Three entrepreneurs have been honored with UW­–Madison Chancellor’s Entrepreneurial Achievement Awards. The three provide a picture of the depth and variety of the startup economy stemming from UW­–Madison.

An invitation-only ceremony honoring the 2024 recipients was held on Thursday, April 18, at the Gordon Dining and Event Center.

The winners are:

  • Mark Bakken, who leads Madison-based HealthX Ventures, a digital health care-focused venture capital firm. Since 2015, HealthX has raised $137 million, invested in 34 companies — 17 of which started in Wisconsin — and was named a Founder-Friendly Investor by Inc. Magazine. Known as a serial entrepreneur, Bakken is a Wisconsin information technology leader who has invested in 11 different venture funds and more than 80 individual startups. Collectively, his portfolio companies have raised more than $1.1 billion in venture capital.
  • James Dahlberg, a professor emeritus of biomolecular chemistry at UW–Madison and co-founder of Third Wave Technologies and Cambridge BioTech Corp. Third Wave went public in 2001 and was sold in 2008 for $580 million. Its intellectual property was later licensed by Exact Sciences. Dahlberg’s discoveries not only benefited countless patients but also contribute to Madison’s standing as a national center for biohealth innovation.
  • Dorri McWhorter, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. A Wisconsin School of Business graduate, McWhorter is known for her social enterprise business leadership and is featured in the Stephen Gyllenhaal documentary Uncharitable. McWhorter has worked to modernize membership offerings and create partnerships with Nike and Peloton. Currently, she is leading the YMCA’s development of a downtown community hub within a mixed-income, net-zero carbon emissions apartment complex, as well as a west side Sankofa Wellness Village, which will feature health care facilities, a grocery store, and a business incubator.