MILWAUKEE – A Madison company aiming to help passengers in buses, trains and other vehicles connect to the Internet was the grand prize winner in the 2011 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
WiRover Inc., a company formed two years ago, is led by Suman Banerjee, a UW-Madison professor of computer sciences. WiRover has developed an end-to-end software platform to deliver high-bandwidth Internet services to moving vehicles, including buses, trains, emergency vehicles and automobiles.
The company is running pilot projects with Madison’s Metro Transit System and with Van Galder Bus Co. Its intellectual property is being managed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. WiRover won the contest’s Information Technology category. Other category winners were:
Insulete is an early stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing treatments for Type 1 diabetes. Insulete discovered a genetic construct with the potential to cure Type I diabetes with monthly injections. Led by UW-Madison transplant surgeon Dr. Hans Sollinger, it won the Life Sciences Category.
Kinetic Performance Systems makes adhesive muscle support and pain relief products. Its products are easily applied directly by the consumer and have been designed and clinically tested using diagnostic ultrasound technology. This Nashotah company is led by Jeffrey Smith and won the Advanced Manufacturing category.
The BugaBees offers a comprehensive line of interactive media, picture books and merchandise designed to teach kids how to manage both the physical and emotional consequences of living with food allergies. The Middleton company, which won the Business Services category, is led by Amy Recob.
The awards were announced at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee, where the top 12 contestants squared off in making oral presentations on their plans. Some 200 entries were received in January from contestants in more than 75 communities. About 65 judges and mentors took part throughout the contest’s four stages. Second- and third-place winners in the eigth annual contest were:
Advanced manufacturing: Patrick Heaney, NCD Coatings for Micro Tools, Middleton; Brad Schwei, PureTech Systems, Neenah
Business services: Pat James, Blue Planet Technologies, Madison; Benjamin Bartling, Zoomshift, Milwaukee
Information technology: Kevin Kreger, Kallows, Milwaukee; Amy Reno, Speechtails.com, Wauwatosa (tie)
Life Sciences: Tom Primiano, NanoOncology, Madison; Jim Maerzke, Procubed, Kenosha
About $200,000 in cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded. Other finalists in the 2011 contest were: Marco Araujo, Green Bay, InterMeds; John Bender, Colgate, Simple Campus Housing; Erwin Berthier, Madison, Painless home cholesterol test; Richard Bowers, Hobart, Matrix Reading Solutions; Douglas Buch, Greenfield, PaveDrain; Greg Dockter, Cottage Grove, Topical Bleeding Gel; Ryan Dover, Lake Geneva, LocalGrown; Jonathan Pearl, Racine, Perceptral; Peter Petit, Pewaukee, Vacuum-Insulated Window Glass; Jeremy Shafton, Madison, Door-6; Robert Steffes, Waukesha, Flying Cart LLC; and Dana VanDen Heuvel, Green Bay, The Docking Station.
This year’s contest sponsors: 5Nines/Matador Consulting; Aberdean Consulting LLC; American Transmission Co.; Associated Bank; Baird Venture Partners; Earth Information Technologies; EMM Holdings; Fitchburg Technology Campus; Functional Biosciences; The Gialamas Company; Kollath & Associates, CPAs; Luminis Communications Ltd.; MRA – The Management Association; Madison Gas & Electric Co.; Marshfield Clinic; McAllen TEC Campus; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; The Milwaukee Institute; The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Journal Interactive; Mortenson Construction; Murphy Desmond; Quarles & Brady LLP; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Ruedebusch Development & Construction; Smith & Gesteland LLP; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; TDS Telecom; University Research Park; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Wisconsin Department of Commerce; WisBusiness.com; Wisconsin Angel Network; the Wisconsin Technology Council; and Xcel Energy.