Wisconsin Roundup: Epic, Exact, Elli Health, StartupChicks, & More

Here is a collection of recent headlines in Wisconsin’s technology and innovation community:

—Elli Health, a Delafield-based startup whose software enables virtual doctor visits, raised more than $774,000 from investors, a new SEC filing shows. The company previously raised $200,000 last year, according to an SEC document.

—Madison-based AquaMost has raised more than $168,000 in a round of debt and stock options that could reach $425,000, according to a new SEC filing. The company, which makes water treatment systems that don’t use chemicals, has now raised at least $3.9 million from investors, SEC documents show.

—Madison-based Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) is picking up momentum in its efforts to secure insurance reimbursement for Cologuard, the company’s stool-based DNA test for detecting colorectal cancer. Aetna will cover the test for members of its Medicare Advantage plan, Exact said, and Anthem will cover the test as an out-of-network benefit, GenomeWeb reported. In addition, financial analysts with Robert W. Baird & Co. found several examples of previously undisclosed insurers that agreed to cover Cologuard.

At the same time, Exact has been beefing up its sales efforts by hiring additional staff and inking an agreement with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD) that will have Ironwood sales staff promote Cologuard to doctors.

—More details have emerged from the lawsuit filed by Verona-based Epic Systems, the nation’s largest provider of electronic health records software, against two divisions of India-based Tata. Epic alleges, among other things, that Tata consultants working with its software stole thousands of documents that give inside information about Epic product development and could be used to improve Tata’s own healthcare software, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Tata’s lawyers want the case dismissed because they claim, in part, that Epic hasn’t provided enough evidence that Tata has actually used the documents to boost its own products.

—Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed two-year state budget would cut $8.1 million from a University of Wisconsin-Madison renewable energy research center that is working to develop, among other projects, ways to convert materials like wood chips, corn stalks, and grasses into power, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The budget item is separate from the Republican governor’s contentious proposal to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System.

—Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGG) has combined lithium-ion battery technology with its gas-powered lawnmower engines to allow homeowners to start the mowers without pulling a rope or priming the engine, the company says. The new product comes as Briggs introduces a new lawnmower engine that it says never needs an oil change.

—StartupChicks—the nonprofit that helps women entrepreneurs through networking events, educational programs, and facilitating connections to mentors and other resources—has launched a Milwaukee chapter. The group’s first local event will be held March 24 at Karma Bar & Grill.

StartupChicks is now in six cities around the country and says it has about 2,000 members. Its Milwaukee group was founded by entrepreneur and business development consultant Kalli Meisler, who recently moved here from New York, where she also helped start a StartupChicks chapter, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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