A Stoughton-based “voice assistant” platform that provides hands-free documentation to child care centers took home the grand prize in the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
Patricia Wooldridge, Brent Brenner and others created GrowthChart Records to dramatically cut time and effort devoted to record-keeping by childcare providers, this increasing time devoted to actual care. Brenner presented for Growth Chart Tuesday during the 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.
“GrowthChart has created an innovative platform to save time for certified childcare centers that are often recording data by hand on paper, which ties up professionals who could be caring directly for kids,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “It’s a subscription model that helps childcare centers and parents alike.”
Independent judges recruited by the Tech Council heard presentations from 12 other finalists in four categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. Growth Chart won the contest’s Information Technology category. Other category winners were:
Advanced Manufacturing: Templar Industries of Janesville is developing a proprietary liquid-composite armor technology that absorbs projectile energy. Presenter: Mark Schweiger.
Business Services: Blexx Technologies of Madison is a medical waste disposal company that aims to market a device that sanitizes and disintegrates hypodermic needles in less than a second Presenter: Erin Tenderholt.
Life Sciences: Otologic Technologies of Madison has created a decision-making system that backs a digital otoscope with artificial intelligence to present medical practitioner with the most likely diagnosis for middle ear infections. Presenter: Dr. Aaron Moberly.
Thirteen contestants emerged from three rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council, which produces the contest in conjunction with its partners and sponsors. The contest began in late January with nearly qualified 200 entries; more than 3,900 entries have been received since the contest began in 2004.
This year’s finalists delivered seven-minute pitches on their business ideas during the 17th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which was held at Venue 42 in Milwaukee Brewing Co. Second- and third-place category winners were:
Advanced Manufacturing: Zero Barrier, Evan Wolfenden; Dark Aero, Ryley Karl; SafeLi, Carol Hirschmugl.
Business Services: Impact Sports, Joshua Cleveland, River Falls; Skip and Co. Maritime, Robert Carsey, Fond du Lac.
Information Technology: Seedlinked, Dylan Bruce, Viroqua; ERbin, Michelle Goetsch, Kronenwetter
Life Sciences: Voximtry, Brian Bednarz, Middleton; SpayVac for Wildlife, Thomas D’Orazio, Fitchburg.
New to the contest this year: Seedlinked won the “Bright New Idea” award as a first-time contestant.
Finalists submitted full business plans for review by a panel of more than 100 judges established by the Tech Council, which is the non-profit and non-partisan science and technology adviser 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, described the management team and provided key financial data.
Sponsors are contributing cash, office space, legal assistance, accounting, information technology consulting, marketing, prototyping, web design, event space and more. About $2.2 million in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded since the inception of the contest in 2004. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is a major sponsor.
Additional lead sponsors of the 2019 contest thus far include: American Transmission Company; AT&T; COLLABORATORcreative; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Gravity Marketing; Hudson Business Lounge & Café; Iron Forge Development; Michael Best; Midwest Prototyping; Pieper Properties; Quarles & Brady; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; SCORE; Starting Block; University Research Park; Ward4; Associate sponsors include 100state; Aberdean Consulting; Applied Management; Cresa Madison; Murphy Desmond; Spencer X Smith and AmpliPhi.; Whitewater University Technology Park; and Additional sponsors are BloodCenter of Wisconsin;; Irontek; Madison Gas & Electric; Kinetic Compliance Solutions; Kollath CPA; Marshfield Clinic Health System; Neider & Boucher; OneNeck IT Solutions; Reverbal Communications; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Wisconsin Public Radio
To learn more about the contest, visit govsbizplancontest.com.