better understand their financials and evaluate how certain actions could affect their bottom line.
—Milwaukee-based Scanalytics, which developed a device for measuring foot traffic at places like retail outlets and trade shows. Scanalytics was also recently chosen to participate in Microsoft’s home automation accelerator near Seattle. Microsoft is partnering with Madison-based American Family Insurance on the accelerator program.
—Madison-based Stemina Biomarker Discovery’s Devtox products that test the effects of chemical compounds and drug candidates on human stem cells.
—Madison-based Vitacycle, a university student startup that has created a modular tray system for growing microgreens—small seeds that can be harvested in a week and pack more nutrients than typical mature plants, according to at least one study. Vitacycle’s recyclable trays can fit into a bicycle trailer, which is intended to make delivery easier in urban settings and lower the delivery cost and environmental impact, the company says. Vitacycle—a project developed by students at UW-Madison, Purdue University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—won a competition to present at Expo 2017 (better known as the World’s Fair) in Kazakhstan.