MILWAUKEE – LIVEyearbook, a start-up company that is turning a new page on an iconic institution – the school yearbook – is the Grand Prize winner in the 2010 Governor’s Business Plan Contest. The company has won $50,000 in cash and services.

Read more on LIVEyearbook and other place winners from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel here.

The Neenah-based company has developed a software-as-a-service platform that can be used by schools and students to produce online yearbooks. The company’s patent-pending technology offers schools appropriate editorial controls and a better revenue model, and allows students to create custom yearbooks online or in a traditional print format.

The company’s leadership has experience in school-based products, software development and early stage management. It is targeting a national market that includes 133,000 schools and 56 million students, many of whom are at the vanguard of the social-media generation.

LIVEyearbook won the contest’s Information Technology category, and is the first grand prize winner from the Fox Valley in the seven-year history of the contest. There were 284 entries statewide in the 2010 contest, which began Jan. 31. Other category winners were:

Advanced Manufacturing: First place went to Karl Holt of Aero-Stream. This Hartland company designs, manufactures and markets a patented product to maintain and restore septic systems. Second place in this category went to Jim Maerzke of Procubed, a Kenosha company that has developed a lightweight, portable and user-powered wheelchair. Third place was taken by Patrick Heaney of NCD Technologies of Madison, which has developed a process tied to the use of nanocrystalline diamond coatings.


Business Services: The category winner was Kristin Benson Ellsworth of Peeps Eyewear, a Madison firm that designs and markets optical frames and accessories for children. Second place was won by Rishi Shah and Flying Cart LLC of Waukesha, a subscription-based web application for the creation and management of online stores. Third place went to Sector67, a “hacker space” that provides tools, equipment and member networking for technology prototypes.

Information Technology: In addition to LIVEyearbook Inc., winners were James Mattes of Population Manager, Madison, a software solution that supports the ongoing flow of health-care data (second place) and Jim Blair of FlexTec Managed Virtual Network, which delivers cloud-computing network services to businesses through a virtual desktop infrastructure.

Life Sciences: First place went to Ryan Shepherd of PhylloTech, an agricultural biotechnology company in Madison that is developing broad spectrum, natural product fungicides for environmentally friendly control of plant pathogens. Second place was won by Ankit Agarwal of ImBed Biosciences, a Madison company that is developing advanced materials for wound care and surgical applications. Third place went to Joe Vosters of Friendly Bed Systems, an Appleton company that has developed a supporting framework for beds that helps elderly and disabled patients live at home.

Winners of the contest were announced at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee. They will share $195,000 in cash and in-kind prizes from 35 sponsors. Please see a full list of sponsors below.

Contestants submitted a 20-page business plan for review by a panel of 78 judges established by the Tech Council, which is the independent, non-profit and non-partisan science and technology advisor to the governor and the Legislature. Each plan described the core product or service, defined the customer base, estimated the size of the market, identified competition, listed members of the management team and provided key financial data.

The finalists’ executive summaries as well as those filed by semi-finalists are available for review by accredited investors through the Wisconsin Angel Network.

Sponsors for the 2010 BPC are: 5Nines/Matador Consulting; Aberdean Consulting LLC; Alliant Energy; American Transmission Co.; Associated Bank; Earth Information Technologies; Epiphany Law; Fitchburg Technology Campus; Foley & Lardner LLP; Frontier Airlines; The Gialamas Company; The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and Journal Interactive; Kollath & Associates, CPAs; The Luminis Group, Ltd.; Madison Area Technical College; Madison Gas & Electric Co.; McAllen TECH Campus; Michael Best & Friedrich LLP; Murphy Desmond; PercipEnz Technologies, Inc.; Perkins Coie; Quarles & Brady LLP; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Ruedebusch Development & Construction; Rusk Prarie Group; Smith & Gesteland LLP; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; TDS Telecom; University Research Park; Wisconsin Department of Commerce;; Wisconsin Angel Network; Wisconsin Tech College System; Wisconsin Technology Council; WTN Media; and Xcel Energy.