Stonehouse, AkitaBox, Iverson, & More: This Week’s WI Watchlist

Stay current on the latest news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:

—Stonehouse Water Technologies, a Milwaukee-based startup developing energy-efficient water purification systems, said it raised more than $1.5 million from investors. Launched in 2012, Stonehouse is developing a water purifier about the size of a dehumidifier that’s designed for use in residential, commercial, and agricultural properties. According to a press release, the company’s water purification system will be available for purchase starting in early 2018.

Mark Sellers, a former executive at the plastic injection molding business MGS Mfg. Group, led the round, Stonehouse said. Mason Wells, a Milwaukee-based private equity firm, acquired MGS in 2016 for an undisclosed sum.

—Wisconsin passed legislation this week allowing businesses based in the state to incorporate as benefit corporations. These are for-profit legal entities whose articles of incorporation and other organizing documents require the businesses to provide returns to shareholders, employees, and society at large. Abigail Barnes, who is co-founder and CEO of Madison-based Allergy Amulet and also has a law degree, wrote an opinion piece for Xconomy in which she argues that the mission of benefit corporations is in line with the beliefs and values of millennials and many business leaders.

—Madison-based AkitaBox, a startup developing software for accessing and editing documents containing data on buildings and the machines inside of them, has been on a hiring spree and recently moved offices as a result of its growth, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. AkitaBox’s current headcount is 65, up from 12 employees at this time last year. The company reportedly expects its 2017 revenues to exceed $2 million.

—Exact Sciences (NASDAQ: EXAS) chief financial officer Jeff Elliott said his company is “in investment mode,” as Madison-based Exact continues its efforts to increase sales of Cologuard, its stool-based DNA test for colorectal cancer. Exact now has more than 1,200 employees, up from 768 at the end of 2016. The company plans to build a new laboratory in Madison, and is also expanding the lab where it processes Cologuard tests today.

—Erik Iverson, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, an independent organization that manages patents and licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said he believes academic and business leaders “must find better ways to tap into the collective intelligence and energy of all of the campuses in the UW System.” That’s according to an op-ed by Iverson published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in which Iverson repeatedly emphasizes the UW System’s mission statement, known as “the Wisconsin idea.” According to UW-Madison, the Wisconsin idea signifies the principle “that education should influence people’s lives beyond the boundaries of the classroom.”

—Gov. Scott Walker gave a speech this week at a Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce event in which he called on the state legislature to approve $6.8 million for a marketing campaign aimed at getting more young professionals to come to—or stay in—Wisconsin after they earn their degrees, the Associated Press reported.

At the same event, Wisconsin economic development officials and an executive from Foxconn, the Taiwanese multinational that plans to build an enormous display-manufacturing plant south of Milwaukee, discussed their belief that the factory could be a boon for entrepreneurs in Wisconsin.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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